To say that the ocean-side Australian city of Perth feels like an overgrown town is no insult: this friendly and affluent west-coast metropolis offers a warm welcome and slaps an arm around your shoulders to guide you towards its best bits. It's no wonder many Brits choose to make a life Down Under in sunny Perth.
Hotels in Perth grant the same cheery welcome, whether your budget sees you in one of the city's budget hotels or stretches to a five-star hotel. Of course, there are plenty of options in between as Perth hotels cater for everyone, from backpackers on a budget to well-heeled business types and international families looking for a spot of luxury while they enjoy their fun in the sun.
While most of the high-end hotels are located centrally in Perth's CBD, accommodation to suit every budget can be found across the city. Budget accommodation with ocean views is not an impossible dream; consider coastal suburbs such as Scarborough.
The majority of hotels in the area are locally run and managed, however some of the major chains are represented. Look out for hotels from brands such as Best Western, Mercure, Ibis, Hyatt Regency, Crowne Plaza, Travelodge and Novotel.
The young local population means that Perth has a lively and cosmopolitan nightlife scene. Drinks in glamorous waterfront bars can morph into late-night dancing in cool nightclubs. The best after-dark action is to be found in areas such as inner city art-hub Northbridge and the vivacious city of Fremantle, which is like a suburb of Perth.
There is much to do in lively Perth. The shopping scene is diverse, with independent boutiques in areas such as Mount Lawley and Subiaco enjoying the same attention as international brands, which can be found around King Street. After all that shopping, you can slump into any one of the fantastic bars and restaurants serving cool drinks and sumptuous food. Serious shoppers can also take their pick of luxury spas to help soak away the aches and strains of all that spending.
Markets dish up a wide variety of goods and provide perfect picnic fodder if you want to take it easy in a city park or soak up the sun at the beach. Kings Park is one of the best spots for an al fresco bite on a picnic blanket. Larger than New York's Central Park, this patch of city greenery affords fantastic views of the Swan River and the Darling Range.
Top five attractions
The Art Gallery of Western Australia
Located within the Perth Cultural Centre, this gallery showcases the best of Western Australian creativity, including a fine collection of indigenous art.
A surprisingly popular hit with visitors, you can tour the Mint to see bars of pure gold being made, plus the world's biggest coin.
Swan Valley wine region
Travel a little way out of the city to taste the nation's most glorious wines and nibble some of the amazing food that this region produces.
White sandy beaches and secluded bays, seals and shipwrecks, and unique creatures like the quokka; all this is less than half an hour via ferry from Perth.
The Aquarium of Western Australia guides you through the underwater paradise of the coast, without getting (too) wet! See sharks and turtles, and find Nemo.
Kings Park Festival; September: It's springtime in the southern hemisphere at this time of year, and the perfect moment to see the park and botanic gardens blooming after winter. There's plenty going on at this annual event.
Perth Royal Show; September/October: It's easy to forget, in a cosmopolitan hub like Perth, that rural life is hugely important in this part of the world. Celebrate it with the locals; there's something for everyone. The city is big enough to cope with the extra visitors, but it's worth booking your hotel in advance to avoid disappointment during this busy time.
Awesome International Arts Festival; October: Billed for “Bright Young Things”, the event offers access to the arts for even the youngest kids and uses music, dance, theatre, comedy and technology, of course, to engage with youngsters.