I know this sounds cynical, but I think all Australian cities are pretty much the same. Copy-pasted with their amazing weather, pristine nature, and over-the-top quality of life. Stunning coastline, wine, and even more great weather? Don’t mind me, I’m just a jealous European freezing my balls off in September. I wasn’t joking about the similarities between cities in Australia, though. Colonists arrive, subdue the natives, import convicts for free manual labour, and build settlements. There’s usually a gold rush somewhere in between. The Nightingale portrayed those times in a very grim way. I won’t spoil it, but it’s worth a watch to gain perspective on Australian history. “All’s well that ends well” I suppose and Perth turned out great. It’s known as the capital and the largest city in Western Australia. You’ll see a lot of “Fremantle” here. I’d say it’s the heart of Perth, kind of the old town too. There’s a beautiful harbour with charming Victorian architecture and notable landmarks. The oldest building in the region (built in 1830) is located here, and, of course, it’s a prison. It only had eight cells, so its usefulness was rather limited. Fremantle Prison took over some twenty years later. It fulfilled its role until the early 90s and now functions as a museum. The prison even received the title of a World Heritage Site due to its part in Australian convict history. There’s also the Fremantle Asylum, which is now an arts centre because insanity and art are the same thing.
Venture into the abandoned power plant if you’re feeling adventurous. South Fremantle Power Station is the full name and it’s enormous. I think the only reason that it hasn’t been demolished yet is that it stands on private property. You can see the architecture beneath all the graffiti. This thing must’ve been a sight to behold in its day. People say there are tunnels below leading as far as the city centre. Just make sure you dodge the guards or you might get tasered. Have a looksie from a distance if you’d rather not trespass, like from the CY O’Connor beach right next to it. The entire western coast is one giant sandy paradise for surfers. Cottesloe is the most recognizable one around with its azure waters. It’s a staple among the local snorkelling community. Try swimming further offshore and you might reach the nasty-sounding Rottnest Island. Or better yet: don’t risk your life and take a ferry from Perth. Rottnest is a nature reserve and one of the few places on earth where you can see a quokka. They’re sort of tiny rat-kangaroo creatures. Super cute, known as the “world’s happiest animal” because of their characteristic “smile”. The island is a popular destination for a family trip. You can leave the kids at the aqua park and spend quality time with the wife on one of the 63 beaches.
Perth itself isn’t devoid of spectacular nature. Kings Park is a green area and a botanic garden overlooking the city. It’s huge, larger than New York’s Central Park. The most interesting thing about it is its aboriginal history. You can hire one of those guys to walk you through the park. They believe that their serpent god Wagyl dug into the earth here and emerged at Mt Eliza. That’s their River Swan origin story. I bet it pisses them off that people are messing around their sacred place. Aboriginal tours aren’t limited to Kings Park. You can take a walking tour through the entire Perth to learn about it from a different point of view. They can teach you about gathering food, edible plants, and hunting throughout the seasons. Handy stuff if you lose your wallet and passport and somehow find yourself homeless in Australia. Let’s hope that’s not the case and you’re still able to enjoy Perth’s food and nightlife. Swan valley is famous for its vineyards and wineries if you’re willing to take the trip. Perth is all about beer and neighbourly breweries with funny names. Try Beerporium, Little Creatures, or Freo Social. You can’t go wrong with some fresh seafood with your cold brewski. Everything is conveniently located around the Fremantle district and the Elizabeth Quay. Now to summarize: would I want to live in Perth? Absolutely. Would I spend 20 hours on a plane to spend a few days there? No way in hell.