Photography Cheyne Tillier-Daly.
These days, Oxford Street is filled with more than just alfresco restaurants, bustling cafes and small bars. Look up from your espresso (or espresso martini) on a Friday or Saturday night and you’ll see rickshaws breeze past. No, it’s not a newfangled taxi service giving Uber a run for its money. It’s the The Leederville Food Safari: a weekly dining tour to three of Leedy’s most popular restaurants. The culinary fun begins at Ria for Malaysian entrees and drinks, before hopping in the rickshaw and being pedalled 500m up Oxford Street to quirky small bar Kitsch for mains (and more drinks). After that, it’s back down to the thick of Leederville for dessert and coffee at Foam Coffee Bar. The only drawback? Regular dining will never be as satisfying again.
Check your visions of grandeur at the door with this one – it’ll take you a fair few swings to get the, uh, hang of trapeze. But the chirpy staff at Twilight Flyers are extremely helpful and understanding – even with the most knock-kneed wimp at the top of the platform. Ease into the class with a ground-level demonstration of jumping, gripping and flying techniques, and then you’re sent one by one up the ladder to the takeoff point, where a firm “hup!” sends you hurtling through the air. The first trick, a knee-hang – which is exactly what it sounds like – is easy enough to master, but the class gets increasingly difficult as optional somersaults are added. We’ll admit to some terrified yelps at that point, but also some exhilarated squeals. It’s an incredible adrenalin rush, and fantastic fun.
Photography Tracy Incau.
Transport yourself back in time with Happy Healthy Hoops’ HoopCircuit – a fitness class created by Perth hula hoop queen Bree Kirk-Burnnand. The circuit incorporates flashy hula moves, jumping, squats, lunges and balancing, for a surprisingly fun workout. With leafy gum trees or crystal blue water as your backdrop, pumping 90s tunes to set the scene, and brightly coloured hoops as your props, you’re ready to embark on your first HoopCircuit. The class starts with a quick hula hoop tutorial, and then it’s right into a number of one-minute stations comprising various skills and techniques, including twirling large rings around your arms and taking on more than 10 hoops at a time. Bree demonstrates each skill so you know what to do, but place cards are at each stop as helpful reminders. Be warned – hula hooping is so addictive you won’t even know you’re exercising!
Keeping up with all the new small bars around town isn’t easy. Northbridge alone has a ridiculous number of them. There’s Lot Twenty (pictured), with its stay-all-day courtyard and awesome food; the understated Dominion League, with its sexy, dimly lit basement; Sneaky Tony’s, with its password-protected door down a laneway in Chinatown; No Mafia, with its amazing Italian cocktails and food; and the grungy cool Joe’s Juice Joint. Then of course there are all the old favourites, like Mechanics’ Institute, Frisk, Bar 399, Ezra Pound and The Bird. Not prepared to put together your own itinerary? Take Two Feet and a Heartbeat’s small bar tour, which includes a drink and nibbles at three venues. Don’t worry about being surrounded by tourists – 90 per cent of guests are from Perth!
Ever seen Bubble Boy, that Jake Gyllenhaal film where he gets about in a human-sized bubble? We’re guessing the inventors of Bubble Soccer did, too. The Norwegian import involves encasing yourself in a massive bubble, then attempting to run and kick a soccer ball. The insane sport has got to be seen to believed: check out YouTube for some hilarious videos. But it’s not just the stuff of indie films or viral clips: you can rent out the equipment for Bubble Soccer right here in Perth. Played just like traditional soccer, it’s a completely safe contact sport and a ridiculous amount of fun.
Ever wonder what the inside of a rhino’s mouth might feel like? Yeah OK, gross question. Still, you’ll learn the answer on your next visit to Perth Zoo. Unlike the normal zoo experience of dragging the kids from one cage to the next, Perth Zoo’s Eye to Eye Encounters lets visitors get up close and personal with some of its most popular animals. You can climb to the zoo roof to toss corn to the orangutans, hold a Queensland carpet python, pat a Galapagos tortoise, or watch an African elephant spray paint to spectacular, albeit messy, effect. Perth Guide experienced all of these recently, and reckons the most incredible encounter was feeding the resident father and son Southern White Rhinoceros, who loved nothing more than slurping juicy stalks of celery from the brave hands of us wannabe zookeepers. It only sounds dangerous: the rhinos’ teeth are set so far back behind their lips that there’s no chance of getting accidentally bitten. The magnificent size of the animals up close makes this a truly amazing experience.
The best – if little known – way to experience the beauty and deliciousness of the Bickley Valley is by bicycle. Start the adventure at Fairbrossen Estate, with bikes on the back of the car. Fuel up here with a leisurely brekkie or Devonshire tea with scones, then jump on the bikes and take a gentle 10km ride to the next stop. Go along Canning Road, left onto Repatriation Road, follow the loop around Forrest Road, and end at Pickering Brook Road. This quiet, picturesque trail is nice and flat, so take your time and enjoy some glorious forest views. End up at Core Cider House for lunch (the seasonal fare is incredible) and definitely sample their cider paddle taster. After lunch, your options are many: you can get some off-road action on the Munda Biddi Trail, which runs right off the back of Core, or ride about 8km to check out the Hainault and Brookside vineyards, or Aldersyde Estate. In case you overindulge on cider and can’t manage the 6km ride back to the start, make a night of it at Bickley Valley Retreat B&B right across the road. It offers affordable luxury (fully equipped romantic cottages, including next morning’s brekkie, wine and platters, are $200 on Sunday), and its outdoor spas will soothe sore legs.
Try to imagine a better way to spend a warm autumn evening than floating on the Swan River, birds wheeling overhead, and an unobstructed view of the Perth city skyline, aglow with the setting sun. Couldn’t think of anything, could ya? Water Wanderers offers a fantastic sunset kayak tour, three days a week. Lasting a little over two hours, the guided tour provides insight into the Swan Estuary and the river itself. If you’re lucky, you might see some dolphins and fish.
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