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    Serene as the Swan

    Sun-drenched and laidback, Perth is simply a joy to be in. However, the West Australian capital does have tourist attractions, such as the Colonial-era mint, important in the country’s gold industry. East is the WACA, a must-see for cricket fans, and the city is also mad for Aussie Rules football.

    The city centre has the historic Government House and Supreme Court, both dwarfed by the ultra-modern skyscrapers a few streets behind. The best skyline view is from leafy King’s Park, near the War Memorial overlooking the Swan River below, named after its black swans. Across the river in Perth Zoo are more native animals including koalas, crocodiles and free-hopping kangaroos.

    Boats to the zoo leave from the Barrack Street jetty by a sail-shaped bell tower. Other day trips from Perth include Rottnest Island and Fremantle, down the river in the opposite direction from Perth Airport.

    The apartments, B&Bs and hotels in Perth are spread all over this fantastic city, interspersed with restaurants serving specialities such as western rock lobster and chilli mussels. There is also a wealth of bars, many playing the indie music that the city is known for. Local brews from the Swan Brewery and wines from the Swan Valley vineyards round off the evening.