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The capital of Western Australia, Perth has the sunniest climate of any major city in Australia. Since its founding and for many years, Perth has been a small remote city of Western Australia. A mining boom after World War Two triggered mass migration to Perth and has given the city a unique and vibrant cityscape. Here in Perth, Winelands, beaches and bushlands, all converge to make this city one of Australia’s most dynamic and livable.
Built to house British convicts sent to Australia, the prison was decommissioned in 1991 and is now preserved as a historical monument. Spread over 15 acres, sites to see include the cell blocks, gatehouse and underground tunnels. Tours of the grounds are available and offer a fascinating insight into this macabre site. Be sure to participate in one of the tours, as knowledgeable guides entertain you with ghost stories while you explore underground tunnels on foot and even in a boat!
One of the world’s largest city parks, Kings Park sprawls across 1000 acres overlooking the city of Perth. Within the park, you’ll find the 40-acre botanic garden, which has an excellent international reputation for horticulture and public education. Many thousands of native species of flora are protected here, flourishing throughout the parkland. Educational and free guided walks are available to learn more about Western Australia’s native fauna. Home to the state’s War Memorial and multiple recreation and family areas, one quickly begins to understand why over 5 million people visit this park every year.
Towering 270 feet over Barrack square in downtown Perth, the tower is an icon of the city. The Bell Tower, also known as the Swan Bell Tower, offers a glimpse of Australia’s royal past. Reported to have been cast in England in the 14th century by royal decree (and recast several times since) these are the only known royal bells outside of England. Seeing the ringers ring these ancients bells is a truly wonderful experience. There is also an observation deck to enjoy 360-degree views of Perth.
Swan River plays a significant part in Perth culture, offering a place to relax and escape the summer heat for a while. Popular activities on the river include rowing, sailing and swimming as well as jogging and cycling on trails along the river banks. River cruises and ferries also ply the river’s waters and offer an excellent and unique viewpoint to see the city. Perth’s wineries also dot the upper reaches of the river, as well as some of Perth’s most opulent residences.
Featuring over half a mile of pristine, white sand, you’ll find locals and tourists flocking here in the summer. Located less than 30 minutes from downtown Perth by bus or train, the beach offers a wonderful getaway from the hustle and bustle of Perth and delights visitors with spectacular sunsets over the Indian Ocean. Opportunities for swimming and surfing abound here, as well as snorkelling in the beautiful waters and cycling along the beachside trails.
A popular haunt for locals in the summertime, a ferry ride to Rottnest Island (or Rotto as it is known locally) is an essential summer trip for many locals. Once you are there you’ll quickly discover why people go to the trouble of taking the 90-minute ferry from downtown Perth. Rottnest Island is wonderfully car-free, so bicycle rentals are your key to exploring the island’s many beaches. From the beaches, you can explore the translucent waters of the Indian Ocean as well as find what is often called the world’s most photogenic animal - the Quokka!
While in Perth, a highly recommended trip is to Pinnacles Desert, about 125 miles north of Perth. The pinnacles are towering limestone pillars in the middle of the desert landscape and give off an almost extraterrestrial feeling. A very unique phenomenon, the pillars were created by seashells millions of years ago - when the area was still a seabed. Be sure to visit the nearby fishing town of Cervantes and try the local lobster delicacy.
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