When visiting Perth the simplest recommendation I could possibly offer is to leave your stress behind and enjoy a couple hours of peaceful cruising on the Swan River. There are plenty of beautiful houses by the river that can be seen from difference angles thus getting a glimpse of the lives of the rich and famous in some of Australia’s most luxurious estates, not to mention the great view of Perth’s skyline from the south river bank. It is a truly pleasant and relaxing journey.
I didn’t know much about Perth before starting to research for this trip. Not much more than the basic information that it’s Western Australia’s state capital. When studying more, I first noticed that it is a riverside city located by the “Swan River”. I thought that it must be named after the “swan bird” as I had seen so many of those during my previous journeys in Australia, especially black swans. This turned out to be correct: the river was indeed named after its bevy of black swans by the Dutch explorer, Willem de Vlamingh in 1697 (Dutch : Swarte Swaene-Revier). Despite the name and the history, I didn’t see a single swan in the Swan River or anywhere else in the city of Perth during our visit.
From the beginning I didn’t expect that cruising in Perth would be as interesting as the cruises I had already made in the East Coast cities during my earlier trips. I had made similar boat trips in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane. Overall I liked Sydney Harbour the most, the environment, houses by the water and landscape were so beautiful, followed by Brisbane River and the last one I don’t even want to mention was Yarra river of Melbourne. Brisbane and Sydney Harbour are both beautiful but in different ways: one is a city by the harbour and the other is a city by the river. The respective cruises were extraordinary and definitely worth the time and money. What about Swan River in Perth?
One of our top listed attractions in Perth and the surrounding area was a trip to Rottnest Island. To get there, our choices were either to take the bus/train from our hotel in Perth CBD to Fremantle (a port city west of the Perth metropolitan area next to the mouth of the Swan river) and then take the ferry to Rottnest island from there or to take the boat directly from Barrack Street Quay in the CBD sailing along the Swan River and passing Fremantle river’s estuary out in the sea direct to Rottnest island, another 18 kilometers off Fremantle’s shore.
We chose the second option to save time. Like that we could cruise along the Swan River and travel to Rottnest Island efficiently in one day. There was only one alternative for the direct route from Perth’s CBD to Rottnest Island by ferry: the “Rottnest Express” operating between Barrack Street (Perth CBD) – North Port Fremantle – Rottnest Island.
We stayed at All Suites Perth hotel located just a few blocks away from the waterfront. It was a 13 minutes or 1 kilometer walk from the hotel to Barrack Street Pier. To be sure to get tickets we had bought them advance.
Perth is a walking friendly city. We visited during the early summer (December) so it was not yet too warm but the sun still very strong even in the morning. Fortunately, there was a cool breeze blowing from the shore making the weather comfortable enough to walk.
Rottnest Express leaves Barrack Street pier at 8.30 AM every day. It takes roughly one and half hours to Northport pier at Fremantle and then another 45 minutes out in the open sea before arriving at Rottnest Island.
The Swan River (Noongar Aboriginal: Derbarl Yerrigan) is a river located in the south-western part of Western Australia. It’s a short length river of approximately 72 kilometers originating from the confluence of multiple rivers and brooks at the north east of Perth with more of tributaries joining along the way. The river flows through Perth metropolitan area to the south west and drains into the Indian Ocean at the city of Fremantle.
Perth’s climate according to the Köppen climate classification is a hot-summer Mediterranean climate similar to Valencia (Spain) and Los Angeles (USA). Perth gets more sunlight than other cities in this climate zone averaging 8.8 hours of sunshine per day and over 140 clear days annually. This makes Perth the sunniest state capital of Australia with even more sun than the capital of the “Sunshine state” (Brisbane / Queensland).
It was sunny every day during our visit, especially on the day we took the ferry to Rottnest Island. The sky was Brillion bight and perfectly blue without a single cloud and the water in the river was so clear it reflected the sky turning into blue and green shades.
The widest part of the river is over 4 kilometers, making it look more like an inner-harbour than a river and making it great for many activities. Unfortunately we could not extend our stay in Perth to enjoy more.
South Perth (2).
As mentioned earlier, I didn’t expect that cruising the Swan River would be anything extraordinary as it lacks famous landmarks like the Sydney Opera house and Harbor Bridge, an exotic climate like in Brisbane and an ancient history but in fact the natural beauty of the river and its surroundings made up for all of that so in summary it was a day well spent.