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Perth is probably the most outdoorsy of all Aussie cities. The climate, Perth's brilliant setting along both the Swan River and the Indian Ocean, and the abundance of parkland mean that it's almost obligatory to get outside and enjoy the sun and fresh air. One of Perth's great advantages is that virtually the entire river and seafront is public land; everyone can stroll, cycle, or picnic along the waterfront -- and they do.

 Perth is a sunshine capital with a wonderful Mediterranean climate that gives it more hours of sun than any other major city in Australia from October right through to April. It's also home to a thousand mining and exploration companies, which bring a touch of the Outback to the city. All these facts give Perth a youthful, energetic vibrancy. It has a superb position alongside a broad stretch of the Swan River, and its tall silver buildings glint in a brilliantly blue sky, while a sparkling ocean and glorious white beaches are just a bus ride from downtown. It's a friendly city; partly because of the outdoor openness, partly it's the Outback influence, and then there's a high proportion of migrants attracted by the climate and the lifestyle. There's much to do here, though the city center tends to be rather dead once the shops close. Wander through the restored historic warehouses, museums, and working docks of bustling Fremantle; stock up at the Aboriginal art and souvenir stores; visit art galleries and museums; eat at some of the country's best restaurants; enjoy the riverside parks and gardens; catch a few waves at one of the beaches; bushwalk through a 400-hectare (1,000-acre) park in the middle of the city; and pedal your bike to a great snorkeling spot on Rottnest Island, a miniature reef resort 19km (12 miles) offshore.

More than most other Aussie capitals, Perth gives you good choices of side trips: Drop in on the Benedictine monks in the Spanish Renaissance monastery town of New Norcia, nip out to the Swan Valley vineyards, or spend a few days in Margaret River country, one of Australia's top wine regions.

Perth's climate is pleasant throughout the year. Most visitors focus on the brilliant summer months of December through March, with lots of sun, sea, and sand, though the sea breeze can get (annoyingly) strong. The winter months of June to August can be cold and rainy but still average 6 hours of sun a day, while the in-between times of April to May and September to November are often superb with mild, fine, still days.