"Nidja" is the Noongar word for "here". Every day a different Indigenous word is featured on a cylindrical screen on the edge of Perth's Yagan Square, topped with 14 poles representing the local language groups.
So here I am, nidja. What else is there to learn? My guide Adie, of tour company Oh Hey WA, is leading me on her regular Perth Small Bar & Street Art tour, highlighting the artistic and liquid assets of the city's evolving centre.
After explaining the artistic features of Yagan Square, Adie takes me to Northbridge, Perth's nightlife hub. There's a wealth of street art in and around Nicks Lane, including beautiful renditions of a sugar glider, a smashed amphora, a colourful masked platypus, and a Chinese dragon.
The last is particularly relevant, as Perth's small Chinatown district is nearby. Another mural responds to anti-Asian attitudes prevalent during WA's 1890s gold rush with this message: "If people are of one heart, even the yellow earth can become gold".
It's time for our first bar, whose cool retro interior is a welcome refuge from the outdoor heat. Ezra Pound is a long atmospheric space of brick walls, and wooden furniture lined with worn velvet. Barman Kyle puts us onto the house favourite, a classic negroni. It's perfectly balanced and refreshing.
Crossing back to the CBD, we're soon in Prince Lane, whose entrance is marked by Stormie Mills' Lost Giant, a big painting of a man in a checked shirt. On his head is an actual metal crown, protruding from the wall. Near it is a mural called Pattern Making, which resembles the brightly dressed figures on the covers of sewing pattern books – a tribute to the fashion industry which once flourished here, says Adie.
We duck into the nearby Flour Factory, a bar on the site of (you guessed it) a former flour factory, to see a wheel called the "Gin Spin". You pay $12, the barman spins the wheel, and you're served whatever option comes up. It could be plain old London Dry, or it could be Scapegrace Black, which changes from black to pink with tonic.
Our next sit-down drinking stop is Caballitos, where I'm served Tommy's Margarita. It's based on the classic margarita made at a bar in San Francisco, said to be true to the Mexican style. It's deeply satisfying with its mix of tequila, agave nectar and lime juice, shaken with ice.
"Simplicity with tequila is key, because you want the spirit to shine," says Jason, our affable Irish barman. Over his shoulder I notice his bar's answer to the gin wheel – a dartboard on which a $10 throw will score you anything from a Mexican beer to a fine tequila shot.
Back on the streets we enter Wolf Lane, a sprawling T-shaped alley behind shopfronts.
"This is one of the biggest street art hubs in Perth," says Adie, and there are some great examples on the walls around us. On the side of a bar is a prancing figure which, on closer look, is Red Riding Hood dressed as a wolf. On another wall is a beautifully rendered ringtail possum by famous Belgian artist ROA.
Our final bar would be easy to miss. Hidden below street level, Alfred's Pizzeria is a grungy no-nonsense place open to midnight every night, serving pizza, craft beer and cocktails.
It's a mellow location at which to finish the tour. I order a strawberry gin and tonic, a delicious twist on the classic with the addition of strawberry syrup, bitters and fresh basil.
"It's all about doing tasty drinks with good booze," says our bartender, Krafty, as I sip. There's an art to that, as much as with the murals we've seen on Perth's streets. Taken together, they're sublime.
FLY + RAIL
Qantas flies to Perth, see qantas.com.au. Perth can also be reached via the Indian Pacific train, see journeybeyondrail.com.au
QT Perth offers stylish accommodation, from $229 a night. See qthotels.com
Ritz-Carlton Perth is a luxurious riverside option, from $449 a night. See ritzcarlton.com
The Perth Small Bar & Street Art Tour costs $40 per person (drinks not included). See ohheywa.com.au
Tim Richards travelled courtesy of Tourism WA and Journey Beyond Rail Expeditions.