With plenty of sunshine, beaches and hidden places to explore, Perth is a travellers delight. Here are 10 things you may not know about Western Australia’s capital city.
Did you know…?
- Located all by its lonesome on the west coast of Australia, Perth is one of the most isolated cities in the world. The closest major Australian city with over a million people is Adelaide, but it’s over 2,000kms away! In fact, Perth is closer to Singapore than it is to Sydney or Melbourne. Let’s hope Perth doesn’t need to borrow a cup of sugar any time soon.
- In 1962, astronaut John Glenn (the first American to orbit the Earth) passed over Perth in the “Friendship 7” spacecraft at night. Perth residents all turned on their house lights and shone torches into the night sky to celebrate. Glenn passed over and called it the “City of Light” – a name which has stuck to this day!
- Perth has the largest inner city park in the world, Kings Park. Yes, that’s right – it’s even bigger than Central Park in New York City and Hyde Park in London! It’s an ideal spot for a picnic before you set off on a road trip.
- Perth has a much longer history than you might realise. The area around Perth was inhabited as early as 40,000 years ago by the Nyoongar people. Ancient stone tools have been found near the Swan River and have been confirmed as being 38,000 years old! The first record of Europeans around Perth was well before Australia’s official Settlement. In January, 1697 Dutch sailor Willem de Vlamingh landed near present day Cottesloe Beach.
- The Swan River was actually named before European settlement in Australia! Willem de Vlamingh named the Swan River because of the black swans he saw swimming there. It wasn’t for another 100 years that the Swan River Settlement was formed. The river is a great spot for a morning stroll or cycle, a spot of sailing or an evening river cruise.
- With a daily average of 8 hours sun, Perth gets the most sunshine of any capital city in Australia. It’s the perfect base for your holiday with easy access to the west coast’s highways and beaches.
Things to discover…
- The Perth Mint is the world’s oldest mint that still operates from its original premises. The mint opened in 1899 as a result of the gold rush, and has been minting gold coins (and other currency) ever since. Spend a couple of hours exploring the exhibitions and taking a guided tour of the mint. You can even find out what your weight is worth in gold!
- Just a short drive from Perth you’ll find New Norcia – Australia’s only monastic community. Situated on the banks of the Moore River, this Benedictine community features an Abbey Church, schools, hotel, wine press and an old mill. The town is becoming famous amongst foodie circles for its freshly baked bread, refreshing Abbey Ale and relaxing port.
- The City of Perth has undertaken a large project to revitalise the city’s laneways. You can now find all sorts of small bars, restaurants and specialty shops in these spaces. There are so many local secrets to discover; it’s a little piece of Melbourne on the west coast!
- While you’re staying in Perth, why not explore some of the city’s heritage buildings. Did you know that the Fremantle Prison is Western Australia’s only World Heritage listed building? If you’re feeling particularly brave, I’d suggest trying the torchlight tour. Or if you’re feeling a little scared, perhaps His Majesty’s Theatre would be more your style. “The Maj” as it is affectionately known, is the only remaining working Edwardian theatre in Australia and is home to the Western Australian Opera.
Want to have a road trip around Perth but don’t have your own car? No problem. Just look for a car hire company that offers affordable options, and you should be good to go.