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Holiday Guides for Oceania - Australia

Perth Holiday

Perth is a city with a spring in its step - the people are usually perky and the sun is pretty much always shining. It's also an easygoing place where whole days can drift away lazing aboard a boat or splashing about in the Indian Ocean which is just as well when you're surrounded on all sides by thousands of miles of Western Australia's barren outback.

A trip to Perth Zoo will let you get better acquainted with the indigenous and exotic wildlife of the region. For a spot of underwater action, head to the Aquarium to get up close and personal with an array of multi-coloured fish, gliding stingrays and friendly sharks. Qualified divers can even get in the tank without fearing for their lives.

If you fancy a leisurely stroll then the green expanse of Kings Park is the place to go. The trails through native bushland can be followed on foot or on bike whilst the botanic and aromatic gardens provide an indulgence for the nose as much as for the eyes.

Moving indoors, the Art Gallery of Western Australia and the state museum are housed within the Perth Cultural Centre. The gallery displays a variety of European, Australian and Asia-Pacific art including many pieces of Aboriginal work whilst the museum offers a random assortment of the weird and wonderful ranging from vintage cars to stuffed marsupials and even a meteorite.

And to get better idea of the Aborgines artistic talents, head to the Berndt museum of anthropology with exhibits from Arnhem Land in the Northern Territory as well as finds from the southwest, desert and Kimberley regions of western Australia.

If stargazing - planets nor celebrities is more your thing then head to the SciTech Discovery Centre, the biggest planetarium in Australasia, where adventurous souls can ride through Martian channels, visit Jupiter and see a supernova explode.

Those whose eyes light up at the thought of gold and precious metals can dribble away contentedly on a tour of Perth Mint. But before you get tempted to try your own heist then visit the disused Old Frematle Prison, built by convicts in 1850, where many a person with a similar plan contemplated the error of their ways. Those with strong nerves can go on a candlelit tour of the prison at night.

And when you tire of trawling the city, head to the beach to soak up the sunlight and get your adrenaline flowing with a spot of waterskiing or float along with the fishes either scuba diving or snorkelling.

After a hard days sightseeing, head to Northbridge to revive your weary body in any one of the teeming pubs, bars or restaurants. As the city is the only one for hundreds of miles around, it's the place where people come to get fairly paralytic and with many pubs offering free beer, happy hours and other incentives to keep you pouring alcohol down your neck, you could soon be joining their ranks. For something a little more civilised, you can watch the West Australian Opera Company strut their stuff at His Majesty's Theatre.

But every modern city has its shortcomings and Perth's is that it's all Australian with seemingly little diversity on the streets. It has a multitude of skyscraper dominating what would otherwise be a rather picturesque location, especially when the sun glints off the side with startling ferocity. But at times like that it's best to adopt the laidback attitude and just go along with it - preferably with a 'stubby' in one hand and a piece of steak steaming nicely on the bbq.