ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 / Features
Pretty and playful Perth is the place where the young at heart will feel right at home
Of all the capital cities in Australia, it is Perth that has the most days of sunshine. While it may be thousands of miles away from the more popular east coast cities, Perth is set amid stunning natural beauty. It sits on the banks of the Swan river, which flows languidly into the Indian Ocean. This city is vibrant, pretty, playful and young at heart. Besides the hillside getaways and ocean beaches, it has top-class dining and drinking, a vibrant nightlife, and lovely, predictable weather.
The area on which the city stands was inhabited by the Aboriginal Noongar tribe for many millennia before the arrival of the first white settlers in 1829. Convict labour was brought here in 1850 to begin the development of the settlement that would eventually become Perth. Many of the city's grand buildings - including Government House and the Perth Town House - were built with convict labour. Yet during that time Perth was considered secondary - in comparison to the grand scale of development afforded to the east coast cities. Then gold was discovered in the 1890s, the population increased fourfold and a building boom followed. However, concrete and glass skyscrapers have now replaced most of those old Victorian-style buildings.
The World Cup matches will be played at the Western Australia Cricket Association Ground at Nelson Crescent, East Perth.
What to pack: Perth is an easygoing city, and the river means a lot of aqua activities, so pack your swimmers for sure. A light jacket is a must and dress clothes too, in case some nightclubs require formal attire. A comfortable pair of walking shoes and flip-flops for the beach are essential. SPF 30+ sunscreen is a must.
The domestic and international airports are 11km and 15km from the city centre respectively. The Perth Airport Connect bus is a good way to get to and from the airport, and it has five convenient locations around the city for pick-ups and drops. While tickets can be bought onboard, you can also book 48 hours in advance.
Perth's CAT bus service is excellent for getting around and the buses are state-of-art, with information about timetables and stops available within.
Transperth is the comprehensive website for public transport around Perth and the neighbouring areas by trains, buses and ferries.
Where to stay
High-end: Luxurious and with immaculate service, the Crown Metropol Perth resembles a first-class airport terminal with restaurants, a casino and shops. Mantra on Hay, right in the heart of the CBD with one-room and two-room apartments, is just a ten-minute walk from the WACA. The Quest West End Apartments, too, are a ten-minute walk from the WACA, and clean and spacious, with every convenience imaginable.
Mid-range: Hotel Ibis Perth is excellent value, and though the rooms are a bit unimaginative, the service is excellent and the facilities fantastic. Besides, the location - in the CBD - makes this one a winner. Wentworth Plaza is the place to go if you love a watering hole close to you. It is squeezed between two English pubs on Murray Street, and though it might get a little noisy on Saturday night, it is fantastic value for money. Goodearth Hotel is just a 15-minute walk from the stadium. This hotel has rooms with balconies, some of which look out over the river.
Budget: Hay Street Backpackers has a pool, comfortable rooms and a good location. This is very good backpacker value. Rooms range from dorms to singles to en suite doubles. Exclusive Backpackers is quiet, clean, secure and comfortable. It has won accolades for its friendliness and warm and welcoming atmosphere. Grand Central Backpackers may feature an austere white exterior but the interiors are bright and cheerful. It's a 3km walk to the stadium, or you can take the red CAT that runs every five minutes and takes 31 minutes from the Hay Street stop close to Wellington Street.
Where to eat
High-end: Jackson's, the quirky menu is dominated by Asian flavours, but Jackson's English heritage also shines through. Red Cabbage is an eccentric but cosy dining room offering chefs Scott O'Sullivan's and Adam Sayles' modern Australian cuisine. In the sparse, modern dining room of Restaurant Amusé, Chef Hadleigh Troy's degustation menu, inspired by West Australian growers, focuses on terroir rather than technology. The sommelier's wine, beer and sake selections are also impressive.
Mid-range: Maya Masala has Indian food with a spicy kick, and a huge selection of desserts to cool it all down. Giardini is a lovely Italian café-like experience, just right for the time when a full breakfast, lunch or dinner doesn't fit into your schedule. For the best seafood, head to Kailis Bros Fishmarket and Café, which is also a fish market.
Budget: Govinda's Hare Krishna Restaurant (194 William St, Northbridge. Ph: 08 9227 1684) is where vegetarians have gravitated for years for its friendly, wholesome fare. Elephant and Wheelbarrow is a loud, English-style pub with fresh beer on tap and good pub grub. Don't expect anything fancy, though.
Where to party
On weeknights, most nightclubs have free entrance and cheap drinks, but over the weekend they usually filter the crowd, demand a cover charge and have a strict dress code.
Northbridge is the main nightclub area in Perth. It is a 20-minute walk from Hay Street and Murray street and a short bus ride away (Red CAT). There are many pubs, nightclubs and restaurants packed into four blocks. Geisha Bar is a decadent club with rising stars and is very popular with locals and international tourists. Library Nightclub features four levels and calls itself a place that fuses the elements of a bar, a nightclub and a lounge. It has been recently renovated and is an all-night venue. The Mint Club plays the best of '80s and '90s music every Friday night and is often populated with a thirtysomething crowd. The Paramount has two floors, five rooms, seven bars and music to blow your mind. Need anything more be said?
Don't leave without...
Doing a Perth and Fremantle Scenic flight, which lets you experience amazing panoramic views looking over Perth and includes King's Park. You will then follow the river to reach the beautiful and historic port city of Fremantle and return.
Touring the WACA stadium, which will let you see displays featuring Western Australia's proud Sheffield Shield history, the Players' Pavilion, the Stump Lounge (Western Australia's salute to Test cricket at the WACA), the Bradman Room. Also, have a very special experience of strolling out onto the WACA Ground where the legends of cricket have played.
Exploring Kings Park and Botanical Gardens, a 400-hectare haven of mostly virgin bushland with pockets of manicured gardens, which overlooks the city and the Swan River. With over 12,000 species of wildflowers, Western Australia has one of the richest floras in the world. In springtime, the bush quite literally bursts into colour, right on the city's doorstep, at Kings Park.
Visiting the Perth Mint, which offers visitors a unique combination of activities, exhibitions and demonstrations, enabling them to experience the astonishing allure of gold.
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