It was a mostly financial reason that led us to visit Perth as our following flight to Bali was much cheaper from here than from Queensland. That and numerous articles telling us Perth was one of the up and coming cities to visit this year. We didn’t mind though- an old family friend offered to put us up for the four nights we stayed there so we were treated to real home comforts for a few days!
We spent one day in the Perth city centre and on our friend’s recommendation, visited the Perth Mint. Normally this isn’t our kind of thing but we felt kinda obliged to go. It was $25AUD for the tour and you know what? We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves! They really know how to put up a good show! They talked to us into prospecting for gold and even cast a gold bar live. I think it’s testament to how fascinated humans are with the shiny stuff! (P. S. I’d totally recommend it too!)
We spent a bit of time wandering around Hay Street and into the main shopping area. Here, things are very similar to everywhere else, though there is one weird street which looks like medevil England/ Diagon Alley selling tourist tat in the middle of it all… That was strange.
A perk of Perth’s city centre is the free CAT service. These are free buses running three different routes taking you from King’s Park, past the cultural centre and to the waterfront. We made use of these to visit the main art galley and to get to King’s Park from which you can see the whole city from a high vantage point. The park itself is massive- we didn’t have a lot of time to explore though which was a shame. We did manage a trip back in the evening to see the city lights which was pretty!
Though perhaps it was for the best since when we got back from the park, our hosts regaled us with stories of murder and rape that happened in the park. All in the dodgy end apparently, but still…
About an hour away from Perth is Fremantle, a seaside port town which was one of he first colonies in Western Australia. It’s a pretty town and worth spending some time exploring. We made sure to visit the prison (built by the prisoners themselves and used as a working prison until the early 90s;$19AUD for a tour) and eat fish and chips at Cicerello’s overlooking the sea. If you plan to book ahead you can do the a Tunnel Tour of the prison. It’s $60AUD for this tour which takes you, unsurprisingly, through the tunnels under the prison…
On the way to and from Fremantle we stopped at a few beaches, including Cottesloe which is pretty well known. We were lucky we were driving. I’d have hated to miss out on these if we were having to take public transport because OMG the beaches here are beautiful! They’re some of the cleanest, whitest beaches I’ve seen! Plus there’s really good facilities (free toilets, showers etc.) because it’s Australia of course. Though there are supposedly sharks and strong rips here in the Indian Ocean so I’d recommend being careful if you choose to swim in the sea!
Our last day in Perth was spent at Hilary’s Boat Harbour, a complex housing the Aquarium of Western Australia and a small shopping mall. The aquarium was kind of interesting but also kind of depressing. The animals were too big, enclosures too small and it was filled with horrible kids just like ‘Darla’ in Finding Nemo… It was a reasonable attraction to kill a couple of hours though with plenty of places to eat and shop close by.
So that concludes the Australia portion of this trip and I’m pretty sad to leave. Except for how expensive everything of course. I won’t miss that. But everything else! I can see why so many Brits move over there- there’s some truly fantastic places and times to be had.