The most isolated city in Australia, as well as possibly the most laid back, Perth is beautiful (or I should say “buuuudiful” like a real Western Australian). And, as I happened to arrive just after the Queen’s visit, it looked even more immaculate – beaches combed, lawns coiffured and flowers in full bloom.
It is an interesting city – more a large town really. Everyone’s friendly and welcoming, the pristine beaches beckon you to the ocean, the shopping malls pulsate with urbanites going about their business and Swan River, which runs through its heart, is a watersports playground.
Whether you are in Northbridge’s backpacker and cultural hub with its vintage boutiques and eclectic cuisine or you have bagged yourself a bed with an old friend in the ‘burbs (a million thank yous Anna), there is plenty to see and do (depending on your budget).
Getting around within the city is free (literally) and easy with a network of CAT buses and there are good transport links to the main destinations – however getting to them initially from outside the city is a bit of a mission on foot. And, if you do walk, don’t expect to see a single other soul and for those driving past you to look at you like you are crazy!
Despite the Government’s best public transportation intentions, outer Perth is a network of suburbs and sprawling retail parks built for the car owner. To escape the 40degree C daytime temperatures in the summer people do not walk outside, they go from air conditioned car to air conditioned shopping mall to air conditioned office and this behaviour carries on throughout the year.
Fortunately I had a phenomenal friend who ferried me around, fed and watered me and helped me find the best things to see and do – including a great day out at the micro-breweries and wineries of Swan Valley, the uber trendy tapas of Andaluz, finding cheap backpacker tour operators and the fresh and funky suburbs of Leederville and Beaufort Street in Embleton.
In the city (or CBD) there’s King’s Park, with stunning views over the Swan River, shopping galore including London Court (if you’re a little homesick from Dick van Dyke’s mockney London town!), the Bell Tower, Perth Mint (where I happen to be worth AUS$41,614,725 – my weight in gold!), the Zoo and so much more.
Along the coast there’s a whole host of stunning beaches with white sands and clear blue waters – Cottesloe and Scarborough among my favourites. Then there’s the quaint chilled vibe of Freemantle. The port city boasts an historic prison, great local markets, enviable harbour side eateries, including Little Creatures Micro Brewery – a must visit for pizza and a pint!
So, there’s more than enough to keep you occupied for a few weeks, especially if you take a trip to the Perth Hills, spend a night on Rottnest Island with the quokkas, visit the wineries of Margaret River or head even further south to Esperance. The only negative is the price, thanks to the resource boom in mining, Perth is one incredibly expensive place to play!