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Perth

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Perth as seen from Kings Park

This article is about Perth, Western Australia. There are several other places with the same name including Perth (Scotland) and Perth (Ontario).

Perth is one of the most isolated state capitals in the world. Located in the south west area region of the vast state of Western Australia, with 1.5 million residents, it contains around 70% of the total state population.

Understand

Perth is based around the Swan River on a flat coastal plain down from the Darling ranges. The many relatively uncrowded beaches along the Perth coastline also help define the lifestyle; Perth is laid-back, quiet and quite safe.

History

The site now known as Perth, was home to the indigenous Nyoongar tribe with evidence of their ancestors stretching back 40,000 years.

British settlers estabished a free settler colony in 1829 as part of the Swan River Colony. From 1850, an influx of convicts boosted the size colony and their labour helped shape the early architecture of the city. The discovery of gold in the 1890's triggered a boom which, with subsequent mineral discoveries, has been key to the city's economy. As capital of the state Western Australia, Perth joined the Commonwealth of Australia in 1901.

Climate

Positioned on the south west of the continent, the city experiences a mediterranean climate with wet, mild winters (June to August; daily maximums around 15C) and hot, dry summers (December to January; daily maximums around 35C). The best times to visit are during spring (September to November) and autumn (March to May).

Get in

By plane

Perth has a number of airports, including 1 international and two domestic. The recent introduction of some competition in the aviation marketplace means that cheap airfares are often available.

By boat

The nearby sea port of Fremantle is irregularly visited by a number of cruise lines.

By rail

The Indian Pacific trans-continental railway runs between Perth and Sydney. Not cheap but a 3 day journey to remember, especially if you're a train buff.

By road

A number of coach lines run across the Nullabor Plain between Perth and Adelaide, including some adventure oriented tours that include camping and sightseeing.

Driving a car from Perth and Adelaide is also an option and the road and acccomodation infrastructure makes it achievable without too much stress. However, be warned that it is still a 2700 km drive.

Get around

Perth has a comprehensive bus network operated under the name Transperth. All buses operating within the CBD area, including the CAT (Central Area Transit) buses, are free of charge. CAT buses run circle routes every 10 to 15 minutes. Fremantle also operates a CAT service that runs every 10 minutes.

A fairly sparse rail network serves less than 10% of the city. Its four lines- Currambine,, Midland and Fremantle stretch out north, south, east and west from the CBD.

Hiring a car is recommended for visiting the surrounding area. Perth has lovely uncongested roads and is well served by an excellent freeway system.

See

  • Kings Park. A large beautiful park located smack bang in the middle of the city. The best time of year is probably spring when wild flowers cover much of south-western Australia and are prominantly featured in Kings Park.
  • The nearby Margaret River (200km away) region. Think food, wine and a beautiful coastline.
  • Fremantle, about 20km south west of Perth and known locally as Freo, is the old port city. Small enough to walk around comfortably with attractions that include the Maritime Museum, the Shipwrecks Gallery. Popular with the locals as a place to go for a coffee and even more laid back than Perth, if that's possible.

Buy

You don't normally come to Perth for the shopping, apart from perhaps for Broome pearls, Perth Mint gold and Argyle diamonds.

King Street has some of the more expensive shops in Perth, although few. The main shopping precinct of Perth city is centred around the Hay Street and Murray Street malls.

Eat

One of the more drawbacks of Perth is the lack of late night dining. Very few places will serve food after 10pm at night, with the notable exception of some excellent out-of-the-way Asian eateries and the Moon Café in Northbridge.

There are a lot of restaurants in Northbridge just across the railway line north of the CBD. Mainly Southern European (Greek, Italian etc) and Asian (especially Indonesian and Vietnamese) restaurants. The seafood restaurants are also recommended. Northbridge gets very busy Friday and Saturday night.

Fremantle is a good option for getting out. It's easy to get to by train and has enough restaurants, bars and coffee shops to keep you well fed and watered. South Tce has a coffee strip that is popular from the morning and on through the day; about the only place around Perth that's alive from dawn to... dawn.

Subiaco a couple of km from the city centre and easily reachable by train on the Fremantle line. Subiaco is a fun suburb with some great food and entertainment. Remember to pronounce it something like 'Soo-be-ac-o' otherwise they'll know your from out of town!

Claremont is a suburb on the same train line as Subiaco (or a close drive away) which has some good food too.

Other suburbs with good dining include:

  • South Perth
  • Mt Lawley
  • Northbridge
  • Bassendeen
  • Leederville
  • City Beach
  • Cottesloe
  • Joondalup

If you are looking for some good local information on where to go in Perth and Western Australia, check out The Guide the best Perth Restaurant, Perth Bar, Perth Events and Perth Accommodation guide. http://www.theguide.net.au/


Some specific options include:

  • CBD. "Cafe at the Hyatt", a buffet restaurant at the Hyatt Regency. This is a fairly upmarket buffet, in a very very nice location. One of the more expensive restaurants in the Perth region. $40 (plus drinks)
  • Blue Duck Cafe (on the coast). Has lovely sea views.
  • C Restaurant Lounge, St Martins Tower Level 33/ 44 ( top of the AT&T building), (08) 9220 8333. Has amazing views of the entire city including Kings Park. The food is good but you definitely go there for the scenery. http://www.crestaurant.com.au/
  • Kings Street Cafe, 44 King St, (08) 9321 4476.
  • CBD Restaurant & Bar 815 Hay St (bottom of the Rydges Hotel), (08) 9263 1859.
  • Westende Belgian Beer Cafe, 347 Murray St, (08) 9321 4094.
  • Perugino Restaurant, 77 Outram St, (08) 9321 5420.
  • Il Principe Gran Caffe, 49 Colin St, (08) 9324 3747.
  • Subiaco Hotel, 465 Hay St (Subiaco), (08) 9381 3069. Worth a visit. http://www.subiacohotel.com.au/
  • Witch's Cauldron, 89 Rokeby Rd (Subiaco), (08) 9381 2508. An institution; great steaks and sizzling prawns. http://www.witchs.com.au/
  • Chutney Mary's Indian Restaurant, 67 Rokeby Rd (Subiaco), (08) 9381 2099. Arguably the best Indian food in town.
  • Funtastico Restaurant, 12 Rokeby Rd (Subiaco), (08) 9381 2688.
  • Bellissimo Restaurant, Bay View Terrace (Claremont), (08) 9385 35883. Worth a shot for some good Italian.
  • Pronto Restaurant, 16 Bay View Terrace (Claremont, opposite Bellissimo), (08) 9284 6090.

There is a large Western Rock Lobster (known locally by it's former name of crayfish) industry. Most of the crayfish is exported to the USA for vast sums of money. However, crayfish prices in Perth can be relatively cheap, especially during summer in a good season. Lots of restaurants serve crayfish, so give it a try without breaking the bank!

Drink

Nightlife is relatively limited. Northbridge is very lively and has many good bars. Try the Brass Monkey on the corner of William and James St; a great comedy club on site and a good selection of beers and wines.

Fremantle has the usual array of pubs and clubs. Of special note are the Fly by Night Musicians Club and Kulcha (folk).

Subiaco also has a few venues where you can have a drink and a dance, such as the Subi Pub, The Red C, The Sapphire Bar and Llama Bar.

If you are looking for some good local information on where to go in Perth and Western Australia, check out The Guide the best Perth Restaurant, Perth Bar, Perth Events and Perth Accommodation guide. http://www.theguide.net.au/

Sleep

Budget

Mid-range

Splurge

  • Duxton Hotel Perth, 1 St George's Terrace. tel 1800 681 118 (within Australia) or 08 9261 8000 (international). fax 08 9261 8020. email res1@perth.duxton.com.au. Twin rooms from $139, double roms (king sized bed) frm $159. http://www.duxton.com.au/

Get out

The locals often go for a walk along the river or on one of the many coastal beaches; try Cottesloe on the Fremantle railway line (bit of a walk), or a bus to Scarborough. There are a lot of options if you have car, from the city just head to the coast, then head north or south.

A little known but pleasant outing is to take the ferry from Barrack Street Jetty to South Perth. The ride is inexpensive and only takes 10 minutes. Once there stroll around and soak in the village like atmosphere and depending on time of the day linger for a snack or meal. On the way back admire the beautiful view of the Perth CBD.

Another day outing favoured by the locals is Fremantle; great for a walk around without a specific goal in mind or where the plan is to finish with a coffee and cake.

Margaret River is also nearby, if you consider, as many 'Sandgropers', or residents on Western Australia do, a three hour drive to be 'close'.

Take a cruise to Rottnest Island, hire a bike, and cycle around the secluded beaches spotting quokkas. Cruises start the Barrack St Jetty in the centre of Perth or from Fremantle.

Nambung National Park is a (long) day trip from Perth. In the heart of the Nambung National Park is the Pinnacles Desert, where thousands of limestone pillars rise out of the yellow sand. Beautiful and recommended. As a bonus for the scientifically inclined, a nearby lake has stromatalites closely related to those found in rocks billions(!) of years old. Tour companies run coach tours to the park, otherwise you'll need to hire a car.

The Darling Scarp2 , known locally as The Hills provides an opportunity for bush walks; especially recommended during the spring (September through November) when the wildflowers are in bloom. There's a change you see wild kangaroos but be warned that they often jump in front of cars, especially at dawn and dusk. A drive to the old towns of Toodyay and/or York makes for a nice days outing.

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