Food, Travel

What to do in Perth, Western Australia

While Perth, the capital of Western Australia, is one of the most isolated cities in the world, it’s definitely worth adding to any Australian travel itinerary. It’s a beautiful, modern city, with great food, and a huge public park and botanical gardens. Plus, you can take a half hour drive from Perth to visit the charming port city of Fremantle.

What to do in Perth

Rottnest Island

You can’t visit Perth without making the trip over to Rottnest Island to hang out with the adorable Quokkas. Rottnest is one of the only places in the world where you can find Quokkas in the wild, and you will find them everywhere.

Book a ferry online here, and jump on at either Elizabeth Quays, in Perth City for an extended river cruise, or get on at Fremantle for a quicker boat trip. For an extra $30 you can hire bikes directly from the boat company and collect them as you disembark on the island. We were a bit unsure about whether to hire bikes, but they’re definitely the best way to get around and see more of the island – there are a number of different length routes, with a few minor hills.

Once you’re done cycling, two of the best beaches for a bit of relaxation are The Basin and Pinky Beach. Around that area are a lot of the Quokka, but you will spot them all over the island if you keep your eyes peeled.

Visiting Rottnest is definitely a full day trip. We caught the ferry that arrived at 10.30am and the 5pm ferry back, which was long enough to cycle around half the island at a leisurely pace, and then spend a couple of hours on the beach.

Rottnest Island Express

Perth Zoo

If you’re keen to encounter some of Australia’s native wildlife then a visit to Perth Zoo is well worthwhile. The Australian Bushwalk area is where you can find all the iconic Australian animals from kangaroos to koalas, as well as some emus, Tasmanian devils, wombats and dingos.

It’s best to visit early morning, or later in the afternoon, if you’re hoping to see them up and about, as they avoid the midday heat. It’s also worth checking out the talks, where zoo staff will share a bit more information about the resident animals.

Perth Zoo
20 Labouchere Rd, South Perth WA 6151, Australia

Kings Park

This huge inner city park is considerably bigger than Central Park, and home to the Western Australia Botanic Garden, as well as 400 hectares of protected bushland. Set aside a couple of hours and venture through the park, or take a picnic and enjoy it on one of the landscaped lawns with views of the river and Perth city.

For even better panoramic views of the city, walk along the Lotterywest Federation walkway, which cuts above the park.

Find out more about Kings Park here.
Fraser Avenue, Kings Park WA 6005

Fremantle

If you get the chance to venture out of Perth city, then head to Fremantle for a day or two. It’s a port city less than half an hour’s drive from the centre of Perth.

It’s known for its 19th century, colonial-style buildings, and is filled with striking street art, cute cafes, bars, micro breweries, and shops. The Fremantle Markets hold over a hundred stalls selling locally made crafts, souvenirs, and other unique finds, as well as a variety of food stalls.

You can also visit Fremantle prison, which was in use from the 1850s until 1991. And close by is Cottesloe Beach, with stunning white sands.

Plan your visit to Fremantle here.

Where to eat in Perth on a budget

Eating out all the time while you’re travelling can add up, but these are some of the best places to head to in Perth for reasonably priced, delicious food.

Authentic Bites Dumpling House

If you’re after any kind of Chinese food in Perth, you have to go to Authentic Bites Dumpling House. You can’t reserve a table, and there is sometimes a line waiting outside, but be patient – it moves quickly and it’s so worthwhile.

With boiled, steamed, or pan fried dumplings, as well as rice dishes, noodles and sides – there’s so much choice it can be a little overwhelming. We tried the pork and prawn wontons in spice sauce, steamed vegetarian dumplings, plus beef rolls, and a fried chicken steak – and a side of Chinese broccoli with oyster sauce because you can’t forget about your greens. The wontons in particular were amazing, but it was all really filling and only about $20 per person for plenty of food.

Authentic Bites Dumpling House
3/145 Newcastle Street, Northbridge, Perth

Little Lefroys

Fremantle has so many great places for brunch, you can’t really go wrong. On the Saturday we were there we headed to Little Lefroys on South Terrace. They do excellent coffee, and the brunches were all incredible.

I had the quesadilla with black beans, feta, avocado salsa, cherry tomatoes and fried egg, which was perfect. The shakshuka and the green bowl also looked really fresh and delicious.

Little Lefroys
310 South Terrace, South Fremantle, WA 6162

Duck Duck Bruce

Another coffee and breakfast spot in the centre of Fremantle that’s definitely worth checking out is Duck Duck Bruce.

It’s in a really cute, old building on Collie Street with a creative, unique menu of fresh dishes – they serve breakfast until 11.30, then lunch is available from about midday until they close at 3pm.

Duck Duck Bruce
18 Collie Street, Fremantle WA 6160

The Mantle – food truck heaven

Food trucks are always a great shout when there’s a group of you and everyone can choose exactly what they want to eat. At The Mantle they have a whole load of local kitchen pop-up food trucks inside a historic warehouse space – you can pick and choose from curries, fish and chips, burgers, pizzas and lots more. Alternatively you can order from the resident Free Pizza Factory or Short Order Burger Co.

Catch the food trucks in action Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, 6pm until late.

The Mantle
1 James Street (Corner Beach and James Street), Fremantle 

Whisk Creamery

After a bit of an extravagant desert in Perth? Look no further than Whisk Creamery (just around the corner from the Dumpling House). These have even made it on to Big Seven Travel’s most instagrammable desserts list.

You can either pick from one of their sweet creations such as the unicorn cone or a hazelnut sandwich (a cronut filled with gelato and topped with Nutella and whipped cream), or build your own picture-perfect dessert. They have a range of ice cream flavours including Italian hazelnut, salted caramel, uji matca.

Whisk Creamery 
151 Rokeby Road, Subiaco WA 6008

 

Food, Travel

Glasgow, Scotland

We dithered so long on where to go over the Easter weekend break that flights got crazy expensive, so in the end we made a last minute (slightly crazy) decision to drive up to Glasgow.

When I told some people we were planning on driving to Glasgow on Good Friday, they laughed hard and told me we’d be stuck in traffic for days, but actually the drive took about 8 ish hours. Plus we stopped off at the Tebay Services, which has an amazing farmshop and restaurant – a big step up for your usual Burger King/McDonald’s services.

Once we made it to Glasgow, we checked into the impressive Grand Central Hotel, which is attached to Glasgow’s main train station. It’s a 19th century railway hotel, with an amazing lobby, and endless corridors with little alcoves.

Bread Meats Bread

We headed straight to Bread Meats Bread for burgers – a casual diner-style place with booths right in the centre of Glasgow.

I went for the Full House Burger (£11) a chunky, tender beef burger with smoky Scarmoza cheese, BBQ beef brisket, crispy fried onions, spicy beef mayo and pickles. It was insanely delicious; juicy and full of so much flavour and lots of sauce, which is always a winner.

We also had a side of Buffalo Fries (£4.50) which had loads of hot buffalo sauce, blue cheese mayo and crispy fried onion.

Bread Meats Bread – 104 St Vincent Street, Glasgow, G2 5UB

Kimchi Cult

Tucked away in Glasgow’s West End is the absolute must-visit, Korean style fast food Kimchi Cult. It’s a tiny little place; casual take-away, order at the counter kind of place, with a couple of benches if you want to eat in.

Obviously Kimchi is a key part of their menu; it’s made to a special Jeonju regional recipe passed down through generations, and seriously delicious.

We tried two Baos (Taiwanese steamed buns): slow roasted bulgogi brisket with kimchi, spring onions and sesame seeds (£4.50), and panko prawn with shredded cabbage, mayo and tonkatsu sauce (£4.00).

Then we had the Bulgogi fries (£7.50) with slow roasted brisket, spring onions, house kimchi hot sauce and mayo, which were so tasty. And Tom had the Korean Fried Chicken (£7.50), which was apparently on the level of the amazing fried chicken we had at Front Porch in San Francisco.

Kimchi Cult – 14 Chancellor Street, Glasgow, G11 5RQ

The Spanish Butcher

On the Sunday we decided we wanted an epic roast, so we did some frantic searching and discovered The Spanish Butcher.

With high ceilings, simple decor and loft-style vibe, The Spanish Butcher has a classy but relaxed atmosphere. We walked in at about 2pm and were seated straight away; almost immediately we saw their amazing roasts being served and we knew we’d made a great choice.

To start with we shared Jamon Iberico Croquettas with roasted garlic alioli, and the Cured Iberican Meats. Then I had the Roast Sirloin of Beef with beef and jamon jus, and charred red pepper, paprika cauliflower, red peppers, plus amazing olive oil and thyme roast potatoes. The meat was actually perfect; tender and juicy, with so much flavour packed in.

I honestly think it might have been the best roast I’ve ever had, and at £16 for one course or £19 for two courses, it was really reasonable as well. If you’re looking for an amazing Sunday Roast in Glasgow, make a bee line to the Spanish Butcher.

The Spanish Butcher – 80, Miller Street, Glasgow, G1 1DT

Platform

Another place you need to check out on your food tour of Glasgow is Platform. It’s a street food market, full of amazing independent stalls and ideal if you can’t decide what you want to eat!

Platform – 253, Argyle Street, G2 8DL

Exploring Glasgow

We managed to pack a lot into what was really only two full days in Glasgow. The first day we visited The Lighthouse and then walked from our hotel over to the Kelingrove Art Gallery and Museum, and saw the iconic Glasgow University buildings and the Hunterian Art Gallery.

We strolled along Argyle Street, which is full of interesting places to eat, drink and shop and popped into Lebowskis.

In the evening we went to the The Stand Comedy Club, which was actually hilarious.

On our second day, after our roast, we headed out in the other direction and walked through The Barras, saw Barrowland Ballroom, and then visited Glasgow Cathedral and the Necropolis.

Next we stopped off at the Drygate Brewery for a couple of drinks in the sunshine, and picked up a Tantrum Doughnuts on the way back.

Glasgow is a really fun, quirky place for a weekend visit. I was overwhelmed by the number of amazing, independent restaurants, there were so many more that I wanted to try. It’s definitely somewhere I’d like to explore, but maybe we’ll take a short cut and fly next time.

 

Food, Travel

Las Vegas

On our whirlwind tour of California, we also managed to skip over the border into Nevada, and spend a couple of nights in Sin City – Las Vegas.

MGM Grand Las Vegas

We drove through the desert from Los Angeles to Las Vegas, which took about 5 hours and was filled with some incredible, expansive views of desert and mountains. When we got to Las Vegas, we dropped the hire car at the airport and got an Uber to our hotel, the MGM Grand.

If we were going to Vegas I wanted to get the full, vibrant, brash experience – and staying on the main strip at one of those massive hotels and casinos was essential. Nothing can quite prepare you for just the size of everything in Vegas; the MGM Grand has over 6,000 rooms, plus a sprawling casino with over 2,000 arcade games and slot machines. There’s also restaurants, shows and events, and an impressive pool complex – you could pretty much spend your whole trip inside the hotel.

However, for our first night we had a quick turn around and out to catch LA Lakers vs Golden State Warriors at the T Mobile arena. I don’t think I’ve ever watched a basketball game before, but despite watching from up in the heavens, the atmosphere was insane, and the game itself is so quick and skilled that it literally kept me on the edge of my seat.

La Salsa Cantina

Located in the depths of the Showcase Mall on The Strip, in a weird twilight, La Salsa Cantina offers probably one of the cheapest breakfasts in Las Vegas. If you’re there before midday, they have a $5 breakfast deal with eggs, bacon, tortilla and potatoes.

We however, decided to splash out on the breakfast quesadilla and the breakfast burrito.  It’s pretty much the definition of ‘cheap and cheerful’; a generous breakfast, lots of flavour, plus 99 cent Bloody Marys, what’s not to love?!

Las Salsa Cantina – 3785 S. Las Vegas Boulevard #1500, Las Vegas NV 89109

Las Vegas Strip

We started off after breakfast with a beer at the Sin City Brewing Company and a little shopping in the Miracle Mile shopping centre. Then we made our way back out to The Strip, and just wondered around all afternoon, taking in the pure excess of everything.

We checked out the flamingos at Flamingo Las Vegas, we had a drink in Caesars Palace, and we explored The Bellagio, before heading back to the MGM Grand.

Downtown Las Vegas

For our second night in Vegas, we decided to explore Downtown Las Vegas – here you can find some slightly smaller, and older, casinos such as El Cortez and the Fremont Street Experience, as well as amazing sushi.

Fremont Street is the highlight of Downtown Vegas, with the world’s largest video screen dazzling you from above, there were small stages with performers, as well as, of course, more casinos. It’s definitely worth venturing away from the main strip to explore downtown. 

Bocho Sushi, Las Vegas

One of the best meals for our entire trip, was the sushi at Bocho Sushi. We sat at the downstairs sushi bar, and ordered excessive amounts of food, it’s Vegas after all.

Starting off with 6 delightful beef gyozas ($7) and miso soup ($3), we followed up with a Spicy tuna roll ($6.50) and a California roll ($6).

We also tried one of their speciality rolls, Disco Inferno ($13) – spicy tuna, shrimp tempura, seared escolar, jalapeno, spicy mayo, spicy house sauce, eel sauce, with green onion and tobiko on top. Seriously, seriously, fiery and delicious.

Bocho Sushi – 124 S 6th St #150Las Vegas, NV89101

Find out more about our drive from San Francisco to Los Angeles.

Travel

San Francisco to Los Angeles: Roadtrip

San Francisco to Los Angeles is such a classic road trip; completely incredible scenery along the coast, the cutest seaside towns to explore and, of course, delicious food to eat.

The road trip: Santa Cruz, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, LA

We flew into San Francisco on a Friday afternoon, and jumped straight in our hire car.

I’d spent a long time researching and trying to find out the best places to stop off on this trip. So our first was Santa Cruz.

Santa Cruz is a very cute seaside town, with an incredible boardwalk. We arrived at the beginning of October, so a bit out of season and on a Friday evening everything was very quiet and a lot of places weren’t open.

However, Saturday morning the boardwalk was teeming with families and people enjoying themselves on all the rides and arcade games.

After a bit of fun in the arcades we got back in the car and drove about an hour or so along the road to Monterey.

Monterey is possibly even cuter than Santa Cruz. It’s more of a fishing town, with hundreds of boats in the harbour. We did a whistle stop tour of the main Monterey sites: Fishermans Wharf, Cannery Row (of the Steinbeck novel), Pacific House and Custom House, and we even managed to see some sea lions sunning themselves.

We continued along Highway one for another half hour before turning off to drive through Carmel by the sea. Part of me wishes we had stopped off at Carmel instead, it’s idyllic Main Street is lined with shops down to a stunning beach.

After Carmel we carried on down the coast for another couple of hours, through Big Sur. The scenery is breathtaking along this way, big endless cliffs and miles of ocean before driving through the greenery of Big Sur.

Just after it got dark we arrived in San Luis Obispo for the night. Originally we had intended on driving all the way down to Santa Barbara that first night, but we definitely started off too late and there was too much to explore on the way.

San Luis Obispo seemed to be a fairly quiet town, a good stopping place for the night.

Sunday morning we got up, went for an amazing breakfast and headed off again.

It took us just over two hours to get to Santa Barbara, driving past Pismo Beach and then away from the coast through Lompoc. The landscape was very different for this part, lots of farm land, green and mountains.

Santa Barbara is definitely somewhere worth stopping. We parked up in the Funk Zone, just off of State Street. This area is full of bars, places to eat and some cool shops.

Along State Street you can find your way to the pier, and then up towards lots more shops and restaurants.

We spent a good couple of hours in Santa Barbara, though we thought we would just stop off for half an hour! From Santa Barbara to Los Angeles the route is fairly simple, we went along the 101 instead of the 1, they’re fairly similar but we wanted to save some time.

We eventually found our way to our AirBnB in Los Angeles’s arts district at about 8pm.

San Francisco to Los Angeles Road trip tips

  • Driving along Highway 1 is definitely the way to go, but it does go along some high, twisty cliffs and some narrow bridges. It’s completely safe, but a little nerve wracking if you’re not a fan of heights, plus you can’t really do it in a hurry.
  • Book places to stay in advance, especially if you’re travelling in the summer. Places will book up and get expensive.
  • That being said, you probably won’t drive as far as you think you would each day – don’t stretch yourself by booking a motel further away.
  • Also, there are some great stops, but it doesn’t really matter where you sleep – you’ll probably be pretty tired anyway and can just get up and drive to the next interesting place. I spent way too much time trying to figure out the best places to spend our nights, and we were really just there to crash for a few hours.
  • Most of the towns will have signposts for the landmarks/ sites you want to see right from the highway. It’s very easy to find them.
  • Also parking centrally was simple in all of these places – Santa Cruz you can park along the seafront on meters, and there’s a car park next to the harbour in Monterey. Just make sure you have some dollar coins (there was a change machine in Santa Cruz so we changed $20).
  • Big Sur looked like it would have been an amazing place to spend the night. There were lots of cabins and camp grounds. We didn’t realise as we’d mainly used Airbnb and booking.com etc to search for accommodation. At the very least, leave a couple of hours to get out and explore Big Sur.