Perth, the capital of Western Australia, is one of the world’s most isolated cities. It’s closer to Singapore than it is to Canberra, and is on a strip of greenery bounded by the desert on one side and the Indian Ocean on the other – next stop: Africa. So what makes this city such a great place to visit? Is it the prosperity that comes from the mining boom? Is it the fact that it’s got one of Australia’s best climates? Is it because you can watch the sun set over the Indian Ocean? There are so many reasons why Perth is the best Aussie city to visit.
Perth has what’s known as a Mediterranean climate, which means it is dry and hot in summer and wet and mild in winter. Compare this to the shocking humidity experienced on a summer’s day in Brisbane, or the miserable drabness of a Melbourne winter and you can easily rate it ‘best weather’. Perth has more sunshine than any other capital city, which means chances are you’re going to strike it lucky no matter when you visit.
Not far from Perth is Fremantle Prison, where from 1855 to 1991, 350,000 people were imprisoned. Just like Port Arthur in Tasmania, this is a genuine piece of Australian heritage built from limestone quarried in the surrounding hills. You can do a tour of the solitary cells, the kitchens and the officers’ quarters, or you can take the Tunnels Tour which includes a subterranean boat ride. The prison was the last location for executions in the state.
The Swan River is the heart of Perth and is a beautiful spot for leisure and recreation. Jet skiing, kayaking and sailing are all enjoyed, as are cycling, walking and jogging along the river bank. The river covers 72 square kilometres of river wetlands and surrounds, and is a significant site for the indigenous Noongar people. Bull sharks, cobbler, herring, mullet, black bream, whiting, flatheads and blowies can all be found in the river, along with Western Australia’s famous black swans.
This gorgeous island, reached by ferry from Perth, takes its name from the Dutch for rat’s nest. But don’t worry: Dutch explorer William De Vlamingh who landed there in 1696 mistook the local marsupial quokkas for rats. The island still has the quokkas, as well as some of the most pristine beaches and bays in the world. Take a trip to Wadjemup Lighthouse, its stark whiteness outlined against the blue of the Indian Ocean, for an amazing view of the island.
WA still enjoys prosperity as an exporter of iron and thanks to its deposits of gold; a gold rush transformed Perth in the late 1800s. The Perth Mint opened in 1899 and has Australia’s only gold refinery, where you can see the precious metal forged into bars. There’s a display of gold nuggets and souvenir coins to purchase – the mint makes all of Australia’s official Australian gold bullion coins and silver bullion coins.
From the golden surf beaches of Rottnest Island to the broad expanse of the Swan River, Perth is a city of great beauty. Its history is present in Fremantle Prison and the Mint; its climate promises that whenever you visit you are likely to get a sunny reception. All this means Perth is the best city in Australia to visit.
(Featured image: Daniel Lee)