Perth

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Grey nomads head to Perth in WA
Kings Park ... an amazing green oasis in the heart of the city Photo: Daniel Paletz

As well as being one of the world’s most isolated cities, Perth is also one of the most ‘visitable’.

The WA state capital is a natural stopping off point for grey nomads eager to recharge their batteries and re-stock their cupboards in readi­ness for the next leg of their Western Australia adventure but it has plenty else besides mechanics and supermarkets going for it.

Sitting on the banks of the Swan River, Perth is a clean, modern and attractive city with great restaurants, muse­ums, markets and beaches.

Oh, and it’s also home to one of the largest inner city parks in the world. Spanning an amazing 400 hectares, Kings Park truly is a green oasis in the heart of a city. Metro­politan Perth is also blessed with no less than 19 pristine stretches of glorious white sand, including the famous Scarborough Beach and Cottesloe Beach.

The city’s Northbridge district is known both as a great dining destination and for its cultural centres including the Art Gallery of WA, the WA Museum, the State Library, the Perth Institute of Con­temporary Arts, and the State Theatre.

With no larger settlements for thousands of kilometres in any direction, Perth also attracts plenty of live performances and festivals, including the highly popular Fringe Festival and Perth International Arts Festival. There are also regular farmers markets, and twilight hawkers markets during the summer months.

There are great markets, too, down the road in the his­toric and hip community of Fremantle. Reputedly, the best preserved example of a 19th century port streetscape in the world, Fremantle has a rich maritime and convict history. It is also a great spot simply to wander through, browsing the shops, galleries and cafes.

Back in Perth, there is no need to walk on your poor, tired legs any more as travelling around the city on a CAT bus is free. According to tourism officials, there are quite a few things grey nomads might be eager to try. Ring one of the world’s largest musical instruments – the Swan Bells at the Bell Tower; watch a live gold pour and see the world’s largest collection of gold bars at the Perth Mint; or catch a ferry across the Swan River to Perth Zoo.

While most grey nomads choose to move bases to explore even ‘relatively’ close destinations like Margaret River to the south or the Pin­nacles to the north, there are still some great day trip attrac­tions around the city.

The magnificent scenery of the car-free island of Rottnest Is­land is a short ferry ride away, and it’s only a 30-minute drive to the wines and wineries of the Swan Valley region.

Grey nomads aren’t famed for their desire to spend extended periods of time in Australia’s major cities, but Perth is one of those place that few want to rush away from.

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