In Australia, Perth is largely ignored and many of the city’s residents have a bit of a chip on their shoulder about it. Yes, Perth is a small town compared to Sydney and Melbourne but it’s growing fast and has a lot to offer.
The city is built around the Swan River – so named because of its shape – and so it’s sort of reminiscent of Chicago, where everything comes back to the lake. Overlooking the river is the wonderful King’s Park. We drove there as a tick-the-box excercise but ended up being blown away by its spectacular beauty.
Perth’s got a street of high-end shopping and a bohemian cafe area. It’s got a series of wonderful beaches.
And of course, it’s got the wildlife which for me is the pull of Australia. The opportunity to pat koalas and cuddle kangaroos – it used to be the other way round but koalas get incredibly stressed out – is something I’ll keep with me for the rest of my life. These are animals unique to Australia as are wombats and wallabies which we also saw.
Perth has retained a lot of old stone architecture which adds to the charm of the city, a quaint old-worldiness more fully expressed in Freemantle next door. But it’s a rapidly growing city with some of the highest real estate prices in Australia; neverthless it still has a laid-back breezy character that actually would make it a wonderful place to live in.
Be warned though – the shops close at 4.30 pm, though the rest of Oz is not much better.