Alaska Airlines article: Perth Australia


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Alaska Airlines article: Perth Australia

  1. 1. mileage plan adventures Per th, Au st ralia / age fotostock Manicured gardens at Kings ParkBig City, Small-Town Feel provide a terrific view of Perth’s downtown skyline.Perth is one of Western Australia’s hidden gemsBy Jacinta O’HalloranWhen my mother’s plane landed at Perth International Airport three years to get here (almost five hours from Syd- ney). But “wait awhile” also suggests thatago, her arrival was 33 years late. She was supposed to have emigrated years before you shouldn’t just rush through your visit,with her older sister. When she finally got on the plane for Perth, she said it but rather slow down to the Western Aus-was “about time.” I supported her move, partly because it was gutsy, but mostly tralian pace of life, and then settle into the scenery.because I knew my great-grandmother had also moved to a new country at the tender When we arrive in Perth, we’re excitedage of 50. Impulsive relocation runs in the beaches and British candy in corner shops, to finally be “Down Under.” After carefullyfamily. and it’s even easier to understand. Still, to plotting our agenda en route, we are eager There were obvious reasons why my really see why my mother had left the west to start checking items off each of our lists,mother chose Western Australia, the coun- coast of Ireland for the west coast of Aus- such as “See a kangaroo” (11-year-old), andtry’s largest state: We have an established tralia, I had to come for a visit. “Be a kangaroo” (5-year-old). There is abranch of the family there, and there warm and happy sun shining in a great bigare really only two seasons to dress for— The “W” and “A” in Western Australia are blue sky to greet us. The sky is the shade ofsummer, and a mild winter before it’s said to stand for “Wait Awhile.” It’s true, vacation-blue that you usually envy insummer again. Add hot Christmases, cool you have to wait awhile longer on the plane postcards from friends visiting far-flung126 December 2008 Alaska Airlines Magazine
  2. 2. Andy Selinger / Alamy Cottesloe Beach is a popular details beach in the Perth area. Where to Stay The 13-story Mercure Perth hotel (011-61-8-9326-7000, www.mercure. com) is conveniently located in the heart of Perth, with the central train station, major shopping, dining, sightseeing and nightlife areas all within easy walking distance. When you’re done walking, you can relax in the hotel lounge, sauna or, best of all, in the heated rooftop pool. It attracts a business clientele, so you can sometimes find a deal here for a week- end stay.destinations, and the sun provided the kind Swan River Colony. After a slow start and Merribrook Retreat (011-61-8-9755-of warmth we didn’t expect for a winter’s run-ins with the indigenous Noongar tribe 5599, embod-morning. (who had occupied the land for the previ- ies everything that Margaret River—and “Perth gets more sunny days than any ous 40,000 years), the city slowly grew. In indeed, this part of the country—isother city in Australia,” my mother proudly 1850, an influx of convicts from Great about. It’s rugged yet refined, modernbrags with a slight Aussie twang. Britain boosted the size of the colony, and but still rustic, and packages can include I’d heard so much about the other obvi- their labor helped build the city. It was the relaxing activities as well as adventures.ous reason to visit Perth—50 miles of discovery of gold in the 1890s, however, You’ll find elegant villa accommodations,unspoiled sandy white “beach, beach and that really established Perth, triggering a a spa, pool, sauna and open wood fire,more beach”—while planning this trip that long-term mineral boom. In recent years, plus gourmet breakfasts in a luxurious VANUATUI nearly doubted Perth’s status as a city. the rise of commodity prices and the sub- and secluded natural setting. It’s only It is, indeed, a city. In fact, Perth is sequent mining and oil-drilling boom have five minutes by car to Indian OceanWestern Australia’s state capital and largest dramatically increased and diversified beaches, and a 14-minute drive to thecity. With 1.5 million residents, Perth is Perth’s population, making it the fastest- town of Margaret River.home to about three-fourths of Western growing city in the country. Recent projec- Karri Valley Resort (011-61-8-9776- NEW CALEDONIAAustralia’s population. tions from the Australian Bureau of 2020, is The city was founded in 1829 by Cap- Statistics estimate that Perth’s population about a three-and-a-half-hour drivetain James Stirling, as the center for the will more than double in the next 50 years. south of Perth. The resort is surrounded Despite all this boom- by a majestic karri forest and sits on australia ing, Perth is surprisingly the banks of the trout-filled Lake Beede- free of hustle and bustle. lup. The town of Pemberton is about Pac if ic Maybe its location on the 14 miles south of the resort. It’s an O c e an peaceful waters of the easy drive to explore local wineries and Swan River promotes area attractions such as the Gloucester a laid-back atmosphere. Tree, Beedelup Falls, and local berry Perth is nicknamed “the and lavender farms, yet you truly A U S T R A L I A loneliest city,” and is closer appreciate the tranquility and natural Brisbane to East Timor, and Jakarta, beauty of the region. Stay in a cozy Indonesia, than to Sydney, and secluded two- or three-bedroom Perth Brisbane or Canberra. chalet, with a view of the peaceful Sydney Canberra Perhaps this remoteness lake, and meadows filled with wild Melbourne allows it to feel like a kangaroos. Tas man Se a friendly small town. Perth’s continued on page 129 NEW ZEALANDAlaska Airlines Magazine December 2008 127
  3. 3. mileage plan adventures Per th, Au st raliauncluttered skyline is a Ken Gillham / getty imagespleasing mix of high-rise detailsglass and steel towers and from page 127charming colonial archi- Where to Eattecture, amid pristine The Old Brewery (011-61-8-9211-8999,parks and squeaky-clean datesstreets. The metro area has back to the late 1800s, but in 2001 it wasthree times as much open renovated and reopened with a state-of-space as built space—per- the-art microbrewery, cafe-restauranthaps the city is too airy for and function venue. Original-recipebig-city tensions and beers are produced on-site, and therestresses. Maybe it’s as are samples aplenty. The cafe-restau-simple as “beach, beach rant’s good food, alfresco dining andand more beach.” wonderful views of the Swan River and After a few minutes on Perth skyline make it a favorite for localsCottesloe Beach, a popular and visitors alike.area recreation spot, Ibegin to truly understand It doesn’t get much better than greatwhy, after visiting here a fish-and-chips, well-salted and dousedfew years ago, my mother in vinegar from Fremantle’s famedreturned home and put her Cicerello’s (011-61-8-9335-1911, on the market. It Think boatshed-stylereally is that nice. A tireless building, great seafood, outdoor water-stretch of pristine sandy front seating and spectacular views ofbeach stretches under that the harbor and ocean—aah, all is wellwide blue sky and between with the world.the turquoise blue waters of The Voyager Estate (011-61-8-9757-the Indian Ocean and 6354, inCottesloe’s manicured terraces. Locals—or Visitors to the much-photographed, iconic Margaret River is one of the region’s“sandgropers” as they are called here, after a Bell Tower can hear a delightful concert of 16 best winery-restaurants. After winningsand insect—surf in the playful waves, tuned bells nearly every day of the week. Western Australia’s award for “Topsaunter along the sandy shore, or simply sit Restaurant” in 2006, as well as the “Bestand soak in their blessings. I feel lucky to of beautiful gardens, an elevated treetop Winery Restaurant” honor for threewait awhile and take in the winter sun. We walkway, nature trails, and open recre- successive years, the Voyager recentlyhead off to Kings Park just as people begin ational areas where people picnic, sit and received the prestigious Prix d’Honneurto take part in one of Perth’s—and indeed, chat, and enjoy fantastic views of the city award for the second time. The restau-Australia’s—most time-honored traditions: skyline and Swan River. rant features a grand setting on palatialthe Sunday session, in which some locals After getting a bird’s-eye view of the city manicured grounds, and an elegantenjoy a Sunday afternoon beer. from Kings Park, we are eager to see it up chandelier hangs in the dining room. The close. There are plenty of guided tours of imaginative menu varies seasonally andIf Perth’s heart can be found on a beach, the city, but it’s just as easy to walk, and we typically includes recommended wines.its soul lies in Kings Park. This nearly know we can hop on one of the free CAT1,000-acre park is Western Australia’s most (Central Area Transit) buses if our legspopular tourist attraction, visited by more fail us. We start in Barrack Square with tuned bells ring in various patterns.than 5 million people a year. More than the impressive Bell Tower, home of the From here we wander through thethree-fourths of this magnificent park is “Swan Bells,” where I try to get the kids Supreme Court Gardens to Perth’s oldestnatural bushland, containing more than to appreciate the fact that this is the only building, the Francis Burt Law Education300 species of native plants, and around 80 location in the Southern Hemisphere Centre, then across St. George’s Terrace tobird species. The rest of the park is made up where they can hear 16 (exclamation here!) Pier Street and St. George’s Cathedral, withAlaska Airlines Magazine December 2008 129
  4. 4. its fine jarrah wood ceiling. Next we go to Brilliance the central business district, where we find large modern skyscrapers and grand hotels, as well as some of Perth’s historical build- ings funded by the gold rush. We shop for souvenirs in London Court, an Elizabethan- like street with adorable tea shops. Then we shop the Hay Street and Murray Street eserve malls for awhile, before resting in the sunny Forrest Place Square, remembering to “wait awhile” before heading a little farther south. Fremantle, a port city founded in 1829 at the mouth of the Swan River, is a vibrant city southwest of Perth’s city center. It offers everything from historical architec- ture and marine heritage to a street dedi- cated to the consumption of cappuccino (Cappuccino Strip). It also boasts the grave of former AC/DC lead singer Bon Scott and the Fremantle Markets. From Fremantle, 248 Front Street • Juneau, Alaska 99801 you can also hop on a ferry to a protected 907.586.2604 • 1.800.942.9755 nature reserve, called Rottnest Island, email: where Perth locals escape their not-so- hectic lives for pristine beaches and bike paths, as well as to see the local miniature marsupials called “quokkas.” It always starts so innocently. We are so taken with “Freo”—a nick- name for Fremantle—and, in particular, with the well-salted and vinegared fish-and- chips we consume on its waterfront, that we adopt the Fremantle Football Club—known as “the Dockers”—as our Australian foot- ball—or “footy”—team. This is no small declaration. If you want to have any kind of decent conversation with a local, you have to have a favorite footy team—“Go Dockers!” Likewise, if you want to really feel like a local in Perth, you should go to a game. Subiaco Oval is an easy train ride from Perth’s center. It is the highest- capacity stadium in the area and home to two Australian-rules football teams: the Fremantle Football Club and the West Coast Eagles. We gear up in new jerseys to show our support for our beloved Dockers, and join about 40,000 vociferous locals. The kids For reservations call (866) 895-2094 or visit 729 SW 15th Avenue * Portland, Oregon 97205 lose their voices, and the Dockers lose their game, but we gain a love for the sport and its incredibly passionate fans. Another of Perth’s great selling points is130 December 2008 Alaska Airlines Magazine
  5. 5. its location as gateway to the rest of Aus- Hood Canal, Golf Course, Waterfront & View Properties tralia’s largest state: Head north and you find red-dirt outback and the Pinnacles Desert; go east and you have historical towns and the lush Swan Valley wineries; head south and you’ll find more excellent wineries (making some of the best wines in the world) and karri trees— a local species of eucalyptus tree—in the countryside. My mother lives two hours south of Perth, or as she would say, “just outside Perth,” so we are perfectly situated to explore many picturesque areas. Our visit includes the rich Margaret River wine region, known for its 60-plus wineries and award-winning fine wine. More than 15 percent of the country’s South Shore Hood Canal, where the pristine waters Specializing in: second homes, premium wine is produced here. This are warm and calm - a recreational paradise, in the vacation properties and retirement living. charming town is popular with Perth shadow of the Olympic Mountains. Alderbrook Golf Contact me for Course, where home owners own the PGA-rated more information. residents, who come here year-round course and enjoy unlimited free golf. New clubhouse Barb McDonald for the fresh local produce, fine dining, close to completion. Lots starting at $29,000. Fairway Realtor, ABR, GRI, SRES lots from $99,000. New homes from $300,000. 360-801-1377 miles of scenic coastline, and some of Re-sales from $199,000. Great 2nd home or year- Western Australia’s most challenging surf round living. Located 2 hrs from Seattle, 2 1/2 hrs from Portland, and just 45 minutes from Olympia. conditions. Southeast of Margaret River, in Beede- lup National Park, we wait awhile amid many of Western Australia’s tallest trees in towering karri forests, gazing high at the majestic trees, and low at rare and exqui- site wildflowers. We also find time to see and be kangaroos—essential Australian travel experiences, though at this point we know there is so much more to Western Australia. My mother doesn’t need to explain why she chose to move to Perth—we can see for ourselves. It was, indeed, “about time” she lived here…and now I can’t wait until perhaps it’s my time to exercise my own inherited relocation impulses. Jacinta O’Halloran writes from New York. getting there Use Mileage Plan miles to visit Perth and other Australia destinations via partner airline Qantas. For more information or to enroll in Mileage Plan, go to or call 800-654-5669.132 December 2008 Alaska Airlines Magazine
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