/ The Great Escape

The Great Escape

May 15, 2013

Looking to go to the far reaches of the world to get away from it all? Well head Down Under and discover Perth!

Located on the west coastline of Australia, Perth is one of the most isolated cities in the world. Yet, despite its remoteness, it offers the best of both city life and natural escapes — everything one could want on their travels. Boasting beautiful scenery and landscapes — from the Great Victoria Desert to the east and the Indian Ocean to the west — Perth is considered the gem of Western Australia. It’s often synonymous with Western Australia; offering a vast array of things to do and places to visit, it’s the central hub of the entire region. With over 3000 hours of sunshine a year, Perth is considered one of the sunniest places on earth. With this comes a lot of fun in the sun. Here are a few amazing natural and cultural places to check out when visiting this city and its surrounding areas.

Cottesloe Beach

Cottesloe, or “Cott” as it is fondly called, is one of the most popular beaches in Western Australia. People flock to it from all over the world to enjoy basking in the sun, surfing, snorkeling and bodyboarding. With its white sand and crystal clear water it is unarguably a favourite hangout for locals and tourists. Swim in the coastal waters or move deeper into the swells of sand and rocks and reef to enjoy a perfect snorkeling experience. Whether you are going for some intense water activity or to enjoy a lazy summer afternoon, Cott has something to offer everyone. If you want something more out of your beach experience, visit Cottesloe during the month of March when a large, three-week outdoor Sculpture by the Sea exhibition is held and Cottesloe is turned into a beautiful sculpture park alongside the vast Indian Ocean.

Swan Valley & Darling Range

If you are a wine tasting enthusiast, indulge your senses in Western Australia’s oldest award-winning wineries. Take in the natural bushland while sipping on rich-tasting wine and listening to the stories of the European descendants who have spent generations cultivating their wines to perfection. A 20-minute drive from the city, Swan Valley makes you forget what you left behind and transports you to a world of relaxation and tantalizing your taste buds. Enjoy lunch in one of 70 restaurants and cafes or pack your own picnic to enjoy amongst the beautiful flora and fauna of the forested Darling Range. You can also purchase seasonal, Perth-grown fresh fruits and vegetables from the many roadside stalls in the valley. One thing to note about Swan Valley: this may be the only place in the world to purchase wines such as Verdelho and Shiraz, directly from the cellar doors of the wineries.

Kings Park & Botanic Garden

Don’t mistake this for just any park or botanical garden. Kings Park and Botanic Garden is one of the most popular destinations in Perth. One of the biggest inner-city parks in the world (bigger than New York City’s Central Park), it’s visited by over six million people every year and it is well worth the climb to the garden. The park is brimming with over 300 species of flora and fauna specific to Perth and Western Australia, and provides stunning views of both the city and Swan River. With both natural and sculpted garden spaces, there are a number of things to do including climbing to the highest point for the best city views or taking in the different cultural events taking place throughout the year. The best time to visit is in September, when the whole park blossoms and blooms with wildlife and the Kings Park Festival, a month-long garden festival, engages visitors with floral displays, exhibitions, workshops, live music, artwork and more. Considered one of the major highlights of Perth by both visitors and locals, this park provides a place to breathe, relax, inspire and explore.

Perth Cultural Centre

The Perth Cultural Centre is a hub of all cultural and museum buildings located in Perth. Amongst the attractions is the Art Gallery of Western Australia. This is a must-see for anyone visiting Perth. The art gallery was founded in 1895 and holds both contemporary and indigenous art pieces. With major exhibitions being held each year, this gallery attracts both art and non-art lovers and provides a pleasant learning environment. The Western Australian Museum is another attraction in the cultural centre. Here you will see the natural and cultural evolution of the area, learn about the culture of the Aboriginal people, and explore the vast history of the region. Also check out the Perth Gaol (jail) that housed convicts in the mid- to late-nineteenth century. Much of Australia’s history is rooted in the housing of convicts from overseas who established their lives in this new land and the Perth Gaol provides a small glimpse into this extensive past.

Penguin Island

Forty-five minutes south of Perth, located in the Shoalwater Islands Marine Park, is Penguin Island. If you’ve always wanted to see penguins, dolphins, sea lions, pelicans, stingrays and other sea creatures, this is the place to visit. The island is also home to special plant species specific to the area and boasts a wide variety of activities you can do on your own or with your family. Catch the (adorable) penguin show, learn about the protection and preservation of sea creatures, snorkel to catch a glimpse of octopuses, see wild dolphins in action on the Dolphin Watch Cruise, or take a walk on the boardwalk and spot the different bird life on the island. If you decide to just explore the island and relax, you can always visit one of the white sandy beaches where you can unwind and go for a swim in the warm waters. A five-minute ferry ride from the coast of Rockingham, this is a great ecotourism destination.

For more info on Perth you can visit this site: www.experienceperth.com



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