If you like Sydney, you’ll probably like Perth. It has the same silver skyscrapers glinting in the sun, a remarkably blue sky, the same energetic outdoorsy vibrancy, and like Sydney, the sparkling Indian Ocean and glorious white beaches just a bus ride from downtown. There aren’t nearly as many tourist sights in Perth but I hear that it gets more sunshine than any other city in Australia, some 300 days a year.
You probably know the city and its port town of Fremantle best as the site of Australia’s defense of the America’s Cup yacht race in 1987. On that occasion the Cup returned to American shores where it had lived for so long, but the enthusiasm whipped up in the city lives on. Far from being one of those drab, anonymous capitals that exists only to serve the state’s economy, Perth has lots of fun stuff for the visitor to do. Wander through the impressively restored historic warehouses, museums, and working docks of bustling Fremantle; stock up at the plentiful Aboriginal art and souvenir stores; eat at some of the country’s best restaurants (no, they’re not all in Sydney); go snorkeling and sea kayaking with wild sea lions; bushwalk through a 1,000-acre park in the middle of the city; and ride your bike to a great snorkeling spot on Rottnest Island, a miniature reef resort 19 kilometers (12 miles) off-shore. We specifically visited Perth to attend the wedding of one of Lauren’s close friends, Adrienne.