Fun facts about Perth and Western Australia
Perth is a very unique city and with changes to the International flight routes allowing direct flights between Perth and London, more people than ever before will be able to experience just what it is that makes my home city so unique. Despite our dullsville tag, Perth is a vibrant city with picture perfect beaches. And beyond Perth, Western Australia has some amazing sights to see.
It is true, Western Australia’s capital, Perth is one of the most isolated city in the world, with the closest Australian city 2,200kms away. We are in fact closer to Singapore than we are to our own capital, Canberra. Western Australia is the world’s second largest state, the largest being in Russia and if we were a country, we’d be the 10th largest in the world. Did you know in 1933 we had a secession referendum to become a separate country and the proposal won? We have a Mediterranean climate with summer temperatures often exceeding 40°C (104°F) and in the summer months the Fremantle Doctor, a cooling sea breeze blows from 12pm to 3pm, brings a welcome relief. Perth is the third windiest city in the world making sailing and kite surfing extremely popular.
In 2016 Perth was ranked the 7th most liveable city in the world and was awarded a top 10 placing in the hottest destinations for travellers to visit in Australia. We are the 4th best city in the world for street art and with a minumum of 8 hours sunshine a day, we enjoy more sunshine than any other city in Australia. And there is nothing prettier than watching the sun set in the west. Except maybe strolling through a quirky 16th century Tudor style arcade with an open roof to take in the vivid blue sky Perth is famous for.
Perth’s very own King’s Park is the largest city park in the world. Yes, at 400ha (988 acres) it is larger than Central Park in New York. Here you can wander and take in spectacular views of the Swan River, overlooking Elizabeth Quay, the city skyline and Darling Ranges. There are bush trails, manicured gardens and Australia’s largest display of wildflowers throughout the Botanic Gardens.
Western Australians are known as Sandgropers and along with our unique name, our state has some pretty unique places too. Perth has its fare share of ghost stories and haunted places and renowned to have one of the best displays of tulips in a spectacular botanic garden referred to as Heaven in the hills.
New Norcia, 132km north of Perth near the banks of the Moore River is Australia’s only monastic town. The monastery, home to the Benedictine monks is one of the 27 heritage listed buildings and every church, school and lunch bar in the small town surrounded by bushland is owned by monks. The New Norcia Hotel, built in 1927 nestled by gum trees is a comfortable, country pub to stay in.
The Pinnacles is two hours north of Perth in the Nambung National Park. There you will see the ancient desert sculptures, where the desert landscape is transformed with yellow limestone formations up to 5 metres tall rising out of the sand dunes.
Nature’s Window, in Kalbarri National Park is a wind eroded opening in the layered sandstone, creating a picture frame. The natural rock arch frames the Murchison river perfectly and is one of WA’s most iconic natural attractions.
852km’s north of Perth is Mount Augustus, the largest rock in the world. 8km’s long and 3km’s wide covering an area of 4,795 hectares the most spectacular solitary peak rises above a stoney, red sandplain of arid scrubland. The granite formation is visible from the air for more than 160 kms and is estimated to be 1,750 million years old.
Another old formation is Wave Rock, a four hour drive east from Perth, a natural rock formation shaped like an ocean wave about to break. The wave is 14 metres high and 110 metres long and is near the small town of Hyden. The grey and red granite rock formation is 27 million years old.
Further up the coast, 1,200kms north of Perth, a 14 hour drive away rests Ningaloo Reef, near Exmouth. A World Heritage listed reef and home to the world’s largest fish, the 13 metre whale shark. The 300km coral reef is also the closest barrier reef to a land mass in the world with 500 species of fish and 300 varieties of coral.
In the opposite direction, 4.5 hours south of Perth is Dog Rock in Albany, a well known attraction in the Great Southern region of Western Australia. Situated on Middleton Road in 1921 the council were going to blow the large, natural granite rock up. It now sits with the road marked around the rock with a painted dog collar.
Also down south is Albany’s The Natural Bridge is a reminder of the surging power of ocean. Created by the continual wear and tear on the granite formation, the ocean’s constant crashing onto the granite cliffside resembles a giant rock bridge.
Western Australia has its fair share of natural resources and a booming mining industry. Located in the remote Kimberley region is Argyle Diamond Mine, the largest diamond producer in the world (by volume) and the only known significant source of pink and red diamonds.
The Kimberley coast is also home to Australia’s largest producer of pearls.
Two of the world’s largest producers of gold are located in Western Australia. The largest open cut mine until 2016 is the Super Pit at Kalgoorlie gold mine. The oblong pit is 3.5km long and 1.5km wide but a massive 570 metres deep making it visible from space.
Only 120km’s away from Perth is Boddington Gold Mine. With the first gold poured in 2009 it is now the country’s largest gold mine. Perth also has Australia’s oldest operating and official gold bullion mint which is owned by the State Government and been in operation since 1899. No wonder Perth is home to the highest per capita of self made millionaires.
Relax and watch the sun set across the famous waters of Cottesloe Beach or perhaps take a ferry across to Rottnest Island and meet Western Australia’s unique Quokkas. Despite being only 19km’s away from the mainland, these little marsupials are only found in Rottnest. We were so surprised in Heidelberg, Germany to see a sign outside a travel agent advertising our very own Quokkas.
There is so much to do on the amazing West Coast, in the beachside towns or the city centre. Snorkel coral reefs, dive shipwrecks, explore history sail on Perth’s beautiful river or learn to sail a yacht on the picturesque Matilda Bay. Perth is a city that loves the water, I mean why wouldn’t we, with 19 stunning beaches from Fremantle to Trigg we are certainly spoilt for choice to pitch our umbrella.
We have 12,500km’s beautiful, pristine coastline along the state. Its true, you just have to google Lucky Bay near Esperance, Billy Goat Bay or Dynamite Bay near Greenhead or Turquoise Bay near Exmouth to see some of our whitest beaches with the most stunning bays with sparking clear blue waters. And one of our beaches at Geographe Bay in Busselton has the longest wooden jetty in the southern hemisphere. It is 1.8km’s long and was built in 1853 . For those who can’t make the 3.6km round trip out on the jetty there is a little red train that can take you on the 45 minute trip.
Perth is often labelled boring, expensive and stereotyped as having kangaroos hopping down the main street. And whilst our public transport can’t rival that of Europe it surely dispels the boring label.
As for expensive, there are 48 other cities that are ahead of us in the worldwide cost of living report for 2017. We can’t dispute we are isolated but not everywhere we travel to is far away and expensive to get to. In Perth we can get a return plane ticket to Bali for $130 on sale and can be there in less than 4hrs. That’s affordable and accessible in my books. But one thing I can’t dispel is the rumour about the kangaroos. They can be found in our main street in the city and also a few streets from my suburban home.
There is something about Perth that is magical, after all, we have not one, but two unicorns looking over us.
Have you been to Perth or Western Australia? What do you think you’d enjoy here?
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