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Sights & Attractions in Perth (Australia)

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Perth is renowned for its natural beauty, and there is no shortage of these sites to visit (King's Park, Cottesloe Beach, and the Swan River to name a few), but what else is there to do in Perth? Here's where your questions find answers...

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      04.12.2003 15:44
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      He waits; that what he does. And I tell you what: tick followed tock followed tick followed tock followed tick..[] Here's to waiting! So wrote Herman Melville back in 1851 (or so said the Guinness ad, if you want to be contemporary) - he obviously went whale watching too! In October/November, there are a multitude of things that you can do in Perth. There are the wineries around the Swan Valley, there is the Swan River if you like sailing, there are places like the Mint, Kings Park, going to places like Sorrento (I would say Hillary's Boat Quay too, but it got badly burned a couple of months ago) and of course the beach. One thing you have to do though, is go whale watching! From Perth, it is a small wander from the Central Business district down to the Barrack St jetty. Aim for the Bell Tower and stop before you hit the wet stuff - you're there. Incidentally, the Bell Tower is "one of the largest musical instruments on earth, housing the twelve bells of Saint Martin in the Fields". Hmmm. It's a tower with bells in, but very nice and extremely artistic. Certainly very much in the style of Perth. Back to the whales. For about $45 AUS (around £20) you get two tickets, one for a ferry journey to Freemantle (Free oh to the locals) and the other for the whale watching excursion. The journey to Freemantle is interesting(ish) since they hug the shore and tell you (a) how much the fabulous houses cost and (b) all the gossip about the peope who live in them - all the A and B list Ozzie celebs. Last year, if you had a £300 K house in the UK, you could have bought a big place on the Swan River in Perth - now the exchange rate has slipped it'll cost a tad more. Getting to the quay in Freemantle (I'm not a local) you get to disembark the ferry. I was fortunate enough to follow a charming American girl who was very nearly wearing something that was very nealry a pair of shorts. There were also a gr
      oup of Ozzie firemen on a river cruise for one of their number's Stag night - although this was about 10:00 am. I believe that they had been consuming the odd sherry and were in that uniquely innebriated male domain of believing that every comment they shouted was (a) the best chat up line ever and (b) hugely witty. Needless to say, they remained without her company for the duration of their lives.... Given an hour or so at the quayside, there is time to peruse the market for touristy stuff before getting on the Cat for the Whale watching. I shared the boat with a coachload of Japanese tourists, who were all obviously sponsored by Messrs Olympus, Canon and Pentax, plus the American girl. She caused a bit of a stir with the camera brigade, primarily because her legs were the same height as about 75% of the tour group....that doesn't happen when you are six foot two! The Cat plows through the waves once it leaves the harbour and gives quite a bumpy ride. The camera brigade didn't take to the motion very well, rapidly becoming sea-sick and trying to turn an interesting shade of green. They made the mistake of laying down on the seats, which only made things worse.... After about 1/2 hour, the Cat slows and you are allowed onto the observation deck. The ride there is really wild, but there are plenty of rails to hold onto. The Cat mozeys around trying to find cresting Humpback and Southern Right Whales. Soon we do, and the Cat gets closer... There is something absolutely breathtaking about seeing these majestic creatures hurtling out of the water in seemingly slow motion, crashing back into the water and then slapping the surface with their fins. They are immense, majestic, graceful and very, very, large. A very humbling experience, realising how small we are - if you've evr seen an elephant in the wild, you realise how big some of these creatures get, but these whales are enormous. On the observation deck, it
      is like a firework display, with collective "oohhhs" and "aahhhs" and then you can almost hear the Kodak share price increasing as foot after foot of film is exposed. OK, most of them now are digital, don't spoil the imagery.... After maybe 45 minutes, the Cat returns and for the Japanese tourists, so does the mal-de-mer. I seem to be lucky, I thought the whole thing was excellent and didn't suffer (but secretly enjoyed watching the others - don't tell me you wouldn't!) Getting back to Freemantle, there is a short wait, then you board a different ferry to go back up the Swan River to Perth. On the way, there was a complimentary wine and cheese tasting session, which was very pleashant (hic). Even more spectacular is the Perth skyline as you approach the jetty... Can't recommend the day enough. There are no guarantees on seeing the whales, but that's life. If you do go, take a zoom lense for your camera and make sure you can fire of a shot quickly - they may seem to be in slow motion, but getting a picture is another matter. Excellent value, fantastic way to see the area and relatively cheap too!

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      Perth is renowned for its natural beauty, and there is no shortage of these sites to visit (King's Park, Cottesloe Beach, and the Swan River to name a few), but what else is there to do in Perth? Here's where your questions find answers...