Western Australia’s youthful capital city PERTH is home to around 1.7 million people and has a reputation for endless sunshine and an easy-going lifestyle. After work, it’s typical for people to go surfing, sailing, swimming or fire up a barbie somewhere on the shores of the Swan River, which forms a broad lagoon through the city, ideal for recreation and sport. This enviable social life partly explains Perthites’ contented detachment from the rest of the country. Another factor is simply the physical distance: Perth is Australia’s (and many say, the world’s) most isolated city, almost 4000km from Sydney by road, a four-hour flight from the east coast and in a different time zone (Western Standard Time) to the rest of the country.

The state’s recent mining boom has sparked one of the largest building projects ever seen in the city and several new developments were in progress at the time of writing. The Central Business District (CBD) is undergoing something of a renaissance as more international companies set up shop here (particularly Chinese and Indian firms), while the area between the city and Northbridge will shortly see the currently above-ground train line buried beneath an area of squares and public spaces to be completed by the end of 2014.

Just north of the CBD, Northbridge is perhaps Perth’s most notorious suburb, with an other-side-of-the-tracks feel and a vibrant, intoxicating nightlife – it is also the centre for Perth’s Asian community. Much of the city’s daily life takes place in its outer reaches, with the inner west suburbs of Leederville and Subiaco boasting boutiques, cafés, restaurants and pubs galore.

Book through Rough Guides’ trusted travel partners

Australia features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

A Rough Guide to: visiting Australia's Great Barrier Reef

A Rough Guide to: visiting Australia's Great Barrier Reef

Australia’s Great Barrier Reef is one of the world’s greatest natural wonders – it’s the largest structure ever built by living things and is even visib…

25 Oct 2017 • Penny Walker insert_drive_file Article
The best aerial views in the world

The best aerial views in the world

Got a head for heights? If you're craving a new perspective on your travels, the best thing to do is get up high. From mountain-top panoramas to cityscapes, her…

17 Oct 2017 • Olivia Rawes camera_alt Gallery
Undiscovered Australia: 7 places to get off the tourist trail

Undiscovered Australia: 7 places to get off the tourist trail

Australia is a vast country, though most visitors stay on the same tried and tested track, ticking off well-touristed pitstops along the way. But, of course, …

07 Aug 2017 • Helen Ochyra insert_drive_file Article
View more featureschevron_right

Weekly newsletter

Sign up now for travel inspiration, discounts and competitions

Sign up now and get 20% off any ebook