Tourist attractions in and around Perth
A sun-baked city that can go weeks or even months without substantial rainfall, one of Perth's main attractions lies in the pristine quality of its beaches. Unbroken stretches of golden sands run the entire length of the city's coastal suburbs. While not unlike the beaches of the Gold Coast in Queensland, Perth has not yet experienced the same level of commercialisation and development and hence, degradation, that plagues other such naturally rich Australian urban environments.
The centre of Perth is located on the northern bank of the Swan River, and is roughly divided into three parallel sections.
- the central business district, closest to the river, and which runs along St Georges and Adelaide Terraces,
- the retail district, which has its focus on the Hay and Murray Street Malls, and
- the entertainment and cultural precinct, known as Northbridge.
Kings Park sits upon a large hill overlooking the CBD. Four times larger than New York's Central Park, Kings Park contains Perth's botanical gardens as well as vast tracts of natural bushland. During spring, Kings Park bursts into a world-class display of wildflowers, which is a popular tourist attraction. Perth is a very green city, with an abundance of parks and tree-lined boulevards. There is also a short treetop walk, built in 2003, overlooking the Swan River. The Perth Zoo is to the southeast of Kings Park.
The Swan Bells is a towering new Bell Tower siting on the edge of the Swan River. A copper structure representing the sails of a ship, it houses old bells from the church of St Martin-in-the-Fields (of nursery rhyme fame), which were a gift from the United Kingdom to the people of Australia on the occasion of Australia's 200 year anniversary of colonisation. It was opened to the public in 2001.
There are a few islands off the coast of Perth, notably Rottnest Island, a significant tourist attraction. Other nearby islands include Garden Island (home to a naval base), Carnac Island, Seal Island and Penguin Island. The deep shipping channel between Perth and these islands is called Gage Roads, the site of the America's Cup yachting challenge in 1983.
The historical port city of Fremantle is located at the mouth of the Swan River, and is home to many attractions. Most notable of these is the mammoth newly-constructed Western Australian Maritime Museum. Located on the dock at Victoria Quay, the museum houses Australia 2, the yacht which won Australia the America's Cup. Also in Fremantle is the Maritime Museum shipwreck galleries, with recovered artifacts and part of the hull of the shipwrecked Batavia, from hundreds of years ago.
Perth is home to Australia's largest underwater walk-through aquarium, AQWA (The Aquarium of Western Australia). Located at Hillarys Boat Harbour, this attracts large numbers of international tourists.
Perth is served by Perth Airport.