Perth – The Underrated Australian City

August 30th, 2019

Life unfolds at a desirable, relaxing pace in Perth with locals often describing the gorgeous scenery and nearly endless blue skies as “livable”. While the capital of the state of Western Australia feels the most remote from other cities across the country, it offers both residents and visitors exceptional natural and material riches that span the banks of the Swan River to the pearly sands of neighboring beaches, the greenery of Kings Park to the serene panoramic views of the Pinnacles Dessert where mystical limestone pillars tower above the sun-soaked yellow sand basin. The unique features of Perth highlight both its contemporary charms and natural wonders revealing the most isolated city of its size on earth, taking less time to fly from Perth to Denpasar, Bali than to Sydney in New South Wales.

The stunning city of Perth lives up to the expectations of any great Australian city boasting fantastic surf and marvelous seafood but hosts expansive beauty with access to the coastal and desert landscapes, as well as a magnificent contemporary lifestyle reflected in the overall relaxing ambiance derived from welcoming cafes, lively restaurants, and the consistent pace of the streets throughout the Central Business District. The urban melting pot of culture highlights the tantalizing movement of Australian cuisine with aromas of the roasted corn, slow braised beef, or barbecued prawns drifting out of popular restaurants.

The 19 different beaches accessible from the city offer powdery gold and white sands that lead into crystal-clear turquoise waters resulting in fiery gilded sunsets. The scenery and contemporary daily local living offer insight into the delicious flavors of celebrated wineries around Margaret River and the captivating wildlife of Western Australia around the fascinating wilderness of Rottnest Island. Perth is a diverse city offering both modern and rustic culture with its own sense of tradition. Its famous remoteness makes it one of the most underrated cities in Australia, while also protecting it from the pressures of cities like Melbourne, Brisbane, and Sydney for an exquisite opportunity to experience delightful treasures captured in simple pleasures like the Indian Ocean breeze.

1. Elizabeth Quay
Elizabeth Quay's bustling skyline 

The waterfront precinct of Elizabeth Quay lines the banks of the Swan River and has become one of the most popular places for locals to see and be seen. The waterfront revitalization project has turned the banks along the river into a destination filled with entertainment spaces, unique events, and great activities highlighting the city’s delightful year-round climate. An amphitheater design for a casual water feature at the heart of the quay offers a cooling mist during hot days and a fantastic vision from the restaurants that offer views of the rippling water or dancing spouts.

The cultural precinct has become a place that brings locals and visitors closer to the natural beauty of the riverscape and the connection of the waterway to the region’s heritage blending relaxation and information in view of the fabulous skyline. The Barrack Street Jetty has existed as part of the waterfront since 1905 and remains a popular connection to the quay with a host of restaurants and cafes while the Promenade offers over a half-mile circuit of shady trees and charming artwork that describes the European’s settling in the city where they have a view of the Central Business District. Aboriginal walking tours bring to light the depth of historic connection to the waterfront as visitors journey into the traditions of the Whadjuk people and the legend of Dream Time passed down through countless generations.

2. Cottesloe Beach
The calm, clear, blue water of Cottesloe Beach is perfect for swimming and snorkeling

While Perth hosts a plethora of metropolitan shoreline brushing against crystalline turquoise waters, the sands at Cottesloe Beach is one of the most popular destinations for locals located less than eight miles away from the Central Business District. Pine trees fringe the coastline which adds touches of greenery to the enchanting colors of white sands and azure waters. Café culture thrives alongside the shore with jovial conversation that accompany the aromas of saltwater and flat whites. Children’s playgrounds and picnic nooks provide family-friendly areas or romantic corners for couples with comfortable, lulling waves lapping against the beach. You can easily understand why the Cottesloe Beach has been one of the most popular coastal destinations for locals for nearly 100 years, offering nice surf, great snorkeling, quiet swimming spots, and golden rays of sunshine scattered across the gorgeous Indian Ocean.

3. Art Gallery of Western Australia
Art Gallery of Western Australia home of historic and modern Australian arts 

The distinctive collection of the Art Gallery of Western Australia was founded in 1895 and hosts displays of unique works of historic and modern aesthetic shaped by local and Aboriginal Australian artists for a diverse perspective. The permanent collection offers a special emphasis on artworks from the Indian Ocean Rim as well as around Australia amassing an extensive collection of contemporary indigenous art. The thought-provoking works celebrate the disparate perceptions of artists of different cultural backgrounds that subtly reveal how a tradition can shape the way a person views their surroundings and projects that image onto the world. While eclectic exhibitions tour through the gallery, the permanent collection offers a broad definition of its artwork on display but includes major works by artists such as John Longstaff, Frederick McCubbin, and Hans Heysen, as well as George Tuckerbox.

4. Rottnest Island
The serene sands of Rottnest Island  

Rottnest Island is located approximately 11 miles from the shores of Western Australia and possesses a wonderland of wilderness charm for locals and visitors from Perth by hosting 63 beaches known for pristine white sands and calm translucent waters perfect for swimming and snorkeling. Whether surfing, fishing, or lounging on the sands around the island or preferring to whale watch in search of southern right or humpback whales, Rottnest Island offers endless activities for visitors who wish to enjoy the Indian Ocean, while those who prefer the land can visit the photogenic quokka, a tiny relative of the wallaby found only on the island or a singular small colony on mainland Australia. Water sports reveal the species of tropical fish and 13 shipwrecks, as well as 100,000-year-old limestone coral reefs while exploring the landscape takes you on cycling or hiking trails that reach views of New Zealand fur seals or pristine verdant forests. 
5. Margaret River
Aerial view of the gorgeous Margaret River coastline 

Margaret River is located about 167 miles south of Perth and offers exceptional insight into a different side of the culture of Western Australia which features more than 200 vineyards producing more than 25 percent of the entire country’s premium wine, as well as award-winning wine varietals such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, and Semillon/Sauvignon Blanc blends. Aside from the spectacular rows of vineyards spreading across the landscape, the scenery also possesses marvelous woodlands filled with jarrah and marri trees, as well as delightful beaches with few surfers remarking on the remote and often-overlooked slice of paradise near the underrated streets of Perth. Winemaking in the Margaret River has become a unique community with vineyards boasting remarkable views, artisanal producers connecting with local artists, and a sensational walking trail known as the Cape to Cape track that features 87 miles of untouched trails along the ridges and beaches leading between Cape Naturaliste in Dunsborough to Cape Leeuwin in Augusta. 

6. Yalgorup National Park
An Australian black swan enjoying the waters of Lake Clifton in Yalgorup National Park 

Yalgorup National Park is located approximately 75 miles from Perth and attracts visitors from across Western Australia and the greater continent for its fabulous elongated lakes and peppermint woodlands, in addition to the ancient thrombolites along the shores of Lake Clifton. The trails around the collection of waters support stunning birdlife such as black swans, parrots, and kingfishers, as well as grazing emus while kangaroos and wallabies wander around the protected grasses in the mixture of eucalyptus trees, woodlands, and swamplands. The soft, white sands of Preston Beach contrast the pristine white wave-break and turquoise waters of the Indian Ocean at Preston Beach while the thrombolites highlight more than 2,000 years of living history resembling rock structures forming more than 12 miles of lakeshore viewable from an elevated platform. 

7. Pinnacles Desert
The dry climate of Pinnacles Desert 

Pinnacles Desert is a unique landscape located approximately 119 miles away from Perth and, until recently, only accessible along a four-wheel-drive beach track. The desert is positioned inside Nambung National Park and supports extensive native bird and animal life, in addition to the famous natural limestone structures formed between 25,000 and 30,000 years ago after the ocean receded. Sea shell deposits adorn the soils and a number of the karsts standing upwards of 16 feet tall. The discovery center offers incredible insight into the life teeming in across the desert landscape and the history of the formation of the pinnacles as the natural elements such as wind and rain swept away the sands, soil, and silt that once connected the grounds to the former ocean life. The biodiversity highlights the shift from the golden desert sands to the radiant blossoming wildflowers such as wattles, yellowtail flower, and the thick-leaved fan flower.