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Although many of Perth's attractions can be found in the surrounding area, the city itself also has enough to offer. Perth is situated on Australia's west coast. It's a modern city, although many historical buildings are still standing. One example is His Majesty's Theatre. In the past, many theaters in Australia were demolished, but fortunately they were not that short-sided in Perth. Volunteers organize guided tours on working days.
You don't need to leave the city to get a flavor of Western Australia's natural attractions. The giant Kings park, on Mount Eliza right on the Swan River, forms Perth's green lung in the heart of the city. It's not only nature that's impressive here, but in particular the views of the city and the river. You can rent bicycles at the visitor's center. The Botanic Garden is impressive and displays over 1700 different flower species. In summer months, open-air performances and concerts are given in Kings Park.On the other side of the river lies Perth's zoo. It's a small zoo, but the Australian Bushwalk is fun. During this walk you can for example spot the numbat, a marsupial that used to be very common in the wild in Western Australia, but that is now an endangered species.
The futuristic Swan Bells house the historic bells of St Martin-in-the-Fields. It was a gift from the city of London to commemorate Australia's bicentenary in 1988. The 82-meters high tower made out of copper and glass is, however, not to everyone's liking.
North of Wellington Street lies the neighborhood of Northbridge, the city's cultural heart with many museums, galleries and entertainment options. The Art Gallery of Western Australia holds an interesting collection of international and Australian art, including a large section of Aboriginal art. The Western Australian Museum is dedicated to natural history and includes for example dinosaur skeletons and an enormous blue whale, as well as a collection of meteorites. This museum also includes an Aboriginal Gallery.
When in the mid-nineteenth century, gold was discovered several hundreds of kilometers east of Perth, it caused a gold rush in the city. A relic of these times is the Perth Mint where gold is still melted to be poured into molds. It is really fun to mint your own coin in Perth Mint!
When driving down the Great Eastern Highway in your rental car, you will get to Mundaring, east of Perth. When you turn south here, you will get to Mundaring Weir, a dam built to supply water to the gold mines near Kalgoorlie and Coolgardie (560 kilometers further down the road). Is a dam interesting? Absolutely. First of all it shows what was technically feasible at the end of the nineteenth century, but the area is also stunning. You can have a nice picnic or a long walk through the Beelu National Park. There is even a path along the original pipeline to the gold mines. Also fun: have a drink at the pub that is as old as the dam is.
About twenty kilometers southwest of Perth lies Fremantle, an attractive port city where you will still find many buildings dating back to the times when Australia was still a penal colony. Most of them can be found along the Tram West route, including the prison, which still served as such until 1991. The Tourist Office (inside the City Hall) organizes walks along the architectural and historical highlights of Fremantle. Every Friday and Saturday a large market is held in the city where local produce and antiques are sold. The Western Australian Maritime Museum is dedicated to the history of the port and includes shipwrecks and focuses on attempts made by The Netherlands to colonize Australia.
Those Dutchmen have, for that matter, left their marks in spots, like the name of the island off the coast of Fremantle: Rottnest (of the original Rattennest). It's an idyllic island with beautiful beaches and clear water. It's an ideal spot for swimming, snorkeling, windsurfing and fishing. The 'rats' are in fact marsupials, so-called quokkas. They are experts at stealing food from picnic baskets!
Perth has a very regular street pattern and excellent roads and freeways. The city also has several parking lots and garages where you can park your rental car. At the Tourist Office you can get maps showing the parking facilities in Perth. The distances in Australia are huge. If you go on a trip with your rental car, always make sure to bring sufficient food and drinks, as well as spare tires.
Perth Airport is situated east of the city. There are two terminals which are far apart: the domestic terminal lies about 11 kilometers from the city; the international one about 16 kilometers. You can easily reacht the airport in your rental car, via the Great Eastern Highway or the Tonkin Highway.