Perth: An elegant blend of old and new

Panoramic view of Perth


When I expressed my desire to visit Perth, my friends wondered as to why I was going there, since most tourists who visit Australia visit its Eastern parts such as Sydney, Melbourne, Canberra, and Brisbane.

I wanted to visit Perth mostly because of cricket. Dennis Lillee, one of the fastest bowlers ever, was born near Perth. The pitch at WACA Stadium in Perth, regarded as one of the bounciest in the world, has been the nightmare for many a cricketer. Watching cricket matches on TV, I was often amused to see birds on the outfield of the cricket ground at Perth.

Compared to other Australian cities, Perth is quite small. Founded in 1829 as the Centre of Swan river settlement, (it is in Perth that river Swan meets the Indian Ocean) Perth became famous in the 19th Century as people rushed there in search of gold. After the World War, when mining peaked in Western Australia, Perth became its capital, hosting the Parliament and Supreme Court.

On arrival at Perth airport, a Punjabi taxi driver drove us from the airport to our hotel. He lamented that Perth, which was once very prosperous, had now fallen on bad days because of decline in mining. He said that Perth was now a hub of education, being home to four universities.

We started our city tour the next day with the visit to, what else, WACA Stadium.

A Cricket Museum, which has artefacts related to Australian cricket as well as history of cricket, is part of the stadium.
After visiting the stadium, we went to the Hyde Park. Similar to the Hyde Park in London, this park is very big with lakes, walking tracks, play grounds, BBQ etc. The park is very popular for weddings.

Later, we walked on the banks of the Swan river and reached Elizabeth Quay, located close to Perth Railway Station. From Elizabeth Quay, boat rides are available for South Perth. Cruises also start from this place. There are a number of attractions and restaurants (including an Indian one) in this area. The major attraction of Quay is the Bell Tower.

This tower is architecturally very attractive and contains bells given by the British government to Perth in 1888. One can go up the tower by paying a steep fee and chime the bells. Spectacular views of the city of Perth are available from the top.

Close to the Bell Tower is another magnificent park called Kings Park and Botanical Gardens. Located on a hillock on the western side of Swan River, this huge park has a botanical garden with 2000 plant species found only in Western Australia. The park has a 620 metre walkway passing through eucalyptus trees. A glass and steel bridge are part of the walkway.

The main road leading to the park, which is very popular with picnickers, has two war memorials: one of them, located at the edge of the park, affords spectacular view of Perth.

After visiting the park, it was time for rest. I decided to take a bus to return to my hotel. When I went to buy the tickets, the driver told me that bus facility within and around the CBD was free. I thought that this may be to curtail too many private vehicles in the CBD.

The next morning, we went to see the most famous beach in Perth, Cottesloe Beach. We took a train, got down at Cottesloe train station, and walked one kilometre to reach the beach. This is one of the most popular and most beautiful beaches in Perth. It was noon by the time we returned to the CBD. We had our lunch at a pure vegetarian Indian restaurant and went to explore the CBD.

We saw the Supreme Court and the Parliament House buildings located on the same street. Located nearby is St. Mary Cathedral. Built in 1865, this is the first Roman Catholic Church of the city and has been renovated a number of times, the latest being in 2009.

A number of tourists go to Fremantle, which is very close to Perth. But due to lack of time, we could not go there. Perth also has a lovely zoo. We were told that an island located near Perth attracted penguins.

A blend of old and new, Perth is quite laid back. It is less crowded and has a serene atmosphere. It is definitely an enjoyable city.

Author:

Dr D V Guruprasad (Born at Bangalore – 1951), did his schooling in Bangalore. He obtained B.Sc (PCM) degree from National College. He changed tracks and pursued a course in English Literature at Karnatak University, Dharwad. He topped the University in MA exams.
He obtained his Ph.D in English Literature from Gulbarga University (Subject: The Epistle in Indian Writing in English"). Published by Karnataka University.
He is a visiting Professor of Criminology & Forensic Sciences in Rani Chennamma University, Belgaum. He has also lectured students in Literature, Journalism and Management at various institutions.
Dr.Guruprasad joined the prestigious Indian Police Service (IPS) in 1976. Before that he worked for a short while in Steel Authority of India as Management Trainee and Canara Bank, Bangalore as Vice Editor of the Bank's house magazine.
During his 35 years of Police Service, Dr.D.V.Guruprasad worked as Superintended of Police of districts, Commissioner of Police, Hubli-Dharwad, Head of State Intelligence, Head of CID, Head of Police Recruitment & Training, Head of Armed Police to name a few. He also headed State Fire & Emergency Services Dept., Civil Defense Dept., and Police Housing Corporation.
He has specialized in various security matters incl. VIP Security, Industrial Security and Airport Security. He has undergone training in UK & Israel in matters relating to Security.
He regularly appears on Radio / Television giving talks on subjects related to internal security.
Dr.Guruprasad also worked in Govt. of India as Asst. Inspector General, CISF. He is a recipient of President Medal for Distinguished Police Service.
He has spent more than 16 years of his service in non police organizations. He was the consultant for State Govt., for restructuring the State Road Transport Corporation. He headed Environment Management and Policy Research Institute which is run by State Pollution Control Board. He also worked as head of the State Information and Public Relations Dept.
Dr.Guruprasad is an acknowledged writer, both in Kannada & English language, having published more than 700 articles and 46 books. He is also a voracious reader.
He has widely travelled in India and abroad. His hobbies include Numismatics and music.
Dr.Guruprasad is presently the Chief Executive of the Gokula Education Foundation (Medical) which works in the field of education and health care.

Tags:    Travel Getaway