Perth – City of Light

It takes 5 hours to fly across Australia from Sydney to Perth, across the endless Nullarbor and the Great Australian Bight. It’s as if you’ve travelled to another country. It feels different, and it’s not just the intense light and the dry desert heat. Perth is 2,104 kilometres away from the next capital city, Adelaide – and 3,934 kilometres from Sydney, making it the most isolated city on the planet! It’s closer to Singapore than Sydney for god’s sake! 

Perth is the sunniest capital city in Australia – hands down sunnier than recently rainy old Sydney, thanks to the 3-year long La Niña that’s supposed to bugger off in the next month or so. Fingers crossed! 

Perth is the only place in the world that you can see a Quokka (cute marsupial) in the wild, over on Rottnest Island (also in a few other isolated forests and small islands off WA). We didn’t make it this time to Rottnest, too much relaxing going on at Cottesloe, too much current-churning action from the Fremantle Doctor and too much fun being had… and plus the ferry’s not cheap at A$79 return (though almost half that if you depart at 7am). We’ll save our Quokka re-encounter for another day. 

Perth central business district shines bright with its gleaming towers and clash of old (ish) and brand spanking new. There are a couple of quirky oddities that kind of stop you in your tracks, the first being London Court, a distinctive shopping arcade with a mock Tudor / Elizabethan façade that runs between Hay Street Mall and St Georges Terrace. It was built in 1937 by a wealthy gold financier, Claude de Bernales for residential and commercial purposes, but it’s become somewhat of a major tourist attraction in the city. It’s really quite strange walking through here in the searing summer heat and blisteringly blue sky, a complete anomaly to what’s around it. The other oddity I came across (and there are probably loads to discover), is the 118-year-old European Hotel, or the Miss Maud Swedish Hotel as it was once known. Truly quirky and definitely eccentric! 

One of Perth’s greatest natural assets has to be Kings Park, a 400-hectare inner city bushland park that faces the city towers and the glittering wide basin of the Swan River. It was here, at the viewing platform hanging over the river that I stumbled upon ‘The Dream Girls’, a group of glorious ladies in stunning hot pink outfits posing for their photo. Why they were there or where they were going was a mystery, but I guess it’s just one of those moments when you just have to be in the right place at the right time. Fabulous! 

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