Perth, the capital of Western Australia, boasts more sunshine hours than any other capital in Australia. Plenty of sunny days combined with a laid-back vibe contribute to making this city a very enjoyable place to live in and to visit.
Located on Australia's west coast, with waves of the Indian Ocean lapping on the pristine beaches, Perth was founded in 1859 by Captain James Stirling. The city has seen two dramatic increases in population growth: one after the gold rushes in the late 19th century and the other following World War Two. In more recent years, several mining booms have occurred, with the mining industry to this day being a significant driving force in the State's economic growth.
Situated on the banks of the Swan River, Perth has a population of almost 2 million. As would be expected in a city this size, there is a thriving nightlife, with restaurants, bars and clubs spread across the inner city as well as in many beach locations. There are also plenty of art and culture events, with Perth's annual Fringe World Festival and International Arts Festival each showcasing local and international talent. For shopaholics, there are plenty of shopping destinations, ranging from designer shops to the quaint little stalls in the Fremantle market.
You might think the opportunity to explore nature in such a big city would be minimal. In fact, Perth is a nature lover's paradise. There are walking trails, superb parks and reserves and gorgeous beaches which are often uncrowded. At Rottnest Island, a stunning Class-A Nature reserve, you can experience unforgettable wildlife encounters with dolphins, penguins or the unique Aussie marsupial the quokka. The advantages of big city life combined with lots of opportunities to enjoy nature allow visitors to get the best of both worlds. Why not start planning your holiday to Perth today?
Things to do
As Perth has sunny weather for a large part of the year and the winter is generally mild compared to places like the UK, it is usually possible to include a range of outdoor attractions in your itinerary, regardless of what time of the year you visit.
Experience the Australian bush in the city
Kings Park and Botanic Gardens is one of the biggest parks in the world that is located in a city. The park is a striking mix of natural bush with sculptured gardens all situated atop Mount Eliza, a location that rewards visitors with wonderful panoramic views of the city and the Swan River. The park is beautiful throughout the year, but the highlight is undeniably in spring when the wildflowers bloom, providing a feast for the eyes and a spectacle that Perth is renowned for.
Beaches: you are spoilt for choice
Perth boasts many stunning beaches. One of the most popular is Cottesloe, a pretty, family-friendly beach with pristine sand and clear blue waters, located just a 15-minute drive from the city. Cottesloe is ideal for swimming and surfing, while the rocks and reefs make it perfect for snorkelling too. And you can finish off your day by watching the sunset while sipping a glass of wine or eating dinner at one of the nearby bustling restaurants, bars or cafés.
Get up close to the animals at Rottnest Island
Many opportunities exist for wildlife encounters in and around Perth. Take a short ferry trip to Rottnest Island to see quokkas, one of Australia's cute marsupials. Surrounded by coral reefs, this island provides plentiful diving and snorkelling experiences during which you can see stunning tropical fish. From the island, it is also possible to observe other animals such as whales, fur seals and a range of wild birds.
Sample some great Aussie wines in Swan Valley
Located about 30 minutes from the central city, Swan Valley boasts several wineries, some of which are renowned, where you can enjoy tasting sessions as well as admire the local scenery. Several well-regarded tour companies run half-day or full-day excursions from city locations, so you can just sit back, relax and enjoy the wines on offer. Some tours include cheese and chocolate sampling as well.
Explore Fremantle Markets, streets and Port
Just a 30-minute drive away, the bustling port city of Fremantle awaits. This city is a haven for art lovers and those who enjoy pottering around markets. The streets are filled with trendy cafés and bars, tempting you in with their lively music. If you want to sample handcrafted beers or explore quirky boutiques, this is a great place for you.
Calendar of Events
Whether you are after cultural, comedy or sporting events, there are a wide range of activities on offer throughout the year, so you can plan your itinerary around them, if you so wish.
- Perth's Fringe World Festival. Not for the easily embarrassed, this Fringe Festival is the third largest in the world. This month-long event takes place during part of January and February, with international and Australian performers delivering a range of comedy, theatre, Burlesque and circus shows in pubs and parks across the city.
Perth International Arts Festival. This annual arts festival brings together contemporary artists from around the world, including Australian talent. Spread over 25 days, this festival starts from mid-February. Spectators can expect a dazzling array of jazz, classical music, dance, theatre, film and literature performances.
Kings Park Festival. Takes place during September at the Kings Park and Botanical Gardens. Take part in guided walks and talks, learn about local flora and see the magnificent wildflowers. Artist displays and a variety of workshops are on offer.
Perth Cup. This is the biggest day of the year at the horseraces in Perth. It is held at the Ascot racecourse, usually on New Year's Day. Go to watch the horse races, enjoy the fashion and join in the party afterwards.
Australia Day Skyworks. This Australia Day celebration takes place on 26th January every year. This great family day out starts around 3pm and takes place alongside the Swan River. After enjoying the funfair, water playground, food market and animals, the evening ends with a spectacular 30-minute firework display.