The City of Lights – Perth. One of the most popular cities in Australia to visit is Perth. The city is the largest in Western Australia as well as the country’s capital. It has a population of 1.6 million people. Founded in 1829 by Captain James Stirling, it is known as the ‘city of lights’ because the entire city turned on their lights during John Glenn’s orbit of the earth aboard Friendship 7 in 1962. In honour of this, they repeated the performance when Glenn again orbited the earth in 1998, this time aboard the space shuttle Discovery.
The climate of the city is an excellent example of the Mediterranean climate. With typically dry and hot summers and wet and cool winters, the climate is generally mild. The summer season lasts from December to March, while the winter season is from May until September. The city receives most of its rainfall during the winter months. Average temperatures range from the high 20s during the hot summer months to the early teens in the winter; although a record low temperature of minus 0 was recorded in 2006.
Getting around Perth is made much simpler with an excellent network of roadways that includes three freeways and nine highways. There is also a system of public transportation that includes ferries, buses and trains. As a nice touch, the city provides ‘zero’ fare bus rides in the centre of the city called the ‘Free Transit Zone’. The city has an international airport, Perth Airport, as well as a smaller airport for charter flights, Jandakot Airport.
Near the downtown area of the city is the Perth Cultural Centre. This area contains the Art Gallery of Western Australia, the Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts, Western Australian Museum, State Records Office and the Alexander Library. Several other museums exist in the city. Additionally, the Perth International Arts Festival is an annual arts festival renowned throughout the world. For the sports enthusiasts, Perth has several major teams in various sports such as football, netball, cricket and soccer. The city has hosted both the Commonwealth Games and the America’s Cup.
Other cultural attractions in the city are the Perth Concert Hall, which plays host to orchestral performances, theatre, opera and ballet. The Perth Convention Exhibition Centre, His Majesty’s Theatre and the Bursewood Dome are all popular concert locations. For outdoor performances, Kings Park, Members Equity Stadium and Subiaco Oval are all centrally located. Perth and Australia in general, has a long and excellent tradition of folk music and concerts are often available in the city.
The cuisine of Perth is international in flavour. It is possible to find dishes from almost every ethnic group available at many of the local restaurants. It is interesting to note that according to The Age, a popular Melbourne newspaper, the home of the world’s best pizza is Perth. Perth is a popular place to visit. Its beautiful climate and many attractions are ideal for vacationers. Overall, the city is clean with good access to transportation and lodging as well as the many cultural activities available in the city. The ‘City of Lights’ is a true gem of a city, worth a visit anytime.