Australia and New ZealandTravel

Day 1, Perth and surrounds

There are many superlatives written about Western Australia and Perth. You know the ones about how you could fit the whole of Europe into WA with some space left over; about how it’s the remotest capital city (state capital) in the world; about how its closer to Singapore and Bali than it is to Australia’s national capital Canberra.

P1000060But being out and about in Perth, you would never know it. It’s a very modern albeit smallish city. However there are a couple of overriding impressions. First of all there is a LOT on construction work on-going. Both the center of the city (which is the subject of an extensive modernization program) as well as the suburbs which are gradually extending north as the population continues to expand – seemingly mostly Brits or more precisely scots (we met a man from Manchester who has been here 26 years but still had a strong Manchester accent which according to him was because he “surrounded by Brits!”).

We took a bus tour in the morning and while the bus driver will tell you that Perth “has the weather that California tells the world it has”, there is remarkably little to see in the downtown area. The bus tour takes around 90 minutes but in reality it struggles to really show much of interest. Of course the stunning riverside location is the main attraction that really needs very little background commentary.

P1000058Kings Park meanwhile is well worth a visit whether you are a fan of flora or not. The park itself is well maintained and has some incredible views of the city. Surprising perhaps then that it is cost free for visitors, which I suspect is a money making opportunity missed.

IMG_0847The main attraction (for me) in Perth is the beaches. The best beaches are located north of the city and we spent an afternoon driving up around 30 km of coast with range of superbly well-kept white sand.  Although there are none of the jellyfish problems of the east coast, the surf is pretty fierce, the water chilly and (for those who venture further out) always the fear of a rogue shark. Nevertheless, very impressive when you compare to the crowded and over commercialized beaches one might find in Mediterranean Europe.

Despite the fantastic beaches, Perth’s northern suburbs are a bit “Truman show”, with their manicured lawns, modern architecture and endless sunshine; it all feels a little artificial. Somewhat extraordinarily, there are also no old people easily visible! Very strange.

We are staying at Bruns Beach B&B which is a really nice B&B rated very highly on Trip Advisor (including by us!) not cheap but certainly well worth the money.

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