Western Australia (WA) is Australia’s biggest state and occupies about one third of the australian land mass. Its capital Perth is the biggest city in Western Australia and is home to more than 2 million people. Usually you’d consider a 2m+ city in australia’s biggest state is a tourism hotspot, especially with its beautiful natural surroundings. Apparently WA misses out on a lot of tourists, as the majority travels around the East Coast of Australia and only a small percentage of visitors make their way to WA. Considering it is a 6 hour flight from Perth to Sydney and it is closer to Singapore than the East Coast, WA is not a weekend getaway destination from the two major cities on the East Coast. But Perth and WA should definitely be on everyone’s list.
On our recent trip to Australia Victoria and me flew from Melbourne to Perth with Tiger Airways and visited our friend Andrew. I met Andrew last year, when he was my roommate in Cape Town, South Africa. I was beyond excited to meet up with him again and he was kind enough offering us a place to stay during our visit.
Thanks to the operating mines in WA, Perth experienced a real boom and wealth during the last decades. More than 200 mines produce about 75 percent of Australia’s gold and a lot of other minerals as well. Therefore the city is well established and you find convenient infrastructure and new construction sites everywhere. The CBD (central business district) is set next to Swan River and offers nothing really special to visit, because of its young history.
On the western end of the CBD is Kings Park. The park, more than 4 square km big, is one of world’s largest inner city parks. It is even bigger than New York City’s Central Park. Kings Park is home to hundreds of plant species and various kind of trees and many different birds. Therefore it is very special for plant lovers and biologists, as some of the rarest plants and trees are found solely here.
Even if you are not into this kind of stuff, it is a really beautiful park and offers fantastic views over Perth and Swan River. So definitely make your way up to and around Kings Park. You won’t regret it.
The State memorial on top of Mount Eliza was established to remember all the servicemen and women, who died in World War I, II, Vietnam and Korean War and its eternal flame was inaugurated by Queen Elizabeth II.
Later that day we drove out of Perth to see some of the Western Australian Coast. There is no shortage of beaches around WA and even if it doesn’t look like winter weather in the pictures, it was! It’s nothing like european winters.
About a 20 minutes drive from Perth up the coast starts the laid back life of Fremantle. More or less a town itself now, as it used to be a suburb of Perth in earlier days.
During the australian summer it is really crowded around here and tons of surfers and swimmers hit the waves, despite its shark infested waters. The beaches looked really gorgeous and I definitely want to come back, when temperature allows to take a swim as well.
After checking out some beaches we headed to the Fremantle Port and visited the Little Creatures Brewery. We had lunch and walked around the Port for a while. Little Creatures is a small company that makes some really good craft beers and turned an unattractive storehouse into a hip, cool and successful brewery combined with a restaurant – bar concept. Definitely a top spot if you’re in Fremantle.
Fremantle was and still is a very important coastal and harbour city, therefore we went to visit the Western Australian Maritime Museum. The museum has some amazing exhibits, such as the submarine HMAS Ovens and the America’s cup winning yacht Australia II. The coolest one though, is Jon Sander’s original Parry Endeavour.
Jon Sanders, an australian sailor, circumnavigated the world three times within two years, without setting foot on land. It is a crazy idea and an even more amazing and unique achievement. The yacht is fixed in a high angle and if you step to the front end of the yacht and look to the top of the ceiling in the room, you see how high the waves were at some of the more dangerous points of his quest. Really impressive stuff!
We had a really fun time in Perth and the next time I’m in Australia I definitely want to spend way more time in the countryside and outback of WA. It is such an incredible beautiful area with many things to explore and see. I’m grateful to Andrew and his family for their hospitality and can’t wait to welcome him to my hometown.
I hope the next time you’re in Australia you consider spending time in Western Australia and not skip Perth. It is such a nice place with friendly people. I reckon it’s one of my favourite areas in Australia and I won’t hesitate to go back, when the opportunity shows up. As you should too.