Wellington Travel Guide – Deals

Quick Links:

A – Overview

B – City information

C – Attractions & Things To Do

D – Family Fun Attractions

E – Events & Entertainments

F – Wellington Travel Deals

A – Overview

Wellington has one of the world’s most beautiful harbors. The waterfront area between downtown and Oriental Bay is a popular recreation area for visitors and city residents alike.

 Wellington overview

Wellington is located in the centre of New Zealand at the southern end of the North Island. The capital city is surrounded by Wellington harbor and hills arrayed in the lush, dense, subtropical vegetation of the New Zealand bush.  From the city centre it is only a quick drive to mountains, open countryside and rugged coastlines.

 

Wellington’s collection of historical timber houses is displayed on the green hills surrounding the harbor. The wooden theme is carries over to Old St Paul’s Church, Katherine Mansfield Birthplace, Antrim House, historical Thorndon, and the Old Government Buildings (which are the largest wooden structure in the Southern Hemisphere).

 

The area’s early settlers, the Maori inhabited this land  about 1000 years ago. Their culture and traditional way of life included hunting, hungi (a feast) and marae (a communal ‘plaza’ area that includes a wharenui (meeting house) and wharekai (dining room). Today Maori people live throughout New Zealand, and many are actively involved with keeping their culture and language alive. Within any Maori community, the marae provides a focus for social, cultural and spiritual life.

 

Traditional carvers also help to keep Maori culture alive by creating intricate works that pay respect to the past. Every piece carved tells a story, which can be read by those who know how. The shape of the heads, position of the body as well as the surface patterns work together to record and remember events.  The ancient beliefs of Maori culture are recognized and respected by New Zealand’s leaders today.

 

Wellington is the cultural heart of New Zealand and is home to the Royal New Zealand Ballet, the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, the National Opera and the National dance and drama schools.  All perform regularly in the city. Three professional theatres offer audiences a range from alternative to Pacific Island, New Zealand, or international productions. There is a live show every night in Wellington.

 

At the southern end of Lambton Quay there is an array of noteworthy structures starting with the parliamentary buildings. The Victorian Gothic Parliamentary Library, the Edwardian neo-classical Parliament House, and the 1960s style ‘Beehive’ (the executive wing of the parliamentary complex) all contribute architecturally to the historic interest of the site. 

 

Walk around Queens Wharf to Oriental Bay for a swim at the golden sand beach. Try sea kayaking, rollerblading and rock-climbing.  There are many additional walking trails to follow, from coastal tracks to hikes through the hills. Mountain biking is also a popular Wellington sport, and rental bikes are available. 

 

A popular family venue is Otari-Wilton’s Bush, the only public botanic garden in the country devoted entirely to the cultivation, study and preservation of native plants.

 

From Lambton Quay a cable car runs up to the Wellington Botanic Garden, where there are 26 acres of remarkable gardens, native bush, and lawn areas to examine and enjoy. There are many sculptures and carvings in the gardens. Artists featured include Henry Moore, Andrew Drummond, and Chris Booth.  There are also several unique fountains and sundials given by other countries.   The Peace Garden’s eternal flame comes from a fire created by the atomic bomb that dropped on Hiroshima. The flame was presented by the people of Japan as a salute to New Zealand’s efforts to halt the spread of nuclear weapons.  The Botanic gardens also houses the Carter Observatory and Planetarium and a unique children’s play area and family picnic grounds.

 

From that vantage point, atop Mount Victoria, one can look out over Wellington city, the harbor and the Cook Strait.  Back down in the city centre, it is only a quick drive to mountains, open countryside and rugged coastlines.  Take the Cook Strait ferry for a trip across to the South Island. Take in the hot, dry climate of Marlborough before heading over the Southern Alps to the rugged West Coast. Drive south and take a journey through to Fiordland, the Southern Lakes and onto Stewart Island with its crystal-clear waters and scenic walking tracks.  Wellington is ideally located for exploration of both the North and South Islands. 

 

Wellington is the gateway to many unique travel adventures, and is an outstanding vacation destination.

B – City information

Wellington is New Zealand’s centre of government and the world’s southernmost capital city. It is also New Zealand’s cultural capital.

The city is home to many museums, theatres and arts festivals, including Te Papa Tongarewa (the Museum of New Zealand), the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, the Royal New Zealand Ballet, and the biennial Festival of the Arts.

Wellington is also a leading centre for creative industries, such as film and computer technology, and it is the home of the New Zealand Stock Exchange (NZX).

The city is situated alongside Wellington Harbour and surrounded by natural beauty. From the central business district, it is only a quick drive to find stunning countryside and rugged coastlines.

Area

Wellington city: 28,990 hectares
 
Wellington region: 813,005 hectares

Nearly all Wellington residents live within three kilometres of the coastline, and the city has 102 parks and playgrounds.

As a region Wellington has a diverse range of landscapes including 50,000 hectares of regional parks and forests.

Population

As of 30 June 2007, the current population of Wellington city was estimated to be 190,500.

About 460,000 people live in the Wellington region.

  1991 1996 2001 2006
Wellington city 148,440 157,646 163,824 179,466
Numeric change (over 5 years) 729 9,206 6,178 15,642
Percentage change (over 5 years) 0.5% 6.2% 3.9% 9.5%
New Zealand 3,373,927 3,618,302 3,737,277 4,027,947
Numeric change (over 5 years) 110,643 244,375 118,975 290,670
Percentage change (over 5 years) 3.4% 7.2% 3.2% 7.8%

Wellington city’s population accounts for 4.45% of the New Zealand population and is expected to see steady growth over the next decade.

The Wellington region contains 11.1% of New Zealand’s population.

Climate

Warmest month: February (17°C average)
Coldest month: July (8.7°C average)
Average daily maximum for mid-summer: 20.3°C
Average daily minimum for mid-winter: 5.9°C
Average annual sunshine: 2025 hours
Average annual rainfall: 1270mm

Wellington has more sunshine hours than London and less rainfall than Auckland.

Economy

(September 07 quarter)

Average hourly earnings: $28.85
 
Average sale price for dwellings:    $419,500

Note:  This information comes from Statistics New Zealand.

Public Holidays

New Years Day: 1 January
Day after New Years Day: 2 January
Wellington Anniversary Day: Closest Monday to 22 January each year
Waitangi Day: 6 February
Good Friday: Varies
Easter Monday: Varies
ANZAC Day: 25 April
Queens Birthday: 1st Monday in June
Labour Day: 4th Monday in October
Christmas Day: 25 December
Boxing Day: 26 December

C – Attractions & Things To Do

wellington attractions

Te Papa Tongarewa (Museum of New Zealand)

Cable Street

Wellington

Location Downtown Wellington

Phone Number 04 381 7000  Friday to Wednesday 10am – 6pm

Thursdays 10am – 9pm.

An Introductory Te Papa Tour provides an overview of the Museum in 45 minutes, and runs daily at 10.15am and 2pm,  more frequently during the high season (November to April).

Te Papa is New Zealand’s national museum, offering visitors a unique and authentic experience of this country’s treasures and stories. Prepare to be engaged, stimulated, and surprised!  At the heart of Te Papa are the stunning long-term exhibitions. They are enhanced by diverse short-term exhibitions and a captivating and distinctive events program – performances, talks, lectures, entertainments, and more.

 

The Original Settlers of Wellington:  The Maori People

Maori people define themselves by their iwi (tribe), hapu (sub-tribe), maunga (mountain) and awa (river). Whanau is the name given to family – the term embraces immediate family, in-laws and all those connected by blood ties.

In recent years, the introduction of Maori language nests (kohanga reo) has revived the Maori language. At kohanga reo, preschool children are encouraged to speak in Maori. Primary and secondary schools build on this early immersion by including Maori in the curriculum. 

 

Mount Victoria

Address:   Top of Mt Victoria

Wellington

Location City Suburbs 

+64 0(4) 802 4860

Free of charge 

High lookout point along Wellington’s Southern Walkway gives visitors a spectacular view of the city and its surroundings.

 

Parliament Buildings Beehive Parliamentary House and Library

Corner Lambton Quay and Molesworth Streets

Wellington

04 471 9503

Weekday hours:  10 am to 4 pm (last tours depart at 4 pm), Weekend hours:  Saturdays 10 – 3 pm, Sundays 12 – 3 pm (last tours depart at 3 pm), Closed:  New Year’s Day & 2 January, Waitangi Day, Good Friday, Christmas & Boxing Day.  Private tours (10 or more) can be pre-booked by arrangement. Free guided tours leave on the hour.

A visit to the Capital City would not be complete without a visit to New Zealand’s beautifully refurbished Parliament Buildings. Located in the historic suburb of Thorndon, the complex is made up of three architecturally distinctive buildings: the Edwardian neo-classical Parliament House, the Victorian Gothic Parliamentary Library and the unique 1970’s style Beehive building. Free entry.  These buildings are a prime example of New Zealand art and an outlet to the world of politics in Wellington.

 

Katherine Mansfield Birthplace

25 Tinakori Road

Thorndon , Wellington

Location City Suburbs

04 473 7268  04 473-7268

Open Daily (except Monday) 10am-4pm. Closed Mondays, Christmas Day, Good Friday.

The childhood home of New Zealand’s most celebrated author and one of the world’s best-known short story writers. Nestled on historic Tinakori Road, the exquisitely restored house and the heritage garden provide an excellent background to Mansfield’s writing and give a unique opportunity to experience New Zealand society of the time. (Number 1 in the Thorndon Heritage Trail).

 

Museum of Wellington City & Sea

Located in downtown Wellington at “The Bond Store”, In front of Queen’s Wharf

Wellington

Open Monday to Sunday 10am – 5pm

Closed Christmas Day

04 472 8904

The restored Historic Places Trust Category One building, originally an 1892 Bond Store (customs house), utilizes traditional museum techniques combined with holographic special effects, re-creations, interactive exhibits, and a giant cinema screen to take visitors on a journey through Wellington’s past, present and future.  The heritage of Wellington is displayed through exhibits that cover the city’s Maori roots to its modern times.  Tours available

 

Wellington Zoo

200 Daniell Street

Newtown, Wellington

04 381 6755

New Zealand’s oldest Zoo, Wellington Zoo offers unique experiences in an interactive and exciting environment of conservation, learning and fun.

Book a “Close Encounter”  and interact with Tigers, Lions, Red Pandas, Giraffes and many other engaging animals.

Founded in 1906, Wellington’s zoological gardens have all the traditional attractions. Zoo management has recently extended and upgraded the facilities to include such features as the Tropical River Trail, New Zealand’s newest and largest habitat exhibit. Zoo inhabitants include New Zealand natives such as the kiwi, the giant weta, the black stilt and the tuatara, as well as the more exotic species such as  the North American bison, the Nepalese red panda and the Sitatunga antelope.

 

Karori Wildlife Sanctuary

At the End of Waiapu Road

Karori, Wellington in the City Suburbs

04 920 2222  or  04 920 9200

Open every day (except Christmas Day) from 10am to 5pm (or 10am to 4pm on weekdays during April to Nov).  Visitor Centre is at the end of Waiapu Road, Karori (first left after the Karori tunnel).  Waiapu Road junction is on Bus routes 12, 17, 18, 21, 22 and 23.

The Sanctuary is a world first conservation attraction where a unique protected natural area is being faithfully restored. Some of New Zealand’s rarest and most endangered wildlife has been released inside the Sanctuary such as the little spotted kiwi, saddleback, stitchbird and kaka.

Take a leisurely stroll around natural bush, lakes and historical buildings or book a guided tour during the day or night. You can walk across a unique historic dam, see a 19th century goldmine carved deep into the hillside, and take a scenic ride on an electric boat or picnic on the lawns by the wetlands.

The Karori Wildlife Sanctuary is an ambitious 250 hectare project intended to restore and protect native flora and fauna within the city environment. A ground-breaking fence to deter predators has been especially designed and constructed and a weka breeding program is well established. Kiwis were recently released in the area. The secluded inner city valley will eventually incorporate educational facilities and a network of tracks.

 

Lyall Bay

+64 4 802 4860

If riding waves by board, or just jumping in them is what you like,  then this is the beach for you. With a breakwater at one end to create waves for riding, rocks at the other end for clambering over and safe swimming in between, this beach will keep you amused for hours. Watch the ferries pass by while you relax on the white sand.

 

Mt Kaukau

+64 4 802 4860

Mt Kaukau rewards those who take the time to conquer its steep slopes, with stunning 360 degree panoramic views of the Wellington harbor basin and Cook Strait beyond. If ever you are likely to see the South Island, it will be from here. Entry points at Simla Crescent, Ngaio and Woodmancote Streets, Khandallah.

 

Bungy Extreme

Corner of Courtenay Place and Taranaki Street

Downtown Wellington

+64 4 382 8438

Up to 3 people are strapped into an open capsule which is connected to two bungy cords winched to two 40m towers. The capsule is then catapulted 55m into the air at speeds of up to 160km per hour in less than two seconds, experiencing 5gs.

This adventure is situated right in the entertainment sector of town.  It is controlled by an electric console, and all safety features are observed. If you have ever wanted the bungy experience without jumping, this could be the thrill for you.

 

City Circular Bus Route

+64 4 801 7000

This distinctive yellow double-decker bus stops at the city’s ten top spots. For a modest fare you can do the circuit and get a feel for the town’s layout and attractions. Then decide at which downtown highlight you will start:  Te Papa, Kirkcaldie’s, the Cable Car, or maybe the Parliament Buildings. Buses leave every 10 minutes from the Railway Station. They then continue  to the Customhouse and Jervois Quay and the top of Oriental Parade. The return trip travels along Courtenay Place and down the shopping mile at Lambton Quay.

 

East by West

+64 4 499 1282

The Evening Post ferry, operated by this company, provides commuter and leisure transport to the Eastern bays. A day excursion is highly recommended for a unique perspective on the city, harbor and its environs. Watch out for dolphins. The ferry departs from Queens Wharf and stops (subject to demand) at Somes Island before continuing to lovely Days Bay.

 

Cable Car

+64 4 472 2199

For something completely different, why not take a trip on Wellington’s beautifully restored flaming red cable car! A vital commuter link between Lambton Quay and the leafy inner-city suburb of Kelburn, this route has been operating since 1902. This is a popular form of transport for the thousands of students attending Victoria University and is a favorite inclusion in the typical Wellington itinerary providing easy access to the Botanic Gardens and sweeping panoramic views of the city

 

Island Bay Marine Education Center

64 4 383 8285

The laboratory has indoor and outdoor tanks enabling you to learn about, see and touch the marine wildlife in a safe learning environment. Children can pick up the spider starfish,  feel the sea cucumber, and handle a hermit crab. Admire the large array of seahorses the laboratory breeds. The crayfish are abundant too, although not for eating.

 

Area Attractions outside Wellington

Cape Palliser

+64 4 802 4860

Located on the far south-eastern coast of the Wairarapa and the wind-swept bays of Cape Palliser, is a different world, that of Cape Palliser. Climb the 250 steps to the lighthouse for 360 degree views! The North Island’s largest breeding seal colony is situated below. Do not get too close as they move fast and have been known to bite. Visit the fishing village of Ngawi with its houses nestling under the cliffs.

 

Southward Car Museum

+64 4 297 1221

A short drive up Wellington’s lovely “Gold coast”, is the largest collection of cars and motorbikes in New Zealand. Once the largest private collection of cars (now a charitable trust) the Southwards car museum holds more than 200 cars and 125 motorbikes. With cars dating from an early (1890s) Benz, the collection is outstanding.

D – Family Fun Attractions

Rangitikei River Adventures

+64 800 655 747

Three hours north of Wellington there are two river adventures of one hour and three hour duration, and a white water jaunt. Experienced guides who provide instruction and safety gear accompany all trips. Also overnight camps in New Zealand’s most beautiful canyons. If the rafting is not enough then a bungy drop into the canyon or a quick jet boat spin will provide an adrenalin filled experience.

 

Khandallah Summer Pool

+64 4 479 6644

Views, bush picnic, a park and a pool – what more could you want? Set in 60 acres of native bush in the affluent suburb of Khandallah you will find these two outdoor pools. The main pool is 30 meters long and the small children’s pool is 30 centimeters deep. This unique facility includes walking tracks, picnic areas, streams and a children’s play area. Changing rooms and a small shop are onsite and lifeguards patrol the pool during the summer open season. Admission and parking areas are free.

 

Island Bay Marine Education Center

64 4 383 8285

Discover Wellington’s marine life without getting your feet wet. The laboratory has indoor and outdoor tanks enabling you to learn about, see and touch the marine wildlife in a safe learning environment. Have the kids pick up the spider starfish (yes like it sounds: long black legs and black body), feel the sea cucumber and handle a hermit crab. Admire the large array of seahorses the laboratory breeds. The crayfish are abundant too, although not for eating.

 

Mt Kaukau

+64 4 802 4860

Lesser known to Wellington visitors but favored by locals, Mt Kaukau rewards those who take the time to conquer its steep slopes, with stunning 360 degree panoramic views of the Wellington harbor basin and Cook Strait beyond. If ever you are likely to see the South Island, it will be from here. Entry points at Simla Crescent, Ngaio and Woodmancote Streets, Khandallah. This treat is also part of the Northern Walkway.

 

Wellington Zoo

04 381-6750

Founded in 1906, Wellington’s zoological gardens have all the traditional attractions. Zoo management has recently extended and upgraded the facilities to include such features as the Tropical River Trail, New Zealand’s newest and largest habitat exhibit. Zoo inhabitants include New Zealand natives such as the kiwi, the giant weta, the black stilt and the tuatara, as well as the more exotic species like the North American bison, the Nepalese red panda and the Sitatunga antelope.

 

Karori Wildlife Sanctuary

+64 4 920 9200

The Karori Wildlife Sanctuary is an ambitious 250 hectare project intended to restore and protect native flora and fauna within the city environment. A ground-breaking fence to deter predators has been especially designed and constructed and a weka breeding program is well established. Kiwis were recently released in the area. The secluded inner city valley will eventually incorporate educational facilities and a network of tracks.

 

Te Papa Tongarewa (Museum of New Zealand)

64 4 381 7000

Te Papa is New Zealand’s national museum, offering visitors a unique and authentic experience of this country’s treasures and stories. Prepare to be engaged, stimulated, and surprised!  At the heart of Te Papa are the stunning long-term exhibitions. They are enhanced by diverse short-term exhibitions and a captivating and distinctive events program – performances, talks, lectures, entertainments and more.

 

The Museum  is a forum for the nation to present, explore, and preserve the heritage of its cultures and knowledge of the natural environment in order to better understand and treasure the past, enrich the present, and meet the challenges of the future.

 

The Original Settlers of Wellington:  The Maori People

Maori people define themselves by their iwi (tribe), hapu (sub-tribe), maunga (mountain) and awa (river). Whanau is the name given to family – the term embraces immediate family, in-laws and all those connected by blood ties.

 

In recent years, the introduction of Maori language nests (kohanga reo) has revived the Maori language. At kohanga reo, preschool children are encouraged to speak in Maori. Primary and secondary schools build on this early immersion by including Maori in the curriculum.

E – Events & Entertainments

January to February

Summer City Programme,  Wellington, which is a series of festivals around the city

 

February

2nd weekend in February

Wine Marlborough Festival ( Blenheim)

 

February, even-numbered years only;

New Zealand Festival (Wellington), an entire month of national and international culture

 

February

Cuba Street Carnival

Cuba Street

A truly fantastic spectacle of floats, bands, dancers, and performers takes over Cuba Street for one weekend in February.

 

March

Capital E National Arts Festival

Capital E

Quality performers from all over the world, carnivals and free events create a two-week arts blast for children aged 3-14 years and their families.

 

March

Golden Shears Sheep-Shearing Contest; Masterton), a must for lovers of sheep and sweat

 

April

Rebel Sport Super 14

Westpac Stadium

The new and improved Super 14 rugby tournament kicks off annually, with the Hurricanes playing six home games at the Westpac Stadium.

 

Armageddon

The Events Centre

Armageddon Pulp Culture Expo returns to the capital, featuring huge gaming displays, as well as cult television and movie celebrities.

 

June

The NZI Opera Season opens at Westpac St James Theatre

 

July

Royal New Zealand Ballet

Westpac St James Theatre

With refreshing energy and infectious charm, the Royal New Zealand Ballet presents a bold new triple bill.

 

September

Montana World of WearableArt Awards Show

The Events Centre Wellington

Artists from throughout New Zealand and around the world enter truly amazing garments that are presented in a two hour show of movement, sound and light.

 

October

Golden Oldies World Rugby Festival

Various locations, Wellington

Teams from around the world will gather as Wellington hosts the biggest rugby festival in the world.

 

November

Royal New Zealand Ballet

Westpac St James Theatre, Wellington

Arts and Entertainment

 

Circa

1 Taranaki St

Wellington

New Zealand

04 801 7992

Over 20 plays a year are produced.  Each Circa play is actually a Single Venture Partnership of Actors, Directors and Theatre Personnel, and each production is produced by individual dramatic partnerships.   It has been hugely influential in keeping theatre alive in New Zealand. It has a highly motivated team that ensures a superior standard and actively demonstrates a wide range of talent and abilities.  The theatre has run successfully for over 30 years.

 

Downstage

12 Cambridge Terrace, corner of Courtenay Place and Cambridge Terrace

Wellington

Ticket Office:  Located on the ground level of the  Theatre, 

Hours: Mon – Fri 9am till show time or 5pm if no show, Sat 12pm till show time or 5pm if no show. 04 801 6946

Celebrating over 40 years, Downstage is New Zealand’s longest running professional theatre. It is an intimate theatre which seats approximately 250 people. Iit is situated centrally in  New Zealand’s capital city and cultural hub.

With a uniquely flexible auditorium, Downstage has at least 7 different configurations. This means that the position of the stage and seats may move around from show to show.

 

BATS

1 Kent Terrace

Wellington, New Zealand

BATS Theatre is an intimate venue located in the Royal Antediluvian Order of Buffaloes building. BATS is an acronym for the Bain and Austin Touring Society, (named after Rodney Bane and David Austin, the founding members of BATS). BATS Inc began as a prolific amateur theatre company, producing school tours and shows, achieving a string of main-bill successes. 

The Basic Policy for BATS has been:

“To rekindle the popularity and accessibility of theatre for young people and to provide a venue, a training ground and a way in for young people struggling to forge careers in the difficult world of professional theatre.

These aims were achieved in recent years by:

Keeping ticket prices for students on a par with cinema admission and video hire rates.

Programming the theatre with entertainment value as a priority

Ensuring a consistently high standard of work

Keeping the doors open for young theatre practitioners.

Promoting the theatre along the lines of inexpensive but good entertainment “

BATS is currently New Zealand’s strongest developmental theatre. It has an annual program of between 50 to 60 shows with at least 90% of those shows being New Zealand and world premieres.

 The fundamental philosophy of BATS has stayed true to its former ambitions. It constantly seeks to build a new young audience for theatre by presenting diverse, relevant and challenging theatre. It focuses on being accessible for both its audience and incoming theatre companies. BATS gives support to many developing arts practitioners.

 

 Sports

New Zealand Cricket Museum

Old Grandstand, Basin Reserve

Wellington

04 385 6602

Summer Hours: (1 Nov-30 Apr) Open 7 days 10.30 – 3.30.

Winter Hours: (1 May-31 Oct) 10.30 – 3.30 weekends only.

Have a look at the history of one of New Zealand’s favorite pastimes. NZ and international cricketing memorabilia from 1743 to present day are displayed. Education Programs, brochure, and guided tours are available.

 

Westpac Stadium

Waterloo Quay

Suburb: Wellington Central

Phone: 04 495 8485

This 34,000 seat stadium is the principal venue for Wellington sporting events.  The Westpac Stadium is New Zealand’s only world class, purpose built Stadium and Corporate Hospitality venue. Above the playing area is New Zealand’s biggest TV Screen, an 84 square metre giant backed up by on-site sound and vision production facilities.

The main entry points:

• The pedestrian walkway is approximately 680 metres long.

• It takes between 5 and 10 minutes to walk the length of the walkway.

• There are three main access points

– from Thorndon Quay just north of the railway station

– from near Shed 21 on the port.

– directly from the railway platforms

• The walkway will take you to the ticket sales booth, turnstiles and security checkpoint.

 Cricket, rugby, football and the 2Hot2 Handle Motor Show are all favorites at the stadium.  In December there is a Christmas Carol Event. 

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Lautoka Travel Guide – Deals

Quick Links:

A – Overview

B – City information

C – Attractions & Things To Do

D – Family Fun Attractions

E – Events & Entertainments

F – Lautoka Travel Deals

A – Overview

Sparkling white sand beaches, blue skies, coral reefs resplendent with marine life, and total relaxation in a lush, tropical setting.  These are the basic elements of a vacation in the islands of Fiji.  Fiji is very much untouched by the outside world and, in places; life has changed very little for centuries. About 90% of Fijians still live in villages in the countryside and the power of the vanua (one’s land and family ties) is still the most important cultural force.  Village communities own land in common through extended family units known as Matagli. Everything in the village is shared, and individual ownership is not understood or practiced.  Each village has a chief who is governed by a higher chief. 

 Lautoka overview

By contrast, Fiji’s capital, city, Suva, is the largest city in Melanesia and, after Auckland and Honolulu, the largest in the Pacific region. Suva is a cosmopolitan port city with a vibrant multi-cultural mix and many residents from other Pacific islands, including students at the University of the South Pacific. 

 

Suva is the only real urban centre in Fiji and is home to some interesting British colonial architecture. (Fiji was a British Crown colony from 1874-1970).  Suva’s attractions include colorful markets, the Thurston Botanical Gardens, the  Fiji Museum, the Presidential Palace, and Parliament.

 

The other deep water port in Fiji is the city of Lautoka. Lautoka is bordered by the blue Pacific Ocean on the western side and green gold sugar cane together with forests of pine trees on the other sides.  Laukota  is an important hub for Fiji’s sugar cane and timber industries and is a jumping off point for the resorts on islands in the Yasawa group where the best beaches can be found.

 

Spectacular views and historical sites can be found in Viti Levu’s largest native rainforest just 30 minutes from Lautoka.  Viti Levu at 4052 square miles, and Vanua Levu at 2160 square miles are the largest of the islands. Suva, the country’s capital is on the south-western coast of Viti Levu. The islands of Taveuni and Kadavu are also substantial in size, but the rest of the country is made up of small islands divided into the Lomaiviti, Lau, Moala, Yasawa, Mamanuca and Rotuma groups. Many of these islands are relatively untouched, and there are many beautiful reefs, lagoons, harbors, as well as natural vegetation.

 

Visitors can explore the ruins of a fascinating pre-European hill used as a battle fortification, or wander through a colonial town that has changed little in over 150 years.  It is as if time stands still or no longer matters. 

 

The Fiji islands are situated in the South Pacific, midway between Melanesia (Solomons, Vanuatu, New Caledonia and Papua New Guinea) and Polynesia (Tonga, Samoa, the Cooks and French Polynesia). They are south of the equator, just north of the Tropic of Capricorn and west of the International Dateline. About 300 islands make up the nation.

 

Thirty minutes from Lautoka, Abaca is a trekkers paradise with a wide range of trails set in a landscape of black volcanic mountains, green cloud forest and yellow grasslands. Abaca has barbecue facilities; swimming holes, a 12-bed lodge, and authentic handicrafts.  Tours with commentaries on the history and culture of the area are available. Rock climbers can make arrangements to tackle the many different cliff faces only a short distance from the lodge.

 

There are about 100 bird species, 23 of which are native. Sea life is abundant and varied, and many species of coral, sponges, tropical reef fish, rays, sharks, dolphins and whales call the Fijian waters home.

 

Most travelers go to Fiji with plans to do some swimming, snorkeling or diving, and Fiji offers these as well as some excellent surfing, river rafting, wind surfing and sailing. There are fringing reefs throughout the islands for the best in  diving and snorkeling. The Mamanucas have some dedicated surfing resorts and good waves but you need a boat to get to the offshore reefs where they break. There are also a few good breaks off Viti Levu including those near Sigatoka and the Suva lighthouse, and off Yanuca island.

 

On dry land you can enjoy cycling, trekking and horseback riding, or do some bird-watching and exploring of archaeological sites. Fiji is well equipped for tourists, and there are facilities everywhere offering equipment for hire, day tours and courses.

 

Dance is still strong in Fiji and the narrative meke performances rest on strong oral traditions. Dances are passed down from generation to generation, and in their strict forms the dancers’ bodies are said to take on spirits of the netherworld. Mekes accompanied special events like births, deaths, calls to war, marriages and property exchanges. At times of war men would perform cibis with spears and clubs, while women performed deles or wates – dances which sexually humiliated enemy captives. Traditional Indian dances are still taught in Indian communities.

 

Popular local musical artists include Seru Serevi, Danny Costello, Michelle Rounds, Karuna Gopalan, Laisa Vulakoro, the Freelancers and the Black Roses. Recordings of local music are available in Fijian stores. Music from the so called  ‘Bollywood’ films (Indian melodramas) is popular amongst Fijian Indians, and local bands play Indian songs. At Indian cultural centers performances and lessons are given in traditional Indian music featuring vocal, harmonium, tabla, and sitar ensembles.

 

Fiji is a land of ancient rituals, such as the yaqona ceremony, which is still enacted as it has been for centuries. Visitors, who are regarded as honored guests, are often welcomed to take part in these solemn occasions. The Fijian culture is based on the well-being of extended families where the interests of the group are always regarded as above those of the individual.  It is easy to become immersed in the beauty and the history that surrounds all who enter this fascinating place.   There is much to learn for those who want to come and experience the real Fiji and to discover first hand its beauty, its culture, and its welcoming people

B – City information

Population

Suva:  358,495

Lautoka:  32,000

Tourism: 300,000 visitors per year

Time: GMT/UTC plus 12 hours

 

Average Temperatures:

 

 Month  

   High

 Low

January  

   86F  

  74F

February

   86F

  74F

March  

   86F  

  74F

April  

   84F

  73F  

May  

   82F

  71F  

June  

   80F

  69F 

July  

   79F

  68F  

August  

   79F  

  68F

September  

   80F

  69F

October  

   81F

  70F

November  

   83F

  71F

December  

   85F

  73F

 

When to Visit

Its mild tropical climate means that Fiji can be enjoyed all year round.  It is a popular escape from the winters in both the northern and southern hemispheres. Perhaps the best time to go, however, is in the dry season or ‘Fiji winter’, from May to October. This time of year has cooler temperatures, less rainfall and humidity, and less risk of tropical cyclones. Tropical cyclones can blow up between November and April, although they are rarely dangerous.  The prevailing winds are easterly and south-easterly; the mountainous spines of the larger islands produce clouds and greater rainfall on their windward sides. The wet season extends from November to April, but rain falls throughout the year. Daytime temperatures average around 25°C (77°F), and humidity is generally high.

 

Arriving

By Air

Nadi International Airport is Fiji’s main international gateway. Over 1.2 million international passengers, pass through its doors annually. Lautoka is situated in the western side of Viti Levu, the largest island in Fiji. It is only 25 km away (toward the north) from Nadi International Airport.

Nausori Airport is the second International Airport in Fiji situated on the Eastern Side of the main Island of Viti Levu. Nausori Airport is a thirty minute drive from the country’s capital, Suva.

Airlines operate twice weekly to Auckland and Sydney and there are also weekly flights connecting to the islands of Nuku’alofa and Funafuti.

Airports Fiji Limited manages and operates 13 smaller airstrips on the outer islands of Fiji besides the two main international airports at Nadi and Nausori.

These are Labasa, Savusavu, Matei, Rotuma, Koro, Gau, Bureta, Vanuabalavu, Lakeba, Cicia, Moala and Kadavu.

Matei Airport is located on Taveuni, a volcanic island situated on the North East of the Fiji Group, through which the International Dateline passes. Taveuni is widely known as the Garden Island of Fiji, with some of the most unique flora in the world and a lake at the crater of its highest peak. A number of exclusive resorts are dotted along its coastline

 

By Cruise Ship:  Both Suva and Lautoka have deep water ports and cruise ships put into port at both locations.

Visas: Most travelers will automatically be issued a four week tourist visa upon arrival. This includes travelers from most Commonwealth countries, most North, South and Central American countries, Western Europe, Israel and Japan. The visa is issued free of charge and you won’t have to pay for any subsequent extensions.

Electricity: 240V, 50 Hz

Weights & measures: Metric

Shopping

The city has a wide range of shops ranging from retail to wholesale. The retail outlets have basically for all items such as food, clothing, duty free items, sporting equipment, medicines, tailoring, drapery, video rental, liquor outlets and more.

Hours of Operation

Some shops open as early as 6.00am and others from 8.00 -6.00pm or 7.00pm during the week-days and on Saturday from 7.00am 1.00pm.   On Sundays and Public Holidays the shops are generally closed but the restaurants, milk bars and other essential shops remain open.

Banks

The city has five commercial banks and one exchange & Finance Company.

Getting Around

Both taxis and buses are available at both locations (Suva and Lautoka).

C – Attractions & Things To Do

Fiji Highlights

 lautoka-attractions

Lautoka

Municipal Market

The city’s municipal market has a floor area of about 58,000 meters and is filled with local people selling produce outside and inside.

 

The shopping centre is conveniently located in the central city area along Vitogo Parade, Naviti Street and Yasawa Street.

 

The city has a very wide range of shops ranging from retail to wholesale.  Some shops open as early as  6.00am and others from 8.00 -6.00pm or 7.00pm during the week-days and on Saturday from 7.00am 1.00pm.   On Sundays and Public Holidays the shops are usually closed but the restaurants, milk bars and other essential shops remain open.

 

There are all types of restaurants with a variety of dishes such as Chinese, Indian, Italian, Fijian, European, Korean, vegetarian, snack bars, etc.

 

The following sports venues are in Lautoka:

(1)Golf (Lautoka Golf Club)

(2)Soccer/ Rugby/ Cricket/ Hockey (facilities provided by Lautoka City Council at Churchill Park

Nadovu Park and at other playing fields all round the city).

(3)Netball/ Volleyball/ Basketball & Tennis (Lautoka City Council’s Multipurpose Courts).

 

Suva

Suva is Fiji’s administrative and political capital and is home to one-half of the country’s population.  It is the largest city in the South Pacific. 

Fiji‘s capital, is on the south-eastern coast of the big island of Viti Levu. While Nadi, in the west of this island, is the tourism centre of the country, Suva is interesting as the country’s political and administrative centre as well as the major port. Suva and its urban surrounds are home to half of Fiji’s urban population, and it is one of the South Pacific’s largest and most sophisticated cities, housing the University of the South Pacific, the  Fiji Museum and many interesting colonial-era buildings. It is a multicultural city with many mosques, temples, churches and cultural centres. The Roman Catholic Cathedral (1902) is one of the city’s most prominent landmarks.

 

Suva Municipal Market

Immerse yourself in the festive, friendly atmosphere of this wonderful street market, where you’ll find every tropical fruit and vegetable imaginable.

 

Parliament

Suva

330 5811

These impressive, orange-colored government buildings were modeled after traditional Fijian thatched huts, and the complex is open to visitors.

 

Municipal Handicraft Center

Suva

331 3433

Try your hand at bargaining for artifacts and handicrafts at these outdoor market stalls.

 

Colo-I-Suva Forest Park

Suva

(679) 3320211

Take a dip in one of the natural swimming pools, follow a nature trail and keep your ears and eyes ready to spot the numerous birds that inhabit this park.

 

Albert Park

Suva

This park was made famous when Charles Kingsford-Smith made an emergency landing here on his 1928 trans-Pacific flight.

 

Fiji Museum (“Na Vale Ni i Yaya Maroroi”)

Suva

679 331 5944

Open:  Mon-Thur: 9:30am – 4:00pm

Fri: 9:30am- 3.30pm

Sat & Public Holidays: 9:30am – 4:00pm; Sunday- Closed

Archaeological findings dating back 3500 years as well as cultural objects reflecting Fiji’s inhabitants during the past 100 years are housed in the oldest museum in the South Pacific.

 

Nadi

Fiji‘s third largest town is set against a mountainous backdrop on the west coast of Viti Levu. The local economy of Nadi relies almost totally on tourism.  In Nadi there are a wide range of accommodations from the simple to luxury resorts. Its Central Market offers traditional handicrafts including wood carved objects and textiles. There are a high proportion of Fiji Indians in Nadi, mostly fourth-generation descendants of the indentured laborers brought to Fiji from India during the colonial years to work in the canefields.

 

Sri Siva Subramaniya Swami Temple

Nadi

The Temple is located at the southern end of the main street. Visitors are welcome (but asked not to have consumed either alcohol or non-vegetarian food that day). There is a good market offering the usual  mix of Melanesian, Chinese and Indian produce. The main strip is filled with restaurants and shops selling clothes, souvenirs and duty-free goods. Nadi is also a good place for outdoor  activities:  everything from diving, golf, horse riding and rafting to riding in a jet-boat or light plane is available.

 

Mamanuca Group

The Mamanucas are a bunch of tiny islands just off the western coast of Viti Levu, and they are easily accessible by boat from Nadi, either as a day trip or to stay in one of the many luxury resorts or hostels. The islands are popular with divers, snorkellers, surfers and people who just want to lie about on open stretches of white-sand beach. The lovely reefs and colorful fish make snorkelling around these islands a highlight for many travelers. Only a few of the islands, such as  Monu and Monuriki, have significant areas of native forest left. These places are home to many birds and reptiles.

 

Sigatoka

Sigatoka is a small town on the southern coast of Viti Levu, 61km (38mi) south of Nadi and 127km (79mi) west of Suva on the banks of Fiji’s second-largest river. This is  principally a farming community, but is also a service town for the Coral Coast resorts.

Sigatoka is a good base for exploring the huge Sigatoka sand dunes nearby, and also the southern coast, and the Sigatoka Valley. The Sigatoka Valley is a highly fertile strip containing almost 200 cultural and archaeological sites, including the Tavuni Hill Fort, a series of defensive earth works built by the Tongan chief Maile Latemai in the 18th century. The valley is also home to some of Fiji’s best potters.

 

Kula Eco Park

Sigatoka, Fiji Islands

Ph: 679 – 6500 505

Fax: 679 6520 202

Kula is located on Queens Road, opposite the Outrigger Reef Resort east of Sigatoka town. Being Fiji’s only wildlife park, Kula is the breeding center for Fiji’s endangered species. The park provides free Environmental Hands-on Education to Fiji’s children. Visitors can spend hours observing parrots, lories, falcons, hawks, fruit bats, snakes, iguana and marine life plus learn of Fiji’s flora and fauna in near natural settings. Wander the rain forest or explore

The waterfront area is another place to shop, and the Suva Municipal Market is a must-see for visitors with its exotic fruits and vegetables, kava, fish and seafood, and spices. It has a multicultural flavor, with vendors selling brightly colored Indian sweets and candies, and fruit drinks from glass tanks.

 

Nausori Highlands

Due east from Nadi, in the interior of the Viti Levu island, are the fantastic landscapes and remote villages of the Nausori Highlands. The village of Navala is one of  the most picturesque in all Fiji. While most Fijian villages now use prefab concrete and corrugated iron, almost all of Navala’s homes and buildings are traditional bures arranged around avenues with a central promenade leading down to a river.

 

This is an isolated area.  The protocol is to ask to see the village chief, and then ask him if it is  all right to walk around the village and take some photos.  Sunday is not a good time as it is the day of worship and for spending time with the family. Bukuya village is further west and it too is a worthwhile excursion. There are simple accommodations available in the villages. 

 

Koroyanitu National Heritage Park

666 6644

Near Lautoka

Koroyanitu National Heritage Park is set in the steep hills above Nadi and is only 16 kms from Lautoka. You can explore the forests and waterfalls, picnic, take a swim in a mountain stream, go on short walks and overnight hikes or stay with the villagers and experience life in a Fijian highland community.

 

Native Crafts

Fijians still practice many traditional arts and crafts, some which have been modified and embellished to satisfy the demands of tourism. Fiji has been famous for pottery since the Lapita people began trading their wares thousands of years ago. The most famous of the contemporary potters are Dian Tugea and Taraivini Wati, both of whom are featured in the Fiji Museum. Wood carving is still important, perhaps mostly because of the steady tourist demand for souvenirs to take home. Fijian carvers make war clubs, spears and cannibal forks. Drinking bowls, or tanoas, are still in daily use in Fijian households. Carvings in areas that have a Polynesian influence (from Tongan and Samoan settlers) feature inlays of shell and bone.

 

Bark cloth, known in Fiji as masi, was traditionally made throughout the Pacific and was usually known as tapa. Ceremonial robes, waistbands, trains and turbans were once made from masi and the cloth was decorated with symbolic motifs in ochre-rusts and charcoal-blacks. The cloth is made from the bark of the mulberry tree and its production is very labourious. Traditionally, large and highly decorated masi cloths were used as ceremonial gifts and there was much prestige associated with their ownership. The weaving of pandanus leaves into mats and baskets has a long tradition, too. Most village girls still learn the craft, and there are many variations in style and colour (achieved by scraping the leaves, burying them in mud and boiling them with other plants).

D – Family Fun Attractions

Fiji Highlights

 

Lautoka

Municipal Market

The city’s municipal market has a floor area of about 58,000 meters and is filled with local people selling produce outside and inside.

 

The shopping centre is conveniently located in the central city area along Vitogo Parade, Naviti Street and Yasawa Street.

 

The city has a very wide range of shops ranging from retail to wholesale.  Some shops open as early as  6.00am and others from 8.00 -6.00pm or 7.00pm during the week-days and on Saturday from 7.00am 1.00pm.   On Sundays and Public Holidays the shops are usually closed but the restaurants, milk bars and other essential shops remain open.

 

There are all types of restaurants with a variety of dishes such as Chinese, Indian, Italian, Fijian, European, Korean, vegetarian, snack bars, etc.

 

The following sports venues are in Lautoka:

(1)Golf (Lautoka Golf Club)

(2)Soccer/ Rugby/ Cricket/ Hockey (facilities provided by Lautoka City Council at Churchill Park

Nadovu Park and at other playing fields all round the city).

(3)Netball/ Volleyball/ Basketball & Tennis (Lautoka City Council’s Multipurpose Courts).

 

Suva

Suva is Fiji’s administrative and political capital and is home to one-half of the country’s population.  It is the largest city in the South Pacific. 

Fiji‘s capital, is on the south-eastern coast of the big island of Viti Levu. While Nadi, in the west of this island, is the tourism centre of the country, Suva is interesting as the country’s political and administrative centre as well as the major port. Suva and its urban surrounds are home to half of Fiji’s urban population, and it is one of the South Pacific’s largest and most sophisticated cities, housing the University of the South Pacific, the  Fiji Museum and many interesting colonial-era buildings. It is a multicultural city with many mosques, temples, churches and cultural centres. The Roman Catholic Cathedral (1902) is one of the city’s most prominent landmarks.

 

Suva Municipal Market

Immerse yourself in the festive, friendly atmosphere of this wonderful street market, where you’ll find every tropical fruit and vegetable imaginable.

 

Parliament

Suva

330 5811

These impressive, orange-colored government buildings were modeled after traditional Fijian thatched huts, and the complex is open to visitors.

 

Municipal Handicraft Center

Suva

331 3433

Try your hand at bargaining for artifacts and handicrafts at these outdoor market stalls.

 

Colo-I-Suva Forest Park

Suva

(679) 3320211

Take a dip in one of the natural swimming pools, follow a nature trail and keep your ears and eyes ready to spot the numerous birds that inhabit this park.

 

Albert Park

Suva

This park was made famous when Charles Kingsford-Smith made an emergency landing here on his 1928 trans-Pacific flight.

 

Fiji Museum (“Na Vale Ni i Yaya Maroroi”)

Suva

679 331 5944

Open:  Mon-Thur: 9:30am – 4:00pm

Fri: 9:30am- 3.30pm

Sat & Public Holidays: 9:30am – 4:00pm; Sunday- Closed

Archaeological findings dating back 3500 years as well as cultural objects reflecting Fiji’s inhabitants during the past 100 years are housed in the oldest museum in the South Pacific.

 

Nadi

Fiji‘s third largest town is set against a mountainous backdrop on the west coast of Viti Levu. The local economy of Nadi relies almost totally on tourism.  In Nadi there are a wide range of accommodations from the simple to luxury resorts. Its Central Market offers traditional handicrafts including wood carved objects and textiles. There are a high proportion of Fiji Indians in Nadi, mostly fourth-generation descendants of the indentured laborers brought to Fiji from India during the colonial years to work in the canefields.

 

Sri Siva Subramaniya Swami Temple

Nadi

The Temple is located at the southern end of the main street. Visitors are welcome (but asked not to have consumed either alcohol or non-vegetarian food that day). There is a good market offering the usual  mix of Melanesian, Chinese and Indian produce. The main strip is filled with restaurants and shops selling clothes, souvenirs and duty-free goods. Nadi is also a good place for outdoor  activities:  everything from diving, golf, horse riding and rafting to riding in a jet-boat or light plane is available.

 

Mamanuca Group

The Mamanucas are a bunch of tiny islands just off the western coast of Viti Levu, and they are easily accessible by boat from Nadi, either as a day trip or to stay in one of the many luxury resorts or hostels. The islands are popular with divers, snorkellers, surfers and people who just want to lie about on open stretches of white-sand beach. The lovely reefs and colorful fish make snorkelling around these islands a highlight for many travelers. Only a few of the islands, such as  Monu and Monuriki, have significant areas of native forest left. These places are home to many birds and reptiles.

 

Sigatoka

Sigatoka is a small town on the southern coast of Viti Levu, 61km (38mi) south of Nadi and 127km (79mi) west of Suva on the banks of Fiji’s second-largest river. This is  principally a farming community, but is also a service town for the Coral Coast resorts.

Sigatoka is a good base for exploring the huge Sigatoka sand dunes nearby, and also the southern coast, and the Sigatoka Valley. The Sigatoka Valley is a highly fertile strip containing almost 200 cultural and archaeological sites, including the Tavuni Hill Fort, a series of defensive earth works built by the Tongan chief Maile Latemai in the 18th century. The valley is also home to some of Fiji’s best potters.

 

Kula Eco Park

Sigatoka, Fiji Islands

Ph: 679 – 6500 505

Fax: 679 6520 202

Kula is located on Queens Road, opposite the Outrigger Reef Resort east of Sigatoka town. Being Fiji’s only wildlife park, Kula is the breeding center for Fiji’s endangered species. The park provides free Environmental Hands-on Education to Fiji’s children. Visitors can spend hours observing parrots, lories, falcons, hawks, fruit bats, snakes, iguana and marine life plus learn of Fiji’s flora and fauna in near natural settings. Wander the rain forest or explore

The waterfront area is another place to shop, and the Suva Municipal Market is a must-see for visitors with its exotic fruits and vegetables, kava, fish and seafood, and spices. It has a multicultural flavor, with vendors selling brightly colored Indian sweets and candies, and fruit drinks from glass tanks.

 

Nausori Highlands

Due east from Nadi, in the interior of the Viti Levu island, are the fantastic landscapes and remote villages of the Nausori Highlands. The village of Navala is one of  the most picturesque in all Fiji. While most Fijian villages now use prefab concrete and corrugated iron, almost all of Navala’s homes and buildings are traditional bures arranged around avenues with a central promenade leading down to a river.

 

This is an isolated area.  The protocol is to ask to see the village chief, and then ask him if it is  all right to walk around the village and take some photos.  Sunday is not a good time as it is the day of worship and for spending time with the family. Bukuya village is further west and it too is a worthwhile excursion. There are simple accommodations available in the villages. 

 

Koroyanitu National Heritage Park

666 6644

Near Lautoka

Koroyanitu National Heritage Park is set in the steep hills above Nadi and is only 16 kms from Lautoka. You can explore the forests and waterfalls, picnic, take a swim in a mountain stream, go on short walks and overnight hikes or stay with the villagers and experience life in a Fijian highland community.

 

Native Crafts

Fijians still practice many traditional arts and crafts, some which have been modified and embellished to satisfy the demands of tourism. Fiji has been famous for pottery since the Lapita people began trading their wares thousands of years ago. The most famous of the contemporary potters are Dian Tugea and Taraivini Wati, both of whom are featured in the Fiji Museum. Wood carving is still important, perhaps mostly because of the steady tourist demand for souvenirs to take home. Fijian carvers make war clubs, spears and cannibal forks. Drinking bowls, or tanoas, are still in daily use in Fijian households. Carvings in areas that have a Polynesian influence (from Tongan and Samoan settlers) feature inlays of shell and bone.

 

Bark cloth, known in Fiji as masi, was traditionally made throughout the Pacific and was usually known as tapa. Ceremonial robes, waistbands, trains and turbans were once made from masi and the cloth was decorated with symbolic motifs in ochre-rusts and charcoal-blacks. The cloth is made from the bark of the mulberry tree and its production is very labourious. Traditionally, large and highly decorated masi cloths were used as ceremonial gifts and there was much prestige associated with their ownership. The weaving of pandanus leaves into mats and baskets has a long tradition, too. Most village girls still learn the craft, and there are many variations in style and colour (achieved by scraping the leaves, burying them in mud and boiling them with other plants).

E – Events & Entertainments

Fijians celebrate New Year’s Day and the festivities can last a week (or even a month!) in some villages.

 

February or March Hindu Holi (Festival of Colours) sees people squirt each other with coloured water.

 

March or April

Ram Naumi (Birth of Lord Rama) is a Hindu festival held in March or April and includes a religious festival and party on the shores of Suva Bay.

 

May

the nation honors Ratu Sir Lala Sukuna with a public holiday. He is considered Fiji’s greatest statesman, soldier, high chief and scholar, and the day is celebrated with regional cultural shows and games.

 

July

The Constitution Day holiday and Prophet Mohammed’s Birthday holiday fall in July.

 

September

The Sugar Festival is celebrated in September at Lautoka,

 

October

Fiji Day (Independence Day) falls in early October.

 

October or November Hindus celebrate the Diwali Festival (Festival of Lights). They worship Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth and prosperity, decorate their houses and settle their business affairs.

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Perth Travel Guide – Deals

Quick Links:

A – Overview

B – City information

C – Attractions & Things To Do

D – Family Fun Attractions

E – Events & Entertainments

F – Perth Travel Deals

A – Overview

Perth overview

 

Known as the “friendly city”, it is said that Perth enjoys more sunny days than any other place in Australia.  Perth is only six miles from the Indian Ocean, and less than an hour from numerous National Parks and natural bushland. At the same time, it is a city of soaring skyscrapers that form an impressive wall along the Swan River.  In the distance, the magnificent mountains of the Darling Ranges rise from the coastal plains.  From the attractively landscaped , bustling business district to the fabulous mansions on “Milllionaire’s Row” to the leafy suburbs and on to Lake Monger and the Swan River where the black swans make their home, the city of Perth is an enchanting place.

 

Perth, the capital of Western Australia, is a cosmopolitan city with the charm and intimacy of a small town. Perth offers an abundance of attractions, a sunny climate and a friendly and hospitable atmosphere.

 

The city and surrounding area offer a wide range of dining choices from southern European alfresco cafes to a complete array of Asian cuisines and everything in between.  Many restaurants serve local produce and fresh seafood.  Perth is a short distance from the Indian Ocean and the main port of Fremantle, a delightful fishing town full of culture, history, and great shopping.  The area’s public transportation system is excellent.  It is easy to board a bus, a train, or a ferry to just about any part of the city or the surrounding towns in minutes.  Travel within the city centre is free.

 

Must see attractions include: King’s Park that offers a view of Perth skyline with the sunset reflecting off the glass skyscrapers.  Perth Zoo, Burswood Casino, Perth Mint, Adventure World, AQWA walk through aquarium with a seal exhibit. Pioneer Village. Perth’s many museums. Perth Institute of Contemporary Art are all attractions that are not to be missed. 

 

The beaches are lovely, and there are waterparks in which to splash on a warm day.   Caversham Park is unique with its interactive wildlife exhibits and camel rides that will be a highlight of any excursion with children. Numerous sports and recreational facilities are available throughout the area and include snorkeling, boat cruises, parasailing, and kayaking. 

 

Rottnest Island is an island paradise that is the scene of some of the world’s best beaches and bays that remain in their natural state.  It is a popular spot for fishing, snorkeling, scuba diving, surfing, and swimming.  A day trip by ferry from Victoria Quay in Fremantle is a possibility. 

 

Perth is home to the elegant Black Swan. In the 1960s The Swan River Trust was established to ensure that the waters it inhabits will remain clean and clear. There are numerous walkways and tracks around the river and shore areas, and the river is safe for swimming. 

 

Perth’s wine and gourmet food region is just 30 minutes away and easily accessible by road or via the Swan River.  Perth’s shopping center lies between William and Barrak streets.  It is a delightful maze of arcades, plazas, and elevated walkways. 

 

Perth is a city of unlimited possibilities for those traveling alone, in a group, or as a family.  It is a place of beauty and refinement, and it is a place to have fun!

B – City information

Population:  1.3 Million

State:  Western Australia

Time Zone:  GMT +9

Average Temperatures:

 

 Month  

   High

 Low

January  

   85F  

  63F

February

   85F

  63F

March  

   81F  

  61F

April  

   76F

  57F  

May  

   69F

  53F  

June  

   64F

  50F 

July  

   76F

  63F  

August  

   64F  

  48F

September  

   67F

  50F

October  

  70F

  53F

November  

   76F

  57F

December  

   81F

  61F

 

Local Seasons:  Perth, Western Australia’s weather and climate, is best described as Mediterranean, with long dry summers and mild rainy winters. It is because of these long hot summers that many Perth activities revolve around the water. Summer officially starts in December and ends in March.  The hottest months are January and February, and temperatures can reach 95-100F and  occasionally 100+.

Autumn runs from March to the end of May. The weather is cooler, although still  warm.

The mild Perth winter lasts from June to the end of September. It is a rainy season, interspersed with chilly yet sunny days. A typical Perth winter day may fall between 60-65F.  There are sometimes thunder storms.  Spring begins at the start of September as the weather quickly warms to fine sunny conditions again. The temperatures rise as summer nears.

 

Electricity:  Australia’s electrical current is 240-250 volts and requires a two or three pin plug.  Adapters and converters are necessary in order to use US appliances.  Most hotels will provide one US 110-volt outlet (and often, only one.)

Measurements:  Metric

Currency:  The local currency is the Australian Dollar, which is a decimal currency in which 1 A$ is equal to 100 cents. 

Telephone:  The Australian country code is 61. 

 

Holidays

New Year’s Day                        January 1

Australia Day                            1st Monday after January 26

Good Friday                             (variable)

Easter Monday                         (variable)

Anzac Day                                April 25

Queen’s Birthday                     2nd Monday in January

Christmas Day                          December 25

Boxing Day                              December 26

 

Arriving 

By Air

The Airport in Perth is 9 miles from the city.  Tel (08) 9478 8888.

Because of the distance between Perth and the other big cities, flying is the most popular way to get there. Most fly in on either Qantas or Virgin Blue.

Perth Airport (tel (08) 9478 8888 is 9 miles northeast of the city centre. The international and domestic terminals are located several kilometers apart and locals often talk about them as if they’re separate airports. The domestic terminal is served by local bus routes 37 and 39 as well as the more expensive Airport City Shuttle and Fremantle Airport Shuttle, which also serve the international terminal.

 

The Airport City Shuttle (tel 1300 666 806) is the quickest option into the city centre from the international terminal or the domestic terminal.

 

Jandakot Airport, south of the city centre handles some regional flights including flights to Rottnest Island.

By Cruise Ship:  Ships dock in the Port of Fremantle. 

 

Bus

Perth has three bus terminals. 1)Transwa (tel 1300 662 205) Buses to destinations in the state’s south depart from the East Perth Terminal train station.

2) Greyhound and Integrity coaches depart from the bus station at 554 Wellington Street near Perth train station.

3)Southwest Coachlines operate buses to the southwest including Bunbury, Busselton and Margaret River. Southwest buses depart from the City Busport on Mounts Bay Road.

 

Train

The East Perth Terminal is the terminus for long distance trains. Transwa (tel 1300 662 205) has trains to Bunbury and Kalgoorlie and Great Southern Railway operates the Indian-Pacific to Sydney with stops at Kalgoorlie, Adelaide and Broken Hill. The East Perth Terminal is part of Transperth’s suburban train network with frequent trains to the city centre and Fremantle.

 

Getting Around

Transperth (tel 13 62 13)) operates Perth’s public transport network, which is comprised of buses, ferries and trains. It is a good value way to get around the city and there is free transport in the central area. 

 

Bus

Buses form the backbone of Perth’s transport system and it is inevitable that you’ll ride them at some point or another, particularly if you want to get to the beaches.

Buses are free within the central area, although with regular buses it can be difficult to know which rides are free and which ones you have to pay for. Fortunately there are a couple of frequent bus routes confined to the free central area that are extremely popular with ravelers. The Central Area Transit (CAT) buses run three routes – the Red CAT runs an east-west route in the city centre, the Yellow CAT goes between the city centre and East Perth and the more useful Blue CAT connects the hostels in Northbridge with the city centre. The only problem is that the CAT buses stop running shortly after 6pm. There is also an Orange CAT, which runs a loop around Fremantle. 

Perth’s bus network covers a large area with buses running as far away as Rockingham and Mandurah. The Public Transportation throughout Perth and Fremantle is fast and reliable.

 

Train

Perth’s rail network consists of five lines.  The Fremantle line runs from the city centre to Fremantle via Cottesloe. Trains run approximately every half hour.

City West, Perth, McIver and Claisebrook stations lie within the Free Transit Zone.

 

Ferry

Perth has a limited ferry service between Barrack Street Jetty in the city centre and Coode Street and Mends Street Jetties in South Perth. The Barrack Street Jetty to Mends Street Jetty ferry is a popular route for ravelers visiting Perth Zoo. Ferries run around every 20 minutes.

Like many other public transport networks, Perth is divided into different fare zones. Most attractions are in zones one and two; although the transport network extends as far as zone eight. A Perth to Fremantle train trip requires a two-zone ticket, as does a trip between the city centre and the domestic airport terminal.

A DayRider ticket allows unlimited travel on Transperth buses, trains and ferries from 9am on weekdays and all day on weekends and public holidays.

C – Attractions & Things To Do

Perth attractions

Art Gallery of Western Australia

Perth Cultural Centre, James Street, Northbridge

Bus Blue CAT Train Perth

Tel (08) 9492 6622

Admission free, charge for some temporary exhibits

Open 10am-5pm daily

Australian and international art are shown at the state’s most important art museum.

 

Cottesloe Beach

+61 8 9285 5000

The sprawling white beaches in Perth are sensational. Regular swimmers, picnicking families and sun seekers visit Cottlesloe. It offers a choice of locations to watch the sunset. Enjoy spectacular views across the Indian Ocean from one of the many cafes and restaurants along Marine Parade or from a tranquil spot on the sand. At the southern end of the beach, a reasonably sheltered reef proves a great spot for snorkeling. The main beach area has showers and toilets.

 

Rottnest Island

+61 8 9372 9752

Only 25 minutes by ferry from the mainland to enjoy this aquatic paradise. Rottnest Island, 11 kilometers long and almost five kilometers wide, boasts numerous fantastic beaches. Enjoy leisure activities galore. Bicycles, the main source of transport, can be hired at Thomson Bay. The amazing array of marine life living in the coral reefs that fringe the island ensure superb snorkeling and scuba diving. The island also proves very popular with city surfers.

 

Kings Park & Botanic Garden

+61 8 9480 3600

Only minutes walk from central Perth, this park offers a tranquil respite from the city. With 400 hectares of parklands and natural bush to explore, visitors can enjoy numerous activities. Hire a bike, take a tram tour, or join a free guided walk. An evening visit proves spectacular. Meander along ‘Honour Avenue’ (lined with towering lemon-scented gum trees) and enjoy the city lights.

 

Armadale Reptile & Wildlife Centre

+61 8 9399 6927

The Reptile Park was set up as a conservation and education facility in 1994. It now houses more than 200 species of reptiles from the venomous local variety to the more friendly python family and waddling goanna. The park also lodges a variety of other residents that do not belong to the reptile fraternity such as  flying foxes, quokkas and enichindas. Other amenities include barbecue areas, a snack bar and souvenir shop. Admission: Adults AUD11; children AUD6.50; concession AUD8.80.

 

Rockingham Dolphins

The Cruising Yacht Club jetty

Val Street

+61 8 9591 1333

Rockingham Dolphins has been operating since 1987 and knows all the right spots to locate wild dolphins. Daily tours from September 1 until May 31. First, you will cruise through the waters off Rockingham, home to about 180 bottlenose dolphins. When the dolphins are spotted,  the experienced crew will assist you in donning a wet suit, snorkel, and mask, and you will join them in their underwater world.   All dolphins at Rockingham are wild, (meaning no tricks and  no training), thus visitors experience the mammal in it’s true state! The trip runs between two and five hours. The other option is a dolphin watch tour.

 

Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts (PICA)

51 James Street, Northbridge

Bus Blue CAT Train Perth

Tel (08) 9227 6144

Admission Gallery free, charge for performances

Open Tue-Sun 11am-8pm

The Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts features exhibits of avant garde and contemporary visual and performing arts.

 

Perth Mint

310 Hay Street

Bus Red CAT

Tel (08) 9421 7223 or 1800 098 817

Open Mon-Fri 9am-4pm, Sat-Sun 9am-1pm; gold pours Mon-Fri 10am, 11am, noon, 1pm, 2pm, 3pm, Sat-Sun 10am, 11am, noon

This impressive building on Hay Street offers a unique insight into how money is made.

 

Penguin Island

+61 8 9592 5191

Little penguins and numerous sea birds inhabit this 12.5-hectare island haven. Penguin Island is a breeding site for 16 species of birds. The island also has excellent snorkeling and surfing conditions, delightful picnic areas, a Discovery Center, lookouts and walkways. A ferry operates (on the hour) from Mersey Point at Shoalwater and ferry tickets include entry to the Island Discovery Center.

 

Swan Bells

Barrack Square, Riverside Drive, Perth

Bus Blue CAT Ferry Barrack Street Jetty

Tel (08) 9218 8183

Open 10am-5pm daily; bell ringing Mon-Fri 11.30am-12.30pm, Sat-Sun noon-2pm

This impressive copper and glass tower in Barrack Square is one of the world’s largest musical instruments. It houses a set of 18 bells, which includes 12 bells from St Martin-in-the-Fields in Trafalgar Square, London that date from before the 14th century. The tower features galleries where you can see the bell ringers in action as well as observation decks that boast stunning city views.

 

Western Australian Museum

James Street Mall

Perth

+61 (0)8 9427 2700

Mon-Fri. 10:30-5:00

Western Australia’s largest and most comprehensive museum houses more than two million artifacts and specimens. The museum’s permanent exhibitions include the Katta Djinoong display (which focuses on Western Australia’s Aboriginal heritage), bird, butterfly, marine, mammal and dinosaur galleries. The Old Perth Gaol, also on site, features a number of regularly changing and special exhibits.
The museum shop and coffee shop are worth a quick visit. Admission: Free.

 

Adventure World

179 Progress Drive

Bibra Lake

+61 8 9417 9666

Seasonal

Only 20 minutes drive from Perth, this is Western Australia’s major theme park. It is only open from September until April but with over 30 exhilarating rides and a wildlife park, it is worth a visit. Try the Tunnel of Terror, the Turbo Mountain Roller coaster or meet some of Australia’s original inhabitants in the wildlife area and touch farm. Do not forget your swimsuit – the park has swimming areas and a children’s water playground. There are food and refreshment outlets and shaded picnic areas.

 

Sir James Mitchell Park

+61 (0)8 9474 0777

Enjoy the splendid sunset scenes and sparkling Swan River while cycling or walking along the South Perth foreshore. Established in the 1970s, Sir James Mitchell Park was initiated specifically for passive recreation and it serves its purpose superbly.
The only building in the entire area is the old Wesley College Boatshed at Coode Street Jetty. The park stretches along the river from Mends Street jetty to McCallum Park at the Causeway Bridge. There are several wetland areas and a wonderful paperbark swamp that is worth a visit.

 

John Forrest National Park

+61 8 9298 8344

This park is one of the oldest and most-loved picnic areas located in the Darling Ranges. The main tree species found in the area are Jarrah, Marri and Wandoo – home to an abundance of bird life. Take time to enjoy the extensive walking trails and visit the lookout for the fantastic views. Other features are the 100 year-old railway tunnel, the two waterfalls and rock pool. The park has a tavern and several picnic areas with barbecues.

 

Cape Peron

61 8 9483 1111

Situated within the Shoalwater Marine Park is a group of ideal beaches for children. Cape Peron offers a wonderful series of small bays with rocky outcrops making the area an adventure to explore. This is a great spot for snorkeling and shore diving. The best time for diving is in the morning before the wind begins to blow too much. The marine park covers 6,545 hectares taking in Shoalwater Bay and Warnbro Sound with a chain of limestone islands including Penguin Island and Seal Island. Ferries and tours to the islands run from Mersey Point.

 

Whiteman Park

Lord Street

Whiteman (Perth suburb 15 km from the city center)

08-9249-2446

9-6 daily

Be sure to arrange round trip transport from Perth if you do not have an automobile.  Caversham Park is remote, and it is difficult to arrange transportation back to the city from the park.  There is a gift shop/café that has a telephone and helpful personnel, however.  Rides to the entrance gate are available.  However, taxis will come right to Caversham Park entrance if arranged in advance.

Weekend evenings:  occasional special outdoor film presentations and concerts

Located northeast of the city center.  Within this extremely, though isolated,  popular park is a section known as Cavensham Wildlife Reserve which offers up-close photo opportunities of koalas, interaction with kangaroos and emus, and camel rides.  The park also contains an extensive collection of vehicles from the past 100 years and a craft village that displays the work of local artisans.  There is also an exhibit of the history of farm machinery.

 

Perth Zoo

20 Labouchere Road

08-9367-7988

In South Perth, a ferry ride away from the city centre.  The zoo is dedicated to conservation and has all the features of an international standard zoo.  Attractions include a nocturnal house, a wildlife park, and an African Savannah exhibit.

 

Parliament House

Harvest Terrace, Perth

Bus Red CAT

Tel (08) 9222 7429

Admission free

Tours Mon, Thu 10.30am

Free tours of the Western Australian state parliament building are available on premises.

 

The Houghton Wine Company

+61 8 9274 9540

Western Australia’s largest winemaker, Houghton’s, produced its first commercial vintage in 1859. The grounds here are delightful with picturesque gardens and heritage buildings that house the wine cellar. Western Australia’s only bushranger, Moondyne Joe, was supposedly captured in the cellar of Houghton’s Winery after one of his many escapes from the law. Houghton’s has other vineyards within three to four hours drive southwest of Perth in Mount Barker, Pemberton and Frankland River.

 

John Forrest National Park

+61 8 9298 8344

Visiting a forest while in Western Australian should be on the top of your list. This park is one of the oldest and most-loved picnic areas located in the Darling Ranges. The main tree species found in the area are Jarrah, Marri and Wandoo – home to an abundance of bird life. Take time to enjoy the extensive walking trails and visit the lookout for the fantastic views. Other features are the 100 year-old railway tunnel, the two waterfalls and rock pool. The park has a tavern and several picnic areas with barbecues.

 

City of Lights Dinner Cruise

+61 8 9325 3341

Most cities look fabulous at night, but Perth’s Swan River offers a perfect vantage point for spectacular viewing. This tour offers the opportunity to cruise the river while enjoying a delicious buffet meal. Full bar facilities are available on board and a disc jockey encourages guests to dance the night away. This is a fun evening out, with the dazzling city lights adding a romantic edge to a starlit deck stroll: 7.30p Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings.

 

Fremantle Attractions

Fremantle  (Port)

This seaside suburb has long been Perth’s port. The area has a laid-back ambience and is worth at least a day-trip from Perth.  There is fabulous shopping in the markets and a maritime museum.

 

Fremantle Markets

Corner Henderson Street & South Terrace, Fremantle

Bus Orange CAT Train Fremantle

Tel (08) 9335 2515

Admission free

Open Fri 9am-9pm, Sat 9am-5pm, Sun 10am-5pm

This old market hall (established in 1897) is now one of Fremantle’s most popular attractions with over 150 stalls ranging from produce to arts and crafts.

 

Fremantle Prison

1 The Terrace, Fremantle

Bus Orange CAT Train Fremantle

Tel (08) 9336 9200

Open 10am-5pm daily; tours depart every half hour

The Fremantle Prison was built with convict labour in the 19th century and was operated as a prison until as recently as 1991. It has now been opened to the public and has frequent guided tours.

 

Maritime Museum

Forrest Landing, Victoria Quay, Fremantle

Bus Orange CAT Train Fremantle

Tel (08) 9335 8921

Open 9.30am-5pm daily

The new maritime museum on Victoria Quay features an excellent collection of exhibits including a 90-metre-long submarine.

 

Shipwreck Museum

Cliff Street, Fremantle

Bus Orange CAT Train Fremantle

Tel (08) 9431 8444

Admission free

Open 9.30am-5pm daily

The old maritime museum on Cliff Street houses a collection of exhibits focusing on shipwrecks.

D – Family Fun Attractions

Scitech Discovery Centre

Corner Railway Parade & Sutherland Street, West Perth

City West First Floor

Tel (08) 9481 5789

Open 10am-5pm daily

This hands-on science museum features over 160 interactive exhibits. However, like many science museums, it is geared mostly toward children.

 

Cottesloe Beach

+61 8 9285 5000

The sprawling white beaches in Perth are sensational. Regular swimmers, picnicking families and sun seekers visit Cottlesloe. It offers a choice of locations to watch the sunset. Enjoy spectacular views across the Indian Ocean from one of the many cafes and restaurants along Marine Parade or from a tranquil spot on the sand. At the southern end of the beach, a reasonably sheltered reef proves a great spot for snorkeling. The main beach area has showers and toilets.

 

Rottnest Island

+61 8 9372 9752

Only 25 minutes by ferry from the mainland to enjoy this aquatic paradise. Rottnest Island, 11 kilometers long and almost five kilometers wide, boasts numerous fantastic beaches. Enjoy leisure activities galore. Bicycles, the main source of transport, can be hired at Thomson Bay. The amazing array of marine life living in the coral reefs that fringe the island ensure superb snorkeling and scuba diving. The island also proves very popular with city surfers.

 

Kings Park & Botanic Garden

+61 8 9480 3600

Only minutes walk from central Perth, this park offers a tranquil respite from the city. With 400 hectares of parklands and natural bush to explore, visitors can enjoy numerous activities. Hire a bike, take a tram tour, or join a free guided walk. An evening visit proves spectacular. Meander along ‘Honour Avenue’ (lined with towering lemon-scented gum trees) and enjoy the city lights.

 

Armadale Reptile & Wildlife Centre

+61 8 9399 6927

The Reptile Park was set up as a conservation and education facility in 1994. It now houses more than 200 species of reptiles from the venomous local variety to the more friendly python family and waddling goanna. The park also lodges a variety of other residents that do not belong to the reptile fraternity such as  flying foxes, quokkas and enichindas. Other amenities include barbecue areas, a snack bar and souvenir shop. Admission: Adults AUD11; children AUD6.50; concession AUD8.80.

 

Rockingham Dolphins

The Cruising Yacht Club jetty

Val Street

+61 8 9591 1333

Rockingham Dolphins has been operating since 1987 and knows all the right spots to locate wild dolphins. Daily tours from September 1 until May 31. First, you will cruise through the waters off Rockingham, home to about 180 bottlenose dolphins. When the dolphins are spotted,  the experienced crew will assist you in donning a wet suit, snorkel, and mask, and you will join them in their underwater world.   All dolphins at Rockingham are wild, (meaning no tricks and  no training), thus visitors experience the mammal in it’s true state! The trip runs between two and five hours. The other option is a dolphin watch tour.

 

Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts (PICA)

51 James Street, Northbridge

Bus Blue CAT Train Perth

Tel (08) 9227 6144

Admission Gallery free, charge for performances

Open Tue-Sun 11am-8pm

The Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts features exhibits of avant garde and contemporary visual and performing arts.

 

Perth Mint

310 Hay Street

Bus Red CAT

Tel (08) 9421 7223 or 1800 098 817

Open Mon-Fri 9am-4pm, Sat-Sun 9am-1pm; gold pours Mon-Fri 10am, 11am, noon, 1pm, 2pm, 3pm, Sat-Sun 10am, 11am, noon

This impressive building on Hay Street offers a unique insight into how money is made.

 

Penguin Island

+61 8 9592 5191

Little penguins and numerous sea birds inhabit this 12.5-hectare island haven. Penguin Island is a breeding site for 16 species of birds. The island also has excellent snorkeling and surfing conditions, delightful picnic areas, a Discovery Center, lookouts and walkways. A ferry operates (on the hour) from Mersey Point at Shoalwater and ferry tickets include entry to the Island Discovery Center.

 

Swan Bells

Barrack Square, Riverside Drive, Perth

Bus Blue CAT Ferry Barrack Street Jetty

Tel (08) 9218 8183

Open 10am-5pm daily; bell ringing Mon-Fri 11.30am-12.30pm, Sat-Sun noon-2pm

This impressive copper and glass tower in Barrack Square is one of the world’s largest musical instruments. It houses a set of 18 bells, which includes 12 bells from St Martin-in-the-Fields in Trafalgar Square, London that date from before the 14th century. The tower features galleries where you can see the bell ringers in action as well as observation decks that boast stunning city views.

 

Adventure World

179 Progress Drive

Bibra Lake

+61 8 9417 9666

Seasonal

Only 20 minutes drive from Perth, this is Western Australia’s major theme park. It is only open from September until April but with over 30 exhilarating rides and a wildlife park, it is worth a visit. Try the Tunnel of Terror, the Turbo Mountain Roller coaster or meet some of Australia’s original inhabitants in the wildlife area and touch farm. Do not forget your swimsuit – the park has swimming areas and a children’s water playground. There are food and refreshment outlets and shaded picnic areas.

 

Sir James Mitchell Park

+61 (0)8 9474 0777

Enjoy the splendid sunset scenes and sparkling Swan River while cycling or walking along the South Perth foreshore. Established in the 1970s, Sir James Mitchell Park was initiated specifically for passive recreation and it serves its purpose superbly.
The only building in the entire area is the old Wesley College Boatshed at Coode Street Jetty. The park stretches along the river from Mends Street jetty to McCallum Park at the Causeway Bridge. There are several wetland areas and a wonderful paperbark swamp that is worth a visit.

 

John Forrest National Park

+61 8 9298 8344

This park is one of the oldest and most-loved picnic areas located in the Darling Ranges. The main tree species found in the area are Jarrah, Marri and Wandoo – home to an abundance of bird life. Take time to enjoy the extensive walking trails and visit the lookout for the fantastic views. Other features are the 100 year-old railway tunnel, the two waterfalls and rock pool. The park has a tavern and several picnic areas with barbecues.

 

Cape Peron

61 8 9483 1111

Situated within the Shoalwater Marine Park is a group of ideal beaches for children. Cape Peron offers a wonderful series of small bays with rocky outcrops making the area an adventure to explore. This is a great spot for snorkeling and shore diving. The best time for diving is in the morning before the wind begins to blow too much. The marine park covers 6,545 hectares taking in Shoalwater Bay and Warnbro Sound with a chain of limestone islands including Penguin Island and Seal Island. Ferries and tours to the islands run from Mersey Point.

 

Whiteman Park

Lord Street

Whiteman (Perth suburb 15 km from the city center)

08-9249-2446

9-6 daily

Be sure to arrange round trip transport from Perth if you do not have an automobile.  Caversham Park is remote, and it is difficult to arrange transportation back to the city from the park.  There is a gift shop/café that has a telephone and helpful personnel, however.  Rides to the entrance gate are available.  However, taxis will come right to Caversham Park entrance if arranged in advance.

Weekend evenings:  occasional special outdoor film presentations and concerts

Located northeast of the city center.  Within this extremely, though isolated,  popular park is a section known as Cavensham Wildlife Reserve which offers up-close photo opportunities of koalas, interaction with kangaroos and emus, and camel rides.  The park also contains an extensive collection of vehicles from the past 100 years and a craft village that displays the work of local artisans.  There is also an exhibit of the history of farm machinery.

 

Perth Zoo

20 Labouchere Road

08-9367-7988

In South Perth, a ferry ride away from the city centre.  The zoo is dedicated to conservation and has all the features of an international standard zoo.  Attractions include a nocturnal house, a wildlife park, and an African Savannah exhibit

E – Events & Entertainments

Scitech Discovery Centre

Corner Railway Parade & Sutherland Street, West Perth

City West First Floor

Tel (08) 9481 5789

Open 10am-5pm daily

This hands-on science museum features over 160 interactive exhibits. However, like many science museums, it is geared mostly toward children.

 

Cottesloe Beach

+61 8 9285 5000

The sprawling white beaches in Perth are sensational. Regular swimmers, picnicking families and sun seekers visit Cottlesloe. It offers a choice of locations to watch the sunset. Enjoy spectacular views across the Indian Ocean from one of the many cafes and restaurants along Marine Parade or from a tranquil spot on the sand. At the southern end of the beach, a reasonably sheltered reef proves a great spot for snorkeling. The main beach area has showers and toilets.

 

Rottnest Island

+61 8 9372 9752

Only 25 minutes by ferry from the mainland to enjoy this aquatic paradise. Rottnest Island, 11 kilometers long and almost five kilometers wide, boasts numerous fantastic beaches. Enjoy leisure activities galore. Bicycles, the main source of transport, can be hired at Thomson Bay. The amazing array of marine life living in the coral reefs that fringe the island ensure superb snorkeling and scuba diving. The island also proves very popular with city surfers.

 

Kings Park & Botanic Garden

+61 8 9480 3600

Only minutes walk from central Perth, this park offers a tranquil respite from the city. With 400 hectares of parklands and natural bush to explore, visitors can enjoy numerous activities. Hire a bike, take a tram tour, or join a free guided walk. An evening visit proves spectacular. Meander along ‘Honour Avenue’ (lined with towering lemon-scented gum trees) and enjoy the city lights.

 

Armadale Reptile & Wildlife Centre

+61 8 9399 6927

The Reptile Park was set up as a conservation and education facility in 1994. It now houses more than 200 species of reptiles from the venomous local variety to the more friendly python family and waddling goanna. The park also lodges a variety of other residents that do not belong to the reptile fraternity such as  flying foxes, quokkas and enichindas. Other amenities include barbecue areas, a snack bar and souvenir shop. Admission: Adults AUD11; children AUD6.50; concession AUD8.80.

 

Rockingham Dolphins

The Cruising Yacht Club jetty

Val Street

+61 8 9591 1333

Rockingham Dolphins has been operating since 1987 and knows all the right spots to locate wild dolphins. Daily tours from September 1 until May 31. First, you will cruise through the waters off Rockingham, home to about 180 bottlenose dolphins. When the dolphins are spotted,  the experienced crew will assist you in donning a wet suit, snorkel, and mask, and you will join them in their underwater world.   All dolphins at Rockingham are wild, (meaning no tricks and  no training), thus visitors experience the mammal in it’s true state! The trip runs between two and five hours. The other option is a dolphin watch tour.

 

Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts (PICA)

51 James Street, Northbridge

Bus Blue CAT Train Perth

Tel (08) 9227 6144

Admission Gallery free, charge for performances

Open Tue-Sun 11am-8pm

The Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts features exhibits of avant garde and contemporary visual and performing arts.

 

Perth Mint

310 Hay Street

Bus Red CAT

Tel (08) 9421 7223 or 1800 098 817

Open Mon-Fri 9am-4pm, Sat-Sun 9am-1pm; gold pours Mon-Fri 10am, 11am, noon, 1pm, 2pm, 3pm, Sat-Sun 10am, 11am, noon

This impressive building on Hay Street offers a unique insight into how money is made.

 

Penguin Island

+61 8 9592 5191

Little penguins and numerous sea birds inhabit this 12.5-hectare island haven. Penguin Island is a breeding site for 16 species of birds. The island also has excellent snorkeling and surfing conditions, delightful picnic areas, a Discovery Center, lookouts and walkways. A ferry operates (on the hour) from Mersey Point at Shoalwater and ferry tickets include entry to the Island Discovery Center.

 

Swan Bells

Barrack Square, Riverside Drive, Perth

Bus Blue CAT Ferry Barrack Street Jetty

Tel (08) 9218 8183

Open 10am-5pm daily; bell ringing Mon-Fri 11.30am-12.30pm, Sat-Sun noon-2pm

This impressive copper and glass tower in Barrack Square is one of the world’s largest musical instruments. It houses a set of 18 bells, which includes 12 bells from St Martin-in-the-Fields in Trafalgar Square, London that date from before the 14th century. The tower features galleries where you can see the bell ringers in action as well as observation decks that boast stunning city views.

 

Adventure World

179 Progress Drive

Bibra Lake

+61 8 9417 9666

Seasonal

Only 20 minutes drive from Perth, this is Western Australia’s major theme park. It is only open from September until April but with over 30 exhilarating rides and a wildlife park, it is worth a visit. Try the Tunnel of Terror, the Turbo Mountain Roller coaster or meet some of Australia’s original inhabitants in the wildlife area and touch farm. Do not forget your swimsuit – the park has swimming areas and a children’s water playground. There are food and refreshment outlets and shaded picnic areas.

 

Sir James Mitchell Park

+61 (0)8 9474 0777

Enjoy the splendid sunset scenes and sparkling Swan River while cycling or walking along the South Perth foreshore. Established in the 1970s, Sir James Mitchell Park was initiated specifically for passive recreation and it serves its purpose superbly.
The only building in the entire area is the old Wesley College Boatshed at Coode Street Jetty. The park stretches along the river from Mends Street jetty to McCallum Park at the Causeway Bridge. There are several wetland areas and a wonderful paperbark swamp that is worth a visit.

 

John Forrest National Park

+61 8 9298 8344

This park is one of the oldest and most-loved picnic areas located in the Darling Ranges. The main tree species found in the area are Jarrah, Marri and Wandoo – home to an abundance of bird life. Take time to enjoy the extensive walking trails and visit the lookout for the fantastic views. Other features are the 100 year-old railway tunnel, the two waterfalls and rock pool. The park has a tavern and several picnic areas with barbecues.

 

Cape Peron

61 8 9483 1111

Situated within the Shoalwater Marine Park is a group of ideal beaches for children. Cape Peron offers a wonderful series of small bays with rocky outcrops making the area an adventure to explore. This is a great spot for snorkeling and shore diving. The best time for diving is in the morning before the wind begins to blow too much. The marine park covers 6,545 hectares taking in Shoalwater Bay and Warnbro Sound with a chain of limestone islands including Penguin Island and Seal Island. Ferries and tours to the islands run from Mersey Point.

 

Whiteman Park

Lord Street

Whiteman (Perth suburb 15 km from the city center)

08-9249-2446

9-6 daily

Be sure to arrange round trip transport from Perth if you do not have an automobile.  Caversham Park is remote, and it is difficult to arrange transportation back to the city from the park.  There is a gift shop/café that has a telephone and helpful personnel, however.  Rides to the entrance gate are available.  However, taxis will come right to Caversham Park entrance if arranged in advance.

Weekend evenings:  occasional special outdoor film presentations and concerts

Located northeast of the city center.  Within this extremely, though isolated,  popular park is a section known as Cavensham Wildlife Reserve which offers up-close photo opportunities of koalas, interaction with kangaroos and emus, and camel rides.  The park also contains an extensive collection of vehicles from the past 100 years and a craft village that displays the work of local artisans.  There is also an exhibit of the history of farm machinery.

 

Perth Zoo

20 Labouchere Road

08-9367-7988

In South Perth, a ferry ride away from the city centre.  The zoo is dedicated to conservation and has all the features of an international standard zoo.  Attractions include a nocturnal house, a wildlife park, and an African Savannah exhibit

F – Perth Travel Deals

We offer deeply discounted rates for Perth travel vacation packages,
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