Perth, Western Australia

Perth central business district (cbd) is a surprisingly calm place for a city centre. There is no over-crowding, no traffic jams and litter is rare. It is a city of 1.5 million people and is the state capital of Western Australia. It also has the distinction of being the world's most physically isolated city. Singapore is closer than Sydney. This isn't really a problem as there many small, interesting places a few hour's drive from Perth.

The Swan River flows through Perth on its way to the sea which it reaches at Fremantle. The river serves as a playground for water sports enthusiasts. This photo I took from the eastern side of the river, looking west toward the cbd. In the foreground on the shore is the WACA cricket ground.

This photo I took in December 2010. There is an obvious building boom happening in Perth. This is being driven by the expected demand for housing and office space needed to service the minerals boom in Western Australia that is expected to continue for several years. Its an age-old device to gauge the state of a city's economy by observing how many cranes appear on the skyline.

This is the view of South Perth as seen from King's Park. The Swan River is in the foreground. Out of shot, to the left of the photo across the river is the cbd. As you can see Perth is a quite a flat sprawling city. Many immigrants to Australia find the sense of space refreshing, along with the good weather, laid back atmosphere, almost non-existent crime rate and outdoor lifestyle.

Just outside of the cbd is East Perth, which is not the eastern-most suburb nowadays, as the city continues its sure but steady expansion. This suburb has some of the best housing stock in central Perth. Its proximity to the cbd makes it popular with well-healed professionals. You can find out more about Perth's suburbs in the free bonus report that comes with the guide.

Perth Central train station is not very big, but it is efficient. Few train commuters are unhappy with the local service. There are only 4 lines (routes) but they cover most of the city and its suburbs.

Fremantle has a character and atmosphere of its own, despite being so close to Perth. Visiting Fremantle on weekends is a popular pastime for people in Perth. On weekends there are markets in the harbour and town centre. There is also a lively restaurant and coffee shop scene in what is called "The Cappucino Strip". Here is a street scene from Fremantle where you could be enjoying the "Freo Feeling".

Mandurah is a fine and fast-growing seaside town an hour's drive to the south of Perth. For several years recently it was regarded as the world's fastest growing town. The beaches are very pleasant and are washed with warm Indian Ocean waters. Unsurprisingly much of the town's housing stock and businesses are new. Here is its marina which serves as the focal point of the town as it has some of the best restaurants and shops in the town.

The Margaret River is a catch-all phrase for the dozens of vineyards that are to be found in the valley. It is about 2 hours drive south of Perth along the coast. Margaret River is the main town in the region and this photo is of its main street. This region is becoming famous for its white wines, especially the chenin blancs.

There a 3 free bus routes in central Perth. Yes, totally free. The Central Area Transit (CAT) scheme is heavily subsidised by the city and provides for several buses on each route. Each route has several stops where people wait and each of these stops has an indicator board. Pictured is an indicator board for the red CAT which shows the route and when the next bus is due. It is popular with locals and tourists alike.

Perth has very varied architecture which naturaly reflects its colonial history. Old and new buildings co-exist without looking like an eyesore. New, modern buildings are starting to dominate as the city's economy continues its upward trajectory.

Perth is expanding along its coast, especially toward the north. The suburbs of Quinns Rocks and Ocean Reef boast some spectacular housing developments. This is the marina section of Quinn's Rocks.

Here is a typical beach along Perth's coastline. The beaches are spotlessly clean and safe. When last did you enjoy a day at the beach on a beach like this one?

Fremantle serves as the port for Perth and as such it has a strong maritime flavour. It was historically regarded as a separate town in its own right, but in recent years Perth and Fremantle have grown together. Here is a street scene in which you can see a glimpse of its history as depicted in its architecture.

The premier beach in Perth is Cottesloe Beach. Its perfect white sands and warm waters attract people all year round. In my humble opinion, all the beaches north and south of Cottesloe Beach are just as good. It just happens to be the beach closest to the city centre.

The train stations in the suburbs are new and well maintained. This is Joondalup station in the northern suburbs of Perth. Australia subsidises its public transport very well as they realise that this is cheaper than building more roads. All of Australia's cities offer frequent, clean and cheap public transport.

Rottnest Island is a quick ferry ride across from Fremantle. This island is a child-friendly escape from the city. Vehicles are forbidden and people get around on bicycles. Pleasure craft come over from the mainland to enjoy the delights of the island's many sandy beaches.

Perth's trains are new, clean and safe. During the working day the carriages tend to be under-utilized, such as in the picture above. During the rush hours they are full, but not over-crowded. Perth operates a clever load management system during the rush hours. Each of the 4 routes is divided in to an "A" and "B" section with "A" being only for the stations on the first half of the route, whilst "B" trains only serve the second half of the route.



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