Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Perth, Australia

Monkey Mia

Monkey Mia means one thing: interacting with dolphins! Wild dolphins have been swimming up to greet visitors at Monkey Mia for decades, often arriving twice a day to be fed and photographed by the excited crowds. To discover the ins and outs of dolphin behavior, visit the dolphin information center at Monkey Mia. While you’re in Monkey Mia, take the opportunity to go on a wildlife-spotting cruise to see more dolphins as well as turtles, dugongs, and sharks. Snorkeling and diving are also popular activities, along with camel rides, Aboriginal culture bushwalks, boating, and outback golf.

 

Cottesloe Beach

Cottesloe Beach’s Indian Ocean waves and sugar-like sand make you forget quite easily that you're in the middle of a major Australian city. When you’re lying on a beach towel, gazing out at the clear turquoise water, listening to kids splash around and feeling the soft white sand beneath your fingers, you’d almost think you were on a tropical Caribbean island. That’s the magic of Perth – all the urban features you need and idyllic beaches to get away from it all. Cott, as it’s affectionately known, is anchored by Indiana, a restaurant housed in a beautiful building where you can sip a cocktail and enjoy a spectacular Indian Ocean sunset.

 

Swan Valley

It’s easy to indulge in gourmet food, great wines and river scenery on a great day out from Perth by taking a trip to the Swan Valley. Right on Perth’s doorstep, the Swan Valley kick-started the state’s flourishing wine industry. The best way to experience the Swan Valley’s wineries, food outlets and scenery is by car or tour coach, following the Swan Valley Food and Wine Trail.


Pinnacles Desert

The eerie limestone shapes of the Pinnacles are a popular day trip from Perth, rising out of the desert floor like something from a lunar landscape. The weather-worn pillars were formed by zillions of seashells blown here from the sea many thousands of years ago. The surrounding landscape is made up of desert and dunes. Bottlenose dolphins can be seen in nearby Hangover Bay, and in the park you’ll also see gray kangaroos, emus, cockatoos and other birds.

 

Rottnest Island

If it’s the weekend, it’s time to get down to Rottnest Island, Perth locals’ number-one island getaway. Perfect for family holidays or a relaxing break right on Perth’s doorstep, ‘Rotto’ is ringed by perfect beaches for swimming, fishing, boating and surfing. Cycling is also popular on Rotto, as cars are banned here. Other than whiling away the day on your beach of choice, you can hire a bicycle and take a cycling tour of the island’s heritage buildings.

 

Fremantle

Freestylin’ Fremantle (‘Freo’) is Perth’s laid-back little sister, an alternative, relaxed port city of cafes, funky shops, pastel-hued pubs and yachtie ambiance. Visit the Old Fremantle Prison to hear tales of Freo’s convict and bushranging past, then take in the seafaring history displayed by the port at the Maritime Museum. You’ll see submarines to fishing boats and the America’s Cup-winning yacht, Australia II. For more seagoing adventures, don’t miss the Shipwrecks Galleries.

 

Margaret River

Margaret River is Western Australia's food, wine, surfing and leisure playground. It’s also one of the most scenic and lush regions in the state, graced with a mix of coast, forest, vineyards and farmland. Superb wines are grown in these parts, and vineyard visits for wine tastings and meals at winery restaurants are some of the most popular pursuits.

 

Perth Zoo

Perth Zoo is a leader in conservation and research, with natural, spacious exhibits and an important breeding-for-release program for threatened native species. You’ll see more native species here than at most other zoos in Australia. Highlights include the nocturnal animal enclosure, allowing visitors to see normally sleepy critters up and about, and the Australian bushwalk sight and sound experience through eucalyptus and other native flora.


Aquarium of Western Australia

The outstanding Aquarium of Western Australia surrounds you with all the fishy creatures of the Southern Ocean. Innovative underwater tunnels and walkways get you up-close and personal with the turtles, fish, sharks and rays swimming overhead. Other attractions include playful seals and reefs of coral, wiggly jellyfish and graceful sea dragons.

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