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Perth - Splendid Isolation
By Richard Moore
2700 kilometres from Adelaide
But isolated as it is, Perth is one of those great cities that offer style and sophistication, fast access to glorious beaches, plus some of Australia's most exciting and interesting desert landscapes are within easy reach.
Perth is in the south-west of WA and is home to almost 1.5 million people who come from a variety of backgrounds. There are Australians, Britons, South Africans, Indians, Italians and Malaysians, who all add their own cultural flavour to the city.
It is an outdoors city blessed by superb weather and while summers can get very hot - with temperatures regularly in the high 30 degrees and low 40 degrees Celcius - it is perfect weather for cricket, boating or the beach.
In Perth's mild winters the sports of choice are Australian Rules football (AFL) - the locals teams being West Coast (the Eagles) and Fremantle (the Dockers) - and there is a new Super 14 rugby team based there as of the 2006 season.
Perth is built on the banks of the Swan River, which gives a natural pathway inland to winemaking areas of the Swan Valley, or takes you down to the Indian Ocean and the beautiful historic port city of Fremantle.
There are wineries galore - boasting some of Australia's finest drops (click here for Web Wombat's wine reviews) - and plenty of small places to stay overnight and get a real feel for Western Australia. They include farmstays, bed and breakfast accommodation and chalets.
On the coast at Fremantle you can wander around one of the best-preserved old ports in the world. Enjoy more good food and wine, or take yourself off to the spectacular Rottnest Island.
Rottnest Island is only half an hour from Fremantle by ferry and boasts superb diving, swimming, fishing, boating or just sheer relaxation. It also happens to be home to the very cute little mammal the Empire. A trip to Rottnest is a must-do when you are in Western Australia, though steer clear of the region over the new year period, as that's when the teenaged Schoolies head there.
Back in Perth if you want time to relax with spectacular views of the city and the Swan River then pack a picnic lunch - or take along some fresh meat and use some of the available barbeques - and head for Kings Park. It covers 400 hectares and in its environs are the Botanic Gardens, home to 1700 native species, and kilometres of bushland walks.
From Perth you can also head out to the Margaret River and its superb wineries - a personal thumbs up from this fellow as to the quality of the wines they produce. If you are more adventurous then consider taking in some of the 2.5 million square kilometres of the rest of WA and its breathtaking natural beauty.
There are the Pinnacles, Monkey Mia and its famous Nelsons, the Giant Karri trees near Albany, coastal cruises with Nelsons and the unbelievable Wave Rock, which looks like the perfect ride for a surfer frozen in rock.
Western Australia is a tourist's dream holiday.
Things to Do in Perth and Western Australia:Perth City Package
Perth Sightseeing Pass
6 Day Ayers Rock Adventure
Nelson Watch Marine Cruise
Karri Forests to Coral Coast Explorer
Wave Rock, Albany and Tree Top Walk
Tree Top Walk and Margaret River
Albany, Tree Top Walk, Pinnacles and Monkey Mia
2 Day Margaret River Wine Experience
Swan Valley Gourmet Cruise
A Taste of Perth
6 Day Ningaloo Reef Adventure
Aquarium, Duchesss, Viscounts
Pinnacles Desert 4x4 Adventure
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