Wednesday 14 February 2024

What's New from Western Australia - Jan/Feb 2024

Hello from Western Australia,

Highlights for this month include several new openings in the Margaret River Region. There's a revived retro motel in Busselton, The Timothee; de'sendent fine dining in Margaret River; plus a game-changing pub and dining destination, Busselton Pavilion. There's also exciting new adventure tours including jet boat tours in the Dampier Archipelago, an aerial ropes course in Pemberton, and scenic helicopter flights in Albany. So much happening in #WAtheDreamState!

New Product Updates from Western Australia


A dream win for WA venues at 2023 Stadium Awards

Optus Stadium has been voted Australia's Best Stadium in the 2023 Stadium Awards – with Western Australian venues winning four of the five categories. Perth's 60,000 capacity venue opened in 2018 and has been voted Best Stadium every year the Awards have been held since 2019. Optus Stadium – the home of Perth Scorchers – was also awarded Best Cricket Ground. In 2024, Optus Stadium will host the WWE Elimination Chamber: Perth (February), two spectacular nights of P!NK's Summer Carnival tour (March), and AFL matches from March to August, with more to be announced. Perth's HBF Park won the Best Rectangular Stadium category. The home of Perth Glory and Western Force will host the HSBC SVNS Series later this month. RAC Arena in Perth's CBD took home the Best Indoor Arena, having recently hosted the United Cup and international superstars Blink 182 (February), Matchbox Twenty (February) and Jerry Seinfeld (June).

Western Australia takes centre stage with triple boxing spectacle

Perth (Boorloo) is set to host a premium boxing event this May, with three World Title fights, including the International Boxing Federation (IBF) Lightweight World Title, secured in an Australian-exclusive. Thousands are expected to flock to RAC Arena on 12 May 2024 to see the world's best boxers take part in this blockbuster event, which will also be broadcast across the globe to more than 100 countries. The main event will see Australian George Kambosos Jr. and Ukrainian Vasiliy Lomachenko fight for the IBF Lightweight World Title, with two additional world title fights to be announced in the coming weeks. A range of activities, including a public open training session, will build the excitement in Perth in the leadup to the event. General public tickets and corporate and travel packages are available for purchase now.

De'sendent fine dining opens in Margaret River

A new premium destination dining experience has opened its doors in the Margaret River Region. Ideally located on the main street of Margaret River town, de'sendent is a new culinary venture for the former owners of successful winery and restaurant Arimia Estate - Ann Spencer and Executive Chef Evan Hayter. With capacity for only 35 diners, the new restaurant serves up a seasonal, refined dining experience with a darker, more intimate atmosphere. de'sendent emphasizes a commitment to high-quality, local, organic produce sourced from like-minded producers with shared values. The menu features premium WA ingredients, including abalone, Wagyu beef, marron, and uni (sea urchin). The name de'sendent pays homage to family ties and signifies a new culinary chapter. The restaurant's interior promises timeless elegance and an intimate connection with an open kitchen. De'sendent is open for dinner service Wednesday through Saturday.

Busselton Pavilion brings a new level of hospitality to the region

A game-changing pub and dining destination has opened its doors in Busselton (Undalup) in WA's South West, capturing the heart and essence of the region. Busselton Pavilion is a bold new venture from one of Perth's most prolific publicans John Parker of Park Group. The 500-capacity multifaceted pub and dining destination, forms the centrepiece of the new Busselton Central redevelopment. The forward-thinking menu has been curated by Parker Group Culinary Director Brendan Pratt, former head chef at Vasse Felix, and showcases fresh local seafood and locally sourced seasonal produce. The rotating drinks menu pays tribute to the local beer and wine scene. Attached to the Pavilion is the boutique South West Wine Shop, with curated local and eclectic wine selection and retail goods, plus a wine bar with a thoughtfully-crafted bar snack menu. Also opening soon is an in-house distillery which will produce bespoke spirits, liqueurs and low ABV products.

WA welcomes more international flights

WA's global aviation network continues to grow, with a direct flight service returning, and additional capacity recently announced. Thai Airways will recommence its daily service between Bangkok and Perth from March 27, and South African Airways non-stop flights between Johannesburg and Perth will return in April, operating three times a week. Adding to this, Emirates has recently announced it will relaunch a second daily flight between Dubai and Perth from December 1, 2024 – helping to cement Perth's status as Australia's Western Gateway.

A revived retro motel opens in Busselton

The trend of old motels getting a modern retro revival has hit WA, with one of Busselton's oldest motels getting a Mediterranean inspired makeover. The former Comfort Inn Busselton River Resort, located on the banks of the Vasse River in the Margaret River Region, has been transformed into The Timothée Resort. With a bespoke design and retro charm that pays homage to the beloved retro motel era, it offers a getaway equal parts nostalgia and luxury. The Timothée Resort has 34 thoughtfully crafted rooms, featuring locally commission and designed artwork, recycled plastic homewares by Margaret River Precious Plastics, and complimentary drip coffee from Margaret River Roasting Co.It also offers an outdoor heated pool with all the retro charm, on-site restaurant, barbecue area at the river cottage and a tennis court.


New aerial ropes adventure in Pemberton

An aerial ropes adventure course has opened in the town of Pemberton in WA's Great Southern Forests and Valleys region in the South West. Located amongst the giant Karri Trees in Gloucester National Park, Aerial Adventure Pemberton is a multi-level treetop experience with high ropes and an all-glide-line – including a 100-metre flying fox – reaching up to 25 metres in the trees. A welcoming area and café are set to open at the precinct later in the year. Catering to children from 4 years of age, it's the ultimate family friendly adventure.

Discover Hidden Coastal Gems with Lethal Adventures

Explore the stunning Dampier Archipelago in WA's North West by jet ski on a tour with Lethal Adventures. Helmed by experienced skipper and passionate local Leith Rowe, set out on an adventure from Karratha to explore the hidden gems of the Pilbara region from an ocean vantage. The half-day Archipelago Explorer Tour cruises along the islands of the Archipelago, encountering sea turtles, dugongs, seabirds, and seasonal humpback whales along the way. Enjoy the sheltered waters of the Hampton Harbour with the 1.5-hour cruise exploring Sam's Island, the port and salt export facilities, and the locally famous Pirate Cove. All Lethal Adventure tours utilise jet skis that are designed for long-distance voyages, providing agility and stability and enabling a safe and comfortable journey.

Courtyard by Marriott Perth opens in Murdoch precinct

Courtyard by Marriott Perth, Murdoch will officially open its doors next month, located just 10 minutes south of Perth's (Boorloo) CBD in one of the city's fastest growing urban catchments. The new-build hotel offers 150 guest rooms with a contemporary fit-out, flexible workspaces, a fitness centre, an artisanal café and bistro for a 'grab and go' bite or cocktail, and a flexible meeting space with a balcony and pre-function area. The new hotel will form the hospitality centrepiece of the Murdoch Health and Knowledge Precinct and is the first Courtyard hotel to open in WA, and the fifth in Australia.

Sky bound with Scenic Helicopters in Albany

Embark on an aerial adventure across the picturesque landscapes of the Great Southern region, with Scenic Helicopters taking flight from Albany (Kinjarling) this summer. With more than a decade of success in the Margaret River Region, Scenic Helicopters is now flying high in Albany's skies. Launching from Albany Town Jetty, visitors can indulge in a 20-minute scenic flight at starting at $245 per adult, taking in stunning views of the coast, rolling countryside, and iconic landmarks such as Vancouver Peninsula, Misery Beach, Albany Wind Farm, the Blowholes, and the Gap. Visitors can also elevate their Great Southern experience with packages that combine a Spa Day at Chimes Spa Retreat, a leisurely lunch at the renowned The Dam, or an immersive Great Southern Winery tour with a Scenic Helicopter ride.

Pedal and Pint the Perth Hills

Cycle through enchanting beauty of the Perth Hills on a Pedal and Pint trail, taking in the area's stunning scenery with the rich history of its pubs and taverns along the Railway Reserves Heritage Trail. Stretching over 59km, the cycle trail weaves through lush forests, historic towns, and a disused railway tunnel, offering a unique two-wheeled journey through nature and charm. Explore the whole trail in a day, or sections at a time, and stop in at the historic pubs and hotels along the way. Enjoy lunch in Parkerville Tavern's picturesque beer garden, or live music and a pint at Mundaring Hotel. The trail also connects Mount Helena Tavern, Chidlow Tavern, Sawyers Valley Tavern, and Mundaring Weir Hotel, with several quaint accommodation options also in the region.

Discover Peel Produce and Giants on a new bike tour

Mandurah's (Mandjoogoordap) only eBike and eScooter hire and tour business The Bike Kiosk, has released a new Peel Produce Peddle tour. Starting at the Mandurah Visitor Centre in Mandurah, located just an hour from Perth's CBD, the four-hour guided eBike tour follows the coastline, taking in some of the region's coastal highlights including Doddi's Beach, the Dawesville Channel and one of Thomas Dambo's Giants of Mandurah. Guests will then stop at the Peel Farmers Markets for breakfast and a wander through the locally grown delights. The return ride take sin the Peel Inlet, with plenty of opportunities to spot local wildlife. The tours start from $99 per person and run on Saturdays.

Blue Juice Charters new tours

Blue Juice Charters has added a range of new and redeveloped tours to its marine adventures offering. Originally a fishing charter, the Abrolhos Island Charters have been tweaked to include more adventures, with a new luxury vessel making these tours more comfortable for guests. Departing from Geraldton (Jambinu) in WA's Coral Coast, guests can immerse themselves in island life aboard the Mothership Talasea II with activities including catching crayfish, snorkelling the reef, witnessing the abundance of marine life and discovering the island's history and the Batavia shipwreck. Blue Juice Charters will also offer a new tour in the Shark Bay World Heritage Area. Setting sail from Monkey Mia and Denham, the tour takes in the wonders of the region, including the coastal cliffs, the Gundrun Shipwreck, Monkey Mia Pearl Farm, Dirk Hartog Island and the ancient stromatolites. Both charters take a maximum of 12 passengers across six cabins, with departures from May to July.

Embark on a Kangaroo Safari at The Vines Resort

The Vines Resort in Perth's (Boorloo) Swan Valley wine region has launched a Kangaroo Safari. The new tour offers guests the opportunity to immerse themselves in the natural beauty of the region while getting up close and personal with the iconic Australian kangaroos. Tours begin during dusk aboard motorised buggies, venturing through the resort's picturesque golf course to spot the native marsupials. There's also an option to add on food and beverage packages to the tour. Bookings are available through The Vines Resort, with daily set departures daily Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday at 4pm.

Marvel at Argyle Pink Diamonds in Dunsborough

Nina's Jewellery Dunsborough invites visitors to the Margaret River Region to look at and touch beautiful hand-crafted diamond pieces at the store's $1.7 million Crescendo – an Exhibition of Argyle Pink Diamonds exhibition. Running until March 30, the exhibition features ten exquisite pieces comprising of 840 diamonds and 404 exceedingly rare Argyle ink Diamonds from the Kimberley. It's free for the public to experience during the stores opening hours.


Jamba Nyinayi Festival Returns in 2024

Jamba Nyinayi (rest awhile) will captivate audiences again when it returns for a second year in 2024 in the World Heritage-listed Ningaloo (Nyinggulu) Region. Held on Baiyungu Country at Cardabia (Gunjayindiya) Station near Coral Bay from April 11 to 13, the community festival is a celebration of local Aboriginal music, arts, performances and culture. Local and nationally recognised Aboriginal performers will curate original music and dance to the 2024 theme – A Gathering Place. Headlining the event is iconic Australian musician and songwriter Stephen Pigram; and award-winning playwright and musician David Milroy, accompanied by multi-Grammy award-winning Lucky Oceans. The festival is owned by the Baiyungu Aboriginal Corporation, hosted by Traditional Owner and Elder Hazel Walgar. It's free to attend, however registration is essential. The 2024 Jamba Nyinayi will see the new inclusion of very limited one and two night, on-station camping and experience packages for those seeking an authentic cultural experience.

Journey to the Moon at WA Museum Boola Bardip

Visitors can journey to the moon at Perth's (Boorloo) WA Museum Boola Bardip, thanks to an exhibition opening next month. To the Moon celebrates our enduring fascination with the Moon, portraying it as a gateway to the universe and a crucial step in space exploration. Opening on March 26 and running until October 7, this immersive exhibition explores the Moon's symbolic role in history, popular culture, Aboriginal culture, art and science. The centrepiece of exhibition is the incredible 'Museum of the Moon' by UK artist Luke Jerram - a seven-metre spherical sculpture featuring detailed NASA imagery. Each centimetre of the internally lit spherical sculpture represents five kilometres of the moon's surface. Supported by lunar-inspired programming, the exhibition invites audiences to connect with the celestial marvel that has captivated humanity for centuries.

Yhonnie Scarce: The Light of Day exhibition at AGWA

As part of the Perth Festival 2024 program, internationally recognised Kokatha and Nukunu artist Yhonnie Scarce brings her luminous and powerful works to the Art Gallery of Western Australia (AGWA) in the largest-ever ensemble of her collected glass and mixed-media works seen in Australia. As one of the country's leading contemporary artists, Yhonnie Scarce: The Light of Day will enthral visitors with the sheer scale of the works, with the stories of the works bringing a healing light to Australia's recent history and the impacts of colonisation on First Nations People. The free exhibition is open until May 19, 2024.


South Perth welcomes The Station

The Station has opened its doors in South Perth, located within the meticulously restored federation-style South Perth Police Station and Quarters which originally opened in 1908. Upstairs, The Station is a captivating urban food and beverage destination, seamlessly fusing European charm with modern flair. Enjoy a modern pub menu amidst the leafy alfresco or the diverse indoor spaces that showcase the Station's unique history. Venture below ground to restaurant Ludo, a nod to Head Chef Ludovic Mulot. This subterranean dining experience showcases classical French cooking techniques, with a menu crafted for shared enjoyment. The new venue, located at the corner of Labouchere Road and Mends Street in South Perth, is open seven days a week for lunch and dinner.

Perth's Newest Coastal Craft Beer Haven, Froth Craft Beach

Froth Craft Brewery has opened its third venue in Perth's (Boorloo) coastal suburb of North Beach. Froth Craft Beach is a 120-capacity craft beer taphouse with dreamy 180-degree views over the Indian Ocean. The family-friendly and dog-friendly venue offers in-house beers, seltzers and 16 craft brews on tap – with alfresco dining and a play area for children. Froth Craft Beach will showcase the brewery's diverse beer range and new releases and offers a casual menu with pizzas and collaborations with neighbours 96 Express. The venue's design boasts recycled brick walls and a centrepiece from a 1948 Jarrah boat. After opening in the Coral Coast town of Exmouth in 2017, Froth has since opened Froth Craft Bunbrewery in Bunbury mid-last year, and now brings its laid-back and welcoming vibe to Perth's coastal suburbs.

Perth welcomes Spring

The team behind one of Perth's beloved summer festivals Seasons, has joined forces with local hospitality group Sneakers & Jeans to open Spring. Taking over the former Flour Factory and Arara space in Perth's CBD, the multi-level 450-person venue plays host to the ultimate year-round part paradise. It offers a vibrant, modern restaurant with a menu that encapsulates all corners of the globe alongside multiple DJ areas encouraging patrons to enjoy a dance once dining service has ended. Upstairs is a late-night dance spot, a dark neon-filled space designed for fun.

Sons of Naples opens in Margaret River

A new restaurant has recently opened its doors in the town of Margaret River in WA's South West. Sons of Naples is a modern Italian restaurant serving up Neapolitan-style woodfired pizza, traditional pastas, share plates and desserts. Owned by brothers Alessandro and Ferdinando Fucci – both from Naples – and brother-in-law Andrea Costantini from Genova, the restaurant was born from a passion to express the essence of Italy and connection to family. The restaurant offers a dark and moody vibe with an eclectic mix of modern artwork, while the rustic alfresco area is designed for patrons to enjoy a local wine or brew.

Bacco – an Italian Oasis in Shenton Park

A new era of Italian dining begins in the Perth suburb of Shenton Park as Bacco opens in the neighbourhood. Promising an authentic and intimate dining experience, the restaurant puts a modern spin on classic Italian dishes using local Australian ingredients and open-fire cooking. Inspired by the Roman God of wine, the restaurant's name speaks to its commitment to a meticulously curated wine list, which is handpicked from smaller producers, each with a unique story.

New beachside cafe opens in Perth coastal suburb

Bronty's is a new coastal cafe on the coast between the popular beachside suburbs of Scarborough and Trigg. A passion project of two local long-time friends, surfing enthusiast and coffee lovers, the long-vacant beach kiosk located alongside Surfing WA's headquarters has been transformed into a buzzing beachside cafe serving up coffee, smoothies, grab-and-go food and acai bowls.

BrewDog Branches into West Perth

Scottish craft beer powerhouse BrewDog has opened its first venue in WA. Taking over the former 945 square metre Gordon Street Garage site in West Perth, the fifth BrewDog establishment in Australia and boasts two bars, an open-air beer garden, and Goatcher's Lounge with arcade games, paying homage to the site's historical significance. The interior features an industrial aesthetic nodding to its heritage, including the original Blue Seal chocolate factory signage, bright neon signs, leather seating, industrial lighting and a retail store featuring BrewDog beer. With 20 taps of craft beer, and a diverse beverage menu, the venue caters to various tastes. The food menu includes plant-based options alongside BrewDog's signature dishes.

Blasta Collective offers a new brewery experience in Perth

One of Perth's inner-city breweries has recently had a makeover. Blasta Brewery has reopened as the Blasta Collective, spanning across two buildings and joined by a picturesque laneway known as Unicorn Alley. The sprawling new 1400-capcity venue located in the Perth suburb of Burswood, is all about bringing everyone into the craft brewery experience. The collective is home to a gastrobrewery located in a converted red brick warehouse, a beer hall, alfresco area with children's playground, florist, patisserie, bottle shop and a cafe. Offering multiple dining zones and a private dining greenhouse, the gastrobrewery serves up an elevated dining menu with a focus on local ingredients, while the Beer Hall offers more traditional pub fare.

Eat, drink and dance at Sassy Mamma

New late-night aperitivo and cocktail bar Sassy Mamma has opened in Perth's CBD, merging Italian flair with delectable bites. Guests can expect sophistication and sass, with a menu serving up a range of Mediterranean-inspire 'cicchetti' or small bites, and expertly crafted cocktails. Open till late Wednesday through to Saturday, guests can dance to disco house beats under a giant disco ball on Saturday nights; then from Monday to Friday the venue transforms into Mammas Espresso Bar, a 'hole in the wall' takeaway coffee bar serving fresh brews and sweet treats from 6:30am.

Douzaine oyster bar opens in Fremantle

Perth's port city of Fremantle (Walyalup) has welcomed the opening of another dining venue, this time for the oyster lovers. Douzaine is a charming French-inspired oyster bar, serving up freshly shucked Albany rock oysters by the half-a-dozen or dozen, fresh bread with whipped butter and a BYO policy. The pop-up summer venue focusses on alfresco dining, and a boutique bottle shop is conveniently located just 200 metres away for BYO.

WA winners in Australian Good Food Guide Chef Hat Awards

The Australian Good Food Guide Chef Hat Award winners for 2024 have been announced, with the acclaimed Wills Domain Winery in the Margaret River Region taking out the top-rated WA restaurant, with a score of 18/20. Regions included in the list of award winners include Perth and surrounding suburbs, Fremantle, Swan Valley, the Great Southern and the Margaret River Region. Other highly acclaimed restaurants include Wildflower at COMO The Treasury (17/20), Hearth at The Ritz-Carlton (16/20) and Voyager Estate in the Margaret River Region (16/20). Discover the full list of WA winners on the Australian Good Food Guide website.


Sculpture by the Sea

March 1 to 18 | Cottesloe | Perth

Sculpture by the Sea will see Perth's iconic Cottesloe Beach transform into a spectacular sculpture park. Celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2024, the exhibition will feature 71 artists from 14 countries, with artworks installed from the sea wall all the way along the sand and on the surrounding grassed areas. As Perth's (Boorloo) largest free public event, exhibits from some of the world's top sculptors are displayed against a backdrop of one of the city's most popular beaches.

Joondalup Festival

March 2 to 22 | Joondalup | Perth

Joondalup Festival returns in 2024 with giant illuminated creatures, a love to the Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin, a pram flash mob and many more performances taking place over the three weeks. In a WA premiere, each night Hillarys Boat Harbour will transform into Electric Kingdom - an award-winning and jaw-dropping public art installation of glowing animals in epic proportions. Free to the public, the installation will be home to a magnificent menagerie of gentle giants including the menacing Tiger, the mighty Falcon, the roly-poly Pandas, the towering Giraffes, and Tarutharu the Kaurna Skink. This event adds to the WA-first ARETHA: A Love Letter to the Queen of Soul, taking place on March 8 and 9. Visit the website for the full program.

Subi Spritz

March 8 to 17 | Subiaco | Perth

Subi Spritz is transporting you to Europe this Autumn for ten days and nights of la dolce vita. From March 8 to 17, Subiaco will host more than 25 events which celebrate life's simple pleasures. Enjoy lazy long lunches in the park, discover pop-up pasta restaurants in hidden laneways, savour daily aperitivo hours, participate in cooking workshops, indulge in European wine tastings, and relish live music. Subi Spritz encapsulates the essence of the best things in life, bringing them together for a delightful and immersive experience spanning 10 delicious days in the heart of Subiaco.

Mandurah Crab Fest

March 16 to 17 | Mandurah | Perth

One of WA's biggest free regional events is set to make a triumphant return in 2024, captivating audiences on March 16 and 17 along the waterfront spaces of Mandurah (Mandjoogoordap). Mandurah Crab Fest promises an abundance of culinary delights, and lively activities. Highlights include the Music Stage, family-friendly activities, live cooking demonstrations, thrilling action sports, fireworks, and an array of delectable options from diverse pop-up food stalls to cater to every palate.

Nannup Music Festival

March 1 to 4 | Nannup | South West

Set against the scenic bush backdrop of Western Australia's South West, the beloved Nannup Music Festival unfolds over the March long weekend. Showcasing a diverse lineup, the festival features new, emerging, and Aboriginal music in both free and ticketed venues. Beyond the musical offerings, it presents awards and hosts activities such as workshops, talks, and artisan markets. Embracing the Nyoongar Boodjar lands, Nannup creates a unique environment for shared festival experiences, placing emphasis on the intertwining themes of music, community, and cultural respect.

2024 AFL Premiership Season

March 17 to September | Optus Stadium | Perth

Perth's Optus Stadium will welcome the return of Australian Rules Football in 2024, with the Fremantle Dockers and West Coast Eagles taking on their rivals during the 2024 AFL Premiership Season. The fixtures have been announced, with AFL kicking off in Perth in Round One, with Optus Stadium hosting the Fremantle Dockers as they take on the Brisbane Lions on Sunday, March 17. The West Coast Eagles will then face off against the Greater Western Sydney Giants in Round Two on Sunday, March 24.

Margaret River Pro

April 11 to 21 | Margaret River | WA's South West

The Margaret River Pro will return to the region for 2024, as one of only two Australian events on the prestigious World Surf League (WSL) World Championship Tour (CT). The 10-day event will once again be positioned as the mid-season decider, which means the world's best surfers will compete at the event to advance to the second half of the world tour. Spectators can watch all the action live and free at Surfers Point at Prevelly near the town of Margaret River, with big screens set up to show replays, expert commentary, food trucks and merchandise stands.

CinefestOZ Albany

April 18 to 21 | Albany | WA's South West

The CinefestOZ Albany Film Festival will be taking over the city of Albany (Kinjarling)in WA's Great Southern region, offering a range of live film screenings and special events spread across the region's cinemas and picturesque venues. The festival program will champion Australian stories and films, with an exciting program of premiere film screenings, filmmaker in-conversation events, gala red carpet night, short film sets, free Community Days featuring IndigifestOZ and a dedicated Industry Program.

Shore Leave Festival

April 24 to 28 | Geraldton | WA's Coral Coast

Held in Geraldton (Jambinu), Shore Leave is a celebration of the distinctive elements that make the Mid West region unique – seafood, adventure, and local cuisine. At the heart of the festival is the Abrolhos Long Table Lunch, offering one of Western Australia's most unique dining experiences. Shore Leave, a bucket-list foodie event, entices with daily freshly caught western rock lobster and live music every night. This immersive festival seamlessly combines the region's culinary delights, adventure spirit, and vibrant entertainment.