Having spent three weeks in Perth back in November last year getting to meet my new grandson, I found myself back there again in February thankfully having missed the hottest of the summer sun.
This time on my trip to Perth I got out and about a bit more as the baby was a bit older and his mum much more used to packing all the paraphernalia needed for even the shortest outing. So we went for trips out to various beaches, vineyard, brewery, marinas, galleries, museums and even to a garden centre.
Perth is one of the most isolated cities in the world the nearest city being Adelaide which is 1,324 miles away and Sydney which is a mere 2,447 miles east (that’s about the same as the distance between London and Moscow).
You don’t find many travel books on Perth, so I naturally went on to TripAdvisor and found that the place voted number 1 to visit is King’s Park & Botanical Gardens, the second most exciting thing to do in Perth is to visit the War Memorial in King’s Park ….. hmm exciting stuff. The Swan River comes in at number 3, (slightly more exciting!) You can’t blame TripAdvisor as it’s the people who write about the “interesting things to do” should be ‘blamed’ but having said that there really aren’t that many things to visit in Perth (hence a war memorial being high on the list of things to do).
49% of the adult population of Perth are from a non-Australian origin (mostly English and Irish), so I’m guessing the majority of people who visit are either visiting family or friends or are there on business (mostly to do with the mines). So they write about what they did and saw. And to be honest everyone goes to King’s Park as it has spectacular views over the CBD (central business district) which sticks out (literally) towering over the expanse of the Swan River and the ever-expanding northern suburbs. (see the photo at the top of the page).
It seems there are records of Europeans settling in the Swan Valley from the 1600’s but it was when the British government got wind that the French were thinking of annexing western Australia for themselves that they sent out a colony in 1826 and Queen Victoria made Perth a City in 1856. The size of the colony stayed pretty small until gold fever struck in the early 1900’s.
Perth Mint was opened in 1899, as a result of the gold rush there was a need for secure storage and somewhere local to mint new coins. The guide was really good and made the most of the demonstrating how to make a gold bar.
We were lucky enough to be able to walk around Government House gardens which is only open for a couple of hours a day on weekdays (and is definitely closed when royalty come to visit!)
We booked to go on a river trip with the Little Ferry Company based in Elizabeth Quay. It does what it says on the tin, tiny little boats which hold at best 12 people ply their way up and down the Swan River, the journey we chose was from Elizabeth Quay to Claisebrook which took about 40mins.
Claisebrook as quite a posh marina community and has a very European look, with the row of tall houses surrounding the marina were all very different styles and painted pretty pastel colours. There are a number of restaurants and bars where you can have lunch then after a short stroll round you can catch the free bus back into the city (just ask the boatman to point out where the bus stop is).
On Friday evenings during the summer months there is a street food market in the centre of Perth with around 30 or 40 different stalls all vying for your attention. It’s the most difficult meal choice as there is sooo much to choose from.
It gets very busy so go there early enough to get a seat and listen to the entertainment.
A day out to the Swan Valley is a must, the scenery is lovely, very lush and green, and of course you have to pop in to one of the many vineyards or/and small breweries that are dotted all over the place.
One vineyard that we went to was Mandoon Winery were you can sample their best wines and champagnes in very smart surroundings. If you have time stay for lunch the food is excellent.
And don’t forget the beaches, that’s another story …..