Perth is the capital city of Western Australia. With a population of 1.7 million, it’s also the country’s fourth most populated city. Perth has a large, multicultural background – with about 200,000 UK-born resident now calling the city home. In fact, as of 2006, the number of English residents outnumbered Australian-born residents. The population boon in Perth isn’t anything new. The area has been inhabited by people for some 40,000 years. The first people were indigenous tribes who would populate the area until the 1700s and 1800s when the Europeans began to find their way to the area.
Perth is a coastal city, bordering on the Indian Ocean and the Swan River. The river gets its name for the beautiful black swans that inhabit the area. Perth enjoys a mild climate year round with warm summers and mild winters. The city averages eight hours of sunshine each day. Water and fire restrictions are common during the summer months,which can be dry with temperatures over 100 degrees. Those restrictions don’t sway people from visiting Perth in the summer months and any other time during the year. Millions of people find their way to this city each year. We’re going to highlight some of the best places to visit in Perth, for those who may be planning an Australian vacation soon.
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Chartered cruises down the Swan River is a popular activity for tourists and locals alike. Many tour companies have set up shop in the area and offer a variety of cruises to cater to any preference. Not only will you see the famous black swans in their natural habitat, you’ll also get a great view of the busy Freemantle Port. Families will enjoy the scenic and educational daytime cruises while single travelers or couples might prefer the lunch or dinner cruises later in the evenings.
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Rottnest Island is located just off the coast of Perth and is easily accessible by ferry. There is no car traffic allowed on the island so prepare for a primitive experience. You can partake in a variety of watersports, go on nature walks, snorkeling or just bask in the sun on one of the islands 63 secluded beaches. Accommodations are available if you want to plan an overnight excursion on the island. You’ll see all kinds of wildlife on the island so be sure you take your camera to get some once in a life time shots.
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Cottesloe Beach is your typical tourist beach and one of the most popular ones in all of Australia. Aside from the watersports and swimming in the gorgeous waters of the Indian Ocean, there are also a number of cafes, restaurants and shops to peruse to while away an afternoon. If you’re planning on swimming, be sure that you stay between the posted flags and follow any rules of the lifeguard staff on duty to ensure your safety. If you’d rather, you can just sit and people watch – which is also a popular activity on Cottesloe Beach.
Fremantle – Fremantle is a small fishing village at the mouth of Swan River where it meets the ocean. It’s really a step back in time from the hustle and bustle of Perth because of all the antiquity that’s located here. Lots of quaint little shops, antique dealers to peruse and open air cafes await you as well as the sights and sounds of the port that is located there. Fremantle is famous for its wide variety of ethnic foods – including Greek, Turkish and Thai and its also home to The Roundhouse – a former jail that is the oldest public building in Western Australia.
The Bell Tower
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The Bell Tower is part towering glass spire and part musical instrument – the largest one on Earth, in fact. It was built to house the bells of several significant churches in the area. Some of the bells date back to the 14th century. Visitors to The Bell Tower can enjoy panoramic views of Perth from the observation deck, hear all the bells toll during demonstrations or have a go at ringing the bells themselves in the interactive display. The Bell Tower is one of the most visited attractions in Perth.
The Perth Mint
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The Perth Mint is one of the oldest original operating mints in the world. It houses the world’s largest collection of gold nuggets and features many exhibits depicting various gold rush periods in Australian history. The Melting House still pours gold today and visitors can watch the process during a tour. They can also engrave their names in a gold coin and partake in a variety of other interactive displays throughout the mint.
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Kings Park is a premier tourist spot in Perth because of all it has to offer. Two thirds of the part is natural bushland so visitors can see what the terrain was like before being developed. This bushland is also were some of Perth’s famous wildflowers grow – a truly do not miss experience in itself. There is a wall memorial listing all the names of fallen Western Australia soldiers from various wars. Additionally, a plaque with an individual name of a soldier is placed on every tree in a certain area of the park. Aside from these points of interest and typical park fare like walking trails and play areas, Kings Park also has a number of restaurants and an outdoor cinema that plays a variety of movies as well as hosts live theatrical performances.
Guildford Heritage Walk Trails
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To really soak up the historic ambiance of Old Perth, an outing along the Guildford Heritage Walk Trails is in order. The there are four trails, varying in length from 450 meters to over 2,000 meters and fifty interpretive panels are positioned along the trails to point out different sites of significance. Some of the places you’ll see on the trails are the Old Guildford Courthouse, the restored Rose & Crown Hotel and the Chapel of St. Mary and St. George – which is said to be the finest example of Gothic architecture in Australia.
1300 Trail Rides
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1300 Trail Rides allows visitors to see the Perth countryside that no other method can offer – via horseback! Trail rides are offered for any level of experience from beginner to novice. The excursions vary from an hour in length to an entire afternoon. You’ll see some of the most beautiful countryside and bushland in the country during your excursions. Alternately, you can choose from themed rides like a romantic outing for two, a twilight ride or a family fun event. Knowledgeable guides will ensure your enjoyment and safety the entire way. Riders will be paired with horses, based on their ability and experience. Booking your trip well in advance is advised.
- The heat and elements are the major concern for tourists in Perth. If you’re planning to be outdoors, be sure to apply a good sunscreen and wear protective clothing. Children and the elderly are especially vulnerable so special caution should be taken with those age groups.
- If you’re planning on swimming while in Perth, be sure to choose a beach that is lifeguard-patrolled and remain between the posted flags. Swimming in the ocean can be precarious at times. Failure to follow the rules outlined by safety officials could lead to serious injury or drowning.
- Mosquito-borne illnesses are still prevalent in some parts of Australia so it is prudent to apply insect repellant any time that you venture outdoors, especially outside of the larger metro areas.
- There are many reserve lands for the Aboriginal people in Australia. These reserves require special permits in order to pass through them or visit. The Aboriginal land is self-governed and the permits must be attained through the Department of Indigenous Affairs.