Exploring one of the most isolated cities in the world: Perth
Let’s start today to discover the beautiful Perth, the capital of Western Australia and one of the most isolated cities in the world: the nearest city is Adelaide, at 2,104 kilometers away. Among other cities in the world similarly isolated there are Honolulu which is 3.841 kilometers from San Francisco and Auckland which is located at 2.153 kilometers from Sydney. Perth is geographically closer to Dili (2.785 km) and Jakarta (3.002) than to Australians Sydney (3.291), Brisbane (3.604) or Canberra (3.106). The urban population of Perth is larger than the combined populations of the rest of the state of Western Australia, the territories of the North and South Australia (excluding Adelaide). It gives a certain sense of conquest to arrive in this city and to think that looking to the west there is nothing but sea for more than 8.000 kilometers, up to the African coasts.
Saint Georges Terrace
Perth has a wonderful climate: hot and dry in summer (average 30°C), warmer in winter (average 18°C). The city boasts Australia’s sunniest state capital, and the light here has an incredible purity. Thanks to a beautiful sun, I begin to explore the city early. Perth’s public transport system is excellent: the railway connects the city center to all the towns around Perth, from Midland to Fremantle, from Mandurah to Armadale. In the center all buses are free.
Let’s start the day with a breakfast at Jean Pierre Sancho, a famous French pastry, one of the best in all of Australia. After this delicious break I head towards the eastern part of the city. Along Saint Georges Terrace is a continuous alternation of modern buildings and facades of the nineteenth century, up to the unexpected London Court: built in 1937 as a mix of residential and commercial buildings, this street was designed using architectural details of the Elizabethan era. It is the only “court” outside Great Britain that has captured the atmosphere of English Tudors.
Crossing the gardens of the Supreme Court, you arrive on the Swan River, where stands the Bell Tower, better known as Swan Bells, whose bells date back to the 14th century. From here I continue to walk along the river to Heirisson Island and, if you’re lucky, along the way, about 3 kilometers, you might be surprised by a herd of dolphins swimming right along the river quay.
Heirisson Island is an island in the middle of the Swan River, whose only inhabitants are the kangaroos. But do not expect an island teeming with animals, because there are just a few considering the tiny size of the island: among other things these are wild animals that you cannot feed, so you cannot get closer than a lot, but they are still very beautiful. From here you can take one of the city’s many free buses until the next stop, Kings Park.
Views from Kings Park
Memorial at Kings Park
Walk at Kings Park
Kings Park and the Botanic Garden crown the top of a hill in the western part of the city, amid more than 4 square kilometers of natural vegetation. In 1872 it became the first public park in Australia, and is currently the largest city park in the world. There is everything: playground, botanical garden, memorial, sanctuary, walks, lookout point. The park is located on the cliff overlooking the city, the Swan River and Darling Range, and offers one of the most beautiful views you can have in the city. The lawn is extremely well kept and the avenues are dotted with immense trees that offer shelter from the sun.
But a trip to Perth cannot be complete without a visit to Fremantle and Cottesloe, both on the coast and both easily reached by train. Cottesloe offers one of the most beautiful and famous beaches around Perth, while Fremantle was the first city to be colonized in 1829 as a port for the colony on the Swan River, and at the time was the most important city in Australia.
The first thing to see in Freo, as it is usually called here, is the market. Opened in 1897, it houses more than 150 stalls selling crafts, meat, fish and vegetables. This Victorian building often hosts street artists, and is certainly one of the most touristy places in the city. After an Italian lunch in the so-called “Cappuccino Strip”, head to the maritime area of the city, which offers a large number of seafood and fish and chips restaurants. In this place it is worth to look at the monuments dedicated to fishermen, especially Italians.
Continuing along the beach you arrive at the Round House, the oldest building built in Western Australia. Its construction dates back to the years 1830-1831 and it was used as a prison from 1850 to 1886: among the reasons why you could be incarcerated in the Round House there was also… the killing of a pig! The view from this place is simply breathtaking, unfortunately without the windows, the prisoners could not enjoy this view.
Round House – Inside
Perth will not be one of the most famous cities in terms of tourism, but in my opinion it is certainly one of the most beautiful. The whole state of Western Australia offers many different destinations, from the Pinnacles to the Giant’s Forest, and it’s really worth exploring it.