You know the story of the town mouse and the country mouse? Well, if Perth is the trendy city slicker, Fremantle is the more relaxed and down-to-earth cousin. So while one is busy being big and brash, the other revels in its peaceful seaside scene – check out both (it’s only a 30-minute drive between them) and discover two perfectly complementary sides to this area of Western Australia. Here’s our weekend guide.

Touchdown, time to refuel

You’ve just arrived and you’re eager to check out WA’s glimmering state capital, but before you head to the bright lights and soaring buildings of the CBD, we’ll let you into a little secret – Northbridge is where the cool kids hang out. This inner-city design hub is brimming with hip boutiques and happening bars. Take a walk down Beaufort Street and you’ll see what we mean.

Kick off the evening at Mechanics Institute – an intimate spot with a split-level balcony area illuminated by twinkling fairy lights. Sample wines from the nearby Margaret River and order some food from the burger joint, Flipside, downstairs. If you’re after a slightly smarter dining experience, head for dinner at Pleased To Meet You (38 Roe Street), where the sharing menu sees Asia meet Southern America in a surprisingly successful mismatch of squid banh mi, duck tacos and pork cooked on a spit and sold in 100g batches, which makes this place a winner in our book.

Where to finish up? If it’s really fancy-pants cocktails you’re after, you’d better visit The Classroom. This North Perth institution is done out like, you guessed it, a classroom, with bottles stored in lockers and one particularly spirited offering served amid a cloud of smoke that pours out of a lunch box.

If you’re partial to the odd G&T, you can take your appreciation to the next level at Frisk – with 209 varieties of gin on offer, the knowledgeable bar staff will guide you through the menu, suggesting delicious tonics and fragrant herb garnishes to complement your selection.