Your taste buds will thank you! Here’s our W ‘A’ list of food and wine experiences:
• World-leading wines. From Perth to the rugged Southern Ocean coast, the State’s south-western corner produces some of the world’s most awarded wines.
- Regarded as one of Australia’s premium wine regions, Margaret River is renowned worldwide for producing top quality, award winning wines. The region’s first commercial vineyards were planted more than 50 years ago, with Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon the heroes of the region. Three hours’ drive south of Perth and hugged by ocean on three sides, the Margaret River region’s unique maritime environment delivers perfect conditions for 150 wine producers – plus some of the most scenic vineyard country on Earth.
- Along WA’s scenic south coast, Albany, Denmark, Frankland River, Mt Barker and Porongurup are highlights of the Great Southern wine region, which is particularly well known for its exceptional Riesling and Cabernet Sauvignon.
- A 25-minute drive from central Perth will find you in the picturesque Swan Valley, the State’s oldest wine growing region. At more than 180 years old, it’s the closest wine region to any capital city in Australia and its speciality premium wines include Chenin Blanc, Verdelho, Shiraz and fortifieds, with local grapes producing nearly 30 million bottles of wine per year.
- A short journey from the city will also take you to the Perth Hills, where local families and progressive vintners produce stand-out Shiraz and Viognier, and the Peel wine region, known for its Chenin Blanc, Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon.
- The Geographe wine region is also starting to turn heads, with a number of boutique wineries popping up in the charming subregions of Ferguson Valley, Donnybrook, Capel, Harvey and Busselton – producing excellent Shiraz, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon.
• A generous serving of unforgettable events. Nigella Lawson, Heston Blumenthal, Curtis Stone, Rick Stein and Marco Pierre White are some of the big names who’ve made a beeline to the Margaret River region in November for the Gourmet Escape, which expanded into Perth and the Swan Valley for the first time in 2019 as the Western Australia Gourmet Escape. Other highlights of WA’s culinary calendar are Taste Great Southern – in WA’s bountiful south-east corner in autumn; Truffle Kerfuffle (see below) and Mandurah Crab Fest, held in March in the canal city, an hour drive south of Perth.
• Truffles – a rare delicacy. Black truffle is one of the world’s most expensive food items, and 70 per cent of the Australian supply comes from WA’s tranquil Southern Forests around Manjimup and Pemberton, some 300 kilometres south of Perth. As well as sampling the rare delicacy and learning about its painstaking cultivation, you can watch The Truffle & Wine Co’s specially trained dogs in action, sniffing out the underground delights on a truffle hunt tour from June to August. In Manjimup each June, a lively festival – Truffle Kerfuffle – presents a weekend of hands-on activities and leading culinary talent in the heart of truffle country.
• Graze your way through Perth’s restaurants. Perth has the perfect ingredients for even the fussiest foodies – top local produce, celebrated chefs and a flourishing dining scene that embraces a diversity of cuisines. Through an explosion in new dining options, the traditional hubs of Northbridge, Leederville and Mount Lawley have been joined by highquality inner city venues such as Hearth at The Ritz-Carlton; Santini Bar and Grill at QT Perth Hotel; Garum at Hibernian Place; and Shadow Wine Bar, adjoined to the Alex Hotel in Northbridge. Nearby, you’ll find boutique dining at the beautifully restored State Buildings, including the award-winning rooftop restaurant Wildflower with its menu that revolves around the Indigenous six season calendar. Crown Perth adds to the riverside precinct’s range of fine-dining options with Nobu and Rockpool, while a string of oceanfront restaurants and cafes serve up quality seafood and pub fare with a perfect Indian Ocean backdrop.
• Sample succulent seafood. WA seafood and freshwater fish are among the finest and freshest you’ll ever try. Be sure to sample Geraldton rock lobster, South West marron, yabby and trout, North West barramundi, Exmouth prawns, Rottnest scallops, Mandurah crab and Broome pearl meat. Add in a sunset view and a cool boutique beer or a crisp local wine, and it’s a true west coast experience. From fish and chips to fine platters, Perth’s seafood hotspots include Fremantle, Scarborough and Cottesloe. You can learn about the State’s rock lobster industry in Geraldton and Cervantes, or hook your own catch of the day on deep-sea, game or beach fishing adventures all along the coast. In the Kimberley, the local Bardi people at Cape Leveque’s Kooljaman will teach you spear fishing and mud-crab hunting in the mangroves, before you cook the catch on the beach.
• Get crafty with local beers. Fremantle is the birthplace of Australia’s flourishing craft beer scene, with the first big-flavour, small-production brews poured at the Sail and Anchor bar, where you can still sample tasty local creations. Check out other unique and seasonal craft beers at Fremantle’s Little Creatures or The Monk – or see how local beers and cold cider are bringing extra flavour and attitude to traditional wine regions such as the Swan Valley (Mandoon Estate, Feral or Mash, for example) and Margaret River (try out Black Brewing Co or Eagle Bay).
• Feast in the food bowls. WA’s fertile soils and perfect climate make it a haven for horticulturalists, and you can experience ‘the State on a plate’ at gourmet events or straight from the farm. In the Kimberley, tours of Lake Argyle reveal the massive reservoir’s role in the Ord River vast irrigated patchwork, which is a hub for everything from chickpeas and chia to melons and mangoes. Further south, head to the Coral Coast town of Carnarvon to tour banana plantations and meet the farmers behind tropical fruits and vegetables. In WA’s South West, the ‘Genuinely Southern Forests’ trail around Manjimup and Pemberton serves up a smorgasbord of fresh apples, avocado, lime and honey as well as marron, beef and the region’s famous black truffles.
• Laze like a local at a Sunday Session. Wrap up the weekend the WA way by relaxing with mates on a Sunday afternoon with food, a tipple or two and live music at a waterfront or alfrescostyle pub. Perth’s top spots for a Sunday Session (or ‘sesh’ if you want to sound like a local) include the Cottesloe Beach Hotel, The Standard and Henry Summer in Northbridge, Bathers Beach House and The Left Bank in Fremantle and The Breakwater at Hillarys.
• Join the natural wine movement. Perth is welcoming an increase in outlets offering naturally produced and minimal intervention wines, including the recent opening of Wines of While in Perth and Madalena’s in South Fremantle. The boutique bars offer a range of national and internationally sourced varieties; complemented by the growing number of WA wineries producing organic varieties, such as Sam Vinciullo, L.A.S Vino and Dormilona in the Margaret River region, Express Wine Makers in the Great Southern and Swan Valley Wines in the Swan Valley.