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Once a small, isolated city, the mining boom in Western Australia following the end of World War 2 has led to a high rate of migration to Perth, which allowed its population to overtake that of Adelaide in the 1980's. While the actual mining takes places in distant, more remote parts of the state, much of the mining-related services sector is based in Perth. Today, Perth remains Australia's fastest growing city, and in recent years has transformed from a relatively laid back city to a fairly vibrant one. Due to the fact that Perth's population growth was relatively recent, it lacks the dense Victorian core of the eastern cities, but makes up for it with its own charm, particularly seen in the numerous parks and other green spaces within close proximity of the CBD.
Despite its isolation and relatively small population, Perth is a surprisingly culturally diverse city. Due to the high rate of migration to Perth, slightly less than half of Perth's residents were born outside Australia. Its proximity to Southeast Asia and Africa has led to an influx of migrants from countries such as Malaysia, South Africa and Thailand, and this is reflected in the diversity of cuisine available in Perth. If you wish to experience a cosmopolitan culture without the hustle and bustle of larger cities then Perth is worth visiting.
In the Perth metropolitan area the summertime temperature rises rapidly during the morning, sometimes relieved in the afternoon when the "Fremantle Doctor" blows inland from the ocean to cool the city centre by up to 10°C. The doctor often runs out of puff before reaching suburbs further inland, leaving the foothills and beyond to swelter till after sunset.
Winter (Jun-Aug) temperatures are usually around 19°C. Minimum temperatures occasionally drop to near 0°C on clear nights. Though Perth goes through lengthy dry spells in Winter, when it does rain, it pours. Storms with strong winds occasionally hammer a Winter's night, but they generally cause no more destruction than a toppled tree or flattened fence.
The airport is working towards full consolidation on the eastern side of the runway by 2020 however in the mean time passengers may need to transfer to the other precinct if connecting from international to domestic flights and vice versa.
The domestic terminals are both connected as part of the same building, and it is just a short walk between them.
Airlines & destinations
Major airlines operating from each terminal:
T1 - International flights: Air Mauritius, Air New Zealand, AirAsia, Cathay Pacific, China Southern, Emirates, Garuda Indonesia, Jetstar, Malaysia Airlines, Philippine Airlines, Qantas, Qatar Airways, Scoot, Singapore Airlines, South African Airlines, Thai Airways and Virgin Australia.
T2 - Regional and Domestic flights: Alliance Airlines, Skywest Airlines, Tiger Airways Australia (from May 2013)
T3 - Domestic flights: Virgin Australia, Maroomba Airlines, Network Aviation, Tiger Airways Australia (until May 2013)
T4 - Qantas Group domestic flights: Qantas, Jetstar, QantasLink, Airnorth.
Regular train services (one or two per day, depending upon whether you are travelling during the week or on Saturday/Sunday) are available to and from the regional cites of Kalgoorlie (departing from East Perth) and Bunbury (departing from the central station). The Get out section features more information regarding these regional services...
There is currently no regular scheduled coach service across the Nullarbor Plain between Perth and Adelaide. People wishing to travel by road may wish to consider one of the adventure oriented tours that include camping and sightseeing. The only one currently operating on a regular schedule is Nullabor Traveller Adelaide to Perth and Perth to Adelaide.
A reasonably reliable network of public bus services run around the suburbs between bus and train stations.
The buses are free leaving and entering the city within the Free Transit Zone- it runs from Newcastle Street down and from the end of Kings Park when going towards Subiaco. This does not require a Smartrider, just get on.
Perth's suburban railway network is great for quickly getting to outlying suburban areas, and extends down south to Mandurah. All services stop at the central Perth station in the City on their way to or from the outlying terminating stations. The Mandurah line travels through the Esplanade station adjacent to the Busport and the south of the city.
Transperth operates a passenger ferry across the Swan river from Barrack Street jetty, where it connects with the Blue CAT bus, running to South Perth (on the promenade at the foot Mends Street). Fares are the same as the equivalent bus journey, and SmartRider cards are accepted. Services run every 10 minutes in peak times, and every 30 minutes off-peak. From the Barrack Street jetty it is a short walk through the pleasant Supreme Court and Stirling gardens to the main shopping and business streets of the CBD, whilst the South Perth terminal is a short walk to the Perth Zoo.(Timetable/map)
The Transperth system is divided into 9 concentric zones, as well as the Free Transit Zone (city centre and surrounds). The Free Transit Zone on the trains is only available to SmartRider (transport card) holders, passengers without a card have to buy a ticket. Tickets and passes are valid on all buses and trains within a zone. Tickets are valid for two hours and can be used on your return trip.
What to do
Rottnest is a car free island, but plenty of bikes available for hire from the island or directly from the ferry company. There is a huge variety of wildlife to see (including the famous Quokka) and opportunities to see whales, dolphins and fur seals off the coast, but this will always depend on the season. Another (closer, cheaper but smaller) option is to visit Penguin Island, home of the "Little Penguins" or "Fairy Penguins", located 5 min off the coast of Rockingham, a 45 min drive south of Perth.
Go wine tasting
Although the wine is perhaps not as highly regarded by seasoned wine buffs as that produced in regions such as Margaret River, the Swan Valley features the advantage of being close to the city.
It can be reached from Fremantle within 20 minutes by taking the number 520 bus which departs every 30 - 60 minutes. The park is usually open from September through to June but check the website for open times and dates.