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Perth Travel Guide

flights to Perth

Perth is definitely an outdoor city, but if you need to escape the heat or a heavy downpour the city has some fine museums and indoor attractions. The West Australian Museum on Francis Street is well worth a visit, housing a fascinating range of exhibits including meteorites and local natural history. The Katta Djinoong exhibition traces the Aboriginal origins of Western Australia’s earliest people, whilst the reconstructed Old Perth Gaol features a series of displays on the early colonial history of Western Australia. Not to be missed, in nearby Fremantle is the recently opened Western Australian Maritime Museum at Victoria Quay. There are numerous exhibits detailing the maritime history of the region, but perhaps the most outstanding is the rebuilt 17th century Dutch ship the Batavia.

Perth also has a fine centrally located zoo, housing a wide range of all the popular animals but has a strong emphasis on much of Australia’s fascinating and sometimes unusual domestic wildlife. AQWA an oceanarium, with a submerged glass tunnel is well worth visiting and features thousands of sea creatures, mostly from the waters around Western Australia. The oceanarium also has a dolphin sanctuary. 

One thing you won’t need to do whilst exploring Perth is drive. Perth has a clean, fast and frequent bus service called CATS (Central Area Transport Service) that will take you to just about any part of the city. But the best feature of CATS is that it is entirely free!

Another good way of exploring the city is to take one of the popular cruises along the Swan River to Fremantle. For the more energetic Perth has a great network of safe, dedicated Cycleways, many of them following and crisscrossing the Swan River.

You won’t want to leave the city without checking out some of Australia’s best beaches. Cottesloe Beach is one of Perth's most popular beaches. Some 15 km from the city centre the beach is patrolled in the summer by the Cottesloe Surf Life Saving Club. There are plenty of parking places and public transport stops at the beach, there are also numerous outdoor cafes, restaurants and pubs to sit in and watch the world go by.

If you have the time a visit to Rottnest Island it may well turn out to be one of the highlights of your trip to Perth. The island is reputed to have taken its name from the small indigenous marsupials known as quokkas. Early Dutch settlers thought the animals to be a species of rat and named the island ‘Rats Nest’. Early settlers also left behind some of the now best-preserved colonial streetscapes and architecture in Australia.

The island which lies about 20 kms by ferry from Fremantle has some spectacular beaches and some of the world’s southernmost coral reefs.

There is little or no motorised transport on the island; walking and cycling are the main ways of getting around. Most of the island is sandy and semi arid but offers great opportunities for snorkelling, scuba diving, surfing and swimming in some of the islands stunningly beautiful, crystal clear coves and bays.

Rottnest has one or two small hotels and campgrounds and is a great place to spend a couple of days away from the heat of the city.

Shopping in Perth is mainly concentrated around the Hay Street and Murray Street malls, apart from all the normal temptations on offer there are a number of shops selling good quality Aboriginal art and artefacts, and Australia’s famous outdoor clothing. Perth also has some great markets, The Subiaco Pavilion near the railway station is a lively bustling affair open daily from Thursday to Sunday. Wangara in Perth’s northern suburbs is home to The Wanneroo Markets locally renowned for its international Food Hall. Also worth checking out is Fremantle’s famous, historic market.

Eating out in Perth has only one frustration, deciding where to go! The city has hundreds of restaurants offering a range of cuisines from all over the world. The Down Under Food Hall close to the Hay Street Mall is a good place to start your culinary expedition of the city; here you will find stalls selling authentic Vietnamese, Mexican, Chinese and Indian food. There are a couple of other central Food Halls worth checking out; they are The Carillon Food Hall, which has a good seafood stall, and the Old Shanghai Markets in Chinatown. For more formal dining Perth has a bewildering array of really good quality restaurants from Sushi to Barbecue, Seafood to Burgers. The PerthWeb Restaurant Guide is an excellent resource for keeping up to speed with all things gastronomic in the city. For being seen in the right places there are some stylish restaurants in Shafto Lane, close to Hay Street. Just north of the city centre is Northbridge, here, apart from an amazing choice of ethnic restaurants you’ll find some of Perth’s finest nightlife catering to all tastes from hip hop to folk. Fremantle is also a popular nightlife venue, The Metropolis being one of spots in Western Australia.

Perth has the full range of accommodation available but caters particularly well for those travelling on a budget. The city centre has a broad representation of all the Intercontinental style chain and luxury hotels for those doing business in the city. Many visitors to Perth chose to stay just outside the city, where the choice is greater and the prices generally lower. Scarborough, a northern suburb is a popular place to stay, mainly because of its proximity to the beach. All budgets are catered for here from the modest backpacker hostel to some top quality Bed and Breakfast and Guest Houses. Northbridge and Fremantle also have a good range of accommodations. Check out Kasbah’s choice of Hostels and Cheap Hotels in Perth.

Perth useful Information Arriving and departing Perth is the main entry and exit point for the whole of Western Australia, with most visitors arriving by air

Perth International Airport (PER) is located 8 miles (13 kilometres) northeast of Perth city centre. There are two terminals at PER: one international and one domestic. Given the cities isolated situation, it is not surprising that Perth International Airport is one of Australia's busiest airports for domestic flights.
There are ATMs at both terminals; in addition, there are various bars and places to eat in the International Terminal. There are also plenty of shops at Perth International Airport where international travellers are able to take advantage of the duty-free areas.

If you want to hire a car on arrival in Perth, all the well-known names will be there to greet you. Avis, Budget, Thrifty, Hertz and National are all represented in the terminal buildings.

The airport has excellent car parking facilities at with both the international and domestic terminal providing a number of parking options, including long-stay parking, short-stay parking, disabled passenger parking and secure garaging.

There is round the clock transportation from the airport to all parts of the city from buses to luxury limos. You will find all the information you need in the arrival hall.

By Train One of the world’s greatest rail journeys starts and terminates in Perth, The Indian Pacific. The train travels from Perth on the Indian Ocean across the whole continent to Sydney on the Pacific Ocean. The journey takes approximately 65 hours, and includes the world’s longest stretch of straight track, the 478 kilometres run across the Nullarbor. This is by no means the cheapest way to cross the country but is certainly one of the most interesting ways of the seeing the country from ground level, and getting some idea of the vastness of Australia.

By Bus There are several companies with offices in Perth offering Australia wide “hop on – hop off” bus services. These are ideal for backpackers and visitors with plenty of time. Details can be found at the information office at the international airport or at the Tourist Office next to the Post Office in downtown Perth. Greyhound Pioneer run fast, comfortable buses from Perth to a number of long distance destinations including, Darwin, Kalgoorlie and Adelaide.

Internet Cafes The El Nino Café is one of the best in the city, they can be found at the Side Walk Eatery, 207 Murray Street, Perth, WA 6000. The Games Den at 286 Hay St East Perth, WA 6004 is centrally located.

Post Office The main Post Office is on Forrest Place, between Wellington Street and Murray Street.

Health Perth’s main hospital, The Royal Perth, is on Victoria Square close to the centre. Tel. 9224 2244.

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