Once the industrial heartland of the city, the old East Perth housed the power station, gas works, engine shed and railway yard. But as the industrial sites were shut down and abandoned, East Perth became a no man’s land, neglected and forgotten as the City and Western suburbs thrived. Ten years ago, it probably wasn’t the kind of place you’d consider spending the weekend. But East Perth has emerged from its industrial past, as more cafes, restaurants, shops, hotels and leisure activities have popped up, turning it into a viable weekend destination. And the good news is: it’s only going to get better.
Staying: Fraser Suites
The five star Fraser Suites are conveniently located on Adelaide Terrace, with lovely views over the Swan River on one side and the WACA visible on the other.
The serviced apartments are triple the size of your standard hotel room, and have a separate bedroom and bathroom, as well as an open plan lounge and kitchen.
The hotel has 151 one and two bedroom apartments, as well as 85 studios. The rooms feature floor to ceiling windows so you can make the most of the views during the day, but they have sunblock curtains so you can guarantee yourself a good sleep at night.
The hotel has all the amenities you’d expect: a gym, spa, sauna and indoor heated pool (which seemed very popular with families during my stay). There’s also a nice lobby bar with comfortable seating, or if you’d rather just hang out in your room, they offer 24 hour in room dining.
One of the jewels in the crown of the Fraser Suites is the Heirloom by Pete Evans restaurant, and if you’re lucky like me, you may even catch a glimpse of the MKR star himself during your stay. The menu is ‘paleo inspired’ and features seasonal, organic and local produce. Everything we ate tasted fresh and healthy, including dessert (once I got over my aversion to pumpkin mousse, which was surprisingly delicious!). Breakfast was also served in the restaurant, and all the nut and seed breads, as well as the chia puddings, were an absolute hit and provided enough fuel for the day without being too filling.
Around the hotel:
If you do happen to overindulge at breakfast, one of the best ways to work it off is a bike ride around the river. The Fraser Suites has bikes for hire right out the front, and there are bike paths that take you all the way to Kings Park and back. It’s a really nice ride along the foreshore, through Elizabeth Quay, round John Oldham park and up the hill to Kings Park.
We took the route back to the Fraser Suites through Claisebrook so we could stop off at Claisebrook Cove for a coffee.
The options in Claisebrook Cove are plentiful. For just a coffee (and maybe a sneaky cake), Toast cafe is a nice option. If you’re after a casual breakfast or lunch, Partisan is the perfect place for it, especially on a sunny day, with heaps of outdoor seating. Just a few doors down is the East Perth institution The Royal, which offers food any time of day, as well as a pretty spectacular wine list and hand-crafted beers.
If you’re after something a bit more upmarket and romantic, then Black Bird near the lake is a stellar choice. It has quite a small menu, which means the chefs can concentrate on perfecting their dishes.
Other than eating and drinking, there are plenty of other things to do in East Perth. If the season is right, you can go and cheer with the crowds at a cricket game at the WACA, or at the track at Gloucester Park on the weekends.
If you’re interested in gold (who isn’t?), you can go and see it being poured at the Perth Mint. If you feel like something a little quieter, you could have a picnic in the beautiful Queens Gardens (also very popular for weddings).
And while there’s already plenty to do in East Perth, there’s about to be a whole lot more with the opening of On the Point at Point Fraser on Riverside Drive. The new dining precinct will feature restaurants, cafes, a playground, rooftop garden, and best of all, the first Ku De Ta outside of Bali. Also breathing new life into East Perth will be the opening of the new footbridge leading to the state of the art Perth Stadium, which is sure to make the area a popular pre and post sporting event hang out.
With all this activity, East Perth’s evolution from no man’s land to vacation hotspot is practically assured.