Perth, the capital city of Western Australia is known as one of the most isolated city’s in the world, it’s nearest neighbour being Adelaide some 2009km away.
Being on the west coast the city has the most wonderful sunsets and also a dry but hot climate, it’s blue blue skies make for wonderful skylines.
As you walk through the city there are statues in the most unexpected places, mixing art with city architecture makes for an engaging experience.
We took a visit to the Perth Mint, originally set up to deal with the need to process the large amount of gold found during the gold rush that started in the early 1900’s in Western Australia. Here they have the world’s only 1 ton gold coin, worth around $90 million AUD at the time we visited!
We visited WA at Christmas time and loved the incongruity of a hot and sunny Xmas. Christmas decorations and music in the hot sun!
Fremantle is a port town just outside of Perth, from here you can take a fast boat ride out to Rottnest Island, a beautiful day trip with stunning beaches easily accessible by bike or the island bus tour. There are a few bars and a fabulous bakery there too.
The Fremantle prison is also well worth a visit, they have a very interesting tour that provides great insights to the origins of the Swan River Colony and the prison itself.
The prison was set up to handle the British prisoners sent from the UK on a 9 month journey for a variety of offences, from simple theft to violent crimes. The prisoners endured a very tough life, sub contracted as labourers to help build the prison and used by others to help build the colony’s new infrastructure.
The guide explained the severity of the sentences, often for petty crimes, and the harsh conditions endured by the inmates, as well as the inclusion of Irish political prisoners. There were few breakouts given there was nowhere to escape to, walking east meant days walking across the hot and deadly outback with death the most likely outcome.
A relatively short walk from the centre of Perth is Heirisson Island, sat in the middle of the Swan River. Here you can see Kangaroos and other wildlife in a contained but natural space, right next to the city.
We spent Christmas a few hours south of Perth in Dunsborough, near Margaret River, a great retreat from the city with some beautiful beaches.
On Christmas Eve we visited the amazing Ngilgi Cave, just a 10mins drive from Dunsborough.
You get to walk through the various parts of this underground world on your own, it’s very accessible with walkways throughout, it’s a magical experience.
Western Australia has been great and there is so much we didn’t get to see as it’s a vast territory, hopefully we will be back to see more.
Next we travel to Melbourne, a 3.5hr flight east and a 3 hour time adjustment.