The Australian city, Perth, has an array of impressive attractions, says David Hughes.
Some TV ads depict the land of Down Under as being one of dynamic diversity in its people, cities, and landscapes.
However, while we all know and love the iconic images of the the Sydney Opera House, Uluru, and Whitehaven Beach, Perth seems just a tad overlooked.
Australian tennis legend Margaret Court has referred to it as ‘Australia’s most beautiful city’, and who would disagree (except residents of Sydney or Melbourne)?
Perth, the capital of Western Australia, sits where the Swan River meets the south-west coast. With fantastic beaches, impressive urban living, myriad parks and gardens, and a cultural pulse to rival that of any world metropolis. The city offers an enviable lifestyle to its two million residents, and an alluring array of attractions for tourists.
As a city lapped by the Indian Ocean and blessed with a climate that is hot without being intoxicating, perhaps those TV ad directors should take note, and give Perth a higher profile.
My favourite place- It was those estimable fellows from the Royal Perth Yacht Club that finally wrestled the America’s Cup away from the United States in 1983, and this is a city that is justifiably proud of its sailing credentials. Hillary’s Boat Harbour, about 20km north-west of the city, is a slick, smart marina groaning with some of the best-looking vessels you’ll ever see while providing a café, shops, and family-friendly attractions for those not naturally nautical. Here, the Aquarium of Western Australia offers a glass tunnel to wander through while you stare at all manner of stingrays, dolphins, sharks, and more than 200 species of fish and mammals. With plenty of paths, biking trails, and inlet beaches to enjoy, relaxing outdoor life doesn’t come much better than this.
Highlights- Every urban sprawl worth its salt needs expansive and lush green space for city dwellers to chill out in. The Kings Park and Botanic Garden is an oasis for people to simply plump themselves down and find the meaning of inner tranquillity.
Most of this 1,000-acre park consists of bush and is replete with flora, fauna, and an impressive array of birds. The Botanic Garden boasts the best in bulging plant specimens from California and South Africa, and sitting next to the water garden (which resembles a creek) and enjoying a few tingling cascades of spray is just perfect for cooling down.
In fact outdoor life is all around here; you simply can’t avoid it. The Swan River is the saving grace at the end of the week for which tired commuters can take their families along the river bank for picnics, go fishing, sail, canoe or swim, or hike and bike along the many trails. Cruise trips up the river abound, where passengers can ogle some rather affluent riverside mansions or disembark for luscious libations at some enticing restaurants and cafés. Boat trips can be taken at Barrack Square jetty.
Although Australia is a relatively new country, its short history is no less fascinating for all that. History buffs can check out the Museum of Perth, and the WA Maritime Museum. Both institutions lift the lid on Perth’s social, cultural, and mercantile heritage as a coastal port. There are many other museums and art gallery options, too. Perth is no cultural backwater, not by any means
It’s a city that was made for al fresco dining though, and here diners can delve into all manner of Mediterranean or Asian culinary creations – all lovingly created by members of a multi-cultural population and powered by produce grown locally. There’s gourmet dining here, sure, but some of the noodle bars offer excellent value for money. You can also enjoy an afternoon tea, which is an elegant English throwback to the city’s colonial past.
Souvenirs- In case a boomerang has health-and-safety concerns for you, why not choose some sculptures, paintings, and wood carvings created by Australia’s indigenous population? There are plenty of gift shops around that offer these, as well as tasteful arrays of antiques, artefacts, and rock engravings.
How to get there- Catch a flight from Muscat to Dubai, then fly directly to Perth. Both Emirates and Cathay Pacific operate a regular service.