The eighth most liveable city in the world encircles vibrant parkland, is riven by the Swan River and stretches sands seaward to be lapped by the turquoise waters of the Indian Ocean. Holding records for having the largest inner city park in the world, being the sunniest and most isolated capital city, Perth is well worth a visit. Cheap flights to Perth touch down right in the central business district, making the city distinctively accessible for tourists.
Once in the city, get a bird’s eye view of its beautiful skyline by ascending the Swan Bell Tower on Barrack Street Jetty. Commissioned to celebrate the millennium, it enspheres 12 bells in green glass which were donated from St Martins in the Field in London when the building became too fragile to support their weight, as well as a further 6 modern bells which were specially constructed to complement their chime. With galleries of time pieces, and an observation balcony on the 6th floor, the tower is a sculptural masterpiece and entirely unique. The city rings with the pealing of its 14th century instruments on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
King’s Park and Botanic garden is one of the largest chunks of inner city parkland in the world. With over 400 hectares of lush vegetation, scattered wildflowers, picnic areas and several important war memorials and sculptures, it’s the most popular destination in Western Australia. Drop in to Aspects of King’s park to view some Australian artwork and buy a book on gardening from their extensive collection, or head over to the 18 hectare Botanical Garden to view over 3000 species of flora.
Dazzle your palette with a Swan Valley wine tour. Tours leave from the heart of Perth every day, and are consistently praised for their diligent service. Usually incorporating a visit to one or several wineries, and the inevitable wine and beer tasting, tours also feature nougat sampling and a trip to the chocolate factory. Packages start at around 130 Australian dollars, and are a great way to relax, socialise and make merry in the sunshine.
For something at the other end of the budget, head to Cottesloe Beach to watch the sky burn as the sun drifts below the horizon over the glistening waves, or sit in one of the nearby pubs and enjoy a frothing beer with the crowds that swarm its café terraces on a Sunday afternoon.
Take a cruise out to Rottnest Island. Once used as a penal colony for Aboriginal prisoners in the 19th century, and used as a world war one and two base, it’s fronded by pine and feathered by exotic birds, and well worth a ferry trip for the day. Due to the craggy reef-scape surrounding the island there are 12 shipwrecks dotted about its seas. Snorkelers can charter a dive which will take them to some of the more famous wreck sites, or for something a little more tranquil, skim the Indian Ocean on a twilight cruise.