Tale of Two Cities
We are all for taking advantage of state government COVID incentives, especially if it helps local tourism. After having to cancel our Esperance trip, we signed up for the COVID recovery “Stay Play Save” WA government deal where selected hotels in and around Perth supplied accommodation and meals at greatly reduced rates during the week.
We chose two nights at the Warders Cottages in Fremantle and two nights at the QT in Perth. That way we could soak up the uniquely different attractions of both cities while feeling like we were on holidays in our own backyard.
City of Fremantle
For a uniquely Fremantle experience, we stayed at the Warders Cottages. They were convict built way back in the 1860s and housed wardens who worked at the now World Heritage Fremantle Prison.
I love staying in heritage accommodation, especially when the deal included $100 off dinner and drinks at the adjoining Emily Taylor Bar and Restaurant. Even better was accidentally catching up with my photography mate Dale and his better half, Margaret, as we checked into the restaurant. Great food and even better company.
Earlier, we dropped into the Darling Darling, a funky little bar near the Moores building. It’s a tiny hidden gem, jam packed with nautical themed original antiques. The bar is really old and originally came from Burma, as it was called back then.
There’s plenty to see when walking around historic Fremantle, but a lot of the interesting architecture is easily missed. Changing your viewing angle is the key and it as easy as stopping in say, High Street and look up. At normal eye level much of the architecture is obscured by advertising signage, modified shop fronts that can look ugly. By looking up, the true nature of the building’s architecture is revealed.
Undoubtedly, exploring Fremantle on foot, checking out iconic landmarks as the Roundhouse and Fishing Boat Harbour is the way to go. On top of that, we added a photo exhibition, frequenting cafes, a funky bar and lunch at Little Creatures with its signature beers.
With all this on tap, the Fremantle staycation is a very attractive option.
City of Perth
When compared with the Warders Cottage in Fremantle, QT Hotel in Perth is a very different beast. Both are great, but one is around 160 years older than the other. QT is modern and hip with city skyline views from our room. It has that New York feel at night when our tallest buildings are lit up.
QT is at the intersection of Murray and Barrack Streets and is within a short stroll to the WA Museum Boola Bardip. The newly completed museum is so worth a look. The modern architecture integrates nicely with the original 1890s building, creating a massive iconic structure in Northbridge. Inside is not too shabby either, with an eye catching modern staircase and several expansive floors displaying everything Western Australian in state of the art formats. I really loved the minerals section. The over 100 year old blue whale skeleton that many of us fondly remember from our childhoods is beautifully displayed.
The light shows heralding the Festival of Perth around Northbridge is pretty eye catching as we strolled around on a steamy summer evening. The release the kraken out of the window of an old building is an attention grabber to say the least.
QT has a rooftop bar that wasn’t open when we were there, being Monday and Tuesday, but the Aviary was. It’s a pretty cool spot to hang out with a drink. It was also cool as a spray of misty water wafted down like fog creating a cooling effect after a blistering hot day.
Although Fremantle wins by far in the historic buildings stakes, Perth also offers plenty of heritage architectural interest. You just have to walk around, expand your awareness and look up often. Hidden gems will appear.
We found the best way to truly appreciate what these two neighbours offer is to take a “staycation” and get out and explore.