1. Dine with a bunch of strangers?
Remember how easy it was to meet people, back in the day? At school, uni, your first part-time job… some of the best friendships came from being thrown together and forced to mingle. Some savvy folks have cottoned on to how we’ve lost that social aspect of our lives, and created the perfect platform to make new mates. The Stranger Danger dinners remove the awkwardness from approaching new people – so you won’t feel like a creep – and encourage conversation in a post-smartphone world. Judging by the “phenomenal” response since they launched in July, it sounds like Perth’s social scene had a gap to be filled.
Need to know
• Dinner venues vary, but previous locations have included Mary’s, Budburst Small Bar, Lot Twenty and Hopscotch Bar.
• The brains behind the operation are keen to keep most details under wraps (it all adds to the mystery). But for more info, start by searching for their Facebook page, and follow the instructions.
• We’ve been told there will be secret and exciting pop-up events over the summer, with sit-down dinners relaunching after the festival season.
2. Learn to pin-curl like a boss?
Let’s be honest, vintage hairstyles look like they require a team of wizards to complete. But, as the delightful Ally from The Vintage Valley proves, anyone can do it with the right instruction. As a self-taught aficionado, she knows exactly what us amateurs need to do to achieve a style your grandmother would love. Starting with a cute collection of tools, including bobby pins, hairspray and a standing mirror, each lady gets the chance to curl, clip and tease their locks, with individual feedback to keep you on track. Between attempting victory rolls and Gibson tucks, everyone is treated to delicious coffee and cakes from the lads at neighbouring outfit Virgil Coffee. After two hours of old-fashioned fun, you’ll leave with a horde of selfies, retro accessories, and some serious bragging rights. Nanna would be so proud.
Need to know
• The Vintage Hair How-To classes can be held at a location of your choice, as a fun alternative to the traditional hens’ night or girly afternoon.
• Beginner and advanced classes are available, with all equipment provided. Public classes are held at the charming Studio Bomba creative agency in Leederville.
• Dressing up is encouraged. Keep with the theme and hit the town for a martini or two.
• Head to thevintagevalley.com for more details.
Join Ally from The Vintage Valley for a bit of a ‘do.
3. Take a hi-tech heritage tour?
Are you one of those people who thinks Perth lacks history? Then you might be surprised at how much of our heritage is alive and well. Perth’s CBD is home to some beautiful buildings that reveal links to our past, but how do you find out what’s what? Heritage Perth has created a seriously nifty ‘hi-tech trail’, which uses wi-fi to navigate and narrate a tour of ten historical sites. Grab a wi-fi enabled device, download text, audio and photos, and explore the trail at your own pace. Stops include the convict-constructed Perth Town Hall, the iconic Perth Mint, and Australia’s only remaining working Edwardian theatre, His Majesty’s. It’s the closest thing you’ll get to time travel.
Need to know
• The Heritage Hi-Tech Trail is free of charge, making it a great day out for locals and tourists alike.
• Go to your device’s wi-fi settings, search for available WLAN and click on HpTrails’. Then visit hptrails.com.au for all the info on the buildings. You must be about 30m from the site to connect to the hotspot.
• The flexible format lets you set your own pace, but allow at least 60 minutes to walk the full trail.
• Spanning a loop that includes St Georges Terrace and Murray Street, you’ll find plenty of eateries to stop and refuel. The tour is free, so splurge on snacks!
• Visit heritageperth.com.au for more details.
His Majesty’s Theatre (photography Shirley Knapp).
4. Be Daniel Ricciardo for a day?
Revheads, rejoice! We know where you can get your kicks driving any race track in the world – without leaving the city. And better yet, you can have a drink. Where is this magical place, you ask? Right in the heart of Northbridge. Sports bar The Grid has eight state-of-the-art race simulators, each with a custom-made GP chassis, powered by rFactor software for a seriously authentic experience. The simulators can run a range of car profiles – Porsche or V8 Supercar? Take your pick – and they can be linked up to create a networked tournament. Don’t know what any of that means? Don’t worry – it’s high-octane fun for anyone. Your inner kid will love it. But if you prefer to stay on the sidelines, there’s some comfy spots to spectate (or just eat, drink and chill). Hard-core racers will never want to leave.
Need to know
• Open to drivers of all levels, The Grid’s simulators make a fun option for bucks or hens’ parties, corporate team-building, birthdays, Christmas functions and everything in between. Packages are available, with catering included.
• Want a regular fix? Join The Club – a social league with friendly tournament fixtures.
• Being a sports bar, it also offers food, drinks, music and live screenings of sporting events.
• Head to thegridracing.com.au/perth for more info.
5. Sketch and the city?
Your artistic skills may be more stick men than Monet, but there’s something liberating about freestyle drawing. And that is precisely the attitude encouraged during Classie’s Secret Sketch Crawls – part art class, part walking tour. Starting with a clipboard, pencils and paper, you’ll get a rundown on the essentials, such as how to use a pencil to achieve a range of techniques. Warm-up activities will get you into the swing of things, such as trying a rough silhouette of a landmark, assessing different angles. A much-needed coffee stop helps to revive the mind before activity two, which allows about 30 minutes to sketch at leisure. Attempt more advanced skills such as lines and shading, with feedback from the friendly instructor, or simply stick to the basics. Either way, this workshop is a great way to see the city from a new perspective.
Need to know
• Classes are open to all skill levels, and beginners are encouraged.
• As the name suggests, locations are kept secret until the day, and are chosen specifically by the host. Participants will receive details about the designated meeting point on booking.
• A complimentary beverage is included.
• Bookings are essential. Visit classie.com.au for more information.
6. Do an Amazing Race around Perth?
Well, organisers Two Feet and a Heartbeat stress this isn’t actually a race, but if you want play hardball – complete with American accent and khaki bumbag – knock yourself out. The Perth Scavenger Hunt is a pretty rad way to explore the CBD, whether you’re a legit tourist or just playing tourist in your own city. Meeting at a designated location, participants are put into small teams and given materials and instructions for a self-guided experience, including written hints and GPS navigation to get to the next clue. Teams are awarded points for completing tasks along the way, like ‘checking in’ on their phones, taking photos of landmarks and collecting objects. Expect a fun, friendly day out (so maybe leave the sabotage and diva antics to the reality TV crowd).
Need to know
• This good old-fashioned scavenger hunt may involve a bit of walking, but never fear, it only requires a basic level of fitness.
• The hunt lasts for about three hours, including an all-important beverage break.
• The Two Feet guides will meet all teams at a pre-organised endpoint, to work out results and issue prizes for the highest scores. BYO podium.
• Start and finish times and locations can be customised.
• Visit twofeet.com.au for more details.
7. Eat brekkie with elephants?
Perth has some amazing breakfast spots, but this is something else. Did you know that once a month, the zoo hosts an exclusive VIP event before the gates open? The guests of honour are none other than beautiful Asian elephants Tricia and Permai, who go about their morning activities while you tuck into a cooked breakfast. These gentle giants play soccer or music, create brush paintings, and give trunk kisses, and their keepers provide insight into their daily care. As two of Perth Zoo’s most popular residents, this is a close encounter not to be missed.
Need to know
• Remember to be respectful of the animals at all times – you’re guests in their home.
• The minimum age of guests is 12, but all children under 16 must be accompanied by an adult.
• The meal includes scrambled free-range eggs, bacon, tomato, mushrooms, sausage and a savoury muffin, with coffee, tea, juice or mineral water. Specialty dietary requirements can be catered for.
• Breakfast with the Elephants runs from 7.30am to 9am, once a month.
• Visit perthzoo.wa.gov.au for more details.