PERTHFamed for its blue skies, stunning natural settingand friendly spirited people, Perth is set aroundthe broad reaches of the Swan River, with ahigh-rise city centre of gleaming new officebuildings and lively regions of restored colonialgingerbread buildings packed with restaurants,bars and galleries. At its heart the leafy KingsPark is topped by Mount Eliza, with a rousingbird's eye view of the city centre skyscrapers andmagnificent Swan River. Take a cruise along theriver to Fremantle, Perth's delightful port on theIndian Ocean coast, drive along the pristinesandy surf beaches of Scarborough andCottesloe, or board the ferry to Rottnest Island,where crystal clear waters heave with marine lifeand white sandy bays abound. Inland, the SwanValley is dotted with wineries, quaint boutiquerestaurants and art galleries as it meandersgently through the Darling Ranges.Western Australia46Thousands of miles of pristine whitesand beaches washed by the sparklingblue of the Indian Ocean, offshorereefs, a vast inland wilderness ofancient gorges, rock formations andgreat deserts and in a land the size ofEurope with just a single city and a fewsmall towns. In Western Australianature is large: human achievementssmall and hard-won. Distances aregreat, but Western Australia rewardsvisitors like no other. In the south, thewineries of Margaret River fade out toforests of ancient timbers and astunning coastline where two oceanscollide. The city of Perth is perhaps themost charming of all Australia's cities,with the artistic port town of Fremantleclose by to the east and the goldrushtown of Kalgoorlie remote in the west.Head north and the temperatures rise,with Ningaloo Reef fringing off longdeserted beaches; national parks wherespinifex plants shimmer in the desertheat, waiting patiently for rain beforespringing into colour with seasonalflowers; ancient mountain ranges, ochresoils and endless horizons. In the farnorth the tropics take over a land whereAboriginal beliefs predominate. Thepearling community of Broome is oneof the few villages clinging to the coast,an oasis of western civilisation pinnedto a vast interior hinterland, much ofwhich has still never felt the tread ofsettler footsteps. Cut off from the restof Australia and also far from the restof the world, Western Australia givesyou the chance to be amongst the firstto discover scenes of great naturalbeauty, to experience Outback life at itsmost untouched, charming and friendly.
CaptionWESTERN AUSTRALIA47The Outram, PerthIn leafy west Perth, The Outram, a member of the'Small Luxury Hotels of the World' is one of thecity's leading boutique hotels. The style is chic andmodern but with personal service and a relaxedambience. The 18 guestrooms are comfortable,contemporary in style and have lovely spabathrooms. Kings Park is close by and although thehotel's own restaurant is excellent there arecountless dining options within walking distance. FREMANTLEThis cosmopolitan port is around half an hour'sdrive from Perth. A centre for the state'stalented creative community, it has a livelyatmosphere which spills out on to the streetswith buskers and local artists vying for attention.The city's historic and impressively restored WestEnd offers fine 19th century architecture bestseen from the Round House, built in 1831 bythe first settlers as a gaol, which offerspanoramic views of Rottnest Island, the harbourand the town. The magnificent MaritimeMuseum sits at the entrance to the harbour andcontains an exhibition of maritime history, whichincludes Australia's 1983 America's Cup success.Fishing Boat Harbour is a popular dining spotwith restaurants clustered on the boardwalk. Fremantle MuseumWarden's cottageThe OutramFremantleTerrace Bed & Breakfast,FremantleThis charming High Street bed & breakfast issituated in a colonial two-storey terrace house closeto Fremantle Town Hall and the pretty port. Built byconvicts in 1857 to accommodate gold rush settlers,the house has now been restored and has four lovelybedrooms. If you prefer to self-cater, the owners, Valand Ian, also have three restored stone wardens'cottages in the grounds of the old Fremantle prisonwith all of their period features preserved.