As one of the most isolated cities in the world, Perth is closer to the Southeast Asia region than Australia's own capital city. As a result, fuel costs are lower, so local air carriers are able to offer cheaper tickets to this particular city, making it an awfully attractive holiday destination.
But take the cheaper tickets out of the equation, and I'd still second a trip to the birthplace of former movie star and Joker, Heath Ledger.
With a population less than half of Singapore's, and a land size almost nine times ours, Perth doesn't quite possess that hustle and bustle we are used to. Life is a little more laid-back and people are unassumingly generous with their smiles, manners and well wishes. Fast walkers are few and far between, but fast workers are a dime a dozen. The air is fresh, atmosphere addictive, and sights breathtaking.
But just like how Singapore is a tiny dot on the world map, Perth is merely the tip of the iceberg in an Aussie adventure.
Venturing out to neighbouring cities and suburbs of Western Australia is common to travellers. But with more than two and a half square kilometres to explore, a limited number of leave days and a modest budget, there has got to be some game plan in place prior to your trip.
While I can't draw out the perfect itinerary for wander-lusters, I can give my two cents worth of the Perth-fect spots and activities that might enrich your experience down under.
Spend some money
Australia is generally an expensive place, but that doesn't make it un-shoppable. Find the right places to patronise, and you will be un-stoppable. I suggest heading down to Watertown Outlet Mall in Perth, for the fix.
I admit, reading about Watertown's failure as an outlet mall on Tripadvisor almost put my visit off. Luckily, I trusted the shopper instinct in me.
Ladies' apparel can be insanely cheap - think AU$5 to AU$20. Sporting goods are worth a look, but not particularly outstanding in price - though shoes can be a rather good bargain. Luggage and travel items fall well within the affordable range. To put it simply, there's definitely something for everyone and everyone's wallet at Watertown.
For shoe junkies, you might want to check out Hype DC located in Perth's Central Business District area. It's got a good range of brand names on female and male footwear - Onitsuka Tiger, New Balance, Nike, Adidas, Vans, Toms, Birkenstocks amongst others - at good prices.
Last I spotted, there were a good number of Nike Knits and Adidas Originals on sale. I got a kickass pair of Nike Roshes on sale for AU$80, and that wasn't even the cheapest of the range! (A disclaimer: I'm guessing the range of shoes on sale probably change from time to time, so I suggest checking out their website first to get a gauge of their sale stock before heading down.)
Another wallet woe - food. Eating out can be a taxing task; a decent lunch can easily set you back by AU$10. If you can't be satisfied with a sandwich and drink, then be prepared to spend at least 16 AUD per meal.
I'm not much of an eater, so I'm good with supermarket food. But when you are forced to walk past one too many tantalizing menus, you cave in.
While in the CBD of Margaret River, my partner and I chanced upon a gem of a eatery called Sidekick Cafe. With organic coffee, organic cakes, and a range of organic savoury goods to boot, this cafe wouldn't have seemed any different then the next one…except, it was cheap (or cheaper at least) and crazy yummy.
I'm not about to go into the specifics of what we ordered, but there was a huge wrap with scrambled eggs and a (healthy) carrot cake involved. The meal for 2 added up to less than 16 AUD, which is nearly impossible anywhere else.
Go on a road trip
When in Australia, do like the Australians do - Road Trip. Renting a car is pretty much the only way to catch the best of Western Australia.
Some hire a driver to bring them around, but I personally prefer being at the wheel since that affords more freedom to stopover wherever, and whenever.
Along our road trip, we noticed several small roads worth a trek through. One particular stop led us to a backyard nursery of sorts. It wasn't particularly beautiful - in fact, it was rather unkempt - but the thrill of stepping into unknown territory made it quite an experience, and not to mention, a superb photo opportunity!
According to my savvy travel partner, Bayswater Car Rental offers the best rates in terms of having the lowest deductible (or damage excess), which is basically the fee you have to pay if your hire car is damaged. Bayswater's GPS rental is also one of the cheapest around.
As for fuel, petrol is generally cheaper than in Singapore. A litre here would cost about S$2.20 and more. In Perth, it costs about S$2.05 after conversion.
There are many different kiosks to top up your fuel at, and the cheapest we found was Gull. But having said that, fuel prices fluctuate on a day-to-day basis.
A trick to combat that would be top up before you head out of the city area. Because the further you are from civilisation, the more expensive fuel tends to get.