Nature and urban life coexist harmoniously in Perth, the capital of Western Australia. This is where the winding Swan River flows into the southern Indian Ocean, past steel-clad skyscrapers, lively waterfronts and pristine parkland – all under a relentless canopy of clear blue sky.
Kings Park – a huge green space spanning four square kilometres – sits at the city’s heart, containing giant white-trunked trees, botanical gardens and the State War Memorial which overlooks the river, named after its black swans. Across the river, Perth Zoo is home to more native animals such as koalas, crocodiles and free-roaming kangaroos.
Perth’s main draw is its surrounding natural beauty. From the flower-filled bushlands and the lush Swan Valley wine region, to golden sandy stretches like Cottesloe Beach and Trigg Beach, there are numerous landscapes to escape to.
Just offshore from Perth is Rottnest Island, a protected nature reserve that's home to white-sand beaches, secluded coves and wildlife including the quokka – a small wallaby-like marsupial. The island is also popular with surfers who come to ride the breaks of Strickland Bay. Spend a day or two by taking the ferry from the port town of Fremantle, known for its Maritime Museum and 19th-century prison.
Back in Perth, you can find hip boutiques, galleries, pubs and an array of laid-back restaurants in the Northbridge area.