The capital of Western Australia is one of the most remote major cities in the world, and many people flock here to revel in its open spaces and natural beauty. But don't write Perth off as a backwater, with a growing arts scene it is steadily carving out a name for itself as an exciting creative centre. All Perth holidays should include a visit to the wineries of Swan Valley, and perhaps the Perth Hills - home to picturesque villages and no fewer than eight national parks.
Things to do
Fancy a flutter? One of the most popular things to do in Perth is to go to the races at Ascot, which is still quite an occasion, so don't forget to pack your hat. Meanwhile, thrill seekers should make for the Perth Hills where you can try your hand at rock-climbing or abseiling, or for a truly out of this world experience, go star gazing at Perth Observatory.
Food & restaurants
The historic township of Guildford is the starting point for the Swan Valley Food and Wine Trail, a 32km scenic loop that takes in wineries, breweries and distilleries – you can even have a go at winemaking yourself at Sandalford vineyard. When it comes to Perth restaurants, the best place to get seafood is undoubtedly at the nearby port town of Freemantle, while the riverside suburb of Claremont has a wealth of choices.
There are lots of smart hotels in the city centre, such as the intimate New County Hotel, which is within walking distance of Perth Museum. But for a real treat you should stay at one of the wineries in the Swan Valley, such as Upper Reach, a 20-acre vineyard that has a two-bed cottage complete with log fire and outdoor decking.
Perth city shopping is a popular pastime with visitors and although there are several large malls, the more discerning shopper will seek out one of the many nearby markets. Guildford Heritage Markets is a monthly get together of purveyors of handmade goods, while Mundaring Sunday Markets is a local hang out where you can shop for arts and crafts and fresh food.
Hire a bike and follow one of the trails deep into the Perth Hills, such as the Munda Biddi Trail, which starts in Mundaring, known as the 'Heart of the Hills'. The route weaves its way through river valleys and eucalyptus forest and does include some off road cycling, so be sure to pack a well-equipped backpack and a good map.
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