Most of the two million people who live in Western Australia
reside in the sophisticated and scenic state capital. Perth grew on
the banks of the Swan River, named after the Scottish city of the
same name, and was proclaimed by Queen Victoria as a city in 1856.
The discovery of gold in Kalgoorlie and Coolgardie, to the east of
the city, in the 1890s led to a dramatic rise in its population and
an economic boom. Another boom followed in the 1960s with the
mining profits of iron ore and nickel.
Today the city is characterised by numerous waterways, green
parks and a compact central business district. There is plenty to
occupy visitors in Perth, from touring the city by tram or bus,
enjoying watersports on the Swan River or just sipping a glass of
the famous local wine in a riverside or beachside restaurant. Perth
has more restaurants per capita than any other Australian city. Not
far from the city is Western Australia's oldest wine-growing
region, Swan Valley, which welcomes tourists to visit the many
award-winning family-owned wineries, which offer alfresco and
restaurant meals and cellar tastings.
Perth is also the site of the world's oldest operating mint, and
boasts several museums and art galleries, historic buildings, a
casino and a good variety of shopping opportunities. Last, but not
least, the city offers more than 50 miles (80km) of white sandy
beaches in close proximity. Among the most popular are Cottesloe