It is no secret that Perth, Australia holds many fun attractions as the largest city and capital of Western Australia, and the fourth largest city in all the country. It boasts many modern and large-city attractions.
But Perth is also home to some hidden and more natural gems. Being tucked between the Darling Range and Indian Ocean, it should come as no surprise. The following are just three of those more hidden and overlooked treasures that we think you ought to take advantage of next time you need a little holiday.
Hopefully, exploring these three will be just the beginning of unlocking the trove of beautiful destinations Perth has to offer to you.
The Swan Bell Tower
Our first hidden gem is not so hidden but is absolutely a gem of Perth that perhaps deserves a bit more attention.
The Swan Bells are the result of an architectural competition organized to create a structure to commemorate the new millennium. The tower sits on the Swan River and holds 18 bells, making it one of the world’s largest sets of ringing bells.
Besides it’s gorgeous and unique structure, the bells themselves are the true gems of the tower. Twelve of the bells hold are historic as they come from the St. Martin-in-the-Fields Church, London. In 1988, Britain donated the bells to Australia as a bicentennial gift.
The bells date back all the way to the 14th century, and they are the only royal bells to ever leave England. But considering it was these very bells that rang out as James Cook, the explorer, embarked on his voyage which ultimately resulted in the founding of Australia, it is perhaps very fitting that the bells now call Australia home.
On a visit to the tower, you will get a beautiful view of the Swan River, enjoy the reflecting pools, artwork and shops that encircle it, and can even experience inside this beautiful, jewel-like tower itself.
Shoalwater Islands Marine Park
For an amazing aquatic adventure filled with jewel-coloured waters and frisky sea creatures, Shoalwater Islands Marine Park is a must.
Only about an hour’s drive south of Perth, the Shoalwater Islands offer hours and days of entertainment. Take a ferry boat to and around the islands to get a great view of the sea lions and penguins who live here. Visit the penguins up close at the discovery centre on Penguin Island.
Dolphins and over 16 species of water-birds make these islands and water their home. If you want closer encounters than a ferry boat tour provides, you can rent or bring your kayaks and paddle boards or take a wildlife observation cruise.
Many of the islands also offer walking trails, or if you would rather be in the water, pack your snorkelling and diving gear for some of the breathtaking cavernous reefs the area has to offer. You may even discover old ship wrecks as you explore.
And of course, don’t forget to bring your fishing pole. Crabbing, fishing, and even spear fishing (breath hold only) are permitted in specifically designated areas throughout the islands.
Araluen Botanic Park
Sheltered in a valley of the Darling Ranges, and just 35 km south and east of Perth, is the area’s hidden garden: Araluen Botanic Park. A true gem, the park offers a dazzling array of colourful flowers, trees, exotic plants and native bush.
The park encompasses over 59 hectares of gardens, with bountiful and world-renowned tulips, camellias, and tea roses, which are set in Australia’s native backdrop of Marri, Blackbutt and Eucalyptus. Everywhere, earthen and stone paths wind, delivering walkers to breathtaking sites, while trickling streams, small rocky waterfalls, and wooden bridges cross their paths and mingle the sound of rushing water with birdsong.
Besides the truly breathtaking natural sights and sounds the gardens have to offer, the park is also home to an astounding number of festivals and family events. In spring, it hosts its famous Tulip Festival, and the Fremantle Chilli Festival in Summer. It also hosts events such as Blues in the Hills, and regular kids’ days.
If you are looking for a bit of peace and fresh air, as well as sights and sounds that will delight the soul, Araluen Botanic Park will provide all of that and more.
What Are You Waiting For?
With these and so many other amazing sights to be discovered so close to Perth, there’s no reason to put off exploring. Hire a proper road-trip car, pack up the family, and start exploring!