My weekend in Perth was all too brief but I thought it a very attractive Australia state capital indeed.
Not long before I visited Perth I read Tim Winton’s iconic Australian novel Cloudstreet, which is set in this city on the far west coast of Australia.
Winton’s characters describe Perth as the “biggest country town in the world trying to be a city”. He wrote of a city in the 1950s that is “trying desperately to hit the big time, with the desert on one side and the sea on the other”, and also described it as a “Philistine fairground”!
There is no doubt Perth is seriously isolated, being 2,104 kilometres (1,307 miles) away from the nearest city with more than 100,000 people (Adelaide). It’s not actually the world’s most isolated city. That is probably Honolulu in Hawaii. But I certainly got a clear sense of the city’s isolation travelling there by train on the Indian Pacific trans-continental railway!
I’m not sure I’d want to visit Perth in the white heat of summer but in springtime the blue skies were beguiling. Perth boasts the very attractive portside suburb of Fremantle and the gorgeous Rottnest Island just offshore.
It seems to me that Perth has come a very long way since the 1950s. The city centre is lovely, full of smartly dressed business people and sparkling office towers. I chose two things to do in Perth: Kings Park and a Swan River Scenic Cruise.
Exploring Perth on a River Cruise
The Swan River flows through the city of Perth and widens significantly into a broad stretch of water before it reaches the sea past Fremantle.
Along a seemingly endless shoreline of green hills and shiny yacht clubs the swanky sunshine suburbs spread, including the most expensive real estate in Australia in the suburb of Peppermint Grove. This is thanks to the major mining, petroleum, and agricultural export industries of Western Australia.
I have to say many of the multi-million dollar mansions looked that attractive but I couldn’t help gawking at the house built by mining tycoon Lang Hancock for his daughter Gina’s 21st birthday.
Wandering in Kings Park
Kings Park is really the jewel in Perth’s crown, sitting up on its clifftop overlooking the city. The 1,000-acre park is famous for its wildflower garden displays and they did not disappoint.
There are miles of walkways and the views are magnificent so even if you only have a weekend in Perth try to make time for a walk in Kings Park.
It is astounding to think that everything you see here in Perth was created in the less than 200 years since the city was founded in 1829.
And it is still a city of constant change, with old buildings being knocked down and replaced by ever more palatial residences. The city waterfront is being redeveloped to create a greater connection between the central business district and the river.
I couldn’t judge about Tim Winton “philistine” comment but from my weekend in Perth, I think the city has definitely made the big time.
By Natasha von Geldern
Check out these top 15 Popular Waterfront Hotels in Perth by HotelsCombined to complete your weekend getaway.
Have you visited the Australian city of Perth? What did you think?