Travel: Perth, way of the west

By Mike Yardley

Way out west, Perth certainly enjoys its place in the sun. Western Australia's capital city and state gateway is the sunniest of all the nation's major cities.

Gracing the banks of the snaking Swan River, Perth was founded in 1829 by settlers who answered the British Government's call to fill the labour shortage. And Perth prides itself on being the first free colony in Australia.

A fabulous vestige of its colonial influence is the London Court shopping arcade. Built for gold miner and financier Claude de Bernales, London Court was designed using the architectural features from Elizabethan times. This extravagant salute to Tudor England makes for a shopping arcade with great atmosphere.

It connects with Hay St Mall.

At the mall entrance, make time to admire the clock face with is a replica of the Great Clock in Rouen, France. The clock chimes every quarter hour, when four knights circle the window.

At the St Georges Tce end of the arcade the clock face is a replica of Big Ben and St.

George does battle with a dragon.

Another of Perth's top attractions is King's Park.

The urban sanctuary bursts with flowers and beauty year-round.

Kings Park is where the Queen enjoyed an Aussie barbecue last year, and you'll get the best vistas of the glittering city skyline from here.

If you're travelling with younger ones, Perth Zoo is one of the most diverse in the Southern Hemisphere.

A special touch which took my fancy is the free on-site and all-day barbecue.

I couldn't help but notice how healthy the locals look in Perth.

They're blessed with a wonderful climate, and fitness seems to be part of the daily rhythm of life.

It's home to so many adorable beaches, you really do need to visit the coast. My pick of the bunch is Cottesloe, a lovely crescent of sand backed by attractive terraced lawns.

Cottesloe has a jumble of quaint shops, fashion boutiques and great cafes, all within easy reach.

Hanging out at Cottesloe Beach is a family affair, with volleyball and cricket being played on the sands, while swimmers, bodyboarders, surfers and snorkelers enjoy the waters. Plenty of equipment-hire shops are on hand to help kit you out.

My highlight was to have some nosh at the grand old building formerly known as the Indiana Tea House.

Now called just the Indiana, the eatery serves up a cracking beachside breakfast before catering to the lunch and evening crowds.

- Hamilton News

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