Summer is all about the beach! In these past few weeks, Indonesia (Jakarta, particularly) has been in a bad weather condition, so it was a great timing to go to Perth, West Australia, to enjoy summer heat there. Unlike Australia’s East Coast region, West Coast region tends to be quieter, so for those of you who prefer a relaxing trip, Perth may be a suitable destination for your holiday in Australia. And here is my tips and a little bit A-B-C about Perth, West Australia.
As you may probably know, Australia has 4 seasons, but its cycle is reversed with the northern countries, where December-February is a summer in Australia. And if you want to visit Australia’s coastal area, summer is the perfect season for you to go because it means more fun and adventurous activities to do. For summer, I suggest you to visit in the end of November or early December, because the weather is not too warm nor to cold, so it’s perfect to have some outdoor activities. But make sure to bring an umbrella and a spare jacket because it still quite windy especially in the beach area.
You can use several transportation modes in Perth; but the most sought after by tourists is by renting a car or go public with train or buses. Tourists usually rent a car to drive out of the city, while to go around Perth City itself, you can use TransPerth CAT bus, water taxi, or subway train. To be able to use this public transportation, you can use SmartRider Card, and beside, the CAT bus within Perth City and Fremantle City is free! You can get these SmartRider in the nearest station, while to top up you can also go to the nearest mini market which provides Smart Rider top up service.
To rent a car, you can book it online (try Aries Car Rental, Bayswater, or Hertz), or you can booked in the Perth International Airport, just make sure you have an international driver license (but I just heard that our regular driver license also can be used because it has been listed in English).
If you are a typical shopping person or looking for a place which has a great access, you can stay at Barrack Street (Perth CBD), as there are many serviced apartments or budget hotels (if you’re on a budget), or more fancy hotel like Ritz Carlton and so on just near to the Swan River. Or, if you are more like an artsy person and do not like to be in a busy area, you can stay at Fremantle, they offer more backpacker hostel or even a nice vintage hotel. The surrounding is fit to youngster and not too busy unlike the Perth CBD.
What to do in Perth!
Perth is a harbor area, so beach activities is the most favorite activity either for foreign tourists or locals there. So, don’t forget to bring your swimming outfits, beach mat, sunscreen, and your favorite sunglasses!
Tired of beaches, you can drive or take a train to the outside Perth city. If you want more relaxing and quieter place especially with forest surrounding, you can go South and visit Margaret River (about 3,5-4 hours drive from Perth City). Meanwhile you can go North and visit Lancelin Dune (2 hours drive) to play in the sands or Pinnacles in Nambung National Park (2,5-3 hours drive) to take a look of natural made rocks and desert. Or if you want to spend the day in the beach you can visit Rottnest Island (take a ferry from Fremantle/Barrack St. Jetty in Perth City). You can also go snorkeling, cycling around the island, or hiking. Just make sure to spare a full day to enjoy Rottnest Island.
Don’t want to drive too long? There’s more nearer town outside Perth City that you can visit, I suggest to go to Fremantle, Cottesloe Beach, Scarborough Beach, Hillary’s or Sorrento Quay for beaches and port view, or Swan Valley for forest or hill view, all about only 30-45 minutes drive.
Shopping in Perth
Business hours in Perth is relatively shorter than Jakarta, especially stores and restaurant. In the Perth City area, stores opened on Saturday-Thursday at 9 AM-5 PM, and 9AM-9PM on Friday. Meanwhile in the suburb area, stores opened on Friday-Wednesday at 9AM-5PM, and 9AM-9PM on Thursday.
What you need to take a note
Driving in Perth could be easy and also quite complicated, so here’s a few thing that
you should pay attention to :
- They have the same steer position like Indonesia; on the right side.
- They have maximum speed allowed in every area, which allows you to drive only +/- 10% of the speed listed on the street signs. Suppose that it is written 70 km/h, then it allows you to drive around 63-77 km/hour. The speed allowed is 40km/h for housing complex streets, 60km/h for main street, 70-100km/h for highway.
- You will find many roundabouts, and you should always give way to the cars on your right side (there is also ‘give way’ sign you should noticed in every roundabout).
- There are direction signs marked on the asphalt (especially on every intersection), so please notice and be careful of those marks before you decide to change lane, or turn right or left.
- Noticed that they have CCTV stand by on every street, so don’t violate the regulation 🙂
- Don’t leave any bags or luggage in your car. Basically, every rental car has logo on its body, so its very obvious for bad people to notice that you are a tourist. I had a bad experience, where my windshield was broken down and the thief stole the bag my father put inside the car. Thankfully, nothing’s important was stolen (always have your passport or other important things next to your own body!). And the next day, I found the other rental car’s windshield also broken down and their stuff was also stolen. The most prone area is King’s Park, but you should always be careful wherever you are (especially if you are on a road trip and having luggage on your car).
Another thing you should be careful of, is that you can found many homeless people (locals said they were Aborigines) especially in Perth City and Fremantle, they are tend to be clustered and sometimes coming to us and ask for money or cigarettes. Just ignore and don’t look afraid, it is better for you to stay in groups or never walk alone especially in the night.
Well, that is a little bit information about traveling in Perth, some I got from my own experience, and some I got from relatives who already lived there for several years. I hope this could help you, especially if you’re planning to visit Perth in summer. Happy wandering and good luck, dear wanderers!