Region: Perth and Surrounds

The capital city of Western Australia, Perth is the attractive gateway to Australia's biggest state, a busy, go-ahead city on the west coast of Australia. Perth is known for its uncrowded, white sandy beaches, a sunny climate, friendly and hospitable atmosphere, great parks and gardens and excellent dining.

Like Darwin, Perth is an isolated city in terms of its proximity to the other states, capital cities and for that matter, the rest of the world, which raises a curiosity in people's minds as to what it is like. For many eastern staters, to travel so far is like going to another country, except here there are Aussies just like them living a lifestyle similar to theirs.

Perth is set on the Swan River, so named because of the native black swans. It is a city that fills the sandplain that lies adjacent to the Darling Scarp; extending to Joondalup in the north, Mandurah in the south and Mundaring in the east. The coastal suburbs take advantage of Perth's oceanside location and clean beaches.

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The population is easy-going and friendly, but can be parochial, especially towards the Eastern States which are often viewed with deep, but usually jocular, suspicion. This attitude is fuelled by a view the Eastern States once had of Perth being a 'backward' civilisation, but can be mainly attributed to Perth's isolation, reflected in Perth being perhaps the world's most isolated capital city.

How To Get There

By air: All of Western Australia's international and interstate air traffic passes through Perth International Airport. The airport has immigration and customs processing facilities.

By rail: Western Australia is linked to the eastern states by rail via the Indian Pacific, which departs from Perth and stops at Kalgoorlie before proceeding on to Adelaide and then Sydney. Between April and August and During the month of December, the service operates once a week in both directions. Between September and the beginning of December, and January to March, two services a week operate in both directions. The Indian Pacific's terminus is at East Perth.

By road: Western Australia's cities and towns are linked to each other, and to towns and cities in other states by a network of well signposted, well maintained sealed highways and major roads which allow for easy travel between localities. The major highways out of Western Australia are The Eyre Highway, which travels east from Norseman across the Nullarbor Plain to South Australia, and Great Northern Highway which links Perth to the Northern Territory via Meekatharra and the Kimberley region of WA. It joins the Stuart Highway at Katherine.

Best Time To Go

Perth summers are generally hot and dry, with February generally being the hottest month of the year. The hottest ever recorded temperature in Perth was 46.2C on 23rd February 1991. Winters are cool and moist, though winter rainfall has been declining in recent years. The official temperature for Perth has never quite reached zero Celsius, and even in winter maximum daytime temperatures only occasionally fall below 16C.

Rainfall is infrequent from October to March so a visit to Perth in those months is rarely affected by rain, though it can get quite hot during the day. As winter temperatures are mild, a winter visit to Perth need never be out of the question as it is unlikely to be ruined by ongoing inclement weather as are some Australian destinations.

In the hotter months, flies can be an irritating problem, particularly in the bush and surrounding country towns, though their numbers decline dramatically from March onwards as maximum temperatures fall. From August to October, Western Australia's wildflowers are in full bloom. During these months the weather is also pleasant around much of the state (though still quite cold in the far south), and are therefore popular times to travel to Perth and the regions around it where wildflowers are prolific.

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