Under the Western Sun

November 29, 2005

Under the Western Sun

For the last five years I have been threatening to experience more of this country and not spend my hard-earned in economies off-shore. But by the time my break rolls around, the thrill of visiting a new country usually overrides my patriotic thoughts. Earlier this year I decided to go against the overseas thrill, and fly 4000 km west to Perth. The fact my cousin was getting married to a Perth based bloke had absolutely nothing to do with my decision!

A few hours after I arrived, I understood why so many dwellers from the East Coast choose to venture West. Perth is brimming with charm and character. A sleek city skyline, treelined streets and friendly faces offers the inimitable appeal of a cruisy small-town soul mixed with a sophisticated state of mind.

Perth claims to be the sunniest state capital in Australia. Its weather and climate is best described as Mediterranean with long dry summers and mild, rainy winters. It is because of these long hot summers many activities revolve around the water. The Indian Ocean and the Swan River both provide solace for Swimmers, Surfers, Wakeboarders, Snorkellers, Deep-Sea Fishermen, Divers, Kayakers and Boating enthusiasts alike.

The city grew from British convict roots in the mid 1800?s into an important Trade centre in the early 1900?s (after the discovery of gold). But it wasn?t until the 1980?s when Perth became a household name across the globe. A guy named Alan Bond built a boat called Australia II and won the America?s Cup in 1983.

Perth offers everything you’d expect from a capital city. Fine dining, boutique shopping and a string of bars will please even the most fastidious traveler. The CBD is home to a wide variety of stores featuring the world’s greatest designers as well as high concept fashion. The CBD is not traditionally know as an after hours destination, but there are a host of bars and eateries available to those who want to search.

Hay Street is home to the Grosvenor Hotel, a venue known for spawning many of WA?s leading bands. Some of the acts that have received their leg up here include Jebidiah, Ammonia and Last Year?s Hero. A little further up Hay Street is Rydges Perth. Situated in the heart of the CBD, Rydges offers spacious rooms and suites and boasts stunning views over the CBD and Swan River.

One of the city?s finest restaurants is located at entry level of the Rydges Hotel. The CBD Restaurant and Bar offers a contemporary art deco setting producing a friendly and easy going vibe. The menu is extensive and will have your mouth watering and your belly bulging! From the Pork Rillet Spring Rolls and the Souffle of Hot Smoked Salmon to the Roast Pink Snapper and Date Crusted Venison, dish after dish is fresh, colourful and seductive.

Adjacent to the CBD is the Northbridge precinct. This area draws huge crowds on a Friday and Saturday night due to its diverse range of clubs and pubs. Music styles including house, funk, jazz, hip-hop, blues and rock invites an assorted mix of patrons, creating an energetic after-dark atmosphere. For those seeking a different scene, Northbridge also offers plenty of restaurants, cafes and lounge bars to help cruise into the night.

You can not make the trip to Perth without visiting one of its stunning beaches. Cottesloe is a family beach situated in one of Perth?s most fashionable suburbs. Hip cafes, restaurants and boutiques offer a break from surfing and lazing on the beach. Scarborough is a popular surf beach, but can be very ?locals only? orientated when the surf is pumping. So be respectful if you?re paddling out.

One of Perth?s most liberal beaches is Swanbourne. This popular nudist beach is a favourite with committed naturists and freethinking families. In January or February, Swanbourne hosts the famous Nude Beach Olympics. Competitions include nude volleyball, tug-o-war and three legged races. Each to their own, I suppose.

Five minutes from the city centre is another spectacle not to be missed, Kings Park. The number one tourist attraction in Perth, you can?t miss this 400 hectare bushland. Nature lovers can explore the botanic gardens, discover untamed wild-life or just laze around and enjoy a picnic or a barbeque. Summer?s weather also inspires some unusual outdoor events in Kings Park, including ?Sunset Cinema? and ?Opera in the Park?.

There is something about the people of Perth that make you feel welcome. Friendly faces, real smiles and a ?nothing is ever too much trouble? attitude. For those who have never ventured to our Western City let me declare, don?t wait for a relative?s wedding to do so.

By Adam Mumford
Nb. The Author was a guest of Rydges Perth. For ?Spring Break? specials and ?Last Minute? deals please visit www.rydges.com

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