All of you who have taken my armchair travels along with me know that we traveled all over Europe. We saw many interesting sights and learned about fascinating things to do and see. Now I was faced with making the choice of where our travels would take us next. I chose the Land Down Under as our next stop. Hope you enjoy your travels in Australia.
Perth is the capital of Western Australia located at the point where the Swan River comes up to the southwest coast. The suburbs of this city lie along sandy beaches.
For fantastic views of the city climb Mt. Eliza in the huge, riverside Kings Park and Botanic Garden. This lovely park is located right in the heart of the city. Just about two-thirds of this 1,000 acre park is natural bush featuring native plants and birds. This is one of the world’s largest and most beautiful of inner city parks and has a rich Aboriginal and European history. Kings Park has an international reputation for scientific research, leading horticulture, conservation and public education. Some of the highlights of this park include an acacia garden, relaxing and peaceful Place of Reflection and a water garden that recreated a Darling Range creek. Here visitors can see more than 3,000 species of the state’s unique flora. There are wonderful views of the Swan and Canning Rivers, the city skyline and the Darling Ranges. For viewing nature there are Bushland walk trails, gardens and park lands and different children’s discovery play areas.
Atop of Mt. Eliza is the King’s Park War Memorial, a tribute to servicemen from Western Australia.
Aspect of King’s Park, a retail precinct of gift shops and galleries highlights local artists. Frasier Avenue Lookout offers great views of the city and is just right for nighttime romantic strolling.
Local Aboriginals have a belief that the winding Swan River was created by the rainbow serpent “Waugal”. Both residents and visitors can enjoy the riverside parks, bike and hike along the many trails. Upon the river one can fish, sail, kayak or swim. There are lovely views of the grand houses of the riverfront suburbs and it is possible to take river cruises between Perth and the historic port of Fremantle or cruise the shores of Swan Valley, which is Western Australia’s oldest grape-growing region.
There are many lovely beaches to enjoy in and around Perth. A most popular beach is the pine-fringed Cottesloe, with its clear waters and cafe culture. Another favorite is Port Beach and City Beach has a children’s playground and lots of places for picnics. Other great destinations for sun and fun include Rockingham Beach and the shore at Hillary’s Boat Harbor. Surfers can ride the waves at Trigg Point and Scarborough. For snorkeling and family day trips head for Rottnest Island or Penguin Island.
A popular destination about 3 km from the city center is Perth Zoo. The zoo opened in 1898 and delights international visitors with exhibits of the unique wildlife in the Australian Bushwalk and Wetlands. Here you can see kangaroos, koalas, wallabies, wombats and Tasmanian devils. At other exhibits visitors can feed giraffes at the African Savannah, see orangutans in the Asian Rainforest, enjoy an elephant show and see pygmy marmosets in the South American primate exhibit.
Hillary’s Boat Harbor around 20 km northwest of central Perth is a marina with restaurants, shops and family attractions. There are bike paths, walkways, parks and sheltered beaches. One of the biggest attractions is The Aquarium of Western Australia. Here visitors can walk through a glass underwater tunnel and observe over 200 species of marine animals, among them stingrays, manta rays, dolphins and sharks.
Visitors can see interesting displays of aircraft at the Aviation Heritage Museum, around 15 km south of Perth. There are exhibits of over 30 aircraft and thousands of artifacts that cover civilian and military aviation and trace the evolution of aircraft from two-winged WW I planes to present-day passenger jets. Visitors also have the opportunity to book a personal tour of a Lancaster bomber or a Dakota C-47 and Spitfire Mark XXII.
St. Mary’s Cathedral was built over three centuries and is a grand neo-Gothic church, consecrated in 1865. The site for the cathedral was included in the first plan of Perth in 1838. The cathedral is lit-up at night. Tourists who are interested in seeing the cathedral can join a tour every Tuesday.
The Art Gallery of Western Australia has found a home in the Perth Cultural Center. The gallery has a collection of both international and Australian art from 1829 to the present. There is a special emphasis on artwork from Australia and the Indian Ocean Rim. The gallery also displays artwork by such eminent artists as Hans Heysen and Frederick McCubbin.
Also in the cultural center you’ll find the Western Australian Museum. It displays the region’s natural and social history. One of the highlights is a large collection of Aboriginal artifacts. Other exhibits range from diamonds to dinosaurs and butterflies to birds. Inside the museum complex visitors can see the old jail that was built in 1853 by convict laborers and used as a prison and place of execution until 1888.
At the Perth Mint coins are struck and gold bars cast. In the Melting House visitors can see pure gold being poured into bar forms. The original vault dating from 1899 has the world’s largest collection of gold bars and natural nuggets.
Caversham Wildlife Park is just a 30-minute drive from Perth. Here you can see Aussie animals like koalas, kangaroos, kookaburras, echidnas and wombats. Children can pet and feed different farm animals at Molly’s Farm. There are such demonstrations as koala cuddles, sheep-shearing and whip-cracking.
To get really close to koalas visit Cohunu Koala Park where you can hold a koala, hand-feed kangaroos, wallabies and emus, wandering in natural enclosures. In an aviary visitors can see Aussie native birds and also see wild water birds on pond.
A distinctive landmark against the Perth skyline is 108 St. Georges Terrace. This is a most unique property which plays an important role in the city’s rich history. This magnificent building is a 52-level tower and the heritage-listed Palace building has made this a most distinguished property. The building is a desirable address with state-of-the art commercial space.