Picking asparagus in the field on a humid day in Perth may not be everyone's cup of tea, but in reality it was great fun. Especially as you got to eat your harvest just minutes later.
Picking asparagus in the field on a humid day in Perth may not be everyone's cup of tea, but in reality it was great fun. Especially as you got to eat your harvest just minutes later. peter chapman

Three days are not nearly enough in a vibrant city

AS A travel writer you are fortunate to have the chance to visit places you may never have got to. My love of wine has always attracted me to Perth, but unfortunately up until last month I had not taken the five-hour flight from Brisbane.

One thing I did discover was that if you are planning to go to Western Australia, don't just go for three days as I did. Perth and its surrounds need at least a week to discover. Better still, stay for two weeks. The trouble there is that you might fall in love with the sophisticated lifestyle and want to move.

My other piece of advice is to make sure you find top class accommodation. For me, it was provided by the Parmelia Hilton. Opened in the mid 1960s, it was the first luxury hotel for the city.

If you can, ask for a suite on level 10. Reflecting on the renovation of this floor, Parmelia's general manager David Constantine said the hotel was proud to have brought Level 10 back to the luxury it was famous for years ago.

"The suites blend beautiful antiques with contemporary detailing and fine furnishings, offering a sophisticated luxury and style not seen in Perth," he said.

The Parmelia Hilton Perth is in the centre of the city so it is a short walk to shopping opportunities, Brookfield Place for bars and restaurants, the Perth Arena Entertainment complex, Elizabeth Quay, Perth Convention Exhibition Centre and major corporate offices.

My visit across to the other side of the country fortunately coincided with the first cricket Test at the WACA and I stole an afternoon basking in the sun watching the Aussies bowl out South Africa for just over 200. I won't go into how our cricketers went on to lose that match, I'll just say it was a great way to spend an afternoon. I hadn't been to a Test match since I went with my dad as a small boy.

With such a short time to spend in Perth I decided that I wouldn't spend three hours in a car driving to Margaret River. I will enjoy that drive next trip - yes, I have already decided to return to Perth. So instead of tackling the long drive, I went on a discovery tour of the Swan Valley just a 30-minute drive out of the city.

Rather than a wine drop in and sip it turned out to be a food tour. With my small group we popped in to start the day at Edgecombe Bros for an asparagus masterclass. We picked the fresh asparagus in the field, we learnt how to cook it to the best of its nutritional value and importantly we got to eat it barbecued and served with some shavings of parmesan.

After Edgecombe we called in at the House of Honey and then to sweeten the afternoon even more we made a late call at Whistlers Chocolate Company. It was certainly a sugar hit end to the day, but having a sweet tooth I wasn't complaining. On my two-night stay I enjoyed in-house dining at the Aldelphi Grill at the Parmelia and at the Long Chim Restaurant.



UPDATE: Fire out of control, too late to leave

UPDATE: Fire out of control, too late to leave

A major bushfire at Ellangowan has just jumped containment lines

Fires close one highway, affect another

Fires close one highway, affect another

Live Traffic NSW is advising motorists to avoid these areas

FIRE FRONTLINES: Help has arrived

FIRE FRONTLINES: Help has arrived

Local firefighters take a well-earned rest from the front

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