Latest travel & lifestyle news from Western Australia

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February 2019


Travel and Lifestyle News from Western Australia


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

What's Hot

WA produce inspires Curtis Stone’s new menu

Curtis Stone in Margaret River with Paul Iskov from Fervor.

Dishes influenced by WA’s fresh flavours and produce are on the menu at Curtis Stone’s Los Angeles-based, critically acclaimed restaurant Maude. The Australian celebrity chef recently visited WA to source inspiration for the new menu, which features unique ingredients such as marron, saltbush, wattleseed and macadamia, until the end of March. The dishes will be paired with highly-awarded Margaret River wines, including Leeuwin Estate, Voyager Estate, Happs Wines, Cullen Wines and Moss Wood Wines varieties. Curtis’s WA travels were documented for an upcoming episode of a new television series, expected to premiere later this year.

T20 World Cup fixtures released

Six of the top eight men's and nine of the top 10 women's T20 teams, including Australia, India and England, will put their skills to the test when Perth welcomes the International Cricket Council (ICC) T20 World Cup in 2020. Perth will host a total of 11 T20 matches – including the women’s tournament from February 22 to 24 at the iconic Western Australia Cricket Association (WACA), and the men’s tournament from October 24 to 30 at the state-of-the-art Optus Stadium. The men’s round will begin with a blockbuster evening match featuring second ranked India and South Africa. Tickets to the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup matches go on sale from February 21, with the men’s to be announced later this year.

Comedy legend slips into Broome Time

Shane Jacobson at Cable Beach, Broome

Australian actor, comedian and presenter Shane Jacobson is encouraging Australians to travel to WA’s North West and ‘Slip into Broome Time’. A common term used by locals, Broome Time is a reference to the slow-paced relaxation experienced in the tropical North West town. In recently released videos, Shane can be seen enjoying the white sands and turquoise water of Cable Beach, having an up-close encounter with the town’s resident snub fin dolphins, walking across 130 million year old dinosaur footprints, exploring Broome’s cultural heritage, digging into local grub and Matsos beer, and catching a flick at the world’s oldest outdoor operating picture theatre, Sun Pictures. Multiple daily flights run from Perth to Broome, while direct seasonal services operate from Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.

International acclaim for Dongara’s Illegal Tender Rum

Illegal Tender Rum Co

Illegal Tender Rum Co has taken home a gold and two silver medals at the 2019 Chinese Wine and Spirit Best Value Awards – arguably one of the most influential wine and spirit competitions in the world. Located in the coastal town of Dongara in WA’s Coral Coast, the distillery has been in operation for three years, and during that time has collected several high profile spirit awards – including 16 international wins. Illegal Tender Rum Co offer rum tours and tastings, and will welcome a new eatery in April 2019, The Common Place. Set to showcase local seafood and produce, the restaurant will have a strong focus on native spices and herbs, with rum infused cocktails plus house made cakes and treats.

Lifestyle and Culture

Albany in Australia’s top ten holiday towns

Bruce Munro's Field of Light: Avenue of Honour art installation in Albany

The charming city of Albany in WA’s South West was named runner-up in Wotif’s annual Aussie Town of the Year 2019 awards, which recognise Australia’s top ten holiday hotspots for the year. As the oldest settlement in WA, much of Albany’s heritage is retained throughout the city, including 50 colonial buildings standing proudly as museums, galleries and restaurants. Travellers to Albany can visit UK artist Bruce Munro’s Field of Light: Avenue of Honour exhibition at Mount Clarence until April 25, 2019. The immersive light installation forms part of the centenary commemorations that mark the end of WWI. Albany can be reached in a 4.5 hour drive south of Perth, or a direct one hour flight.

Kimberley on show at Art Gallery of WA

Spectacular portraits of the Kimberley region in WA’s North West will be on display at the Art Gallery of WA from February 9 to May 27. Desert River Sea: Portraits of the Kimberley, is the highly anticipated culmination of a six year visual arts project, Desert River Sea: Kimberley Art Then and Now. A celebration of the region’s diverse Aboriginal culture, the landmark exhibition will showcase the vibrant and contemporary creative talents of Kimberley artists - offering a rare experience of the land, artists and art of the region. New works from six Kimberley art centres and three independent artists will be presented, alongside a selection of legacy works from current art centre collections.

Margaret River artists open their studios

Alice Linford Forte's studio. Photo credit: Elements Margaret River

More than 100 painters, sculptors, illustrators, jewellers, printmakers, glassblowers, ceramicists, photographers and furniture makers based in the Margaret River region will open their studios to visitors, as part of the annual Margaret River Open Studios festival. From April 27 to May 12, visitors and art enthusiasts will have the rare chance to visit private art studios and meet established and emerging artists for a unique behind-the-scenes creative experience. Local artists participating in this year’s event include respected names such as Leon Pericles, Rachel Coad, Rebecca Cool, Lauren Wilhelm, Ian Mutch, Christian Fletcher and John Miller. The work of some of the artists will also be available to purchase exclusively from selected venues. The event is free to attend and bookings are not required. 

Food and Wine

Dine underwater at Busselton Jetty

Busselton Jetty Underwater Observatory

Dining among coral gardens and masses of fish is now a possibility at Busselton Jetty in the Margaret River region. In an Australian first, visitors can now enjoy an indulgent degustation served eight metres below the ocean’s surface. Standing at 1.8 kilometres, Busselton Jetty is the longest wooden-piled jetty in the Southern Hemisphere. The landmark’s Underwater Observatory is located at the end of the jetty and allows visitors to view more than 300 individual marine species in their natural habitat. The Underwater Dining package is an exclusive offering, with the degustation prepared by a local chef, and paired with Leeuwin Estate Wines. The experience can include helicopter transfers Perth to Busselton, plus return train rides to the end of the jetty and exclusive access to a marine biologist. Packages start from $1200 per person for the 4.5 hour experience.

Fremantle’s new hospitality offerings

The eclectic city of Fremantle has recently welcomed a variety of new bars and restaurants, adding to the city’s thriving hospitality, accommodation, events and cultural scene.

  • One of Fremantle’s most iconic venues, Little Creatures, has undergone a revamp with the addition of a dedicated live music space, and a modern bar and eatery. The former Creatures NextDoor has reopened as Helm. The refurbished bar’s design, menu and experience has taken inspiration from the Indian Ocean, with shared plates serving seasonal, local produce and brews, and a creative cocktail list. For those seeking a late night haunt, SONAR Room offers a dedicated live music and performance space, located behind the brewing silos of Little Creatures, adjacent to Helm.
  • The owners behind popular Brazilian food truck Comida do Sul have opened their own permanent venue in South Fremantle. Madalena’s Bar serves natural wines and seafood, with a boteco (small, neighbourhood bar) style atmosphere. The 80-seat capacity bar overlooks Fremantle’s South Beach, providing a fitting backdrop to a menu dedicated to WA’s fresh seafood.
  • New Orleans style jazz and blues bar Duke of George has opened on East Fremantle’s buzzing George Street. The venue offers live local and touring acts, including blues, jazz, folk and bluegrass. The bar’s food offering takes inspiration from New Orleans – with corn cakes, gumbo, po-boys and jambalayas on the menu.

Dunsborough welcomes new foodie offering

Dunsborough’s Little Brother bar, which opened in late 2017, has welcomed some recent changes including a new menu, extended opening hours for summer and local craft beers added to the menu. The venue’s new chef, Hugo Le Frapper, has introduced a menu featuring a range of burgers and share plates. A great selection of local South West beers are now available on tap, including Eagle Bay, Rocky Ridge Brewing Co, Beerfarm and Black Brewing Co, as well as a large selection of Margaret River wines.

Fish & Sips Festival

Celebrate WA seafood and wine at one of Perth’s iconic coastal locations at the Fish & Sips Festival. Now in its second year, the foodie festival is a showcase of WA seafood, sourced direct from local fisherman and prepared by some of the best chefs in WA. Held across three days, from March 29 to 31, the event will include degustation dinners, a sunset beach BBQ, long table seafood lunch, seafood and wine masterclass, local wine and brewery tastings, and live entertainment.

Tours, Attractions and Accommodation

Direct flights to Japan now on sale

Bookings for All Nippon Airways (ANA) new daily direct flight between Perth and Tokyo are now on sale. The airline will operate daily services on a Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner, with flights commencing on September 1, 2019. The daily flights will depart Tokyo’s Narita International Airport at 11am and arrive at Perth Airport at 8.15pm. The aircraft will then depart Perth at 9.45pm, to arrive in Tokyo at 8.25am the next morning. Promotional return ticket prices between Tokyo and Perth start from $861 for Economy, $1,561 for Premium Economy and $3,521 for Business Class, inclusive of taxes. The airline will also carry skis and snowboards free of charge. Promotional tickets are now on sale till March 7.

Bremer Bay orcas have arrived

Bremer Canyon orca

Orcas have arrived to Bremer Bay in WA’s South West, with sightings of more than 100 whales at Bremer Canyon, including a new calf and three sperm whales. Bremer Canyon is the feeding ground for one of the largest congregations of orcas in the Southern Hemisphere. Witness first-hand the excitement of spotting these incredible creatures in the wild on a whale watching tour with Whale Watch Western Australia and Naturaliste Charters. The all-day expeditions operate between January and March, with options for bus and flight transfers direct from Perth to Bremer Bay available.

Fremantle Passenger Terminal gets a makeover

Australia’s largest cruise ship terminal has unveiled a $3.25 million refurbishment. With the aim of improving the cruise passengers’ comfort and visual experience, Fremantle Passenger Terminal has welcomed a new ground floor foyer, decorative glass panelling, modern furniture, repainted façade, updated signage and new banners to greet passengers entering the iconic building. As well as being a significant landmark in Fremantle, the passenger terminal is the gateway for thousands of visitors to Perth and WA. Accessible in a 25-minute car or train journey from Perth CBD, Fremantle is one of the world’s best preserved examples of a 19th century port streetscape.

Non-stop Broome to Singapore flights announced

Direct international flights from Singapore to Broome will recommence in June, following the success of a trial in 2018. The regional wing of Singapore Airlines, SilkAir, will roll out a second phase of the trial, with four return flights operating on June 13, 17, 20 and 24. The dates coincide with Singapore’s school holidays, two race meets across the Broome Turf Club racing season, and the world renowned Staircase to the Moon natural phenomenon.

World’s largest wooden pendulum clock unveiled in Nannup

The Nannup Clock Tower

The South West town of Nannup has recently welcomed the Nannup Clock Tower, home to the world’s largest wooden pendulum clock. The six-metre high tower was purpose built to house the wooden pendulum clock created by local clockmaker Kevin Bird. Guided and self-guided tours of the clock tower are now available, with options to meet clockmaker Kevin Bird and participate in a walking tour of the historic timber town.

Quest Apartment Hotels opens in South Perth

Quest South Perth Foreshore

Quest South Perth Foreshore

Quest Apartment Hotels has opened a new accommodation offering on Perth’s South Perth foreshore. Located a 15-minute ferry ride from Perth CBD, the new property is close to many of the city’s popular cafés and restaurants, plus local attractions such as Perth Zoo, Elizabeth Quay and Kings Park. The 90 room Quest South Perth Foreshore includes studio, one, two and three bedroom apartments, which are all fully self-contained with smart TVs, high speed WiFi, fully equipped kitchens and ergonomic work space. Facilities and services include a 24-hour gymnasium, business lounge and secure onsite garage parking.

New surf and yoga campsite in Margaret River region

Boongaloo Surf and Yoga Campsite is a new eco-friendly campsite retreat located near Augusta in the Margaret River region. It offers unpowered campsites or luxury bell tent accommodation, complete with queen bed and linen. Enjoy yoga and stand up paddle board yoga classes - offered weekly, plus relaxing Swedish or aromatherapy massages; or grab a handmade surfboard and head out into the waves.

Augusta River Tours cruising the Blackwood River

Cruise along the beautiful Blackwood River in WA’s South West on the new guided Augusta River Tours. The tours depart daily at 2pm from Ellis Street Jetty in the picturesque coastal town of Augusta. The Dolphin Discoverer vessel is a safe, comfortable, all weather, purpose-built vessel licenced for 29 passengers, and takes guests on a gentle cruise past the shallow waters, sandbanks and river islands of the Blackwood River – where more than 60 species of birds can be found, as well a pod of resident dolphins.

Cable Beach Club special summer rates

Cable Beach Sunset Bar and Grill

Broome’s Cable Beach Club Resort and Spa is offering a special rate of $169 per night for bookings made until March 31. Other special offers include a stay three nights and pay for two over the March long weekend in the property’s studios and bungalows, with the sale ending March 1. For three night bookings made in April and May, enjoy an extra fourth night complimentary in all studios and bungalows, on offer until March 31. Qantas is offering special weekend fares to Broome starting from $179 one way. The discounted fares are available from March 19 to June 2, 2019 and June 21 to August 16, 2019.

New resort and club house for Kalgoorlie Golf Course

The Kalgoorlie Golf Course is set to receive a $22 million resort and club house. The new accommodation offering will be a welcome addition to the popular gold mining town, located in WA’s Golden Outback. The resort will be operated by DoubleTree by Hilton, and will offer a 120-room hotel, day spa, function rooms, restaurant, swimming pool, gym conference centre and clubhouse. Construction of the resort is expected to be completed by late 2019. Kalgoorlie is a one hour flight, or 6.5 hour drive or train journey east of Perth.


Street art and silos - WA's outdoor art trail

PUBLIC Silos Trail

Article by Charles Rawlings-Way

From urban street-art encounters to far-flung sculpture installations, staggeringly big wheat-silo murals and ancient Aboriginal rock-art sites, WA is one vast outdoor gallery.

Whether visiting the city or the outback, the north or the south, WA’s abundant outdoor galleries mean that art enthusiasts and novices alike will find art to be entranced by.

Visitors can kick off artful explorations in Perth, with street-art expert Nikki Atack.

Nikki and Duncan Atack started the ‘Streets of Perth’ Facebook page four years ago to document the city’s nascent street-art scene. Now they have more than 200,000 followers, and Perth has become an internationally recognised street-art epicentre following the launch of the PUBLIC street-art festival in 2014. The brainchild of cultural organisation FORM, the festival showcased national and local artists, with more than 180 street murals being painted in the first festival.

“Artists who were up-and-comers four years ago are now being really well commissioned and putting their day jobs on the backburner,” said Nikki.

“International artists are working here, and local artists are being flown to America and London and Portugal to paint. Perth is really on the map now: there’s colour everywhere.”

This artistic blossoming has been aided and abetted by sympathetic local councils’ more relaxed approach to policing graffiti. “There are councillors who keep in touch with us,” Nikki confirms, “and we don’t hear much from the police any more. Even if there is an illegal wall, if the mural is beautiful, they tend to preserve it.”

The relationship between art, food and drink is proving a fertile one in Perth, as Nikki elaborates, “The biggest trend we’ve seen is café and restaurant owners coming to us and saying, ‘We want a mural: who do we talk to?’ They know that if they have a beautiful artwork that’s Instagram-worthy, it’s going to attract people to see it.”

For visitors to Perth who want to engage with the scene, Nikki points people towards the Google map on the ‘Streets of Perth’ website: “We’ve plotted about 300 murals on there. There are also a couple of great city walking tours: Oh Hey WA do a street-art and small-bar tour. But in the city, you can’t walk more than a block or two without seeing some street art. We just encourage people to put their phones down and their eyes up: it’s in those city laneways and carparks that you can really discover the magic.”

Moving west into WA’s Wheatbelt, something unexpected and quite special has been happening to small-town wheat silos. Commissioned by FORM in partnership with CBH Group, seven groups of 30-metre-high silos – in Northam, Ravensthorpe, Merredin, Katanning, Albany, Newdegate and Pingrup – have been adorned with gorgeous, colourful murals as part of the PUBLIC Silo Trail.

Dipping into hundreds of litres of paint, acclaimed mural artists from around the world looked to WA’s rich natural environment for inspiration. Some of these include seahorses in Albany, lizards in Newdegate and banksia blooms in Ravensthorpe.

Ravensthorpe itself sits within the 1.5-million-hectare Fitzgerald Biosphere, an internationally significant, biodiverse area containing Fitzgerald River National Park and 20 percent of WA’s native plant species. A gorgeous gallery of wildflower blooms every spring, the Biosphere has become a tourist destination in its own right.

Further north in WA’s Goldfields is a truly surprising artwork. At Lake Ballard near Menzies north of Kalgoorlie, Inside Australia is an outdoor installation by acclaimed UK artist Antony Gormley. In 2002, Gormley oversaw the placement of 51 mysterious, willowy metal figures across this dry desert lake.

Of course, outdoor art galleries are nothing new to WA’s Aboriginal people, who have been documenting their environment and Dreaming stories at rock-art sites for millennia. Some of the more astonishing examples are the Gyorn Gyorn and Wandjina paintings around the Mitchell Plateau in the Kimberley – a broad collation of 100,000 artworks, arcing back more than 60,000 years.

More accessible sites are on the Port Warrender Road into Mitchell River National Park, near the King Edward River at Munurru. Don’t miss ‘Thylacine Rock’, which depicts images of thylacines (aka Tasmanian tigers) which died out on the Australian mainland more than 3000 years ago. There are also accessible sites around Kalumburu, a small community also on the King Edward River; and at the iconic Mitchell Falls in Mitchell River National Park, notably beneath the waterfall at Little Mertens Falls.

If you don’t have time to go exploring, you can check out some Gyorn Gyorn figures in local artworks at the Mowanjum Aboriginal Art and Cultural Centre near Derby.

Washed with WA sunshine, an adventure through the state’s outdoor galleries will leave you tuned-in and connected with city and country.

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Perth Festival

February 8 to March 3 | Perth | Destination Perth

Perth Festival has been entertaining locals for 65 years and is back for the summer season with over 80 events in store. The festival celebrates the unique qualities of Perth with artists from all over Western Australia and the world joining together to engage and entertain.


ISPS Handa World Super 6 Perth

February 14 to 17 | Lake Karrinyup Country Club | Destination Perth

Comprising of some of the world’s best golfers, the ISPS Handa World Super 6 Perth is a unique format, combining 54 holes of traditional stroke play with an exciting six-hole knockout format on the final day.


Rottnest Channel Swim

February 23 | Perth to Rottnest Island | Destination Perth

Highly regarded worldwide as one of Western Australia’s iconic events, the Rottnest Channel Swim is a 19.7 kilometre open water swim from Cottesloe Beach in Perth to Rottnest Island. Participants can compete as a solo, duo or team – with all swimmers surrounded by a network of paddlers, boat skippers and crew.



Sculpture by the Sea

March 1 to 18 | Cottesloe | Destination Perth

This free annual event turns the stunning Cottesloe Beach into an exhibition space for more than 70 sculptures created by artists from across Australia and the world. Visitors can explore the sculptures on the beach whilst watching the sun set over the ocean.


Channel 7 Mandurah Crab Fest

March 16 to 17 | Mandurah | Destination Perth

The Channel Seven Mandurah Crab Fest is a celebration of Mandurah’s vibrant coastal lifestyle. The jam packed weekend festival features a variety of fun-filled activities, including live performances from international and local talent, cooking displays, and free family entertainment. Of course, food is in abundance with tasty crab-inspired dishes, fresh seafood and sweet treat delicacies available for festival-goers to enjoy.


Porongurup Wine Festival

March 3 | Porongurup | Australia’s South West

Enjoy a day out among the natural beauty of the Porongurup National Park in the South West, which is also known for its boutique wines, with tastings from local wineries, local food operators, live music and cooking demonstrations.



IGA Taste Great southern

April 4 to 14 | Great Southern Region | Australia’s South West

IGA Taste Great Southern celebrates the amazing food, wine, people and attractions of the Great Southern region. The 11 day festival stretches over two weekends and includes a line-up of more than 30 culinary events such as long lunches, degustations, wine and food tastings and community markets. This year’s chef line-up includes Adam Liaw, Amy Hamilton, Anna Gare, Paul Iskov, Charlie Vargas, Scott Brannigan, Guy Jeffreys and Herb Faust.


Karijini Experience

April 16 to 21 | Karijini National Park | Australia’s North West

The Karijini Experience is a celebration of culture and connection, set in the magnificent Karijini National Park in WA’s NorthWest. The five day program offers a selection of intimate, authentic, and once in a lifetime experiences presented by a mix of traditional owners, nationally renowned artists and talented locals. Experience Opera in the Gorge by internationally renowned Aboriginal opera soprano Deborah Cheetham, bush tucker high teas with celebrity chef Mark Olive, plus culinary experiences with Paul Iskov from pop-up restaurant sensation Fervor.


LiveLighter Donnybrook Apple Festival

April 20 to 21 | Donnybrook | Australia’s South West

The LiveLighter Donnybook Apple Festival is an opportunity to indulge in all the Donnybrook region has to offer. Affectionately known as the apple capital of WA, the weekend activities will include produce displays, fruit stalls, face painting, pony rides, agricultural machinery displays, wine tastings, live music, animal exhibits, street parades, market stalls and a spectacular fireworks display on Saturday night.



Media contact:
Tiana Anderson

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