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Perth is the capital city of Western Australia and is the most isolated capital city of over 1,000,000 people in the world.
Perth sprawls along a flat coastal plain, centred along the Swan River and bounded by the Darling Scarp to the east and the Indian Ocean coastline in the west. Perth has a population of around 1.6 million (2009), making it the fourth largest city in Australia. The many uncrowded beaches along the Perth coastline define the lifestyle: Perth is laid-back, quiet and safe.
When to visit
Spring (Sep-Nov) and Autumn (Mar-May) are ideal times in which to visit Perth. Spring (particularly October / November periods) is perhaps the very best to see the sights as after a decent winter's rainfall, the famous wildflowers around Kings Park and the Avon Valley bloom splendidly.
The local inhabitants tend to holiday during the height of summer or winter, either to escape the climate, or to celebrate it. In winter Perth inhabitants often travel north to Broome or Bali for the warmth, or oppositely staying in small chalets in the southern country during the winter to enjoy the cool wet climate and seasonal foods.
All scheduled international and domestic flights arrive and depart from Perth Airport (PER). Though both international and domestic services operate under the same Perth Airport banner, the terminals are located either side of the runway, or about 9km (15 minutes) by road.
Once the only way to way to get into Perth, a limited number of passenger ships now dock at Fremantle. A number of round the world cruise ships including the Queen Mary 2 and Queen Victoria call into the Fremantle Passenger Terminal on their own schedule. Sailing into Perth from the Indian Ocean is expensive.
The Indian Pacific trans-continental railway runs from Perth to Sydney via Kalgoorlie, Adelaide and Broken Hill. It is generally not cheap, but this journey, which takes four days and three nights, is one of the world's great train journeys.
By public transport
The Perth metropolitan area has a fairly reliable and inexpensive public transport system operated by Transperth. Travelling to the tourist attractions within Perth, Fremantle, Cottesloe, Scarborough is easy by public transport, but outside of that a car is significantly better.
Renting a car is the ideal means of transportation for traveling to outlying attractions. Perth's major freeways and highways are free from any tolls, as is not the case in Sydney and Melbourne and from either of these major arterial roads, it is possible to be surrounded by beautiful countryside within minutes.
What to see
There is plenty to see in the city centre within wandering distance or on a free CAT bus. Hidden among the sprawl of the surrounding and metropolitan area are a few worthwhile attractions usually less than an hour away by car, or a bit longer on public transport.
Outside of the metropolitan area are some unspoilt national parks, unpopulated coastline and other interesting locations.
There is a designated area in the zoo for kangaroos where they can wander on visitors' paths and the animals are used to people so you can see them very close.
To see semi-wild kangaroos visit the Pinnaroo Valley Memorial Park - it's a walking distance from Whitfords Transperth Train/Metro Station - just cross the highway, the highway exit and look for the entrance on the left. As there is plenty of space for them you may see them not only eating but also hopping.
What to do
Perth boasts some of the country's best beaches, which are ideal for swimming during the warmer months. Sunscreen is essential and insect repellent may come in handy during the evening. As the beaches are on the open ocean it is strongly advised that you only 'swim between the flags' at patrolled beaches.
Swim Naked. There is only one beach in Perth that permits nude bathing: Swanbourne. Males sunbathing topless at other beaches is the norm, however females will not usually get a police fine but will get stared at.
Cycle. Perth has excellent bike paths and fantastic weather almost all year round which makes it perfect for cycling. The paths that follow the Swan River are very scenic and mostly flat. You can take your own bike, hire a bicycle from one of the bike hire providers located near the Swan River or take a tour with Bluetongue Bike Tours or Pedal OZ.
Parks. Perth has a number of fantastic parks, ranging from inner-city parks such as Kings Park, Bold Park, and Lake Monger, to outer city parks such as John Forrest and Whiteman Park
Take a Day Trip. As with any travelling in a country with as low a density as Perth, you will become accustomed to spending a lot of time travelling between the sights. One of the best day trips in Perth is to visit the nature reserve off the coast of Fremantle, Rottnest Island.
Go Wine Tasting. Well renowned amongst locals and tourists alike, the Swan Valley in the hills boasts some of the country's best wineries and micro-breweries.
There are a lot of options if you have access to a car - from the city just head to the coast, then head north or south for some exploring.
Adventure World. Perth's only theme park has roller coasters, water slides, go-karts, and rides for younger kids. Located in Bibra Lake, it's around 20 minutes by car from the CBD with plenty of parking available so it's best to go by car.
Perth Zoo. The zoo in South Perth has over 1,000 animals and more than 150 different species, including elephants are particularly well-loved by the locals. You can get there on bus 34 from the Esplanade Bus Port or if you prefer to drive there are several paid parking lots close by.
Perth is well known for its indie music scene at established venues such as Amplifier Bar, Rosemount, Fly By Night, The Rocket Room and Mojos. The Big Day Out festival is held in early February every year. Visit YourGigs for upcoming gigs or Perth Indie Bands for a selection of good Perth bands.
Raves and Festivals. If dance music is your thing, many top DJ and electronic music artists will make the trip out to Perth between October and March. Visit for upcoming dates.