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Perth - The Alternative Stopover

perthThe most common stopovers on a RTW trip to Australia or New Zealand are in South East Asia - Bangkok, Hong Kong, Kuala Lumper etc.  However consider instead, if your flights will allow it, a double stop - somewhere is Asia and add Perth too!  Two stops will assist greatly with the jet lag on the return trip.  I decided on my recent return from Sydney, to stop in Perth and then Singapore.

Perth is an interesting choice.  It is so remote in Australia, that it is actually closer to Singapore than it is to Sydney.  An approximate 5 hour flight from Sydney and a couple of time changes and you land in Perth.  Excellent bus links from the airport bring you into the city in 20 minutes or so.

I picked the Northbridge area for my stay, just a short walk out of the city and I was pleased with my choice.  Northbridge is a funky suburb full of amazing restaurants, small independent coffee shops, vintage clothes shops and some interesting museums.  Give yourself one lazy day to soak up the atmosphere on William Street and the surrounding roads.  Definitely one of my favourites was New Edition, an amazing book and coffee shop, where you can sit outside with a coffee and then peruse the books inside.  There are also a multitude of great restaurants here and many Thai and Asian small eateries!  You don't need to venture far into the city to eat and drink well.

 

parkwalkwayThe Perth Cultural Centre is also in Northbridge.  This is the collective name for the buildings which house the Art Gallery of Western Australia, the Western Australian Museum, the Alexander Library, and the Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts (PICA) amongst others and is an easy way to spend a day or afternoon.

 

There seems to be a lot of alternative arts events in Northbridge, even in the short time I was there.  I celebrated my final night in Australia by randomly watching The Wizard of Oz, in a pop up cinema on the top of a multi-story car park, with views over the city.  Outdoor cinemas are a staple in the Australian summertime, so sniff one out if you can.

In the city there are the usual city sights and shops to see, but stroll through the CBD to the Swan River and visit the Swan Bell Tower.  I also spent an afternoon walking up the hill to Kings Park and Botanic Gardens, where there is a terrific view across the city.  Kings Park is a beautiful parkland area over 400 hectares with some breathtaking views.  Take a stroll, enjoy a picnic, have a coffee, learn about the park and its history (it got its name Kings Park when it was renamed following the ascension to the throne of King Edward in 1901).  Top things of interest to do in the park are taking a walk in the treetops along the Lotterywest Federation Walkway - a glass panelled walkway among the trees; or climb the DNA Tower - 101 steps take you to the highest point in the park!

pinnaclesDay trip suggestions are a plentiful in the Perth area so if you have the time, take a trip down the Swan River to Freemantle.  If you have more than a day spare, consider a trip to Rottnest Island, Margaret River or the Pinnacles Desert (see right).

Whatever you get up to in Perth, it may leave you thinking that a return trip should be on the cards.  A stopover does not give you quite enough time to do everything, but certainly left me wanting to return to explore Perth some more!

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I struggled to find any unusual places to stay in Perth itself but found these nearby.

The Painted Fish has fun and funky accommodation in Fremantle in a studio, cottage and railway carriage.

Also in Fremantle is the Old Firestation Backpackers. Fremantle is 20 minutes from the centre of Perth and has a vibrant and bohemian feel to it with a port and plenty going on.

An hour inland you will find rooms at the Tiperary Church, in a rural setting near York.