Most travelers to Australia may have overlooked Perth, the fourth largest city in the country and the capital of Western Australia (WA). The large modern city, which you can get to via plenty of cheap flight deals, has a good mix of urban and natural vibes and is known for its sporting events, trendy restaurants, pristine beaches, national parks, and wine country.

Discover the Active Urban Life in Perth

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At first glimpse, you’ll notice that local life in Perth revolves around water. There are lot of trails for biking and walking along the river front and people are jet skiing and wind surfing at any given time of the week.

Elizabeth Quay in the city center has several public art displays, where you can see one of the largest musical instruments on earth, along with other funky structures. There are also night markets and festivals in the area. Perth’s long coastline is dotted with sandy beaches so you don’t need to go far to take a dip in the ocean either.

Kings Park is one of the biggest urban parks in the world (larger than Central Park in New York City). Here, you will find locals jogging, playing, and picnicking on the greens, while watching the sun set over Perth’s skyline and the Swan and Canning rivers.

While the downtown area has much to do, Perth’s hipster neighborhoods of Leederville and Northbridge offer international restaurants, a Chinatown, eclectic coffee shops, and boutique shopping.

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Step Back in History in Fremantle

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Fremantle (aka Freo) is Perth’s historical cousin, just 25 minutes from the city. Learn about the first settlers in WA with a Two Feet and a Heartbeat walking tour. Hear local tales of immigrants and Irish prisoners who settled the town and take a guided tour of Fremantle Prison, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Freo’s beautiful heritage buildings are worth wandering around. Walk through the famous cappuccino strip lined with cafés and grab some delicious fish and chips at the Fisherman’s Wharf.

Swim, Bike, and Skydive in Rottnest

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If you’re looking for seclusion and nature, Rottnest Island is a quick weekend getaway or a day trip via the Rottnest Express ferry. The un-commercialized island has a Mediterranean-style climate, indigenous flora and fauna, and 63 bays and 20 beaches to swim and snorkel in.

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Rottenest is home to a big population of quokkas — wild roaming small marsupials after which the island got its name. In Dutch, Rottnest means place of rats, and you will find the quokkas everywhere on the island.

There are affordable beach front cottages and a handful of shops and restaurants. No cars are allowed, so you can take a bus tour, hike, bike, boat, or Segway. Another great way to get stunning views of the coastline is with an adrenaline-fueled skydive, that lands you on one of its white sand beaches.

Live Up the Good Life in Swan Valley

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The Swan Valley Food and Wine Trail takes you on a scenic loop through some of Western Australia’s finest wineries, breweries, distilleries, restaurants, cafés, arts and crafts, and fresh produce. Stop for a wine tasting at one of the 300 boutique wineries and have lunch overlooking the vineyards at historic Sandalford Wines (founded in 1840) or the newly established and luxurious Mandoon Estate.

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This is also a good place to see Australia’s wildlife, including wombats, koalas, echidnas, wallabies, and kangaroos. Caversham Wildlife Park is a local, family owned and operated wildlife park that features more than 2,000 animals, birds and reptiles, making it the largest privately-owned collection of native wildlife in Western Australia. You can get up close to some of the animals and even feed the kangaroos!

Schedule a visit to the Maalinup Aboriginal Gallery to learn about Aboriginal culture and “bush tucker” (food used by the original inhabitants of Australia). Owner Maali Mia Pty Ptdl gives demonstrations of aboriginal herbs, teas, and fruits, surrounded by block-painted tapestry and creations of aboriginal artists from all over Australia.

Editor’s note: The author of this post may either have a relationship with or received other compensation from the product or service providers that are featured in this writing.

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About The Author

Sucheta is an award winning food and travel writer who has traveled to 70+ countries and is on a mission to see the entire world. She is also the founder of the nonprofit organization, Go Eat Give, which promotes cultural awareness through food, travel and volunteering. Sucheta is the author of a series of children's books on travel, "Beato Goes To" that teach kids about different countries and cultures.