I spent my initial days in Perth mostly admiring the weather and the city skyline. The latter was unintentional and surprising but it just so happened that everywhere I went in Perth it seemed like there was a really great view of the city.
THE BELL TOWER
On one of my first days in Perth a walk down to Elizabeth Quay and along the waterfront led me to The Bell Tower. It’s one of the most striking buildings in the area and when I saw you could climb up and look out from the top at the surrounding area I didn’t hesitate. Little did I know that the tower is actually home to the bells of St-Martin-in-the-Fields church back in London, which were gifted to the city of Perth for its bicentenary in 1988. The bells have played an important part in British history having rung out at the coronation of every King and Queen in England since back in 1727. Their (tentative) Australian connection is that they were apparently rung upon the return of Captain James Cook from his voyage of discovery in 1771.
Although there’s a lot of building work still going on in the area, due to the ongoing redevelopment of Elizabeth Quay, you can still catch a great view of the newly renovated harbour area across the water to Kings Park and South Perth.
I headed to King’s Park straight from the Bell Tower and soon discovered you need more than a day to even scratch the surface. It’s just a short walk from the main shopping area of Perth to get to Fraser Avenue which takes you right into the heart of one of the largest inner-city parks in the world. There’s an elevated treetop walkway, family areas, bushland walking, a botanical garden and most obviously amazing views to be had of the Perth city skyline and over the swan river and south Perth.
I spent another day in Perth hopping on the ferry to go across the Swan River to South Perth. There are so many different ferry options at Elizabeth Quay that will take you on scenic river cruises to Rottnest Island, Freemantle or just down the river and back. You can even catch a gondola if you’re feeling really fancy – although pretending you’re in Venice is pretty near impossible with such a wide expanse of water and high-rise surroundings! A gondola on the Swan River is a bit sad when you’re travelling alone so I opted to celebrate that I was in Perth and just hop on the Transperth ferry over the an area imaginatively named South Perth. A little stroll along the esplanade on the opposite side of the river gave me yet another great view of the skyline. There are some little sandy beaches along the waterfront in case you can’t be bothered to hop on the bus to Cottesloe or City Beach but it doesn’t look like anyone really makes much use of them. I suspect the people of Perth are not that lazy – or would rather avoid swimming in the Swan River.
My furthest view of the Perth skyline so far came from a day trip out to Bold Park. It turns out it’s actually not as far as I thought and, while I opted to get the underground and then bus to the start of the Scenic Trail on Oceanic Drive, I actually discovered that it is possible to make the trip for free with the Green Cat free bus that goes right out to Leederville train station. You do however have to be willing to walk the 45 mins to 1 hour from the station to the park, but it’s a straight road and there’s a shopping centre on the way for a much-needed coffee shop (which I did take advantage of on the way back!)
Bold Park is well worth a visit after you’ve exhausted the delights of King’s Park. It’s much more akin to a bush-walking experience in a national park than an inner city park. There’s no real way to head off the trails because the area is overgrown. There is one main trail around the park which is around 5km and takes 1.5 hours to do the full loop and then there are plenty of smaller trails heading off along the way. The great thing is that you don’t have to worry about deviating from the main trail because all of the smaller ones eventually meet it again! (It took me a while to realise this and I was hesitant to deviate because I had to keep doubling back on myself!) There are a ton of lookouts that give you a great view over Perth and the surrounding park from an elevated platform. Even if you don’t fancy the walk you can drive up to the top of the Scenic Trail and head up to Roe’s Hill Lookout from the car park which is such an easy track there’s no excuse not to. It will give you the best views in the area.