Living the beautiful life in Perth

AS A RESIDENT of Perth in Western Australia, it seems I am living in one of the top ten cities in the world.

A new global travel magazine, The Escapist, from the London-based Monocle group, hails the scenic beauty of parts of Perth as rivalling the Amalfi coast of Italy. The magazine ranks Perth 8th in the top ten of “great cities not to be missed”, behind the leading trio of San Sebastian, Sapporo and Cordoba, but ahead of Warsaw and Bangor, US.

I had to look up Bangor. Wikipedia describes it as the commercial and cultural centre of eastern and northern Maine, with a population of 33,000.

Compare that with Perth, the fastest growing city in Australia with more than 2 million people. It is also generally regarded as the most isolated capital city in the world – we are nearer to Jakarta than to Sydney – and has long suffered from the label of Dullsville, first bestowed by the travel guide Lonely Planet but subsequently picked up with relish by inhabitants of Sydney and Melbourne, indeed everyone who lives elsewhere in Australia.

Of course, we all know they’re just jealous.

So it was no wonder that the local daily newspaper trumpeted The Escapist top ten ranking on page 3, quoting the magazine as naming Perth “a city of immense charm and stunning physical beauty”.

That may be in parts but it’s a bit of a stretch to compare it with the stunning vistas of the Amalfi coast. I live in the beachside suburb of Sorrento which sits on a stretch of coastline dubbed the Sunset Coast. I can assure you that it’s nothing like Sorrento in Italy, after which it is named.

Nevertheless, the magazine is accurate when it points out that Perth has white sandy beaches lapped by the Indian Ocean and enjoys the most sunshine of any capital city in Australia. Indeed, Perth averages just under nine hours of bright sunshine a day – 265 days each year with sun or part sun.

As a matter of fact, it’s sunny now. And it’s mid-winter.

Mind you, it was the climate – maybe a little too hot in the summer – that downgraded Perth to ninth in the Economist Intelligence Unit global liveability survey. That survey put Melbourne top of the list four years running. Melbourne? With its four seasons in a day!

Len Horne

Photo caption: Another sunny day in Perth for the Queen’s visit in 2011.

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