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Perth is the capital of the Australian state of Western Australia. With a population of around 1.7 million (2010 estimate) Perth is the largest city in Western Australia and home to three-quarters of the state's residents. The city is also the fourth most populous urban area in Australia, and with a growth rate of 2% is currently the fastest growing major city in Australia. It's also the world's most remote biggest city and the nearest one, Adelaide, is several days of driving and thousands of kilometres east in South Australia.
The CBD (Central Business District) is spread along the River Swan where you’ll also find the Esplanade and Bell Tower complex. Like most cities in Australia, Perth spreads into surrounding suburbs which seem to continue forever.
To the north of the CBD, you’ll find the party and restaurant suburb Northbridge. Beyond that are the two cafe and fashion regions of Mt Lawley and Leederville. If there are no events happening, these areas are much more lively than the city centre.
Popular areas include:
These places are within walking distance of the CBD or accessible by public transport with in about 10-15 minutes from the CBD
There are also areas of interest within a couple of hours of Perth accessible by car.
The latest tourist event listings can be found online - visit the Perth Governmental website for a calender of events.
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Perth has a Mediterranean climate with day time temperatures ranging from 10 °C in winter to 45 °C in summer. Rainfall is greater during the winter months of May to July when Perth experiences between 100-150 mm per month. Summer rainfall is infrequent, occurring only on approximately 3-5 days between January and March this is normally associated with a cyclone in northern regions of the state.
Qantas has international flight to and from Perth Airport (PER). Destinations include Johannesburg (also by South African Airways), Hong Kong (also by Cathay Pacific), Singapore, Denpasar (Bali), Tokyo and Jakarta. Singapore Airlines, Malaysia Airlines, Thai Airways are other airlines connecting Perth with destinations in South East Asia.
Air Asia now services Perth from Kuala Lumpur and Bali as well, offering low cost flights.
Qantas has regular flights between Perth and both Broome and Kalgoorlie. Virgin Blue flies between Perth and Broome as well. Skywest has flights to many smaller towns, including Albany, Esperance, Exmouth, Carnarvon and Kalgoorlie. A few smaller airlines fly to places like Fitzroy Crossing and Halls Creek, Port Hedland, Kalbarri and Shark Bay.
To/from the airport
Road access to the domestic terminals from downton Perth is via Great Eastern Highway and Brearley Avenue. The International terminal access is via Tonkin Highway and Horrie Miller Drive. Both the domestic and international terminals are serviced by a number of private charter bus operators that can be normally accessed through most major CBD hotels. The domestic terminal can be accessed by multiple regular public bus services operated by Transperth. There are many options of car rental on the airport as well and taxis are available at both the domestic as well as the international terminal.
The The Indian Pacific train crosses the Nullabor Plain connecting Perth to Adelaide and Sydney. The journey takes 3 nights in either direction, with trains running twice weekly in both directions.
Other trains to and from Perth, but within Western Australia are:
Greyhound is the main operator but buses between Perth and Adelaide are history due to the cheap flights. There are still even buses from Darwin to Perth, but it's a long way and most travellers won't do this marathon in one go. Buses also stop in many cities and towns along this route, including Port Hedland and Broome.
There are no toll roads in Perth and parking is plentiful in council-run parking areas. Some highway and motorway entrances are poorly designed so double check you are entering with the flow of traffic. There are plenty of companies you could choose to hire a car from (both downtown and at the airport), including Avis, Budget, Europcar, Hertz and Thrifty. Car hire is often not available to drivers under 25, or if it is, it's more expensive for younger drivers.
Perth's climate and good roads ensure that you will see many motorcyclists on the road. In fact, the number of motorbike ownership is greater than anywhere else in the country.
Perth has a fairly extensive public transport system incorporating buses, trains and ferries, operated by Transperth. There are currently five train lines, terminating at Armadale, Midland, Fremantle, Clarkson (near Joondalup) and Mandurah. In smaller stations you will have to buy your ticket from a machine which will not accept larger notes. Make sure you have smaller denominations or you may be stranded. A series of concentric zones define the fares charged on public transport. There are nine zones in total, but most visitors don't have a need to travel beyond zone 2. There is also a free transit zone within the city limits, where several bus lines operate. The CAT (Central Area Transit) buses run circle routes every 5 to 15 minutes, until 5:00 or 6:00pm. But any bus within this zone is free of charge. A ferry system also runs between the CBD and South Perth (the jetty is a short walk from the Perth Zoo). You can purchase tickets on the buses or at the train/ferry stations, or buy a SmartRider which is an electronic card that you top up with funds. You use this card to "tag on" when you get on the bus/train/ferry and then "tag off" when you have finished your journey, with the cost of the trip deducted from the card.
The Perth CBD slopes down towards the river so you are constantly walking up or downhill in the city centre. Popular nightlife suburb Northbridge is easily accessible by an overpass from the main train station and it takes around 20 minutes to walk from there directly to Hyde Park. From Hyde Park, Mt Lawley is around 20 minutes to your right; Leederville 25 minutes walk to your left.
Perth does not have many bike lanes. Cyclists share the road with motorised traffic and park walkways with pedestrians.
Perth has a great range of restaurants, however you really should ask a local for their recommendations. While food is usually good, service and atmosphere can be hit and miss - you certainly shouldn't tip bad service. Many restaurants are located in the city and the other popular areas stated above. Cheap eats are usually $10-15 pp and for a pub meal expect to pay $20-30. A nice restaurant will charge $7-15 for an entree and $30-50 for main courses. Here are some recommendations.
Burger joints have gained massive popularity in Perth, with Jus Burgers in both Leederville and Subiaco are the beez neez. $10-15 for a great filling gourmet burger, with a great atmosphere. They have been known to sell out of buns on a popular night.
Asian and Indian cuisine is plentiful in Northbridge, with Lido (Vietnamese) worthy of note. In Fremantle, Little Creatures Microbrewery is a must. Cream (East Perth), C Restaurant (Perth), Divido (Mt Hawthorn) and Star Anise (Shenton Park) are much more upmarket, and priced accordingly.
Perth has many places to quench your thirst, however it is not uncommon to pay $10 for a pint of beer or $8-11 for a glass of house wine. Recently, Perth has allowed a series of "small bars" to open, and these are usually themed affairs that are more intimate than the usual beer barn types in Northbridge.
Local liquor outlets are plentiful and can provide alcohol at a much cheaper price. Supermarkets do not sell any alcohol at all.
Many hotels near the beach are well known for their iconic Sunday sessions (4:00pm - 10:00pm), although the crowd can be a little young for some peoples tastes.
Being the gateway to WA, Perth is a backpacking mecca with many hostels available.
For more information about these three and more, here is a complete list in Perth:
|1201 East Backpackers||195 Hay Street East||HOSTEL||68|
|Beatty Lodge||Beatty Lodge 235 Vincent Street||Hostel||70|
|Billabong Backpackers Resort||381 Beaufort St Northbridge||Hostel||68|
|Britannia on William||253 William Street Northbridge 6003||HOSTEL||69|
|Coolibah Lodge||194 Brisbane Street Northbridge||Hostel||69|
|Easy Perth Backpackers||44 Francis Street Northbridge||HOSTEL||62|
|Exclusive Backpackers||158 Adelaide Terrace||Hostel||68|
|Fern Cove Bed & Breakfast||12 Hyland Way||Guesthouse||-|
|Hotel Bambu Backpackers||75 - 77 Aberdeen St, Northbridge WA 6003||Hostel||69|
|Ocean Beach Backpackers||2 Eric street Cottesloe Beach||HOSTEL||72|
|Ozi Inn Backpackers||282 Newcastle st Northbridge||Hostel||69|
|Palms Bed & Breakfast||24 Dorchester Avenue Warwick||GUESTHOUSE||-|
|Perth Beach Hostel (Indigo)||256 West Coast Highway Scarborough||Hostel||70|
|Planet Inn Backpackers||496 Newcastle Street West Perth||Hostel||58|
|Rainbow Lodge Backpackers||133 Summers St.||hostel||64|
|Spinner's Backpackers||342 Newcastle Street Northbridge, Perth, Western Australia||Hostel||74|
|The Emperors Crown Backpackers||85 Stirling Street Northbridge||HOSTEL||72|
|The Old Swan Barracks||6 Francis St Northbridge||HOSTEL||70|
|The Shiralee Hostel||107 Brisbane St, Northbridge||HOSTEL||59|
|The Witchs Hat Backpacker Hostel||148 Palmerston Street Northbridge 6000||HOSTEL||73|
|Underground Backpackers||268 Newcastle St, Northbridge , Perth WA6003||HOSTEL||69|
|Western Beach Lodge||6 Westborough St Scarborough||HOSTEL||77|
|YMCA Jewell House||180 Goderich St||HOSTEL||71|
|Backpack City and Surf||41-43 Money St||Hostel||69|
|Hay Street Backpackers||266-268 Hay Street||HOSTEL||66|
|Scarborough Observation Resort||200 West Coast Hwy Scarborough, Perth||HOTEL||68|
|Perth City YHA||300 Wellington Street||Hostel||-|
|Crestview Accommodation||28 Crest View Lennard Brook||Guesthouse||-|
|Grand Central Hotel Backpackers||379 Wellington Street||Hostel||61|
|Globe Backpackers and City Oasis Resort||561 Wellington Street||HOSTEL||61|
|Wickham Retreat Backpackers||25-27 Wickham st East Perth||HOSTEL||85|
|Backpackers International Ladies Hostel||116 Aberdeen St Northbridge WA||Hostel||65|
|Rainbow Lodge||150 Claisebrook Road||Hostel||67|
|Mary's Bed and Breakfast Perth||Mount Claremont||GUESTHOUSE||-|
|North Lodge Accommodation||225 Beaufort Street WA 6000||HOSTEL||71|
|Victoria Park Lodge||65 Leonard Street||Hostel||-|
|The Hive Hostel||55 Stirling Street||HOSTEL||-|
|Kangaroo Inn||123 Murray Street||GUESTHOUSE||-|
|Malibu Apartments||30 Cleaver St West Perth||Apartment||-|
|Guildfords Rosedale Lodge||22 East Street Guildford||Hostel||-|
|Banjos Backpackers||150 Claisebrook Rd||Hostel||-|
|Banjos Backpackers||150 Claisebrook Road||HOSTEL||-|
Please note the word “hotel” on the side of a building is not a guarantee of accommodation. Throughout Australia, but particularly noticeable here, a hotel is actually a pub. There are a lot of B&Bs to choose from, but make sure you look into transport options before you book one, as it might be far removed from the city centre.
Chains like Hilton, Hyatt, Holiday Inn, Mercure all have 4.5 and 5-star hotels in Perth. They’re mainly situated in the CBD or the Burswood casino and entertainment complex which is home to many of Perth’s big events.
A large percentage of the workforce works in the mining or related industries. Many employees are either fly-in fly-out (FIFO) types or are based in the city. Handsome salaries are paid to those with in-demand skills, although this is often blamed for creating a two-tier economy in Perth and has seen the price of housing increase rapidly.
Healthcare, tourism and retail are other major employment sectors. Unskilled adult workers in hospitality can usually earn $20 ph for bar/restaurant work, provided they have an RSA certificate. The general view in Perth is that work is easy to find.
Perth has 5 major universities; The University of Western Australia (UWA), Curtin University of Technology, Murdoch University, Edith Cowan University and Notre Dame University. Each offer many chances for exchange and foreign students to study in Western Australia.
Vocational training and short courses are offered through TAFE.
Internet cafes are easily accessible across the CBD with walk up access, all have USB connections for camera etc.
Many cafes have unadvertised WIFI connections. Dome is a cafe chain which often has hotspots; ask for a password when you order.
See also International Telephone Calls
Australia is on a GSM 900/1800 network, so if you have an unlocked phone that works on those frequencies, you will be able to buy a prepaid SIM-card and stick into your phone when you're in Perth. You will receive a new Australian phone number with the SIM-card.
To dial out of Australia use the prefix 0011, followed by the calling code of the country you are trying to reach, followed by the area code of the city/town (without the 0!) and finally the phone number.
Within Australia, it is necessary to add an area code to the phone numbers if you are calling from outside the area.
Perth's area code is 08, which is the same for all of Western Australia as well as South Australia and the Northern Territory. If dialing interstate, use one of the following area codes.
000 is the emergency telephone number in Australia, but the international GSM mobile emergency telephone number 112 also works on mobile phones. Calling cards can be bought from any Newsagency and most deli's/corner stores, it's generally cheaper to purchase at these stores than it is from accommodation receptions. Some of the cheapest cards can be found at the Wellington train station.
Australia Post is the government's postal service. Most suburbs will have at least one post office. A standard letter or postcard sent within Australia will cost $0.60. Internationally, it costs $1.70 to send postcards anywhere in the world. Letters cost $1.85 to send within the Asia Pacific region and $2.60 to anywhere else in the world.. It is also possible to send things as parcels or by express mail.
Be aware that sending anything that isn't paper will require a customs form to be filled out at the post office. You need your address, recipients address and photo ID such as a passport to complete this formality.
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