Get to the art of the matter
The Perth International Arts Festival (PIAF) is the longest-running international arts festival in Australia having been founded in 1953 by the University of Western Australia. The most recent edition saw over 800 artists transform the city into a bold and exciting place with art that challenged, amused and informed. There is a rich theatre program, a music program and the Chevron Festival Gardens which holds free events and is a place for festival-goers to meet and discuss the festival.
The 2016 edition of the festival was the first one to take place under new artistic director Wendy Martin who will guide the festival until 2019, and it took a very local theme with Home, a huge celebration of the landscape, the culture and the people of Western Australia.
“Perth International Arts Festival provides a unique moment in our year to engage with artists from across the globe,” says Martin. “Visionaries, mavericks and dreamers – it’s through the lens of their imaginations that we get to see, understand and re-imagine our world.”
The festival also got a new hub in 2016 with the festival relocating to the north-west corner of the new Elizabeth Quay precinct. Plan your 2017 visit now when PIAF celebrates its 65th birthday.
Party under the Kimberley moon
The Argyle Diamonds Ord Valley Muster (13-22 May) started as a humble dinner under the stars for local businesses. It was a simple one-night celebration back in 2001 that has grown into a 10-day celebration of the diverse culture, the strong sense of community and extraordinary talent of the East Kimberley region. Now in its 16th year, this regional festival has won awards, made memories for thousands of visitors and now attracts some of the best acts from the region and around Australia.
Frank Rodriquez, co-founder of the muster, says “meeting the people that make this place tick is what Kununurra is all about”. People like Spike at the Hoochery, the oldest continuous operating legal still in Western Australia which was home to the very first muster and which now hosts the world-class comedians that travel to the event as part of the Melbourne International Comedy Festival Roadshow.
You can attend the Waringarri corroboree, a celebration of the local indigenous culture or have dinner at the historic Durack homestead.
The muster culminates in the Kimberley Moon Experience, a huge party that is held on the banks of the Ord River and this year includes sets from Troy Cassar-Daley, San Cisco and Bernard Fanning. Everyone from corporates to families with BYO rugs attend what is one of the parties of the year, get to the muster and experience the real Kimberley.
Find a new fashion superstar
The Telstra Perth Fashion Festival (September 2016) is a launch pad for local fashion designers. In the 2015 edition of the festival some of WA’s most promising local designers competed in the Future Runway. Future Runway is just one of the events in the six-day celebration of fashion, but it is important as it gives up-and-coming and student designers a platform for their creativity. You might also see the next Megan Gale or Gemma Ward up on the runway as the event can also provide a big boost to new models.
More established talent like designers Jamie Lee and Akira held runway events as well as international talent like Vietnamese designer Phuong My. For a bit of US star power international burlesque star Dita Von Teese closed last year’s edition with a runway show for Western Australian design label Wheels and Dollbaby.
But the Perth Fashion Festival goes beyond a celebration of fashion, it is a must-do for the west’s social set and the event spills over into the streets with photographers, stylists, make up artists and retailers all getting in on the show.
“Perth houses some amazing local designers and creatives and the city face is changing everyday with new developments and the added support of the artistic community,” says young designer Jonte Pike who got her start at the festival. “I would definitely say that Perth has its own fashionable flare.”
Taste some of the freshest produce in the world
Guests at the Margaret River Gourmet Escape might find themselves sitting on a lounge in the sand as the quiet water of Castle Bay Beach laps behind them feasting on gourmet local produce or even meet an international celebrity chef. They might wander from stall to stall tasting famous Margaret River wine at the Gourmet Village in the lush grounds of Leeuwin Estate Winery, where they could also hear talks and see cooking demonstrations by chefs like the UK’s Antonio Carluccio and Masterchef Australia judge Matt Preston. Or they might spend an evening listening to a star chef like Marco Pierre White discuss his life story at the Voyager Estate winery while they sip crisp local white wine.
There will be food events everywhere in the region during this time, from a Battle of the Breweries between local craft brewers to casual chats with some of the celebrity guests at the Escape.
But guests who go to the Margaret River Gourmet Escape, held annually in November, will not leave the area hungry. In addition to all these events the area’s artisan producers will be open as usual where you can buy amazing Margaret River fudge, head into one of the more than 100 cellar doors to taste the latest vintage or grab a beachside breakfast in a local café.
Chef’s who come to the south-west region to work, tend to stay on to live, so come to the Escape and find out why this is a foodie paradise.
Taste one of the world’s most prized ingredients
At the Truffle Kerfuffle in Manjimup in the state’s south-west visitors can celebrate the start of the truffle season in style. But this is a hands-on affair, you will not just be tasting this much-loved fungus in a range of exclusive dishes you will be joining truffle hunters on the search and learning all about the truffles produced in this part of the state.
The truffle is one of the most expensive foods in the world – up there with Beluga caviar and kopi luwak (coffee that has passed through the intestinal system of a South Asian palm civet) – and over 70 per cent of Australian truffles come from this region, so that is something worth celebrating.
The festival surrounds the winter harvest that takes place in June and there is a family fun day at Fonty’s Pool Caravan Park that lets the whole family experience the pungent aromas of Manjimup’s most famous export.
You can also use your visit to explore the region stopping off in towns like Pemberton, Northcliffe and Walpole which have fantastic wineries, trout fishing and lush forests to explore, the same forests that are home to the truffles in this part of the world.
Take a trip to Manjimup Farmers Market to see some of the other great regional produce from cherries to macadamia nuts, gourmet potatoes to fresh fish. But above all make sure you taste some truffles.
With so much going on in WA, planning a trip can seem a little overwhelming. Luckily, we’ve made things easier by creating a personalised trip planner that uses your unique personality to determine the ideal time for you to visit.
Find the best time to visit at yourwawindow.com