Welcome to the October edition of This is WA

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October 2021


Travel and Lifestyle News from Western Australia


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

What's Hot

Stay and Play in Perth this Spring

Perth City Skyline from Kings Park

Western Australians are being encouraged to make the most of a hotel stay in Perth, as part of Tourism WA’s latest Stay and Play campaign. The Ritz-Carlton, the Hougoumont Hotel and the Colony at Mandoon Estate are among more than 35 participating hotels offering great packages that can be booked from now until December 31, 2021 and redeemed until January 31, 2022. Locals and visitors are also being encouraged to complement their staycation with one of the city’s many cultural event experiences, including performances by the West Australian Symphony Orchestra, West Australian Opera, West Australian Ballet and Black Swan State Theatre Company.

Rottnest Fast Ferries launches whale-watching experience from Fremantle

Whale Watching Perth experience

Rottnest Fast Ferries has recently launched Whale Watching Perth, offering a selection of new whale watching experiences from Perth’s port city of Fremantle. The two-hour cruises set off from Sardine Jetty at Fremantle Fishing Boat Harbour. Similar to the existing tours departing from Hillarys, the new tours feature live commentary and education by marine scientists from The Aquarium of Western Australia. Guests will cruise on a state-of-the-art Voyager vessel fitted with air-conditioning, expansive viewing platforms, hydrophones and licensed bar facilities. The Whale Watching Perth experience offers visitors prime viewing of the annual southern migration of Humpback, Southern Right and rare Pygmy Blue whales. Tours operate from September to December. For more information about the tour visit the website.

FRINGE WORLD is on in 2022


Perth’s annual FRINGE WORLD Festival is set to return for 2022, taking over the Perth CBD and suburban venues from January 14 to February 13. Delivering the ultimate summer festival experience, Perth’s FRINGE WORLD is now the third largest Fringe on the planet, and will once again feature a line-up of feature comedy, circus, free and family entertainment, theatre, visual arts, musicals, dance and cabaret – and a buzzing festival vibe with pop-up venues, bars and food stalls. Early release tickets will go on sale October 20, with the full program launching November 10.

Lifestyle & Culture

Port city celebrates Fremantle Biennale

Aerial view of Fremantle

The Fremantle Biennale is a unique and contemporary visual arts event, set to transform Fremantle  with engaging installations across sites in the port city. A celebration of Fremantle’s rich cultural heritage and history, the third edition of the event – CROSSING 21 – will invite audiences to the shore of the Swan River, with a focus of activity taking place between the two iconic Fremantle Bridges. Running for three weeks from November 2 to 21, this year’s program will feature contemporary works by both established and emerging local artists. The headline event Moombaki (where the river meets the sky) is a unique Noongar storytelling project with a choreographed drone light show, consisting of a fleet of 150 drones equipped with LED lights programmed to reveal and highlight the waterway as a living and significant place deeply connected to the Whadjuk Noongar people. Presented as a series of connected stories or chapters, these brief shows will take place at three different sites along the Swan River. The full program of events is available to view online

Summer markets set to return

Summer X Salt Markets at Trigg Beach

Perth’s balmy summer evenings will see the return of some of the city’s favourite outdoor markets. The popular Scarborough Beach Sunset Markets will kick off every Thursday night at 5pm from November 4; in the coastal suburb of Trigg the Summer X Salt Markets will appeal to the sustainably conscious; and Perth city’s favourite foodie markets - the Friday night Twilight Hawkers Markets - will start satisfying tastebuds every Friday night from November 19. The ever-popular Inglewood Night Markets have also returned, with almost 40 food vendors dishing up treats every Monday night. Coinciding with the City of Perth Christmas Lights Trail, the Christmas Twilight Market will take place on December 19 at the Perth Cultural Centre with over 80 WA Makers vendors, delicious food, free activities for the kids and Santa himself.

WASO announces 2022 season

WASO Violinist, Laurence Jackson

The West Australian Symphony Orchestra’s (WASO) 2022 season will see international guests return to the stage alongside local talent, in a program that blends together new works, firm favourites, new guests and old friends. The season opens in January with the Perth premiere of Casino Royal in Concert, playing in the Riverside Theatre at the Perth Convention and Exhibition Centre. In February the orchestra celebrates musical giant John Williams’ 90th Birthday Bonanza, featuring a selection of soundtracks from the Academy Award winning composer’s blockbuster movies including Indiana Jones, Jurassic Park, Superman, Star Wars and more. WASO at the Movies continues in August with Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince™ in Concert. Another highlight in the program is a collaboration with multi ARIA-award winning MC Draft to present Drapht and WASO: How The West Was Won. Playing in November at the Perth Concert Hall, the performance is a celebration of the WA hip-hop artist’s new works and greatest hits from his 20-year career. For the full 2022 season program visit the WASO website.

Tours, Attractions & Accommodation

Parmelia Hilton releases new luxury Premier Suites

Parmelia Hilton Perth's new luxury premier suite

Parmelia Hilton Perth, which re-opened in February 2021 after an extensive 45 million dollar refurbishment, has welcomed the opening of two new luxury premier suites. Located on the tenth floor, the 80 square metre rooms feature a spacious bedroom, living and dining area, plus a stunning large bathtub. There is also balcony access with views, and includes Executive Lounge access.

HeliSpirit re-opens in Esperance

Helispirit helicopter flight over Lake Hillier in Esperance

Helispirit has commenced operating its scenic helicopter flights from Esperance in WA’s Golden Outback region, showcasing the region’s pristine coastline and iconic bubble gum pink Lake Hillier at Middle Island. Now in its second season, the flights will operate until April 2022. Scenic highlights include the spectacular Cape Le Grand and Cape Arid National Parks, and the Recherche Archipelago. Guests are also able to land at Middle Island for a guided walk around the lake. Other tour options include helicopter transfers to Woody Island for guided or self-guided tours.

New glamping accommodation in Toodyay

Photo credit: Heavenly Waters

The town of Toodyay, located just an hour’s drive north east of Perth in the picturesque Avon Valley region, has recently welcomed the opening of a new glamping accommodation offering. Heavenly Waters is a luxury eco camping experience, situated on the banks of the Jimperding Brook. The rural property currently has one eco-tent, with plans to build two more, with 82 square metres of floor space, including an ensuite shower, toilet, kitchen and king size bed. During the cooler months guests can warm up by the fire pit, and there’s also an outdoor wood fired bath tub for a true barefoot luxury experience.

Luxe Island Seafood Cruise launches at Rottnest

Luxe Island Seafood Cruise off Rottnest Island

Sea West has this month launched a new cruise at Perth’s Rottnest Island – the Luxe Island Seafood Cruise by Rottnest Cruises. The new luxury experience is an extension of the previous seafood cruise at Rottnest – showcasing the island’s stunning views and fresh seafood as part of a deluxe dining experience on the water. The new half day, all-inclusive tour on-board a custom-built 69 foot charter boat offers a seven-course, degustation style seafood menu that heroes local produce, cocktails and premium beverages. The tour also includes a chance to watch or join in catching live Western Rock Lobster, plus the opportunity to swim, snorkel or float on mats in one of the islands many sheltered bays. Packages also offer return ferry transfers to the island from either Fremantle, Hillarys or Perth.

Food & Wine

The new Leederville Precinct opens

Servo Leederville

Servo has opened its doors as part of the multi-million dollar redevelopment of the Leederville precinct, located in the city-fringing suburb of Leederville. The 90-person all day dining venue offers a genre-less menu providing a unique culinary experience, ranging from nutritiously wholesome to indulgent, and the bar serves up a vibrant wine and cocktail menu. The venue also extends its offering with a Servo Kebab and Servo Yard Bar. Owned by FMJ Property – the same team behind Perth’s iconic State Buildings and The Rechabite in Northbridge – the redevelopment of the Leederville precinct will see a multi-venue foodie, retail and entertainment hub, which is set to be complete in the coming months. 

Indigo Oscar and Ol' Buoy set to open at Cottesloe’s Indiana Tea House

The crew from Daises Café and Some-day Coffee

The redevelopment of the iconic Indiana Tearooms, located on the steps of Perth’s Cottesloe Beach, is starting to take shape, with Indigo Oscar and Ol’ Buoy set to open at the venue just in time for summer. The Latin American restaurant Indigo Oscar - named after the Indian Ocean - will take over the upstairs restaurant space throughout summer offering guests panoramic views of the ocean. The kiosk downstairs is where the crew from Daises Café and Some-day Coffee will bring their new venture, Ol’ Buoy, to life. Beach goers will be able to enjoy coffee, cinnamon scrolls, plus takeaway lunch options. Both venues are set to open in November.

Willi’s opens at The Royal Hotel

Photo credit: @willisperth on Instagram

Willi’s wine bar is the latest offering at Perth’s iconic The Royal Hotel. The wine bar, located in the Heritage-listed venue’s original corner bar, boasts an extensive list of 75 wines, plus European liquors and vermouths can be enjoyed neat, over soda or in a cocktail. The food menu includes a fine curation of antipasto style nibbles and substantial mains designed best to share with friends. The Royal Hotel has been welcoming patrons back through its doors since November 2019 following an extensive renovation and refurbishment.

Kalbarri Skywalk dining event returns

Kalbarri Skywalk

One of WA’s most unique dining experiences is set to return this summer. The Kalbarri Skywalk Dinner allows guests to dine under the stars whilst enjoying breathtaking views over Kalbarri National Park and Murchison River Gorge, seated on top of the new Kalbarri Skywalk. The events will showcase the finest WA produce and beverages, alongside live performances and stargazing experiences. Upcoming dates for these magical events are November 19 to 22, December 3 to 6 and March 18 to 21. Coach and dinner packages are available, which include transfers from Perth to Kalbarri, accommodation, day tours and the dinner, which start from $1,399 per person. Self-drive options are also available. For further details and bookings visit the website.

Varsity opens at FOMO Fremantle

Varsity Burgers Fremantle

Varsity Burgers is the first venue to open its doors at Fremantle’s FOMO precinct, the heart of the new Kings Square redevelopment. The 600 capacity sports bar and restaurant shines a light on local skate culture, with the space featuring murals, a mini skate ramp, and painted skate decks by a range of artists in Perth's port city. The burger chain also heroes' local brews, with over 40 locally supplied beers on tap. Additional vegan and gluten free menu items are available, alongside the traditional Varsity favourites.

Spirit of Little Things opens in Subiaco

Photo credit: @littlethingsgin on Instagram

Spirit of Little Things is a new urban distillery that has recently opened its doors in Perth’s city-fringing suburb of Subiaco. Producing small-batch artisan gin infused with native botanicals since 2018, opening a distillery for the public to enjoy is the realisation of a three-year plan. The plant-filled converted warehouse features a large copper still, high ceilings and polished concrete floors. A selection of local wines and craft beers feature alongside the many gin options, as well as a small food menu that showcases the best of WA’s local produce. The venue also offers gin tasting flights and masterclasses.

Champions announced at Swan Valley Wine Show

Swan Valley Wine Show 2021

The longest operating wine show in Australia has announced its latest award-winning wines, at Sandalford Wines in Perth’s Swan Valley wine region. 244 wines were entered into this year’s Swan Valley Wine Show and, Torrent Wines was awarded Best Regional Wine for its 2015 Chenin Blanc, while Sittella took home the accolade of Best Swan Valley Table Wine for its 2021 Avant Garde Golden Mile Grenache – also taking home four other trophies. See the website for the full list of winners.


Spotlight on Kalbarri

Nature's Window, Kalbarri National Park

Where ancient rugged outback meets white sand beaches, Kalbarri is the ultimate ocean-side holiday playground. On its doorstop, over 186,000 hectares of national park beckon visitors to explore spectacular 400-million year old river gorges, dramatic coastal rock formations and a kaleidoscope of wildflowers.

Located 590km north of Perth, and boasting a warm and sunny climate for most of the year, the Coral Coast town has long been a popular holiday spot for travellers of all ages. The Kalbarri National Park attracts thousands of visitors each year, and in June 2020 it welcomed the opening of the spectacular Kalbarri Skywalk.

The 100-metre-high skywalk offers visitors breathtaking and uninterrupted views over Kalbarri National Park, with two cantilevered viewing platforms that extend 25 and 17 metres beyond the rim of the Murchison River Gorge. Located at West Loop – only 1.5 kilometres from the national park’s other star attraction, Nature's Window – the new development includes toilets, shade shelters, paths, wheelchair accessible viewing structures, visitor information, parking and an environmentally friendly kiosk. This remarkable attraction offers the perfect landing to admire the region’s pristine dark skies on a stargazing tour with D’Guy Charters.

The culture and stories of the Nanda Traditional Owners are showcased through interpretive and artistic elements, and visitors to the new attraction are greeted with an entry sign stating Kaju Yatka - the Nanda words for ‘sky’ and ‘to walk.’ Inspired by the region’s heritage and beauty, several local Aboriginal artists have created interpretive artwork as an important part of the Skywalk experience. This includes the Beemarra serpent, central to the dreaming story of the Nanda people, sandblasted into the path to guide visitors.

Located just a short drive out of town, there are 14 sites within the Kalbarri National Park including the easier walking trails of Ross Graham Lookout and Hawk’s Head Lookout, and the more adventurous hikes at The Loop and Z Bend. There are a range of guided land and water tours that explore the park’s magnificent red and white banded gorges, which stretch 80 kilometres toward the ocean, and thrill seekers can also experience abseiling down the gorge faces.  

Situated on the mouth of the Murchison River, visitors to Kalbarri can explore the river on a guided cruise - or hire a boat, paddleboat or kayak to go at their own pace. Other water activities include snorkelling at popular Blue Holes beach – where the protected waters and rock pools offer a natural aquarium of thriving marine life and reef; swimming at sheltered beaches such as Chinaman’s Beach on the Murchison River; and surfing - with Jacques Point (locally known as ‘Jakes’) renowned for its left-hand reef break.

For a different way to explore the coastline, ride your own quad bike or buggy along Wagoe beach on a guided tour, or adventure along the Murchison River on a quad bike safari.

From June to November, the spectacular coastal cliffs provide an excellent vantage point to view humpback whales on their annual migration down WA’s coastline, or join a charter to experience these majestic mammals up close. And from late June through to October, be amazed by a kaleidoscope of colour when over 1,100 species of wildflowers burst into bloom across the dry sand plains and coastal river gorges of the national park.

For a more dramatic perspective of the region, take a scenic flight over Kalbarri’s spectacular coastal cliffs. Get a bird’s eye view of the wonders of Kalbarri National Park, the nearby Abrolhos Islands, and the pink lake at Port Gregory’s Hutt Lagoon – which is an easy 45 minute drive south of Kalbarri. 

Fishing in Kalbarri boasts some of WA’s best shore and boat angling. Try estuary fishing for whiting and black bream or drop a net to yield blue swimmer and mud crabs. Fishing charters are also popular, satisfying both the serious angler and the novice.

For families, the newly developed Nature Playground on the Kalbarri Foreshore is an ideal activity, featuring an impressive flying fox and wooden lookout tower. Parents can relax at picnic tables, with cafés and restaurants nearby.

Head to Finlay’s Kalbarri for fresh, local seafood and a locally brewed beverage from the new on-site microbrewery. Enjoy the rustic dining experience underneath the shade of the large eucalyptus trees.

Another family friendly attraction is meeting Kalbarri’s resident pelicans each morning at 8:45am, as they make their way to the grassed area on the foreshore near the intersections of Grey and Wood Streets. Here, local volunteers feed the pelicans whilst spectators watch on.

Accommodation options in Kalbarri range from self-contained units, apartment and holiday homes, to caravan parks and backpackers. The coastal town can be reached in a 6 to 7 hour drive north of Perth, along the Coral Coast Highway; or take a 45 minute flight with Qantas to Geraldton airport, and then it’s a 90 minute drive to Kalbarri.


Fremantle Biennale

Novemember 2 to 21 | Fremantle | Destination Perth

The Fremantle Biennale is a unique and contemporary visual arts event, set to transform Fremantle with engaging installations across sites in the port city. The festival celebrates the cultural, social and historical richness of the Fremantle. Running for three weeks from November 2 to 21, this year’s program will feature contemporary works by both established and emerging local artists. The full program of events is available to view online.

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Eagle Bay Epic Adventure Race

November 6 to 7 | Margaret River region | WA’s South West

The Eagle Bay Epic is the ultimate mix of off-road adventure racing through the pristine landscapes of the Margaret River region. Participants will mountain bike, ocean swim, kayak and trail run through the beautiful Meelup Regional Park and Geographe Bay. Eagle Bay Brewery is the official event venue, offering participants the chance to enjoy a brew and a bite when they complete the course.

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Taste of Chittering

November 20 to 21 | Chittering | Destination Perth

A Taste of Chittering is a celebration of the produce, wine and country lifestyle of the greater Chittering region, located just an hour north-east from Perth. Guests can taste their way through the market stalls and discover fresh local produce, enjoy the region’s wine and beer, meet farmers, growers, and guest chefs. Festivities include live music, a range of pop-up dining options, the popular electric bike tours and beer brewing competition.

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The Sleeping Beauty by West Australian Ballet

November 18 to December 12 | Perth

Join the West Australian Ballet for this family favourite – The Sleeping Beauty – performed at Perth’s iconic His Majesty’s Theatre. The familiar story of the bewitched Princess Aurora, the fight between powerful fairies, and the adventurous Prince will entertain all ages. As the orchestra brings nostalgic emotions to life, the rich costumes and sets will evoke a colourful fairy-tale world that will sweep guests away to another time and place.

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Ironman WA

December 5 | Busselton | WA’s South West

One of only three Australian events on the global IRONMAN circuit, the IRONMAN Western Australia is celebrated for its scenic course through the South West city of Busselton, where competitors often achieve personal best times. After a challenging 3.8-kilometre swim around the iconic Busselton Jetty, athletes then take on the 180-kilometre cycle through the picturesque tuart forests and a 42.4-kilometre run along the crystalline waters of Geographe Bay. The popular shorter-distance 70.3 race takes place alongside the main triathlon.

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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 this gourmet festival and the chance to enjoy delicious cherries fresh from the tree, three hours’ drive south of Perth. In its twentieth year, Manjimup Cherry Harmony Festival boasts a full weekend of activities that celebrate the diversity of fresh produce from Manjimup and the surrounding Southern Forests region. Highlights on the event program include food and craft stalls, cooking demonstrations wine tasting, street theatre, log chopping competition, a summer picnic and the popular 200-person long-table lunch among the cherry orchard.

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Media contacts:
Tiana Anderson
Tamma Kirkby

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For images, visit Tourism WA's image library.

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

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