Thursday, June 6, 2013

Perth, West-Australia.

A tourist guide for the City of Perth, West-Australia.

By Geoff Dodson

First proclaimed as a city in the year 1829 by the British, Perth has evolved into a thriving metropolis that has much in the way of attractions and activities for both visitors and residents alike. Although defined as being the most geographically isolated capital city in the world city, no one could possibly complain about a lack of tourist attractions or associated activities. With out a doubt, Perth has much to offer anyone who chooses to ‘head on down to the great southern land.’

Perth is located next to the Indian Ocean, which means that there are some great swimming and surfing beaches to visit during the summer months.
You need to know Perth has a temperate climate of four distinct seasons. Unlike the northern hemisphere, summer here goes from December to February, autumn, (or fall), lasts from March until May, winter happens from June to August, and spring happens between September until November. So take note of what particular time of year you wish to visit.

Summer gets hot, with an average temperature of 32 degrees Celsius, so the beaches are popular for residents and tourists alike. If you choose to go to the beach for a day of ‘aquatic activities’, you should also be aware of the fact that Australia has one of the highest rates of skin-cancer in the world. Make sure that you use sunscreen and protective clothing! You also have to swim between flags placed on the beach. These are designated safe swimming areas. Don’t risk ignoring this point. Otherwise you’ll end up being caught in a tidal rip, and will need rescuing by the life-saving team. Tourists have drowned at Australian beaches simply by ignoring safety advice.

If you miss visiting Perth during the summer season, don’t worry. There are plenty of alternative activities for the keen visitor. Here we have innumerable cafés and well-priced restaurants scattered throughout the entire city region. I strongly advise buying a tourist guide that will provide you with relevant information and locations. A prepared tourist is a happy tourist!

We also have an effective public transport system in this town, with buses and trains running all week up until midnight. During the week and Saturday mornings, all services run every 15 minutes. I recommend that you look up the TransPerth information line. Ask at your hotel reception desk if you have any problems. Taxis are also easily accessed but expensive. If you’re accommodation is centrally located, walking is also an option. However, one must adopt an air of caution, and stick to well lit and populated streets. I also recommend avoiding crowded and noisy drinking venues, as they are often the scene for negative social behaviour.

If pubs or nightclubs are not your particular cup of tea, hire a car and take a drive up into the hills that line the eastern side of Perth. Named the ‘Darling Ranges’, you will discover some excellent locations that beg to be experienced and photographed. For instance, procure a well-marked tourist road map, and within 40 minutes or so from the central city, you can visit Mundaring Weir. Constructed in the late 19th century to provide water for the gold field town Kalgoorlie 500 or so kilometres east of Perth, this place will delight history buffs. The near bye Weir hotel, which is reputedly haunted, provides excellent accommodation and meals. I strongly recommend some internet searching before you depart on your journey to Perth city so you can get an idea of
all the attractions to visit, which are many. You have to use your map, and discover all the places to see. Not so many city locals are aware of what lies on their doorstep, so most spots are not all that crowded.

Half an hour train journey from central Perth will take you to the harbour suburb of Fremantle. This part of our city that has preserved much in the way of 19th century architecture, and going there is almost stepping back in time. Full of café’s and restaurants, you will have a great time exploring this region. The weekend markets are also a great place to visit if you’re looking for some souvenirs and memos of your trip. Maritime aficionados will gain much enjoyment from visiting the maritime museum, which is located on the harbour wharf. Again, grab yourself a decent tourist guide before you set forth on your ‘tourist excursion.’

If you wish to spend a night or two in the Fremantle region, be prepared to pay relatively high prices for accommodation. Venues restored to reflect their origins tend to demand high tariffs. At the risk of sounding repetitive, you have to do some internet research before you decide to travel. Hotel prices in other parts of the city average between $130 -190 per night depending on the quality of accommodation. If you’re on a tight budget, there is the option of back-packer hostels. Check the web for the Youth Hostels Association, etc. Yes, you’ll save money, but be prepared for shared showers and cooking facilities.

Within the central region of Perth, you will discover some still wild and undeveloped areas. King’s Park, looking over the main city and the Swan River, is a major attraction for residents and tourists alike. Easy to get to, and free to enter, you will get the chance to see what Perth looked like before the advent of European colonisation and urban development. Along with native vegetation, are grassed picnic areas, and food outlets. Don’t forget to see the War Memorial. It provides a haunting reminder of the sacrifice of young men and women in W.W.1 and 2. Located in another area, you will find the Vietnam War Memorial. Here is another chance to reflect on the cost of Australia at war; something that is central to our unique culture.

So there you have it. A brief yet accurate, I trust description of a city that has been my home since 1960. When I first arrived as a wee immigrant, Perth was little more than a large country town, with not much to offer in the way of attractions. Gone those days and now you’ll be presented with a vibrant and still growing metropolis that is multi-cultural and unique. Sure, the East of Australia has Melbourne and Sydney, but from my perspective, Perth is the best city in the entire nation. Why? We’ve got everything in the way of resources and scenery.

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