Perth - Paradise on the West Coast
Perth is known as the second most isolated city in the world because of the lack of any other large cities nearby, but this fact does not faze its residents nor does it stop the steady stream of tourists that pour in annually. And why should it? The combination of heritage architecture, the smooth and wide flowing Swan River and the beautiful west coast beaches make this city one of the most beautiful in the world. And depending on which direction you choose to take, a short drive from Perth can get you to deserts, rolling farmlands, lush river valleys or ancient forest. With so much to see and do in and around the city, you can see why the locals have no problems with their isolated status!

The Swan River is a point of much pride for residents here, so much so that their favourite beer is named after it- Swan Lager. The grassy parks that make up much of the shady banks are a favourite place for relaxing, exercising or barbequeing, and every year on Australia Day it has become tradition for thousands of people to converge there to celebrate and watch the fireworks in the evenings. Cruises down the Swan with a drink in hand are a great way to end the day, and if you're feeling energetic why not hire a kayak and see the city from the serene vantage point of a traveller?

The allure of the Swan River is not confined to the city limits. Just a twenty minute drive east from the CBD lies the favourite holiday haunt of Perth residents, the swan Valley. This fertile region is the states oldest wine producing area, and on your visit expect rolling vineyards, green meadows and lush natural bushland. Stop in at some of the cellar doors and sample the local drop, and take the opportunity to stock your picnic basket with fresh produce such as olives, cheeses and jams. The village of Guildford is the gateway to this special region, and here you can expect to find historic pubs, art galleries, antique stores and food fairs.

If you want to experience the peace and quiet of the country without actually leaving the city then Kings Park and Botanic Garden, right near the CBD, is the place for you to go. Over 400 hectares of greenery contains 13 000 species of Western Australian plants and one of the world's largest areas of natural bushland close to a city. Across its shady breadth there are numerous picnic and barbeque spots, making it a great place to escape from the hustle of the city for a quiet meal.

Perhaps what Perth is most renowned for, and the chief reason it attracts so many tourists, is its amazing beaches. The nineteen sandy beaches that make up the Perth metropolitan shoreline have become a mecca for surfers, sun-baskers and swimmers, with body boarders, windsurfers and kitesurfers joining in the fun. Scarborough Beach is one of the most famous, and its seemingly unending length is great for walking and jogging. You can then refresh yourself in one of the many cafes or eateries that lie a short distance away. Cottesloe Beach is also a favourite, and its Sunday Sessions at the Cottesloe Beach Hotel are a hit amongst young party-goers.

Twenty minutes drive south from Perth lies Fremantle, or 'Freo' as its affectionately known. This vibrant port has managed to retain a culture and heritage that sets it apart from Perth, making it an intriguing and entertaining place to visit. Freo has a rich maritime and convict history evident in much of its architecture, and in the old housing precincts. This combines with an upbeat and funky atmosphere fostered by the many students living here to create an exciting tourist destination where there is always something going on. Soak up the cafe culture and enjoy the skills of the numerous buskers that play in the thriving outdoor markets.

Whether you are staying within the confines of the city or casting your sights further afield, any visit to the Perth region is going to be a satisfying one that meets all your holiday requirements! The active outdoors atmosphere and the range of attractions means boredom does not have to be an option... unless you want it to be of course! You will find that a hirecar will give you the necessary freedom to explore the vast and spread out city or any of its surrounds, so why not let Rent New Cars organise one for you?

Gavin Wyatt

WA Surf is Perth's complete Kite, Wind and Surf sports company. They do Kitesurfing, Windsurfing and Surfing lessons in Perth, WA.