On experiencing Perth's vibrancy and bountiful beaches, with the rich southern wilderness and wineries at its feet, some visitors wonder why Australians settled for the east coast at all. The southwestern coastline and its capital – the world's most remote city of its size – have all you could want. Most Western Australians (around 80%) agree by choosing to call Perth home. Its riches include constant sunshine, great food, a relaxed pace, natural beauty and space. Even the dogs have their own beach here.

Perth is situated around the wide Swan River. To the east it stretches towards a gentle backdrop of hills and the vineyards of the Swan Valley. In the city centre, the towers of the central business district dominate St Georges Tce. North of here, the Hay and Murray St Malls and arcades are filled with shoppers who spill over into the neighbouring suburbs of Northbridge, Leederville and Highgate.

The high green expanse of King's Park overlooks Perth's western end. Beyond, to the northwest of the city, are the Indian Ocean, stylish Subiaco and the busy beachside suburbs of Cottesloe and Scarborough. Fremantle ('Freo') is only 20 minutes south by car.


Perth has a long and hot summer where little rain falls and the temperature can stay up around 30°C, especially in January and February. Winds off the sea, known as the 'Fremantle Doctor' help cool the city. Winter brings coolish weather and rain, with a pleasant average temperature of 18°C.


The dominant culture in Perth is an outdoors one: it seems most Perthites are devoted to some kind of outdoor activity, whether it's swimming, surfing, fishing, yachting, windsurfing, snorkelling or sunbathing. But this is not all they're about; the city also has a strong artistic community, as is evidenced from its Cultural Centre, with its fabulous museum, galleries and library all in the one place, and its many festivals and events devoted to the arts and the city's rich cultural heritage (see 'Perth Events'). It also has some great bookshops, including the All Foreign Languages Bookshop.


Perth's attractions are all within easy reach of the city centre, and many have their own stops on the free Central Area Transit (CAT) bus service (maps of these buses' routes are readily available all over the city).

Get cultured at the Perth Cultural Centre, where you'll find the WA Museum, the Art Gallery of WA and the Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts – all within easy walking distance of each other, and all excellent.

Catch a ferry from Perth's Barrack St Jetty to fabulous Fremantle, a gorgeous historic port town on the mouth of the Swan River, where you'll find quality museums, a great music and arts scene and excellent cafes and pubs. While there, be sure to check out the lively Fremantle Markets (open Fri-Sun).

Jump on another ferry for a day trip over to lovely car-free Rottnest Island for superb snorkelling and scuba diving, swimming (Longreach and Geordie Bays and The Basin are best), surfing (head to Strickland, Salmon and Stark Bays), cycling and spotting quokkas (cute nocturnal marsupials of the wallaby family, native to southwest WA).

Have a once-in-a-lifetime encounter with humpback whales as they pass by Perth on their annual journey to Antarctic waters from September to December – for details on whale-watching cruises, contact Mills Charters.

Get a sun tan in the middle of a pub at beautiful Cottesloe's open-windowed institution the Ocean Beach Hotel. Make sure you stay long enough to watch the sun set over the Indian Ocean.


Like other Australian capital cities, Perth loves to celebrate. Here are a few ways you can join in:

Perth Royal Show – This typically Australian agricultural show is a must for overseas visitors. Held in late September, there's a huge amount of entertainment, including sheep dog trials, stunt car jumping, racing pigs(!), stilt-walkers, fireworks, cooking demonstrations, the Grand Parade of animals, heaps of amusement park rides and much more.

Artrage – This contemporary arts and local culture festival occurring annually in October around Northbridge, is a month-long celebration of WA's most innovative new talent, along with interstate and overseas guests.

Gay Pride March – On the events calendar since 1990, this Pride Parade is a colourful night-time march that marks the end of October's Pride Festival. It starts at the Brisbane & William Sts intersection, just north of Northbridge.

Fremantle Festival & Street Arts Festival – Held in November, the Fremantle Festival celebrates the town's colourful culture, while the Easter Street Arts Festival attracts 100,000+ visitors to see the world's best buskers in action.

Perth International Arts Festival – Also held in November, this is Australia's oldest international arts festival with an aim to bring art into everyday life, not just to those who are art-lovers. The extensive programme covers music, drama, film, dance, visual arts and literature.

Source of information: Study in Australia