Welcome to the September edition of This is WA

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September 2021


Travel and Lifestyle News from Western Australia


Welcome to the September edition of This is WA, bringing you the latest travel and lifestyle news from across Western Australia.

What's hot

Perth to host AFL Grand Final at Optus Stadium

Perth's Optus Stadium

For the first time in history, Perth will play host to one of Australia's biggest sporting events - the 2021 Toyota AFL Grand Final. Bouncing down on September 25 at the world’s most beautiful sporting complex, Optus Stadium, this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity will help position Perth as a sport lover's dream destination. More than 60,000 people will be able to attend the Grand Final at Optus Stadium, in what will be an incredible opportunity for local sporting fans. More information, including transport arrangements and entertainment, is set to be released soon.

AFL Cup Tour shines spotlight on iconic WA destinations

The Toyota AFL Premiership Cup in Cathedral Gorge at Bungle Bungle Range. Image credit: Tamati Smith, Yama(t)ji/AFL Photos

One of Australia’s most prestigious pieces of silverware – the 2021 Toyota AFL Premiership Cup – is currently on tour in WA, visiting some of the State’s most iconic destinations. The tour started in the ancient landscapes of the Kimberley at the Bungle Bungle Range in Purnululu National Park, then onto the tropical pearling town of Broome and the ancient gorges of Karijini National Park. It then makes its way to the Coral Coast and the underwater wonders of Ningaloo Reef at Exmouth, then onto the tall timber forests and limestone caves of the Margaret River region. The cup tour also includes stops at Karratha, Geraldton, Kalgoorlie and Manjimup – before finishing up in the bright lights of Perth city. To follow the cup’s journey and create your own AFL Cup Tour experience, visit westernaustralia.com

Australia’s first Noongar Opera – Koorlbardi we Wardong

Koorlbardi wer Wardong is a new commission by The West Australian Opera, set to hit the stage at Perth’s His Majesty’s Theatre from October 2 to 6, 2021. Lead by award winning Noongar musicians and songwriters Gina Williams and Guy Ghouse, it will be Australia’s first opera works performed in Noongar language and based on Aboriginal stories. Set on Noongar Boodja (the South West corner of WA), the new work will journey back to the Nyittiny, the time of creation, and is based on the traditional story of how the koorlbardi (magpie) and the warding (crow) became the birds we see today.

Play on in Perth

Perth City

To celebrate the 2021 Toyota AFL Grand Final being played in Perth, locals and visitors will have access to 50 percent off eligible tours and attractions (up to a saving of $200) when they choose to Play on in Perth over the Grand Final long weekend. Create the ultimate Perth weekend itinerary with discounts available on whale watching experiences, boat cruises, kayaking adventures, Segway tours, Rottnest ferries, walking and bike tours plus much more. Bookings must be made during the AFL grand final weekend, from Friday, September 24 to Monday, September 27.

Lifestyle and Culture

Celebrate the Quokka’s birthday on Rottnest this September

Rottnest Island's Quokka Birthday

The world’s happiest animal the Quokka, will be celebrating its birthday across the month of September on Rottnest Island. The highlight of the festivities will be a birthday party on Sunday, September 19 featuring kid’s activities and quokka-themed party games. Throughout September, the island will also offer wildlife photography workshops with renowned animal photographer Alex Cearns where visitors can learn how to perfect their quokka portrait skills; and the Quokka Detective Treasure Hunt, a self-guided experience that allows visitors to learn more about the island whilst exploring on foot or bicycle. The island also has a range of guided tours on sale, and visitors who book travel during September and October will receive up to 50 per cent off select tours, plus free island admission. All quokka birthday activities are free, however tickets are required. Spring is primetime to see adorable joeys hop out of their mum’s pouches on the island, which is home to around 12,000 quokkas. A full list of celebrations can be accessed at rottnestisland.com/quokkabirthday.

Factory Summer Festival

Factory Summer Festival is bringing those summer festival vibes to Perth this December with a stellar line-up of artists performing for the first time at Stadium Park, located next to Perth’s Optus Stadium. Overlooking Perth’s iconic Swan River, Stadium Park will host three dates across December (18, 24 and 31), with some of Australia’s best artists set to perform, including The Veronicas, Hermitude and Lime Cordiale. Festivalgoers will enjoy themed bars, rides, activations and plenty of space for dancing. Tickets to the events go on sale on Tuesday, September 14.

Crown Perth's Six Seasons Art Experience

Dandjoo Darbalung Art Exhibition at Crown Metropol

Visitors to Perth’s Crown Metropol this month will experience an incredible light show of culture and colour - with the Dandjoo Darbalung Art Exhibition on display. Media artist Sohan Ariel Hayes has transformed the artworks of local school children – a partnership with St Catherine’s College’s Dandjoo Darbalung Program – and projected them across the canvas sails in the hotel’s lobby. The animated artwork display takes visitors on a journey across the six Nooongar seasons, with the artwork capturing the Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal family stories of each student in the school. The experience will run every night until Saturday, September 18.

Perth’s Optus Stadium to host Ashes Test

Perth's Optus Stadium

Perth’s Optus Stadium will for the first time play host to one of cricket’s biggest sporting rivalries – the Ashes Test Series. Australia will take on England in the Fifth Test of the series between January 14 and 18 next year. Tickets are now on sale, with adult tickets starting at $30, with a family of four (two adults and two children under 12) costing $65. The Ashes Test is the headline international fixture for the 2021-22 season, which also includes the Women's Series - Australia versus India Test at the WACA, and the men's One Day International against New Zealand on January 30 at Perth’s Optus Stadium.

WA Wellness Weekender

Coastal city of Mandurah

WA will get to experience a new take on wellness this summer with the inaugural Flow State Weekender taking place in the coastal city of Mandurah from February 18 to 20. The event will bring together a series of thought-provoking and inspiring talks, workshops, movement spaces, satellite health and fitness experiences; plus dining, music and cultural activations designed to inspire participants to think about wellness in all its modalities. Mandurah is located an easy one-hour drive south of Perth. Tickets are now on sale for the event through flowstatefestival.com.au.

Star Dreaming documentary showcases WA

A new immersive 180-degree documentary is set to showcase WA’s incredible outback landscapes, big skies, and Aboriginal culture. Star Dreaming is the directorial debut from West Australian Aboriginal filmmaker Perun Bonser. The film explores the mysteries of the universe through the unique combination of the world’s most advanced radio telescope – the Square Kilometre Array (SKA), located in WA’s Murchison region – and the oldest living culture on the planet. Narrated by Yamatji man Ernie Dingo, the documentary will be screened daily at Fremantle’s WA Maritime Museum for the next six months.

Food and Wine

Get Entwined in the Valley

Entwined in the Valley's 1840 at Sandalford event

Entwined in the Valley will return for a three-day showcase of the Swan Valley’s unique offerings from October 8 to 10, 2021. Across the weekend, more than 25 venues and producers will open their cellar doors, restaurants and grounds. This year’s program will serve up a smorgasboard of long brunches and lunches, exclusive behind the scenes insights with the region’s passionate producers and one-of-a-kind dinner experiences. Signature events for this year include 1840 at Sandalford at Sandalford Restaurant and Bar, the American BBQ Long Lunch at Swan Settlers Market and Oakover Gourmet Experience at Oakover Grounds. Located just 25 minutes from Perth CBD, the Swan Valley is home to an abundance of talented chefs, winemakers, brewers and purveyors of fresh produce and artisan goods.

Will Meyrick’s new restaurant opens in Perth this month

Renowned chef and restauranteur Will Meyrick is set to open his latest restaurant Will St, in Perth this month. The owner-chef of Sarong Group, responsible for a number of hit restaurants in Bali including Hujan Locale, and Seminyak institutions Mama San and Sarong – made the move from Bali to Perth last year. Located in the city-fringing suburb of Leederville, the 120-person bar and restaurant will be the culmination of Meyrick’s culinary journey so far, having lived in Asia for almost 20 years. The menu will include a curated collection of traditional Asian share dishes alongside fun bar snacks, with the drinks list featuring classic western cocktails with spicy eastern notes and quality wines from around the globe. The venue’s interior has been inspired by the Australian landscape, with a cosy fireplace greeting guests in the waiting lounge area.

Planet Royale launches in Northbridge

Planet Royal in Northbridge

Planet Royale has taken the Perth entertainment scene to intergalactic heights since opening its doors in August. The multi-purpose venue is situated in the heart of Northbridge, and pays homage to its previous tenant, the old IMAX Cinema, with sentimental elements spotted throughout including the old carpets, movie posters and a theatre. The venue is home to Pulp Kitchen; a post Americana diner, Barcadia; an arcade bar with one of the best pinball line-ups in Australia, Major Tom’s; a cocktail bar paying homage to rock ‘n’ roll legends, plus live entertainment space The Royale Theatre.

Tours, Accommodation and Attractions

The Perth Mint gets a revamp

The Perth Mint's newly refurbished retail experience

Award-winning tourism experience The Perth Mint has recently undergone renovations to the site’s original heritage-listed building. The building now has an enhanced foyer and upgraded jewellery boutique, including a new Pink Diamond Room, as well as new blockbuster geological specimens in its award-winning gold exhibition. Established in 1899, The Perth Mint welcomes visitors to experience the magic, allure and history of gold in WA, and includes interactive exhibits and a gold pour experience in the original melting house.

WA Marine Tourism company rebrands as Sea West

Family-owned and operated tourism company with cruise offerings operating across WA has recently rebranded under a new parent company name, Sea West. Currently operating as Rottnest Cruises, Mandurah Cruises and Broome Cruises, the products will all come under the new Sea West brand. Sea West will also be expanding its fleet, with South West Cruises due to start culinary tours in early 2022, operating out of Dunsborough in the Margaret River region. In addition to sightseeing, culinary and catch-and-cook experiences, Sea West also includes BBQ boating cruises, luxury experiences and on-deck cooking classes.

Spring into Parks

Valley of the Giants Treetop Walk

WA’s national parks are set to be showcased through a diverse range of events and activities available throughout the spring months. Spring into Parks celebrates WA’s spectacular wilderness and access to nature, providing opportunities to enjoy the experiences available in the State’s 102 national parks and 17 marine parks. Running until October 23, the events and activities range from a Walyunga Bushtucker Experience with Dale Tilbrook at Maalinup Aboriginal Gallery on October 16; Cabaret Cave Yoga and Mindfulness at Yanchep National Park on October 17; and Experience Forest Therapy at Leeuwin Naturaliste Park on October 24. For more details on all the events on offer visit ourwaparks.org.au.

APT release new South West Coast Explorer cruise itinerary

Luxury touring company APT has launched a new eight-day small ship expedition cruise along WA’s South West coast aboard the 99-passenger MS Caledonian Sky. The South West Coast Explorer will depart from Fremantle to discover Margaret River’s fine wineries, spectacular scenery, and the iconic Cape to Cape Track. The tour will also visit historic Albany, picturesque Lucky Bay in Cape Le Grand National Park and the Fitzgerald River National Park. The three departures dates are February 23, and March 2 and 9, 2022, and are priced from $7,391 per person, twin share.


Perth's world-class Optus Stadium

Perth's Optus Stadium and surrounding Stadium Park

Perth’s 60,000 seat Optus Stadium will this month play host to one of Australia’s biggest sporting events – the 2021 Toyota AFL Grand Final. Bouncing down on September 25, this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity will showcase the world-class venue to a huge national audience, and help position Perth as a sport lover's dream destination.

Opening to applause in January 2018, the world’s most beautiful sporting complex (as dubbed by the prestigious Prix Versailles Architecture Award - Sports – 2019) is home to the AFL in WA, and also hosts cricket, rugby union, rugby league, soccer and music concerts.

Since opening, the world-class venue has hosted sell sporting and music events such as Premier League powerhouses Manchester Football Club and Chelsea Football Club, Rugby League State of Origin, the Bledisloe Cup, plus international artists Taylor Swift and Ed Sheeran.

Major events coming up in the 2021/22 calendar include:

  • The 2021/22 Big Bash League will heat up the stadium over December and January, with the Perth Scorchers playing seven home games in the lead up to the finals.
  • Factory Summer Festival will bring the beats this summer, with three events at Stadium Park on December 18, 24 and 31 - with Australian artists such as The Veronicas, Lime Cordiale and Hermitude set to perform.
  • The fifth match of the 2022 Ashes Test Series will be hosted by the stadium for the first time from January 14 to 18. Australia will take on England as they battle it out on the last leg of the series.
  • Australia will take on New Zealand in an epic One Day International (ODI) cricket match on January 30, 2022.
  • The Rugby League State of Origin will also return to the stadium in June 2022. The New South Wales Blues will clash with the Queensland Maroons in one of Australia’s most fiercely contested games.

Also adding to the experience, the stadium has recently welcomed the opening of an exciting new tour experience – the HALO Rooftop Climb at The Ozone. Guests can climb the 78 steps up to the roof of the stadium on a guided tour and experience the stunning city views, take in a bird’s-eye view of the field of play, and sit in seats 42 metres above the ground. Construction has also started on a new 42-metre-high viewing platform, allowing visitors to walk several metres beyond the edge of the stadium roof.

Other tour options include ‘behind the scenes’ guided tours of the stadium, and Warrang-Bridil Aboriginal cultural tours around the stadium precinct and along the shores of the Derbal Yerrigan (Swan River).

Situated next to Perth’s iconic Swan River, it’s not just sporting games and major entertainment events that draw visitors to the stadium, the surrounding Stadium Park is home to nature playgrounds, boardwalks, picnic and barbeque areas, public art, recreational facilities, plus an amphitheatre with an outdoor screen.

Also open seven days a week is the City Views Café, offering breakfast or lunch against the stunning backdrop of the Swan River and Perth City; plus Australia’s biggest pub, The Camfield. With room for up to 2,500 patrons, it features a microbrewery, five bars, 180 beer taps, and unsurpassed views of the Perth CBD and the river.


Southern Art & Craft Trail

September 25 to October 8 | Great Southern Region | WA’s South West

Experience the rich artistic talent and unique venues of WA’s Great Southern region through art exhibitions, open studios, workshops, demonstrations, artist talks and public displays. Visitors can enjoy exploring the quaint and picturesque towns scattered throughout the region, with almost 80 locations taking part in the trail including wineries, homes, cafes, shops, district halls and pop-up galleries. For the full list of experiences head to artsouthwa.com.au

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Yalgoo Emu Festival

October 2 | Yalgoo | WA’s Golden Outback

Locals in emu costumes competing in a running race will be one of many unique sights at the Yalgoo Emu Festival, set in the laidback historic town, which is two hours east of Geraldton. Experience the WA outback with a free family fun day, emu sculptures, costume parades and novelty races, an outback style ninja warrior challenge, live music performances and an evening family movie, while discovering the region’s rich mining and agricultural history, Aboriginal heritage, striking landscapes, wildlife and country hospitality.

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Strings Attached: The West Australian Guitar Festival

October 8 to 10 | Margaret River region | WA’s South West

Held over three-days throughout the Margaret River region, Strings Attached includes exhibitions, performances, masterclasses and workshops. The event is a celebration of players, makers and collectors, lovers of guitars, basses, ukuleles, mandolins, banjos and more.

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Dardanup Bull & Barrel Festival

9 October | Dardanup | WA’s South West

The Dardanup Bull and Barrel Festival celebrates the rich agricultural history of Dardanup, located east of Bunbury, two hours’ drive south of Perth. Launched by the Dardanup Community to celebrate the diverse offering of the region, locals and visitors will enjoy a full day of activities and entertainment with more than 150 market and food stalls, live music and demonstrations, a children’s craft marquee and a Tastes of the Ferguson Valley tent featuring local wines and produce. The festival will concludes with a spectacular fireworks display and the burning of the Wespine Fire Sculpture. 

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Manjimup Cherry Harmony Festival

December 11 | Manjimup | WA’s South West

Fruit lovers flock to one of WA’s top culinary destinations, Manjimup, for the Manjimup Cherry Harmony Festival and the chance to enjoy delicious cherries fresh from the tree. A full-day of activities celebrates the diversity of fresh produce from Manjimup and the surrounding Southern Forests region – around three hours’ drive south of Perth – including food and craft stalls, cooking demonstrations from chefs using local produce, wine tastings, children’s entertainment, street theatre, log chopping competition, a summer picnic and the popular 200-person long-table lunch among the cherry orchard.

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St Barbara's Festival

December 2 to 5 | Kalgoorlie | WA’s Golden Outback

Celebrating the patron saint of miners, the annual St Barbara’s Festival acknowledges the resource sector’s strong connection to the Goldfields communities since the 19th Century gold rush. The festival begins with the Miners Memorial Service, honouring those who have lost their lives servicing the mining industry over the past 125 years. The unique event culminates with the Saint Barbara’s Festival Parade, where huge mining equipment rumbles along Kalgoorlie’s historic main street in a celebration of the many industries and communities of Kalgoorlie-Boulder.

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Media contact:
Tiana Anderson

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For more events on Tourism WA's calendar visit westernaustralia.com/events.

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