Perth doesn’t feel like one of the most isolated cities in the world. Despite this port city being over two thousand kilometres from the nearest major city Adelaide – on the opposite side of Australia – it is electric with activity, hosting workers and travellers from across the whole of western Australia coming in to the city every day. Comparable to the size of Plymouth, it merges into the nearby city Fremantle to its north, which is similar to the size – and opening hours – of Exeter. But for what the two cities lack in size, they make up for in a variety of ways. First has to be the heat. Its winters, from May-July, are wet but mild at about 8°C. Although the average high of its summers is between 27-30°C, my entire two week visit saw temperatures easily reach 36°C average, and higher on many days. The heat is dry enough to not feel overwhelming – dangerous for those with ‘pommy (English) skin’ like myself. Secondly is its beaches. Fremantle is better in this regard, with North Fremantle hosting world-famous white sand beaches such as Cottesloe and Scarborough. Although they aren’t surfing paradises, there’s enough surf at the latter to satisfy most tastebuds, and plenty of beaches a hour or so journey south of the city with waves of over twenty feet high. Bikes can be rented for free at Little Creatures, the brewery in Fremantle, that offer an easy cycle ride up to the beaches. Although Perth has less beaches, the harbour offers stunning sunset views which can be viewed best from King’s Park, an impressively large park that also offers a perfect open air evening cinema. Annalakshmi on the Swan, situated exactly on the jetty, offers fantastic Indian all-you-can-eat buffets for a donation ‘pay what you want’ fee. The nearby surrounding locations are also impressive. Rottnest Island is an easy 18km ferry ride away, and although it’s a costly ferry fare at around £60 return, the island is full of stunning snorkelling bays, lakes, forests, and even a salt lake. The local quokka population, a type of marsupial vaguely resembling a hamster crossed with a kangaroo rat, are tame enough to come right up to you. For mainland attractions, the local wildlife park at Caversham is worth a visit for your quick shot of kangaroos and koalas. The Pinnacles, a set of limestone formations that vaguely resemble the submerged forests found on the Welsh and Cornish coast post-floods, are an interesting visit, or for something more action-packed, sandboarding at Lancelin is an exciting way to spend the afternoon. Despite the isolation of Perth, there is more than enough to see to attract people to its local vicinity. Many locals claim Perth and Fremantle to be the best part of Australia, offering an enviable lifestyle in terms of weather, health, and happiness. And from the current emigration rates to Western Australia, it’s worth a trip to understand why people are visiting there, and choosing to stay.
by Dannee McGuire, Razz Travel Correspondent