Perth, the capital of Western Australia, is a sprawling metropolis offering everything from wonderfully warm weather and white sandy beaches to bustling city life and contemporary nightlife.
With 24 miles of coastline and endless blue skies, it really is no surprise that the heart of Perth is at the beach. From Cottesloe to Port Beach, you'll find soft sands, clear waters, and bronzed people having a ball.
Chill out with the black swans on the banks of the Swan River, explore the vast green spaces and bushland in Kings Park, or soak up the sights at Perth Cultural Centre.
With over 19 beaches dotting the coastline, you'll be spoiled for choice. Cottesloe Beach is one of the most well known and beloved. Fancy snorkeling? Head to Mettam's Pool. Want to give surfing a go? Trigg Beach is the local surfer's paradise.
Wine lovers are in luck: the Swan Valley is a 25-minute drive from downtown. This picturesque region is home to over 150 attractions, including local and international wineries, breweries, gourmet restaurants, and arts-and-crafts stores.
This 1000-acre park is the perfect place for a picnic, a sunset date, or day out for the kids. Wander the Lotterywest Federation Walkway; the 670-yard-long path winds through the green space and has a glass bridge that allows you to walk right up in the canopies of the eucalyptus trees.
11 miles off the coast of Perth is Rottnest Island, home of the quokka (a small marsupial), Australian sea lions, and fur seals. Get up close and personal with the wildlife, explore the island by bike like a local, or simply visit the stunning beaches and reefs. There are daily ferries between Perth and Rottnest Island, which take 30 minutes each way, making it perfect for a day trip.
The Perth Cultural Centre is an area located just a short footbridge away from Perth train station. This vibrant hub of activity is home to multiple cultural institutions, cafes and, in the summer, pop-up bars. The Art Gallery of Western Australia is particularly delightful with 17,000 artworks.
Perth is a good year-round destination that enjoys hot, dry summers and mild winters. Summer lasts from December - February, but be warned: it's not uncommon for temperatures to soar above 100 degrees Fahrenheit. For those who prefer it warm but not too hot, fall (March - May) and spring (September - November) are both ideal times to visit. Winters are far from harsh but subject to occasional thunderstorms and heavy rains.
Perth Airport (PER) is located 11 miles from the center of town. There's a shuttle service between the four terminals and the 380 bus runs from Elizabeth Quay Bus Station to and from the airport as well as route 40 from downtown Perth. A one-way, zone 2 ticket will cost you A$4.60.
There are limited train services heading to and from Perth. The regional train system runs between Perth to Kalgoorlie and Bunbury. Indian Pacific is the flagship interstate railway service between the East and West Coast; this service leaves Perth once a week and takes three days in total.
While it's possible to drive to and from Perth to larger cities on the East Coast the journey is very long at 1678 miles. Travelers have to traverse the immense Nullarbor Plain, and most people only do this as once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Finding an interstate bus service to Perth will be difficult and several changes will be required, making it a less than ideal option. Transperth bus services run routes to Perth from neighboring towns, such as Fremantle.
If you're after luxury, you can't go wrong with the Terrace Hotel: its opulent bar has a great selection of champagne and cocktails, and its plush suites are sure to delight. The Richardson Hotel and Spa is perfect for those seeking something a little smaller and quieter, yet still indulgent, with its fabulous wellness center. For some local flavor, the Cottesloe Beach Hotel overlooks one of the most pristine beaches on the West Coast.
Central Business District – you can't get any more central than the Central Business District, known simply as the CBD. It's home to the big shopping streets (Hay St. and Murray St.), Perth Cultural Centre, as well as Parliament House.
Cottesloe – it's not just the beach that brings locals and tourists to Cottesloe. The Boatshed Market is your one-stop shop for gourmet produce, and the perfect place to fill up a picnic hamper for a day out. Go shopping on Stirling Highway, practice your swing at the Sea View Golf Club, or just revel in the stunning views of the Indian ocean.
Leederville – this neighborhood has a distinctly bohemian vibe with its pop-up bars and cafes, coffee shops, flea markets, and quirky fashion boutiques. Oxford Street is particularly famed for its cheap eateries, coffee shops, and bars. Hunt down some vinyls at Urban Records, enjoy a slice of cheesecake while playing board games at Greens & Co, and then find some cheap designer threads at Atlas Divine.
All public transportation is operated by Transperth, including buses, trains, and ferries. A ticket will cost you A$2.10 - A$12.40, depending on which zones you wish to travel in. You can ride on all public transportation as long as you get on board before the expiry time. Included in the Transperth infrastructure is the CAT, a free, wheelchair-accessible bus service in the Central Transit Area, operating on red, blue, yellow, and green routes. The Central Transit Area is namely the Central Business District, where a lot of attractions are.
Traveling by taxi is very simple in Perth with lots of taxi ranks around the central city. They can, however, be quite expensive. A standard week day tariff (6 am - 6 pm, Mon - Fri) will consist of a A$4.20 basic charge and then A$1.72 per 0.62 miles on top of that. This jumps to a A$6.10 basic charge and A$1.72 per 0.62 miles after 6 pm on weeknights and also at weekends. In addition, there is a A$1.50 call out fee for all booked taxis.
Perth Airport offers several car rental services: Avis, Budget, Europcar, Redspot, Hertz, and Thrifty. A small-to-medium-sized car will cost you around A$65-85 per day. There are 35 multi-floor parking lots in Perth, with prices varying depending on the neighborhood. On-street parking will cost you A$4.30 per hour in the city and between A$3.60 - A$4 in the suburbs. It's best to rent a car if you intend to stay outside of the CBD, or wish the explore the surrounding towns.
Hay Street Mall and Murray Street Mall are two of the largest shopping arcades in the city, both equipped with an extensive range of high street and department stores. Be sure to head to Creative Native in Forrest Chase (on Murray Street): this outlet specializes in original Aboriginal arts and didgeridoos. They also offer free didgeridoo lessons, so it's well worth a visit.
There are three major supermarkets in Perth: Woolworths, Coles, and IGA, which can be found in all neighborhoods. On average, a loaf of bread and a dozen eggs will cost you around A$3 and A$5 respectively.
Western Australia's capital city has a glittering array of restaurants, catering to all manner of tastes and budgets. Pub culture is thriving here and most offer great deals on lunch and dinner options, with an average main dish costing you around A$25. The Breakwater in Hillary's Boat Harbour sits directly on the water, so you can enjoy fine dining with some stunning views. Alternatively, if you've got a hankering for a juicy steak try The Old Brewery on the river by Kings Park. Leederville offers a diverse range of boutique restaurants, cafes, and fast food outlets that are sure to please both adventurous and picky eaters.