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Western Australia’s beautiful capital city Perth lies on the picturesque Swan River just before it meets the warm waters of the Indian Ocean. It enjoys a Mediterranean climate of hot dry summers with little rain. Her seaside suburbs are blessed with some of the most beautiful beaches in the country, and there’s even more stunning beaches stretching for miles north and south of the city. Western Australia’s mining boom has brought immense wealth to city, shown in its gleaming high-rises, luxury homes and vibrant restaurant and nightlife scene. The city’s historic portside suburb of Fremantle has a collection of wonderfully preserved historic buildings hosting seaside restaurants, craft breweries and a burgeoning arts and crafts scene. Although Perth is said to be the world’s most isolated city over two million people, with direct flights from Auckland and now Christchurch, it’s never been easier to visit!
FLIGHTS TO PERTH
Getting to Perth these days is super easy. From Auckland there’s direct flights on Air New Zealand’s brand new and innovative Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft, as well as seasonal flights with Qantas. And for the South Islanders, new seasonal flights direct from Christchurch to Perth with Air New Zealand means there’s no more mucking about with connections on the way. Oh and direct flights are an easy 5.5 hours!
WHAT TO SEE AND DO IN DOWNTOWN PERTH
Once you’re actually in Perth, chances are you’ll be staying either downtown, or in one of the beachside suburbs. Perth’s CBD sits on a particularly wide part of the Swan River as it winds its way through Perth. Parks have been established along the shore of the river, perfect for your morning walks or maybe a picnic down by the Bell Tower, one of the city's favourite attractions. Sitting behind you is Perth’s ever changing skyline, a clear winner from the riches hidden under the Western Australia sands. For a spot of shopping, head for Murray and Hay Streets, both of which are pedestrianized. Along here you’ll find all the major retail players, as well as boutique Perth stores, particularly in the cute arcades that run through the surrounding buildings. Ladies will want to check out King Street too, known for its high end fashion boutiques.
VISIT PERTH'S BIGGEST ATTRACTION
If you’re in need for a bit of a break, head west to Kings Park. At over 400 acres, it’s one of the largest inner city parks in the world, filled with many walkways and offering amazing views back over the Perth skyline. Throughout the park you’ll find many pieces of public art and the botanic gardens, it’s particularly good to visit in spring when Western Australia’s wildflowers come out to bloom.
WHERE TO EAT AND DRINK IN PERTH
Back in town and it’s time for something to eat. The CBD has a collection of great restaurants, but for the full night package head for Northbridge, just to the north of the CBD. This is known as Perth’s entertainment precinct and you’ll find dozens of restaurants serving up whatever fare you feel like. Hestia’s is a popular tapas bar, or if you want a hearty meal, try out Baby Mammoth which serves up all your meat majors with an African twist of spices, sauces and all sorts of weird and wonderful flavours. After the dining dies down, the Northbridge pubs and clubs spring up. Check out Bobeche for a quiet 1920’s speakeasy scene, Laneway Lounge for cocktails, or if it’s a warm night (which it probably is), then Mechanics Bar has a great rooftop outdoors area.
GET OUT AND ABOUT IN PERTH'S SUBURBS
A quick drive or leisurely cruise on the Swan River will get you to Perth’s beachside suburbs. The city boasts 19 in the city itself, but the coastline is lined with many beaches for miles around. The most popular spot is scenic Cottesloe Beach. The beautiful white sandy beach and crystal clear waters have propelled this beach to icon status amongst the locals. It’s the perfect spot to cool off with a swim, and grab some fish and chips for a picnic under the trees on the foreshore lawns. Scarborough Beach is another popular swimming beach, and even has a decent swell for the surfers.
BE SURE TO VISIT FREMANTLE
Finally, a visit to Perth wouldn’t be complete without spending a day in beautifully eclectic Fremantle. This historic suburb is the oldest part of Perth thanks to the adjacent port. Many of the historic buildings and shipping warehouses have thankfully been preserved and restored to their former glory. This is where all the cool kids hang, and the place to be seen trying one of the suburb’s ever expanding craft breweries, such as the famous Little Creatures Brewery. History buffs will love the WA Maritime Museum which holds the America’s Cup winning Australia II, as well as an old Australian Navy submarine. The Perth Mint is another favourite attraction, one of only two working mints left in the country.
Although there’s clearly enough to keep you busy for days in Perth, getting out of the city to one of the surrounding regions is a must too. There’s the vineyards of Margaret River in the South-West, geological wonders at Yallingup or the Pinnacles, oodles of stunning remote beaches, and much more.
> READ MORE ABOUT PERTH HERE
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