To get to Perth and the rest of Western Australia, you really
ought to think about flying. The main domestic carrier is Qantas.
The drive from other cities
such as Melbourne or Sydney is a very long one. Melbourne to Perth
is over 2,500 miles.
Some Key Attractions:
Perth is the capital city of Western Australia and it
is probably one of the most isolated cities in the world. Perth
is closer to Singapore than it is to Sydney. Eighty percent of
the 1.8 million population of Western Australia lives in Perth
which gives you an idea of how sparsely populated the rest of
Western Australia is. Perth is situated
on the Swan River about 6 miles from the Indian Ocean.
Perth was originally settled by Captain James Stirling in 1826.
Later, convicts arrived in 1850 to help build the city and its
infrastructure. The city was given a huge boost in the 1890's
when gold was discovered in the Western Australian towns of Kalgoorlie
and Coolgardie. Today, Perth is a cosmopolitan city with wonderful
hotels, sports and a
perfect climate which is not unlike
San Diego in California or the Southern Mediterranean area. Locals
boast that Perth has one of the best
lifestyles in the world and it easy to see why.
Western Australian Museum: The Western Australian Museum
will give you a feel for the history of this area all the way
back to the original inhabitants, the aborigines. The aborigines
are reported to have lived in this area for 30,000 years.
Kings Park is 1,000 acres of bushland in Perth. Most of it is
untouched but there are some areas that are landscaped. Either
way this is a great get away for a walk, picnic or to just sit
and read a book without leaving Perth.
Perth Cultural Center:
Perth Cultural Center is located north of the city center. It
is the home of the Art Gallery of Western Australia which houses
Australian art, including aboriginal works of art.
Mint: The Perth
Mint contains a museum of coins and other precious metal objects.
The mint was opened in 1899 during the gold rush days and it was
used to manufacture sovereign coins from the gold. Coins are no
longer manufactured here but visitors can see a "Gold Pour"
that illustrates how molten gold is made into an ingot.
Perth Area Beaches:
around Perth is known for the beautiful pristine beaches. The
coastal area, known as the Sunset Coast, is made up of 50 miles
of white sandy beaches overlooking the blue Indian Ocean. Many
of the towns have restaurants and cafes which makes this area
enticing for a day trip from Perth.
Fremantle is a seaside town with a population of approximately
25,000 that is located 13 miles south of Perth. Fremantle is a
port city with a history that has been nicely preserved. Fremantle
is probably best known for hosting the America's Cup Yacht Races
in 1987. Many of the historic buildings have been restored which
gives this town its historic feeling. Today, many of these buildings
are galleries, shops and museums. Fremantle has many attractions
such as the Western Australian Maritime Museum, The Round House
(Fremantle's first jail), Fremantle Museum and Arts Center and
the Fremantle Markets. Whether you are interested in history
or just like to be by the water, Fremantle is a great place to
stop for a day or two.
The Swan Valley is very close to Perth and is the oldest
wine growing region in Western Australia. There are bed
and breakfasts, cellar door tastings at the vineyards and
all of the good restaurants
that accompanies a wine region.
Rottnest Island lies 11 miles to the west of Perth and
therefore it is a short ferry ride from Perth. You can reach Rottnest
Island by ferry from Fremantle and Perth. No cars are allowed
and you can bicycle around the island to visit the magnificent
beaches. The island is popular for water sports such as swimming,
scuba diving and surfing. Rottnest Island is also famous for its
native marsupial called the Quokka. The Quokka is a small type
of wallaby and earlier navigators thought they were a type of
rat. Hence the island was named "rats nest". Please
do not feed the Quokkas as they are wild creatures.
Rockingham is located 30 miles south of Perth and is a
haven for water lovers. Activities include fishing, swimming,
snorkeling or you can take a cruise and swim in the water with
dolphins in the wild. From Rockingham, you can take a ferry to
Penguin Island and see the local Fairy Penguins.
South Coast: The southern
coast of Western Australia is the meeting place of two huge
oceans. This is where the Indian Ocean and the Southern Ocean
meet which can cause weather that fluctuates and it is normally
cooler than the west coast regions. The meeting of the oceans
make this part of Australia popular with the local surfers.
This area is a scenic area with many wonderful panoramas and there
are several national parks located here. Some of the national
parks are D'Entrecasteaux National Park and Walpole Nornalup National
Park. The best way to see this rugged coastline is to drive. Along
the way, you will find accommodation
in some of the towns such as Denmark and Augusta.
Some of the best wines are made in this area in Margaret River.
Years ago Margaret River was an agricultural and timber region
but wine has taken over. Some of the more popular newer wines
in Australia now originate from here. We have tried them and they
are quite good.
Shark Bay World Heritage and Marine
Park: About a third of the way up the Western Australian
coast, you will find the Shark Bay World Heritage and Marine Park.
This Park was designated a World Heritage area in 1991 and it
is home to many endangered species. There are many wonderful areas
in the Park. Two highlights are Monkey Mia and Shell Beach. Monkey
Mia is a small beach where people can visit with wild dolphins
as they often come into the shore to be fed. They are friendly
and you are able to wade in the water and get up and close to
these beautiful marine creatures. Shell Beach is a 40 mile beach
made of deep layers of cockle shells.
The town of Broome is further north from the Shark Bay area and
is famous for the pearling activity. Just outside of Broome is
Cable Beach where you can take a camel ride along the beach. In
Broome there is also a crocodile park for anyone interested in
learning more about these ferocious reptiles.
Between July and November, vast areas of the State - from the
southern regions to the Pilbara and Kimberley in the north and
the Goldfields to the east - are a blaze of colour as the annual
display of wildflowers burst into bloom. And visitors do not have
to travel far to see them. They're even on the doorstep of the
capital, Perth - just a short walk from the city centre. This
is a big surpise to many visitors who largely think of Western
Australia as being the dry, arrid Outback.
Diving and Marine Life: Giant Whale Sharks visit
Western Australia every year between mid-March and mid-June and
something special happens at Ningaloo Reef. It's so special it
lures people from all over the world. They come to dive and swim
with whale sharks - the world's largest fish, more than 12-metres
long and weighing more than 11 tonnes.