Get lost in a maze of commercial bliss and popping street art on this informative Perth laneway walking tour. Explore the ever evolving inner-city lanes and arcades, and get plenty of insider tips from your local guide on places to eat and drink during the rest of your stay. Duration: 2 hours (approx.)
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Everyone knows that Perth is famous for beaches and blissful weather, but what visitors may not know is that the city centre is a web of arcades and alleyways — making the Western Australia capital interesting and buzz-worthy.
Now I’ve been to Perth many times, but I’ve never really taken the time to get to know the place. That’s all about to change, as I join Two Feet & a Heartbeat on their popular Perth laneway walking tour.
I meet tour guide Ben at the Town Hall. He’s a true-blue Perthite who has spent years working as a concierge at swanky hotels — so he’s accustomed to knowing his way around big cities. As we stroll through Cathedral Square between the Town Hall and the iconic heritage-listed former government State Buildings, Ben narrates some of Perth’s history. I’m embarrassed by how little I actually know about the area’s Aboriginal heritage and its settler and convict beginnings. Luckily I don’t have to sit for a citizenship test any time soon!
We venture into the State Buildings and downstairs to trendy Long Chim Thai restaurant. The décor hooks me but Ben says the food is amazing too. He recommends reserving a table. I add it to a mental wish list: ‘Places to eat when next in Perth’. As we snake our way through high-end shops, cafes, bars, I’m gasping and gaping at all the shiny places I’ve never seen before. We exit through the six-star COMO The Treasury hotel. I didn’t even know six stars were a thing!
By the time we get to St Georges Terrace, I’m hopelessly and deliciously lost! We arrive at London Court — an English-themed shopping lane built in 1937 to encourage British investors. The Tudor-style architecture inspires a trip to the UK, if only in my mind. Jolly good, I say.
As we mosey down bustling Hay Street Mall, Ben explains the city’s ploy to attract more visitors by reinventing the inner-city lanes and alleyways. The City of Perth Public Art Strategy has funded lighting and cobbled strips down the centre of some alleys to encourage exploration. It’s all part of a big push to make Perth more engaging (and interesting) by the bicentenary in 2029, and you’ll find murals and other urban art-scapes in every nook and cranny. Grand and Wolf Lanes are heavily decorated with wall paintings and random art. The Lego Jesus tile and the floating women mural by Argentinian artist Hyuro are my favourites.
Not only are these artful alleyways now full of character and creativity, they’re home to some of the city’s hippest and most innovative bars and eateries. Cheeky Sparrow and Wolf Lane are quickly added to my return-visit wish list.
The only alley eatery I’m familiar with is Toastface Grillah in Grand Lane. This simple cafe is famous locally for its toasted sandwiches but they also make kick-ass coffee. I grab a takeaway flat white before Ben leads me down Wellington Street. At Forrest Place stall holders are setting up for the Twilight Hawker Markets. The Friday night food bazaar runs October to April.
We pass BamBamBoo in funky Globe Lane and I decide to come back here later for dinner. We also stroll through Trinity and Piccadilly Arcades (two words for you — Roc Candy!), before taking a final gape down ultra-ritzy shopping strip King Street.
It’s amazing what you can discover about a city in two or three short hours. This Perth laneway walking tour is well worth doing — and I can’t wait to delve back into these thoroughfares on my next visit.
Note: I did go back to BamBamBoo to eat. It offers modern Chinese food in an up-market, communal-style setting. The duck spring rolls rule!
Jennifer travelled as a guest of Two Feet & a Heartbeat.
Additional images: Bigstock
Jennifer Morton is a freelance writer and photographer. The Canadian expat has lived all over Canada, New Zealand and Australia. She also spent six months working on a cruise ship in Europe. When Jennifer is not writing about travel, you may find her lounging on the beach, fishing with her son, sipping coffee at a cafe, reading a book or zooming in on a beautiful scene. She’s also likely to be boarding a plane — or jumping out of one.