Set apart from the bustling downtown area, King’s Park, four hundred acres of natural bush land, offers a peaceful retreat and spectacular views across the city center. The many beautiful ocean beaches and sunny weather make for excellent sunbathing, swimming, surfing or even parasailing. Rottnest Island, just half-an-hour away by boat, offers a pleasant diversion form the city. With virtually no traffic and stunning beaches, the island is ideal for those looking for some peace and tranquility. Animal lovers should head for Cohunu Wildlife Park to experience close contact with koalas, kangaroos and a host of other marsupials.
47 James St, Northbridge., Perth, Australia
This is the state's leading gallery. Most outstanding among its international and Australian paintings, prints, sculpture, craft and drawings is the Aboriginal art collection, regarded as the finest in Australia. Open daily from 10am to 5pm daily with free admission, although a donation is requested.
, Perth, Australia
This wildlife park is your big chance to have your photo taken cuddling a koala (for A$18/U.S.$12.60), if you have not already done so. You can also feed 100 kangaroos and emus wandering in natural enclosures, see wombats, ostriches, and llamas, and walk through an aviary housing Aussie native birds. Wild water birds also collect on the ponds in the park's 18 hectares (40 acres). Allow 4 hours to see it all, including travel time. Open daily 10am to 5pm. Admission $14/6.
, Perth, Australia
You won't catch performing dolphins and seals a la Sea World, but there's plenty for the kids to see here, including a moving walkway through an underwater tunnel of sharks, rays, and turtles; a touch pool; and lots of aquarium exhibits including leafy sea dragons, crocodiles, coral reefs, and dangerous sea critters. Keepers feed sharks, the touchpool creatures, and three Indian Ocean bottlenose dolphins, which live in a semi natural harbor pen, throughout the day. Anyone over 10 can swim with the dolphins for A$100 (U.S.$70) per person on weekends. You must bring your own snorkeling gear though, and book weeks, if not months, in advance. Allow 4 to 5 hours, including travel time. Admission A$16.50 (U.S.$11.55) adults, A$9 (U.S.$6.30) children 3-14, A$13 (U.S.$9.10) seniors and students, A$42 (U.S.$29.40) family of 4. Open daily 9am to 5pm.
, Perth, Australia
Perth shares Sydney's good luck in having beaches in the metropolitan area-19 of them, in fact, laid end to end along the 35-kilometer (22-mile) Sunset Coast from Cottesloe in the south to Quinn's Rocks in the north. Mornings are best as a strong afternoon wind, known as the Fremantle Doctor, can be unpleasant, especially in summer. Rips(strong currents) are a hazard at most beaches, so to avoid them always swim between the red and yellow flags planted by the volunteer surf lifesaving clubs. The flags mark a safe swimming zone.
The three most popular are:
Cottesloe - This pretty crescent, graced by the delightful Edwardian-style Indiana Tea House restaurant is Perths most fashionable beach. It has good, safe swimming, a small surf break, and a kiosk. There are a couple of good cafes nearby. Train: Cottesloe. Bus: 70, 71, 72, or 73.
Scarborough: Biggest of them all, Scarboroughs white sands stretch for miles from the base of the Rendezvous Observation City Hotel. Swimming is generally safe, and surfers are always guaranteed a wave, although inexperienced swimmers should take a rain check when the surf is rough. The busy shopping precinct across the road means there's always somewhere to buy lunch and drinks. Bus: 400.
Trigg: Surfers like Trigg best for its consistent swells. It has a kiosk. Bus: 400 to Scarborough, then a 10-minute walk north.
City Centre, Perth, Australia
Check out the superb views from Kings Park, the lungs of the city centre. The park includes a 17 hectare (42 acre) Botanic Garden and a section of natural bushland, which represents Perth as it was before the white fella got here. In spring, theres a cultivated display of Western Australia's famed wild flowers. The park also has some pleasant bike tracks - you can hire bikes just outside the park - and a coffee shop.
19km from Fremantle coast, Perth, Australia
This sandy island, 19km (12mi) off the coast of Fremantle, is home to small indigenous marsupials known as quokkas. These were mistakenly identified as rats in 1696 by the Dutch explorer de Vlamingh, who named the island Rats Nest. The Rottnest settlement was established as a prison for Aborigines in the 19th century, but by 1920 the prison had fallen into disuse and the island had become an escape for Perth society. There is virtually no motorised traffic on the island - bicycle is the main means of transport. The beaches are superb with some of the southernmost coral reefs in the world and crystal-clear waters.
There are a couple of places to stay, including a campground, on Rottnest, and a few restaurants. You can get to Rottnest by plane from Perth, or by ferry from Perth or Fremantle.