ABOUT PERTH, AUSTRALIA
Timezone : UTC+08:00 (same as Malaysia)
Seasons: Summer (December – February), Autumn (March – May), Winter (June – August), Spring (September – November)
Currency: Australia Dollar (AUD)
Visa: Required for everybody who is traveling to Australia, except for Kiwi’s
Went to Perth in September 2017 (Spring) by Malindo Air and bought the tickets during promotion period. Each ticket for adult includes 30kg check-in luggage and meal. For infant it includes 10kg checked-in luggage. Meaning total luggage for me, my husband & son was 70kg! The plane took off from KLIA (and not KLIA2, reminder to those who will be traveling to Perth on Malindo Air) and safely landed at Perth International Airport after 5 hours and 50 minutes. At the airport, make sure to grab ‘Hello Perth’ booklet for discount vouchers and purchase local SIMcard to stay connected!
From the airport international terminal, you may choose to take a taxi or bus to go to your hotel. At first we were planning to take a taxi but took the bus instead since we were assisted by locals on how to go to the hotel we were staying at using the bus (we save around $40 but we need to walk to the hotel with 2 luggage, a stroller and an infant on a baby carrier – since he refuse to sit on the stroller).
The bus number that we took was 380, fittingly named after the Airbus A380 and it has dedicated luggage racks and runs daily between the Elizabeth Quay Bus Station in the Perth city centre and T1 and T2. However, it is a limited stops service with connections to other services available at few points.
For more details of the airport, visit https://www.perthairport.com.au
Visa is required for everybody who is traveling to Australia, except for Kiwi’s. It is quite easy to apply for it. Just go to https://www.australiavisa.my/ , fill in the form and make the payment. You can choose either to get a regular visa (RM26) or express visa (RM50). I manage to get my visa approved within the same day of submission (regular visa). Make sure to print a copy of the visa even though in your email it will state that you do not need to print it. I was asked to show the printed visa twice, once at KLIA and also at Perth airport during check-in (because they are not able to find my son’s details).
If you would like to stay connected, you can purchase Optus or Vodafone simcard at the airport. The counter is near the arrival hall gate – you will see it once you exit arrival hall. When we were there, my husband and I purchased Optus simcard. We decided to use the simcard for 6 days so we purchased a 7 days package which is worth $15 (there’s also different packages based on number of days you would like to use it). The package includes free call & text to any Australian number, plus 1GB data daily.
BIOSECURITY AND QUARANTINE
For most Muslims traveling abroad, it is very common that we will bring food from home, just in case it is difficult to find Halal food. When traveling to Australia, you can bring food but you need to make sure that you declare it in the declaration form – else if you get caught, you might get fine.
Here’s a list of foods that we bring to Perth. Before flying, I have printed a list of foods that we are bringing in and put it all in the same luggage. All food that we bring passed the inspection – actually they don’t really inspect much. Only the chicken rendang was being inspected and it got through.
- Brahim’s nasi lemak
- Brahim’s fried rice
- Brahim’s chicken rendang
- Maggi & mee sedap instant noodle
- Nescafe 3-in-1
- Knorr’s instant porridge
- Infant formula
From my own understanding, we can bring in food which are commercially prepared & packaged, shelf stable, no refrigeration required to store the food, and for personal consumption. However, you may visit this link for more details: http://www.agriculture.gov.au/travelling/bringing-mailing-goods#check
If you are planning to stay around Perth CBD (CBD stands for center business district), it is good to find a hotel which is close to the bus stop so that you can go around CBD for free (using CAT bus or any buses if you are traveling within the free transit zone – FTZ). Would also help in getting to places outside of CBD if you are taking public transportation.
For our 6 days 5 nights holiday, we stayed at Season’s of Perth which is located at Pier Street and booked it through Agoda. Before decided to booked the hotel, we read reviews saying that the hotel was old, dirty and smelly, the receptionist was rude, etc but we still booked it since we like the location, the room is big (36 m² – good for an active infant) and it was RM800 cheaper compared to another hotel we were considering as well.
When we reach the hotel, the receptionist was very friendly and polite. Please note that the deposit for this hotel is $100 per night (max $400). However the receptionist only charge us $50 per night. When we entered our room, we fell in love with it. Clean, big, comfortable room! Lucky we didn’t really focus on those negative comments – or maybe we were just lucky to get the nicer room. 🙂 Halal eateries is also close by (Insan’s Cafe, halal kebab, etc) and same goes to Woolworths – for your groceries shopping. Will definitely stay here again if we have the change to visit Perth again next time 🙂
* Image source: https://www.agoda.com
Other hotel which I did consider staying was Pensione Hotel. This hotel is just opposite of Season’s of Perth. However please note that most of the rooms are very small. The biggest room is 26 m² and it is also the most expensive room (Premium King Room – right image). I am OK with small room but since I brought along my almost 2 years old son, I prefer to stay in a bigger room so that he will have space to play and run around. This hotel is also quite new compared to Season’s of Perth. Read good reviews of this hotel as well.
* Image source: http://www.pensione.com.au/perth
Another hotel that was on my list was Bailey’s Motel. Even though it is a motel instead of a hotel, the rating on Agoda is 8.2=Excellent and the room is big. Fridge, kettle, microwave, stove, cutlery, etc. is also provided. The motel is also close to Yellow and Red CAT bus (Wellington Square). The motel provide free WiFi and free parking, which most hotel doesn’t provide and some might charge for it.
*Image source: http://www.baileysmotel.com.au/
- TRANSPERTH – They provide the Perth metropolitan region with bus, train and ferry public transport services. As for the ticketing, there are few options provided, and some can even help you to save more especially if you are a budget traveler. There’s a standard fare, concession fare, DayRider (unlimited all day travel, can be used for bus, train & ferry, however please check on availability of this ticket – day and time), FamilyRider (a cash ticket that gives a group of up to seven people unlimited travel on the day of purchase, provided no more than two of them normally pay full fare. However please check on availability of the ticket – day & time. Wanted to purchase for my trip to Fremantle on Friday, however FamilyRider only available after 3pm on Friday). There’s also free buses provided which is call CATs bus. The normal buses are also free if you are traveling within the Free Transit Zone.
- CATs bus – Free buses in Perth are known as CATs, short for Central Area Transit Services. There’s 4 different colours which have their own route – blue, red, yellow, green. It also covers different area such as centre of Perth, Fremantle and Joondalup. You may view and download CAT map here: VIEW CAT MAP
- Visit their website to learn more about their services, routes, fare, etc.: Transperth. You can also download their mobile apps, which I found quite useful. It will show you different route to reach your destination, plus how much you need to pay for the fare as well! To download, search for ‘Transperth’
- Car rental – there are a lot of car rental companies that you can choose from. Each have their own pros and cons and it also depends on what you are looking for. Please note that if you are traveling with an infant or toddler, using a baby seat is a MUST. Here are some of the car rental company in Perth: Bayswater Car Rental, Thrifty, Aries Car Rental. For Malaysians, international driver license is not required as Malaysia driving license is accepted in Australia. Please also note that you will need to pay some bond or deposit. Do check on that as well when booking for a car.
- Elizabeth Quay – To go here, you can take blue or green CAT bus and stop of Elizabeth Quay. Can also take any bus which stop nearby as well since there’s a bus station near Elizabeth Quay. At the jetty, you can take a ferry to cross to the other side, or just remain on the ferry if you are just want to enjoy the ferry ride.
Image source: mra.wa.gov.au
- Swan River – Take a ferry from Elizabeth Quay jetty and enjoy the ride on the Swan River.
- Bell Tower – Bell Tower is located near to Elizabeth Quay. You can just walk over to Bell Tower from Elizabeth Quay. Blue CAT bus stop no 2 (Barrack Square) is just opposite of the Bell Tower.
- Northbridge – Northbridge is an inner city suburb of Perth. It is a vibrant and exciting area with cafés, restaurants, bars, shops, nightlife, cultural events and festivals. By the way, we were able to walk from Northbridge to Perth CBD.
- Crawley Edge Boatshed – This is one of the most famous icon of Perth! To go here, take bus 950 towards Qeii Medical Center and stop at Mounts Bay Rd Before Wingfield Avenue (stop id 23000). To go back to Perth CBD, cross the road to the bus stop opposite the road (stop id 10384) and take bus 950 towards Elizabeth Quay.
- King’s Park & Botanic Garden – Kings Park is a 4.06-square-kilometre park located on the western edge of the central business district in Perth, Western Australia. There’s several options on how to go here, however we took bus 935 to Fraser Avenue King’s Park (stop id 17501). Went there at night since our day was full of other activities but it was too dark for us to go explore. Only manage to take Perth skyline and then immediately cross the road to go back to our hotel.
- Fremantle – Fremantle is a port city and known for its maritime history. Amongst tourist, Fremantle is a famous place where you can get cheap souvenir (scroll below to learn more)! Famous Fremantle attractions include E-shed (souvenir), Fremantle Prison, Fremantle market, maritime museum, shipwreck museum, etc. It is also famous for its fish & chips! Went here twice during our Perth trip! To go to Fremantle by public transportation, you can take a train on Fremantle line and stop at Fremantle station (not North Fremantle). There’s also free CAT bus in Fremantle.
- Caversham Wildlife Park – Caversham Wildlife Park showcases many of Australia’s unique native animals, including koalas, wallabies, possums, Tasmanian devils and wombats – providing visitors with the opportunity for a close-up encounter with some Australian icons! It is open from 9am – 5.30pm everyday, except Christmas. Admission fee: Adult $28, Child 3-4 years old $12.50, free for children below 3. There’s Halal food sold there. To go here, take a train on Midland Line and stop at Bassendean Station (Zone 2, around $4.70). Walk out from the station and you will see bus stops no 1&2 and 3&4. Walk towards stop 3&4 and wait for bus 955 or 956 to Ellenbrook (you do not need to pay for the bus ticket if your previous ticket is still valid). Stop at Lord St Before Youle-Dean Rd (Whiteman Park, stop id 15529). When you reach Whiteman Park, you can choose to either walk (around 1.7km) or take a free shuttle van. To take the free shuttle van, use the intercom available at the entrance of Whiteman Park and a van will come and pick you up. However the free shuttle van is only available on weekdays. To go back Bassendean train station, take the shuttle van back to the entrance and cross the road to the bus stop opposite (stop id 15526). Take bus no 955 or 956.
Since we had limited time in Perth (should stay there longer) and we didn’t rent a car (some places is unreachable by public transportation), we didn’t manage to visit places listed below. However since I have done some research, might as well share some of the details here.
- Margaret River Chocolate Factory – Located in 3 different locations (one of them is Murray Street), The Margaret River Chocolate Company brings a taste of Margaret River to the city, combining hundreds of delicious, award-winning chocolate products with a range of gourmet products and homewares. By the way you can try some of their chocolate for free!!
- Perth Zoo – Perth Zoo is widely known as a unique events and functions destination and can offer a host of amazing experiences. Thousands of visitors come to the Zoo not only to see the animals, but to be entertained by the many and varied events held in the Zoo’s spectacular setting.
- Swan Valley – World-class wineries, breweries, distilleries, countless gourmet artisan goods, handcrafted wares, bustling markets, vibrant studios, top-notch eateries and endless experiences.
- Western Australia Museum – will be close until 2020
- Western Australia Art Gallery – Gallery visitors are offered unique and exciting experiences of historic and contemporary Australian artists, as well as the art of the world. Open Wednesday – Monday, 10 am – 5 pm.
- Pinnacles – The Pinnacles desert is the major tourist attraction of the region. Attracting around 250,000 visitors every year, the Pinnacles desert covers an area of approximately 190 hectares, and contains thousands of limestone Pinnacles, some up to 5 meters high. The variation in colours and the stark relief of the Pinnacles against a backdrop of constantly shifting sand dunes creates an eerie landscape of ever changing moods often viewed at it’s best at dawn or sunset when the shadows create remarkable patterns and shapes that ripple over the sands. Entrance fee of AUD12 per car
Image source: www.australia.com
- Lancelin Sand Dunes – Sand, surf & sunset! Lancelin is Australia’s premier sandboarding destination. Pure white sand rises three storys high and entry to the dunes is free and open every day from sunrise to sunset. Board can be rented at nearby shops or petrol station for around AUD20 for 2-3 hours.
Image source: www.lancelin.com.au/tourism/sandboarding/
- Yanchep National Park – Yanchep National Park is located north of Perth. Its bushland and wetland are home to western gray kangaroos and rich birdlife. Trails include a raised boardwalk among trees inhabited by koalas. One of many caves in the park, Crystal Cave is an underground limestone cavern with stalactites and stalagmites.
- Busselton Jetty – Busselton Jetty is the longest wooden jetty in the world, stretching almost 2 km out to sea from the town of Busselton. A day pass to the jetty (to walk, swim, fish, dive, etc) costs AUD2.50 for adults (17 and over) and free for kids (16 and younger). If you don’t feel like walking, there’s a train which you can ride. The train ride costs AUD13 for adults aged 17 and up and AUD6.50 for children aged 3 to 16.
There’s a museum and interpretive centre at the start of the jetty is open from 9 to 5 in winter, and 8:30 to 6 for the rest of the year
Image source: www.busseltonjetty.com.au/
- Araluen Botanic Park – Situated in the Perth hills with a north-south valley aspect, Araluen Botanic Park is home to many species of Australian and international flora.
Image source: http://araluenbotanicpark.com.au/
- Cottesloe Beach – Cottesloe Beach has been the favourite seaside destination for Perth locals for more than 100 years. With more than a kilometre (0.6 miles) of pure white sand, Cottesloe Beach is one of Perth’s most popular spots for swimming, snorkelling and surfing.
- Scarborough Beach – Scarborough Beach has the best white sand surf beach in the world. This Perth beach is the ideal Indian Ocean vacation destination to relax.
Image source: http://www.scarboro.info/
- Penguin Island – Located in the spectacular Shoalwater Islands Marine Park, just 45 minutes south of Perth is Penguin Island – a beautiful, unspoilt nature reserve home to WA’s largest colony of little penguin as well as dolphins, sea lions, stingrays, pelicans, ospreys and more.
Image source: www.penguinisland.com.au/
- Rottnest Island – Rottnest Island sits just offshore from the city of Perth. A protected nature reserve, it’s home to the quokka, a small wallaby-like marsupial. White-sand beaches and secluded coves include the Basin, with its shallow waters, and Thomson Bay, the main hub and ferry port. Strickland Bay is known for its surf breaks, while reef breaks occur at Radar Reef, off the island’s far western tip.
Image source: www.experienceperth.com/region/rottnest-island
- Woolworths – A place for your groceries shopping. My usual shopping list from Woolworths includes chocolates & coffee!! 🙂
- Target – Went to target just to buy Hotwheels! Manage to get Hotwheels at only $1 each, meaning its half of the price selling in Malaysia!
- E-shed Market (Fremantle) – E-shed is the place to go if you want to buy some souvenir since the price is way cheaper compared to if you buy from Perth CBD. E-shed is actually a warehouse that houses several shops. The most famous shops inside are Megabes and Assin. There’s also food court and Halal food is available there. E-shed is located quite close to Fremantle train station. Parking is also available nearby. However please note the E-shed is open only on Friday, Saturday & Sunday + selected public holiday.
- Fremantle Market – Fremantle market is a busy indoor market selling fruits, food and drinks, souvenir, etc. Megabes (shop selling cheap souvenir) is also available here!
- Watertown Brand Outlet – The venue for outlet and specialty shopping, with all the best brands at all the best prices, it is Perth’s home to outlet shopping (basically similar to Johor Premium Outlet). You can go here on Yellow CAT bus and stop at Sutherland Street (stop no 17). There’s 2 food outlet selling Halal food – Ispa Kebabs and Nenem’s (do try their gozmelez. Delicious!). Opening hours: Monday – Thursday: 9am – 530pm, Friday: 9am – 9pm, Saturday: 9am – 5pm, Sunday: 11am – 5pm
- London Court – London Court is an open-roofed shopping arcade located in the central business district in Perth. There’s souvenir shop & cafe along the whole stretch of road. We didn’t buy anything here but it is definitely a nice place to take photos!
- Chemist Warehouse – you can get cheap perfume, vitamins, skin care products, etc here! There is one Chemist Warehouse located in Perth CBD (Murray Street). It is also close to Insan’s Cafe (in case you want to eat Halal food afterwards). To come here, you may take Red CAT bus and stop at Murray Street (Red CAT stop no 25). There’s also other branches that you may visit example Northbridge (can take Blue CAT bus stop no 8). For opening hours, please refer to their website because different branches will have different operating hours. When we were there, I bought few bottles of perfumes and also lotions for my son (since he has eczema). Regret didn’t buy more lotions since the price are wayyyy cheaper compared to those selling in Malaysia! Bought Cetaphil, Aveeno and Dermaveen.
- Joondalup Laketown Shopping City – This is a Perth’s major and largest shopping centre, located in Joondalup, a satellite city in the north of Perth. The Centre is home to Myer, Target, Kmart, Big W, Coles, Woolworths, as well as over 300 specialty retailers, a cinema, two food courts and multiple outdoor dining options. For Muslims, there are 2 eateries selling Halal food – Kebabbque and Maya Masala. To go here by public transportation, take a train on Joondalup line and stop at Joondalup station. The shopping centre is just outside of the train station.
- Danish Patisserie – Delicious pie & pastries and the best part is, the food is also Halal. It is close on Sunday and open on the remaining days. However please note on the opening hours; Saturday (7am – 11am), Monday to Friday (6am – 2pm). Click on the link to visit their website for more details.
- Corica Pastries – Located in Northbridge and selling the most famous Halal apple strudel in Perth. To go here, you may take the free Cat bus and stop at Blue CAT bus stop no 8 (Aberdeen Street). Their opening hours: Monday to Friday 8am – 5.30pm and Saturday 8am – 12pm
- Charcoal Chicken Express – The food sold here are Halal and it is famous for its lamb rib but if you don’t eat lamb (just like me) there’s chicken as well. To go here, take bus 960 towards Mirabooka bus station and stop at Dianella Plaza (stop id 12838). Opening hours: 10am – 8pm
- Insan’s Cafe – Halal food & own by a Malaysian. Located at Murray Street and located close to our hotel. By the way, we went here almost every day 😛
- Pondok Indah – Halal & own by an Indonesian
- D’Ankasa – A Malaysia restaurant located in Perth CBD, selling Halal food. We went here once and ordered chicken rice and nasi lemak!
- Kaili’s Fish and Chips (Fremantle) – Famous for its Fish and Chips!
- Cicerello’s (Fremantle) – Similar to Kaili’s, Cicerello’s is also famous for its fish & chips. It is located close to Kaili’s
- Chocolateria San Churro (Northbridge) – A very nice cafe to just relax while enjoying a cup of coffee and churros!
- Halal Kebab – can’t really recall the name of this place but it is located on Murray Street, opposite of Insan’s cafe
- Ice-cream! – Enjoyed ice-cream on a cold windy night! LOL
- Twilight Hawkers Market – located along Forrest Place in Perth CBD, Twilight Hawkers Market is the original & biggest Street Food Market bringing the tastiest street food from around the globe to the heart of Perth. It it open every Friday, 4.30pm – 9.30pm, October to April each year. We didn’t have a chance to visit this market since we went to Perth in September.