Editor’s note – this article first appeared in late 2010 but was modified in February 2013 with updated information.
Australia’s fourth-largest city has a population of over 1.6 million people and a wonderful sun-soaked climate. Here’s our guide to what’s hot in Perth.
Having held a reputation for being a sleepy in city in the past, things have changed. With the mining boom taking place in the north of the state, the city has reaped the benefits with new bars and café’s popping up all around town.
The face of the city is also changing with Perth recently acquiring a new Arena, Culture Centre, State Theatre and currently under construction is Elizabeth Quay, a new harbour front for the CBD.
In recent years the long-running Perth International Arts Festival has been joined by the very popular Perth Fringe Festival, Beaufourt Street Festival and many other events as the inner city areas of Perth undergo their transformation and growth.
Not to be missed when visiting are Kings Park over looking the city and the stunning Cottesloe Beach. With the most hours of sunshine of any city in the country, Perth is definitely worth a visit for some sun, surf and relaxation.
Away from the city a little, the tucked-away Swanbourne Beach at the northern end of North Cottesloe is well-known as a place to find nudists… and cruising gay guys.
Western Australia was especially progressive in 1984 when its Equal Opportunity Act was passed, ensuring LGBT people/couples were not discriminated against in a variety of situations and businesses. More recently, same-sex couples were allowed to jointly adopt children, and de facto gay couples are legally recognised, though no formal partnership register exists yet.
The City of Vincent, which covers many of Perth’s inner suburbs, has the largest LGBT population of any town council in the city, and last year established a formal register allowing LGBT couples to formally declare their relationship.
The Gay and Lesbian Equality WA group works hard to promote LGBT equality across Western Australia. Catch up with GALEWA here.
And the activist group striving for marriage equality is Equal Love WA, which holds regular rallies in Perth. Find more details here.
Perth’s gay nightclub is pumping every Friday and Saturday after midnight at 81 James Street in Northbridge. Arrive early and entry is free. The doors are open Wednesdays through to Sundays from 10pm – plus the native drag queens frock up while DJs get their disc spinning at regular special events and theme nights. Wednesday night’s Lesbian Mud Wrestling is an unmissable sight!
The club also hosts the men-only Filth parties on a regular basis as well as the weekly Bingay games on Thursday evenings just before their ever-popular POP night.
The Court Hotel
With the tagline ‘Life’s Too Short To Play It Straight’, The Court is another must-do venue during any visit to Perth.
Owned and passionately run by businesswoman and socialite Bree Day, The Court is situated at 50 Beaufort Street in Northbridge. It’s a favourite with locals and visitors alike with popular events including Traffic Light Parties as well as its Wednesday night Drag Factory for unearthing the city’s hot new drag talent. This well-stocked bar serves good steaks and pizzas too.
Open seven days a week, The Court is not to be missed on a Friday or Saturday night.
Having won many awards for their cocktail making and barmen, this is the ideal bar to impress your hot date with. Perth’s sophisticated Luxe bar at 446 Baeufort Street is open for cocktail-shaking 8pm until later from Wednesday to Sunday. Same Same recommends trying Luxe’s Super French Martini. Yummy!
Loton Park Tennis Club
“Diversity is our advantage” is the motto of Loton Park Tennis Club, located on the corner of Lord and Bulwer streets in Perth. The club offers a variety of sporting and social activates for its LGBT members as well as the wider community.
During the summer months things really heat up as the Incorrecto! parties take over the club. Run by DJ/Producer Rob Blandford, underground house beats pump across the venue as the crowds spill out of the clubhouse and on the courts.
Pride WA Festival
The Pride WA crew put on a fabulous festival celebrating Western Australia’s LGBT citizens each October, with a fun family Fairday in Russell Square, a Parade in the centre of Perth CBD which attracts some 80,000 spectators, a huge after-party, and many more cultural events. Catch up with what’s happening here.
November 3rd, 2012
You guessed it! This is where Perth’s men go to get off. Steamworks at 369 William Street in Northbridge is an all-male safe sex sauna including a spa pool, steam room, chill-out space, cruising maze and private cubicles. A selection of beers, wines and spirits are also available.
Community groups and support
Perth has many LGBT sports and social groups, including one of Australia’s largest bear clubs – Bears Perth Inc.. The Gay and Lesbian Singers of Western Australia also meet regularly and welcome new harmonisers.
Perth’s gay and lesbian professionals meet for social drinks in various bars across the city – find Fruits in Suits on Facebook here.
Volunteer-run organisation Gay and Lesbian Community Services provides an information and support phoneline staffed Mondays to Fridays 7-10pm. The group’s speakers visit schools to tell their coming out stories, and run workshops for same-sex attracted or questioning people.
The Freedom Centre on Brisbane Street is open to support queer and questioning young people under 26 with social support networks and workshops. The centre provides a safe space to hang out and be yourself.
A men’s sexual health centre has opened at Unit 4/24 McCourt Street in West Leederville, offering free, non-judgemental, confidential sexual health check-ups. Drop in to The M Clinic, or call 9380 4922 to make an appointment.
Perth’s colourful printed guide to what’s hot and happening in the city is free to pick up monthly from gay venues and queer-friendly cafes in the CBD. Out In Perth also has a website with a comprehensive guide to what’s on, where to go – and those all-important horoscopes – check it here.
Have a great time in Perth and exploring Western Australia! But have we missed anything? Let us know by leaving a comment below.