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Travel in Australia and New Zealand

See the Other Side of Australia in Perth
By:Sidney Morgan

When you look at the map of the country, you will notice that the majority of Australia's people live on the east coast. What's on the other side of the country? To see the best of Western Australia, visit its capital city, Perth.

Perth, whose population is well over one and a half million, is by no means a small outback town. A panoramic picture of the cityscape shows towering skyscrapers in the background with the placid waters of the Swan River in the foreground. In many ways, this often photographed panorama depicts Perth perfectly. It is a capital city with a difference: cosmopolitan and urbane on the one hand, it retains strong ties to its natural surroundings.

Its location on the banks of the Swan River is no accident. The site was chosen because it was a safe and fertile inland location that offered easy water access to the coastal port, some 20 miles west. Back then, the Swan was the most important transport route. Today, it is equally important as the backdrop for the Perth lifestyle. Most of Perth's most popular attractions are located around the beautiful Swan River.

Back in 1872, city founders set aside 172 hectares to be developed and maintained as a public space. Perth Park's name was changed in 1901 to King's Park and its perimeter expanded to four hundred hectares. This makes it the largest urban park in the world. In the park, you will find over 250 plant species and 100 species of animals.

In the heart of King's Park and under the authority of the Botanic Gardens and Parks Authority is the remarkable Aspects of King's Park gallery and retail center. Aspects showcases the work of many of Australia's most esteemed artists and artisans. Paintings, sculptures, photographs, glass works, woodworks, ceramics and other fine arts and crafts can be viewed or purchased here.

For an inspiring day of shopping or window shopping, call in at Aspects while you're exploring King's Park. Then visit the nearby Aboriginal Art Gallery and talk to some of the aboriginal performers who work in the gallery when they are not putting on one of their daily performances. It's a great way to learn about Perth and Australia's rich aboriginal history and perhaps pick up an example of fine aboriginal arts and crafts while you're there.

While you're in Perth, you simply have to go to the Bell Tower. Located on Riverside Drive, the Bell Tower is a stunning example of modern architecture. The inspiration for the architecture was the ring of bells that was given to Western Australia as a gift in celebration of the Bicentennial in 1988. More bells have been acquired since then, including an enormous, 459 kilogram bell dating back to 1550 and the legendary 12 bells of Saint Martin-in-the-Fields, whose origins go back to before the fourteenth century.

This is just a small taste of the attractions you will find in Perth. After you have seen Perth for yourself, you will understand why it has been voted one of the world's finest capital cities. Your Perth accommodation will reflect the city itself - refined, sophisticated and still in touch with nature.

Get away with the family for a few days, find accommodation in Perth, activities and other travel related information about the area. Or visit our Australia blog http://ozblog.net.au/ for more Australian holiday ideas.

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