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Overview to Perth: Travel Guide and Tourist Information

Perth Harbor

Way out to the far west of the country, Perth is a million miles away from the chic, cosmopolitan posturing of Sydney and Melbourne. Sitting on the Swan River, it’s nonetheless a pleasant town, with a surprising number of attractions for travelers backpacking around Australia.

Although little remains of the old city, Perth Town Hall, St. Mary’s Cathedral and the Government House are all impressive 19th century buildings. Other places of interest include the Perth Cultural Center, an arts complex home to the Perth Institute of Contemporary Art.

Perth is something of a city for nature lovers: in addition to the excellent Perth Zoo, there’s an Aquarium, Botanic Gardens and Plant Conservatory. The main draw, however, are the great whale watching opportunities off the coast from September to December.

Perth is also a great city for eating and drinking. The northern district of Northbridge has a wide variety of cheap ethnic eateries (particularly on and around William St), while the restaurants in Subiaco have an altogether more fashionable feel.

Nearby Freemantle has a sophisticated waterfront café scene on South TCE (known as the ‘cappuccino strip’). After dark, it becomes a major center of Perth nightlife, competing with the suburbs of Northville and Leederville in the quality of its bars and clubs.

One of Perth’s real strengths is its beaches – undoubtedly among the finest in Australia. Not far from the city, a gorgeous stretch of white sands - including Scarborough, which boasts excellent surfing, Cottesloe and Leighton Beach - runs away into the distance.

So, to sum up: great beaches, a wealth of nearby natural riches, nightlife… even fantastic vineyards in the Swan Valley. Perth may not have quite the same slick sophistication of its southern equivalents, but its array of tempting attractions speak for themselves.

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