10 Amazing Things You Probably Don’t Know About Perth & Western Australia – Indian Ocean

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Port of Fremantle, Perth, Western Australia

Western Australia‘s largest and busiest general cargo port, Fremantle has significant role in the state’s history especially to the Aborigines as it was a large provider of their essential resources. In later years, this port has played an important part in the economic development of Western Australia and was a strategic location during World War II. It operates through two harbors: the inner and the outer harbors respectively.

Located along the Indian Ocean and at the entrance of Swan River which forms the inner harbor, it handles almost all of the container trade of Western Australia while it provides facilities for livestock exports, motor vehicle imports, cruise ships and visiting naval ships. The outer harbor situated south of Kwinana ( a suburb of Perth) is one of Australia‘s major bulk cargo ports handling grain, petroleum, LPG, aluminum, mineral sands, fertilizers, coal and sulphur.

An Overview on Perth:

The Noongar people (Aborigines) are the real traditional owners of Perth particularly the Swan Coastal Plain but it was Captain James Stirling from the UK who colonized the area in 1829 for the British crown. He named the new settlement after the birthplace of the British Secretary for the Colonies, Sir George Murray who was from Perth, Scotland. Governor Stirling decided that the site was good for the new colony’s capital which was 18 km. from Fremantle Port and so on August 12, 1829, Mrs. Helen Dance, wife of the ship’s captain of HMS Sulphur drove an axe into a tree and was cut down to mark the event.

Perth grew slowly into the 19th century, prominent buildings were built with the aid of convicts that came to the area and in 1892 there was a gold rush in Western Australia which brought a new dawn of prosperity into the city. The Perth Mint (producer of the country’s coin currency) was erected in 1899 and at this time the city experienced a population explosion. By the turn of the 20th century, in 1901, Western Australia federated with other Australian states and the Commonwealth of Australia was formed.

During the 1930s Perth suffered from the Great Depression like the rest of the world however, it experienced another mining rush in the 1960s. It became widely known as “City of Lights” when US astronaut John Glenn announced to the world he had seen the lights of Perth from the outer space in his orbit around the earth on February 1962. And despite being a colony mostly of convicts during its humble beginnings, Perth today is one of the most beautiful and economically secure cities in the world.

Map showing the location of Perth, Western Australia.

Welcome to the ancestral home of the quokka, the happiest animal in the world. The vast landscape, lush greenery and beautiful coastline of Perth will emerge right in front of your very eyes like what I’d experienced when we arrived at Fremantle Port on June 2016 aboard the IVS Kingbird. So inspiring like there’s nowhere else to compare it in the world, let me take you through the amazing things you probably don’t know about this city and Western Australia as well.

1. It is actually closer to Bali, Indonesia than Sydney, the second city that I’ve seen in Australia.

Located between Southeast Asia, on the coast of the Indian Ocean, and Eastern Australia, flight from Perth to Bali in Indonesia only takes three hours. An amazing thing you probably don’t know, this city is closer to Bali as it takes four hours of flying time from Perth when you go to Sydney.

2. You can go around the city center for free when you use the CAT (Central Area Transport) bus or stay in the Free Tourist Zone.

The CAT bus around the city center of Perth.

An amazing thing you probably don’t know there are hop-on, hop-off buses under the CAT system in Perth that provide free service around the central business district. If you are a tourist here, this is the popular way to explore the area as long as you stay in the Free Tourist Zone, yes indeed the best thing in Perth is free.

3. The Perth Mint (produces coin currency) is the oldest mint in the world.

Situated at Hay Street, the Perth Mint, a place to refine gold brought in from the gold rush was built in 1899 and is the oldest mint in the world which is still in operation up to this day. An amazing thing you probably don’t know, this was used to produce platinum, silver and gold coins and a visit to this historic building will give you the chance to see extraordinary gold nuggets and other famous coins and medals ever made in Australia.

4. It is the second most isolated capital city in the world as the next city, Adelaide is over 2,200 km. away.

An amazing thing you probably don’t know that Perth is the 2nd most isolated city in the world with the next city, Adelaide in South Australia which is 2,200 kilometers away. Western Australia is the largest state in the country which is as big as Western Europe for that matter and that’s what makes Perth secluded.

5. Surprisingly Perth boasts the largest number of camels in the world.

You can have a camel ride experience in Perth, an amazing thing you probably don’t know it has the largest number of camels in the world. Brought in from India in the 19th century Australia has the world’s only remaining herds of wild camel. And Western Australia actually exports camels to the Middle East for their meat which is an important part of the Islamic diet especially during Hajj in Mecca, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

6. The only area in the world where you can find the quokka, happiest creature on earth.

Endemic only in Western Australia, the quokka is a small marsupial (an animal that raises its newborn inside an external pouch of their bodies) whose smiling “face” is a tourist attraction at Rottnest Island near Perth. An amazing thing you probably don’t know, this teddy bear-sized lovable creature is tantalizingly cute and in recent years travelers from all over the world have shoot a selfie with the adorable quokka.

7. In Busselton, Western Australia which is two hours away from Perth you will find the longest wooden jetty (structure that projects out from land into the sea) in the world.

Interestingly, the 1,800 meter-long Busselton Jetty will give you the chance to walk 2 kilometers towards the waters of Geographe Bay, an amazing thing you may not know about Perth and Western Australia. This enjoyable trek takes you 25 minutes each way and this jetty is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Western Australia. At the end of the wooden structure there is an underwater observatory that descends 8 meters below sea level where you can watch corals and fishes through glass viewing windows.

8. It is the largest producer of gold (Kalgoorie Mine or Super Pit) and diamonds (Argyle Mine) as well as pearls (Broome).

Super Pit in Kalgoorie, Western Austrlia.

An amazing thing you probably don’t know, all that glitter is gold in Kalgoorie or “Super Pit”, Australia‘s largest open-cut gold mine that can even be seen from outer space. The Argyle Mine on the other hand is world’s largest producer of diamonds and in Broome is the largest producer of pearls. A triple bling indeed!

9. The only city in the world where an aircraft can actually land on its central business area.

Langley Park in Perth.

Absolutely an amazing thing you probably don’t know that Perth is the only city in the world where you can land your own aircraft right at the heart of the its central business district. At Langley Park which is an open space a fixed-wing aircraft can land in near Perth‘s city center.

10. The Bell Tower in Barrack Square is not a rocket but actually one of the world’s largest musical instruments.

Rising at 82.5 meters, the Bell Tower houses 18 Royal Bells from England that were once rung to welcome Capt. James Cook when he returned to Australia after his first expedition. One of Perth‘s most iconic landmarks and an amazing thing you probably don’t know, the Bell Tower appears like a rocket but it actually houses one of the world’s largest instruments where they ring at noon and you can have the chance to view as well the bell ringers perform up close.

In this part of the world, there is something about Perth that makes it magical. A great city to live, in 2016 it was ranked the 7th most livable city on earth. When Australia will open its doors to foreign tourists again head over to Western Australia to discover yourself the amazing things about Perth.

Reference: Wikipedia