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Perth is the capital and largest city of Western Australia. It is claimed to be one of the most isolated cities of over one million residents on the planet, separated from Adelaide (the nearest city with over one million inhabitants) by the distance of 2,139km. Perth sprawls over a flat coastal plain, centred along the Swan River and bounded by the Darling Scarp to the east and the Indian Ocean coastline to the west. Perth has a population of over 1.8 million (2012), 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. (less...) (more...)
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Points of Interest in Perth
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 (a cemetery, but not European style)  - 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.
In Whiteman Park kangaroos come close to the parking areas in the main visitor areas of the Park.
There are also kangaroos that occasionally come close to the Mundaring Weir Hotel in , and the car park above Mundaring Weir/Lake C Y O'Connor.
- Australian Rules Football. Perth, like Melbourne, is mad for its footy. Every weekend between (roughly) March and August, Subiaco fills to near-capacity with either West Coast Eagles or Fremantle Dockers supporters. Why not choose whose colours you like best and join in the fun? As the Eagles are the more popular and successful side in the Australian Football League, many of their games are already sold to capacity, so it is best to buy your tickets a couple of weeks before the scheduled fixture (Ticketek offer a pick-up service at the venue). Aussie rules football might be hard to understand at first, but it is quite exciting.
- Other sports Other professional sports have a presence in Perth:
- Perth Glory – If you prefer association football (generally known by Australians as "soccer") and find Australian Rules football too confusing, Perth Glory Football Club compete in the A-League, Australia's top level of football. The season runs over summer from October to March, with the possibility of qualification to the finals series (playoffs) running into April. They have a sister club, Perth Glory W-League, that competes in the women's W-League. Both teams play at Perth Oval, also known as NIB Stadium due to a sponsorship deal. The stadium is a 10 min walk from Northbridge, or a 3 min walk from Claisebrook Train Station.
- Western Warriors – Play cricket in all three of Australia's main domestic competitions—the Sheffield Shield ("first-class"; matches run for four days), the Ford Ranger Cup (one-day cricket; matches last about 8 hours), and the KFC Twenty20 Big Bash (matches last about 3 hours). Home ground is the WACA. The WACA also hosts one of the summer Test matches against England in January.
- Western Force – Rugby union team in the Super 15, involving teams from Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa. Season runs from February to late May. Western Force play at NIB Stadium.
- Perth Wildcats – Play in the National Basketball League.
- Perth Lynx – Play in the Women's National Basketball League.
- Perth Heat - Play in the Australian Baseball League
The Perth region has been home to the indigenous Nyoongar people for at least the past 40,000 years.
British settlers established a free settler colony in 1829 as part of the Swan River Colony. The settlement was given the name "Perth" after the city of Perth, Scotland, the hometown of Sir George Murray, the British Colonial Secretary at that time. From 1850, an influx of convicts boosted the size of the colony and their labour helped shape the early architecture of the city. The discovery of gold in the 1890s triggered a boom which, with subsequent mineral discoveries, has been key to the city's economy. As capital of the state Western Australia, Perth joined the Commonwealth of Australia in 1901.
Once a small, isolated city, the mining boom in Western Australia following the end of World War 2 has led to a high rate of migration to Perth, which allowed its population to overtake that of Adelaide in the 1980s. While the actual mining takes places in distant, more remote parts of the state, much of the mining-related services sector is based in Perth. Today, Perth remains Australia's fastest growing city, and in recent years has transformed from a relatively laid back city to a fairly vibrant one. Because Perth's population growth was relatively recent, it lacks the dense Victorian core of the eastern cities, but makes up for it with its own charm, particularly seen in the numerous parks and other green spaces within close proximity of the CBD.
The City has a temperate Mediterranean type climate. Summers are hot and dry whilst winters are generally wet and mild. Summer temperatures average 30°C (86°F) between November and April. Maximum temperatures during the height of summer can reach and sometimes exceed the 40°C (104°F) mark. Very hot days tend to have very low humidity making conditions more bearable.
In the Perth metropolitan area the summertime temperature rises rapidly during the morning, relived in the afternoon when the "Fremantle Doctor" blows inland from the ocean to cool the city by up to 15°C. The doctor runs out of puff before reaching the areas further inland, leaving the hills and beyond to swelter till after sunset.
Winter (Jun-Aug) temperatures are usually around 15°C. Minimum temperatures sometimes drop below 0°C on clear nights. Though Perth goes through lengthy dry spells, when it does rain, it pours. In the past storms with strong winds occasionally hammer a winter night, but they generally caused no more destruction than a toppled tree or flattened fence. More recently intense storms have created hail and more serious damage.
- 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 .
- Perth has a number of 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
- Catch a flick. At one of the many independent or European cinemas, including Paradiso in Northbridge and The Luna cinemas in either Leederville or Fremantle. These cinemas showcase a range of local, Bollywood, French and Italian productions as well as International film festivals and documentaries throughout the year. Also check out the open air cinemas in summer, located in Kings Park, Movies by Burswood, Luna Leederville, and Mundaring.
- Get out. For a day in Fremantle; great for a walk around without a specific goal in mind or for some light shopping or why not enjoy a meal or coffee and cake whilst soaking in the atmosphere? Don't miss Fremantle Markets. Fremantle Prison, the Maritime Museum, the Round House and the Statue of AC/DC's Bon Scott are popular attractions.
- Go Wine Tasting. Well renowned among locals and tourists alike, the Swan Valley in the hills boasts some of the country's best wineries and micro-breweries. Although the wine is perhaps not as highly regarded by seasoned wine buffs as that produced in regions such as Margaret River, the Swan Valley features the advantage of being close to the city.
- 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. You can access Rottnest Island by a ferry, 30 min from Fremantle or a longer from Barrack Street Jetty in Perth. The trip can be expensive, but Rottnest Express has a “Telethon Tuesday” deal with half price tickets ($35 instead of $70) every week for most of the year. Rottnest is a car free island, but plenty of bikes available for hire from the island or directly from the ferry company. There is a huge variety of wildlife to see (including the famous Quokka) and opportunities to see whales, dolphins and fur seals off the coast, but this will always depend on the season. Another (closer, cheaper but smaller) option is to visit Penguin Island, home of the "Little Penguins" or "Fairy Penguins", located 5 min off the coast of Rockingham, a 45 min drive south of Perth.
- Swim. 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. Probably the easiest beach to get to by public transport is Scarborough beach, which can be accessed by catching the Clarkson line from platform 1 at either Perth Underground or Esplanade stations, getting off at Glendalough station before catching the 400 bus. Alternatively, you can catch the 400 from the Wellington St bus station which is located down the far end of the central station - from any of its platforms, head west to the concourse, turn left and then head down the ramp. Cottesloe Beach, one of Perth's most famous, and a favourite among locals and tourists alike, it even easier to access by public transport. Take the Fremantle line to Cottesloe Station, exit the platform at the Perth end, and head west down Forrest Street for about 10 min. Or you can take bus 102 from Williams street or Esplanade station and it has a stop right by the Cottesloe beach. There is a shady grassed area as well as sand, and the beach is patrolled.
- 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. The atmosphere at Swanbourne Clothing Optional Beach (about 500 m north of Swanbourne Beach) is friendly and relaxing. It is more of a sunbathing beach than a swimming beach, with a steep sandy descent into water which gets deep quickly. There are no lifeguards or red-and-yellow flags at this beach and so it is essential to keep a close eye on children near the water. The nude beach is frequented by a variety of sun-seekers of all ages; couples, families, groups. The easiest way to get there is by car, however there is a train station about 1km away. Alternatively, you can catch the bus 102, which is heading to Cottesloe. The bus will go through some residential area before reaching Cottesloe coast. As soon as you can see the ocean, get off the bus and Swanbourne beach is right cross the road. Heading north down the beach, you can reach the nude beach.
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. Perth is known as the Drum 'n' Bass capital of the southern hemisphere. There is generally a big name artist (or at least a big name local artist) to perform at least once a week.
One of Perth's drawbacks is that its people have not embraced late night dining. Very few places will serve food after 22:00, even on Friday or Saturday nights. Most restaurants in Perth do not cater for vegetarians or vegans, and if they do - the range is extremely limited. If you are looking for a place that embraces vegetarian food, Fremantle is great.
There is an extensive array of restaurants in Northbridge. You will find a great selection of Southern European and Asian restaurants. Northbridge gets very busy on Friday and Saturday nights as Perth goes into party mode. Neighbouring Mount Lawley and Highgate also has some good options. Victoria Park has a stretch of restaurants along Albany Hwy which is a fairly steady location with the locals and has a few high quality restaurants, although is lower key and more casual.
Fremantle is a good eating option. Famous for its cappuccino strip lined with cafes next door to one another popular with the yuppie crowd. On weekends, a local tradition is to visit the Fisherman's Wharf on warm, sunny weekend evenings for fish and chips. There are a couple of options to choose from close to the beach. Just follow your nose or the seagulls. Further exploring in Fremantle, or "Freo" as it is locally known, can reveal lots of trendy, alternative restaurants that cater for the "careful" eaters. If you care about knowing what it is you are eating, (vegan, preservative free, fair trade, organic), try exploring the Freo markets area, or just ask around, they are often not in the "touristy areas". Little Creatures is a decent brewery, but is also a yuppie pub. If you are looking for a decent fish and chip or seafood dinner, it is typically far more expensive by the coast (where the tourists are), excellent seafood at a better price can be sourced in the central and eastern suburbs.
Subiaco is located just a couple of kilometres from the city centre. It is a trendy but fun suburb which features some great food and entertainment, although it can be quite expensive.
Claremont is a suburb on the Fremantle railway line where you will find some good restaurants as well (including authentic Italian), although, again, it can be quite expensive and there is a limited range.
The Swan Valley, especially along West Swan Road contains various wineries, food producers and restaurants with stunning views over the vineyards. Particularly good are The Black Swan Cafe, Duckstein Brewery, Elmar's and The Mallard Duck Cafe.
Kalamunda and other Eastern hills suburbs offer hidden gems of cafes, small shops and food producers in beautiful countryside with stunning city views. Traditionally Perth locals used to go for picnics and produce festivals in these areas back in the 19th and early 20th century, however as the practice waned with fashions leading towards the coast, it is an excellent place to visit away from the touristy areas for a relaxing or peaceful trip to the bush with fine views and decent food not too far from the city. People often do DIY food tours to local orchards, vineyards, cheesemakers, bakeries and other cottage industries, arts and cafes as its not really organised. Its usually best to visit during Spring or soon after the rains when the forest is at its best.
Guildford has many antique stores (although like all Australian antique markets are visited by many hundreds of tourists as well as locals, so real bargains can be rare), but you can get decent cafe morning teas and lunches in some fine old architecture. This area has some of Perths oldest residential houses and grand building museums & cafes. The old theatre now houses a large Asian textile and artworks store worth a visit and a quirky taxidermy museum a few doors down. Alfreds Kitchen is a tiny but legendary burger bar to the locals, who amass in large crowds that opens at night.
A large Western Rock Lobster (known locally by its former name of crayfish) industry. Most of the crayfish is exported to Asia and USA for vast sums of money. However, crayfish prices in Perth can be relatively cheap, especially during summer in a good season. A chance to give it a try without breaking the bank.
Chilli Mussels are a popular local speciality, consisting of mussels cooked in tomato and chilli jus, available in various restaurants.
Truffles are grown around Mundaring and Manjimup, and hosts an individual truffle festivals at different times in the year.
The nearest wine region to Perth is the Swan Valley which has many wineries as well as distilleries and breweries. In addition to cellars where you can sample the wines many wineries also have restaurants or cafés for meals. The second most recognized region is the Margaret River region (about a three hours drive away) which is extremely popular for wine tasting, delicious chocolate and fresh, locally made food and produce. Lesser publicized regions include the Porongurup region which is recognized internationally for its Rieslings, Mount Barker region also produces fine Rieslings and Shiraz
Perth has an abundance of Gloria Jeans, Miss Mauds and Dome stores mainly in the city centre and suburban shopping areas. Clusters of independent European style cafes line the trendy streets of suburbs around the city centre. The most well known place for a decent espresso is the Cafe Strip in Fremantle closely followed by the districts of Subiaco, Leederville and South Perth. Although Perth culture has a high quality taste for coffee and demands very high standards in product, in recent times Perth has the dubious honour of having some of the most expensive average coffee prices in the country. A normal sized coffee is often close to $4.
Pubs and bars
Perth has bars scattered throughout the city but most bars are in the CBD, Northbridge, Subiaco, Leederville, Victoria Park, Mount Lawley & Fremantle areas. Bars usually become busy after 5pm with the afterwork crowd, but most locals tend to go to bars on Friday & Saturday nights. The CBD bars in particular get very busy on Friday nights with many of the popular bars forming long entry lines. Most bars open from around 11AM and close midnight (10PM on Sundays), a few bars do have special extended liquor trading hours to either 1, 2 or 3AM. There has been an increase in small bars and bistro dining in niche areas of the CBD. However despite good quality, these are typically expensive, so browse around for a good value evening.
Perth has a small but strong dance music scene which revolves heavily around drum & bass. Club nights and international gigs are held at a variety of venues across the city centre, Northbridge and outer suburbs (check out local street press magazines such as Xpress for gig guides and further info) for a comprehensive gig guide).
Almost all clubs in Western Australia have very strict ID policies and it is highly unlikely that you will get in if you do not have your passport or an ID issued in Australia by a government agency (either an Australian driver's license or proof of age card) with you, even if you definitely look over the legal age. Also most dance music bars/clubs close at 2AM following Friday and Saturday nights and are subjected to Police enforced lockdowns and lockouts (as is the case in Brisbane), so you will find yourself stuck in one place after 3AM, and be stranded should you be short on money for a cab.
- Drive Through Liquor Stores. These are usually open until quite late. It is considered polite to park your car outside and walk through if you are intending to browse and take your time. Many Australians enjoy to drink in the comfort of their own home or backyard as much as they enjoy drinking in their favourite pub.
- Fremantle and Subiaco have many pubs and clubs. (see Fremantle listings)
The largest concentration of boutique shops is in the City centre while adjacent Northbridge is the place for niche independent stores. Trendier suburbs such as Mount Lawley, Leederville and Subiaco have a number of offbeat designer fashion stores.
Large shopping complexes located in the outer suburbs, such as in Morley (Galleria), Cannington (Carousel), Midland (Midland Gate), Joondalup, Booragoon (Garden City), Innaloo and Karrinyup have the usual department and chain stores.
Fremantle Markets offers an experience on its own with its over 150 independent stalls.
Shopping hours in the Perth metropolitan area for medium size shops to large supermarket/department stores are:
- 8am-9pm Monday to Friday
- 8am-5pm Saturday
- 11am-5pm Sunday
Small supermarkets such as IGA as well as other small shops can have more flexible shopping hours (some Petrol stations and small corner stores are open 24 hours).
A 10% Goods and Services Tax is included in listed prices. Harbour Town (Yellow CAT from any stop) is where manufacturers have their factory outlets; some good deals are to be had there.
After Christmas (and around July as well for many stores) is the best time to come to Perth for bargain shopping. Some Perth stores are open Boxing Day as well as the 27th December. Customers have been known to form a line across the street to even enter stores such as 'Guess' and Myer store entry and escalator movement is monitored by security guards to prevent floor crowding.
This article is based on Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike 3.0 Licensed text from the article Perth on Wikivoyage.