Stuck way out west on the far side of Australia, Perth has been called the most isolated city in the world. But this city of 2 million, sprawling along the Indian Ocean coast – with its benign Mediterranean climate and uncrowded beaches – is also one of the most easy-going. With a decades-long mining boom raising its glittering skyline ever upwards, it's also one of the most visually stunning.
Immigration has brought an enviable culture of fine cuisine and finer coffee-houses to Perth, while its urban sprawl is leavened with numerous parks and wild spaces. This is a city seemingly well-balanced and at ease with itself. But, literally under the surface, Perth is still on the-go. Iron, gold and alumina mines in the surrounding deserts means its boom goes on. So Perth's hotels continue be in demand – and costly – in many districts. Let Expedia.co.nz be your guide to the best hotel districts for your Perth trip, whether it's for business or pleasure.
One thing Perthies are proud of is that, in their rush to fill the skies, the architects of the CBD have done them proud. Modern, elegant and uncluttered, Perth's skyscrapers have won awards. The driving force behind them is the city's mining boom. That has left hotels in the CBD and its surrounds very much focused on business travellers. And with rates verging on the astronomical.
Outside of the CBD and its boom-town rates, though, East Perth offers an alternative accommodation base with a lower price-tag. This area was once an industrial zone, but is now home to a plethora of mid-range hotels. These serve both visiting corporate clients and those looking to check Perth's inner-city vibe close-up.
The best of that vibe is found in the district just north of the CBD – Northbridge. This small area is the city's entertainment and nightlife district, and has a very different feel to the CBD. Alternative bars, clubs and restaurants complement nicely its boutique hotels, backpacker hostels and guest-houses. And for boom-town Perth, the room rates in Northbridge are relatively fair.
West Perth changes the tempo again. This area is still close to the CBD, but borders the mammoth wild-flower paradise (in spring at least) of King's Park. There is a scatter of eclectic, luxury and budget hotels in the suburbs around this park, which provides a wonderful backdrop. One thing none of the districts back onto, however, is the sea. The Swan River runs through much of town, but most of the inner city is several miles inland.
So if you want accommodation with a sea view, head south-west to the free-and-easy port of Freemantle. This town has preserved much of its long history, with museums, warehouses and turn-of-the-century houses. The hotels and guest-houses here are, as a result, a mixed bunch. Seaside B&Bs and backpacker hostels mix with business hotels and top-end apartment complexes.
The best beaches in Perth, though, are to the north, at Scarborough Beach. As Perth's surfing capital, Scarborough Beach has its fair share of low-priced budget lodgings, together with beach hotels and family-friendly spa resorts. So while the rest of Perth is busy riding the crest of its mining boom, here is the ideal place to catch a different wave, courtesy of the Indian Ocean's restless energy.