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From The Editors Travel

The Best of Perth, Australia | Top 10 Attractions

The Australian city of Perth ranks fourth among the most populous cities in the continent country and is the capital of the state of Western Australia.

Founded in 1829 by Captain James Stirling, Perth has come a long way since. Today, this city on the southwestern coast of Australia is a prosperous, sprawling metropolis basking in its financial glory.

Perth owes its affluence to a continuing mining windfall in the state since late last century, emerging as the main service center for this booming Western Australia industry involved in mining gold, diamonds, iron ore, coal, gas and more.

Add to it, a wonderful climate, amazing ocean and river beaches, great shopping, fine restaurants, elegant boutiques and a plethora fun activities – right from sailing and surfing to swimming and fishing – and you have the recipe for a world-class city.

It is not for no reason that Perth is constantly ranked as one of the most liveable cities in the world.

From the tourist’s perspective, as well, Perth affords everything that makes an awesome holiday destination.

Let’s take a look at some of the main attractions, landmarks and fun activities this Down Under destination boasts.

KINGS PARK

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Spread over 1000 acres of prime real estate, the Kings Park in Perth is larger than New York’s Central Park. It is home to lush parkland, botanical gardens, and natural bushland atop Mount Eliza, with two-thirds of the grounds preserved as native bushland.

The park is a great vantage point offering amazing views of the Swan River and Darling Range as well as the city itself.

The largest inner city park in the world, Kings Park is home to hundreds of indigenous plant and fungi species as well as at least 80 bird species.

Also housed within the grounds are the State War Memorial and the Royal Kings Park Tennis club.

The Kings Park Festival, held in September every year, is the largest wildflower exhibition in Australia attracting huge crowds of tourists and citizens alike.

HILLARYS BOAT HARBOR

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Hillarys Boat Harbour is the ultimate marina and tourist enclave around 20 km north–west of Perth. It’s is an excellent family spot with fine restaurants, shops, attractions and some great fun activities to indulge in.

The Aquarium of Western Australia, housed within the marina, is an amazing place to spend some quality fun time with family and friends. It is home to more than 200 species of marine life including sharks, dolphins, and manta rays. A glass underwater tunnel makes for some great viewing of these wondrous creatures.

Calm, pristine beaches and walking paths make it an excellent spot for leisurely strolls and picnics or just to laze around and enjoy the surroundings.

Mid-September to November-end is the whale migration season and the best time of the year to watch Humpback whales swim the waters of the harbor. Hillarys Boat Harbour is the departure point for the extremely popular whale-watching cruises – the best way to watch these gentle giants of the ocean in their elements.

CAVERSHAM WILDLIFE PARK

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The Caversham Wildlife Park is not more than a half hour drive from the city. It’s a delightful place for animal lovers and an excellent family spot.

The Park is home to some of Australia’s unique and iconic wildlife species including kangaroos, koalas, kookaburras, echidnas, and wombats.

Housed within the Caversham Park is Molly’s Farm with its friendly, cuddly bunch of barn animals that children especially enjoy.

SWAN VALLEY

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At a distance of 14 km from Perth’s central business district, the Swan Valley is located in the upper reaches of the Swan River.

Travelling to this scenic farming region, home to some of the finest vineyards in the country, can be as much fun as the place itself.

A relaxing ferry cruise up the Swan River is one way of reaching the fertile Swan Valley, enjoying some awesome scenery all the way.
Guildford is the main hub of the Swan Valley region – a charming place with elegant 19th-century architecture and fine restaurants.

Don’t forget to enjoy a cup or two of Devonshire tea – a specialty the place is known for.

The area is also famous for its art galleries and antique furniture stores.

While you are at it, don’t forget to sample some of the farm produce and artisan foods the region is known for, including grapes, melons, strawberries, citrus fruits, nougat, cheese, honey, strawberries, nuts

PERTH ZOO

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Spread over 41 acres of land, about three kilometers away from the city, the Perth Zoo is home to some 1300 animals belonging to more than 160 species.

The Australian Bushwalk and Wetlands exhibits in the Perth Zoo are home to almost all the major Australians of the wildlife world, if you will, including all the favorites such as kangaroos, wallabies, Tasmanian devils, wombats, and platypus.

Other exhibits in the zoo will take you to different ecosystems of the world, including giraffes at the African Savannah, pygmy marmosets in the South American primate exhibit, orangutans in the Asian rainforest, and more.

AVIATION HERITAGE MUSEUM

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Located 15 km south of Perth, the Aviation History Museum boasts fascinating displays of over 30 aircraft and thousands of civil and military aviation artifacts.

Even if you are not an avid aircraft fan, you will be impressed with the way the displays trace the evolution of aircraft over the decades – right from WWI era planes to present-day supersonic jets.

It is worth the additional fee to book a personal tour of a Dakota C-47, a Spitfire Mark XXII or a Lancaster bomber

ART GALLERY OF WESTERN AUSTRALIA

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Housed within the Perth Cultural Center, not far from the Museum of WA and the State Library of WA, the Art Gallery of Western Australia boasts a supreme collection of art, both Australian and International.

Post-WWII works by Australian masters such as Albert Tucker, Russell Drysdale, Arthur Boyd, Grace Cossington Smith, Sidney Nolan, and Arthur Streeton are just a few of the stockpile of art the gallery houses.

The Indigenous-art galleries hold their own in works ranging from canvasses to sculpture and bark painting from the likes of Christopher Pease, Phyllis Thomas, Rover Thomas, and Angilya Mitchell, to name a few.

YANCHEP NATIONAL PARK

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About 55 km north of Perth you will find the Yanchep Nation Park – a bushland and wetland, basically – home to western gray kangaroos, koalas, and emus. A variety of bird species, including the cockatoo, also thrives in this nature reserve.

“Wild About Walking” is a free brochure outlining nine walking trails, including the twenty-minute Dwerta Mia walk and the four-day Coastal Plain walk.

One of the many trails is a raised 240-meter Koala Boardwalk through trees inhabited by koalas.

The park is also known for its wonderful caves, including the underground Crystal Cave of stalactites and stalagmites.

On Saturday and Sunday, local Noongar guides run excellent tours highlighting their culture and tradition, the importance of the park’s plants and animals. Spear and boomerang demonstrations are also included.

PENGUIN ISLAND

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Not too far south off the coast of Perth, about 45 minutes away, lies Penguin Island, known for its white sand beaches and surrounding crystal clear waters of the Indian Ocean.

The island is home to a thriving colony of at least 1200 penguins, believed to be the largest population of the bird in Western Australia.

You can join a cruise to see wild dolphins, the rare Australian sea lions, and marvel at the wondrous beauty of this amazing location.

ADVENTURE WORLD

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Located in Bibra Lake, about 20 km from the Perth’s central business district, Adventure World was called “Edgley’s Adventure World” when it opened in 1982. It is fabulous spot to spend a day with family or friends enjoying some of the most thrilling rides you can imagine.

The theme park is a seasonal attraction open from September 21 to April.

(Source: Google, Planetware, Lonely Planet)

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From The Editors Science

Breakthrough in Night Vision Technology by Australian Scientists

The Australian National University (ANU) Scientists have made a pioneering breakthrough by creating a nanocrystal supposed to be 500 times smaller than the human hair and has shown the ability to convert darkness into visible light, is the simplest way to describe the discovery that involved fifteen years of research.

The discovery may be in its fledgling stage but has the potential to revolutionize night time vision technology, in that, they can replace the cumbersome and rather bulky night vision Goggles, in use currently, into a regular set of glasses in addition to its capacity for other uses as well.

According to Professor Dragomir Neshev of the ANU, “The nanocrystals are so small they could be fitted to normal eyeglasses to enable night vision.”

What this, basically, means is that the nanocrystal can be incorporated into your normal prescribed glasses, or even zero-power lenses, by simply adding it as an extremely thin layer over the glasses enabling night vision.

The professor added, “This tiny device could have other exciting uses including bank notes, imaging cells for medical applications and holograms”.

So, what exactly is a nanocrystal? Scientifically accepted as a material particle with a minimum of one dimension smaller than 100 nanometers, a ‘nanoparticle’ is made up of atoms in a single or poly-crystalline arrangement according to Wikipedia’s explanation.

Researchers at ANU have developed a nanocrystal that could allow for night vision technology to be applied to a conventional pair of glasses(Credit:Stuart Hay, ANU)
Researchers at ANU have developed a nanocrystal that could allow for night vision technology to be applied to a conventional pair of glasses.(Credit:Stuart Hay, ANU)

Co-researcher Dr. Mohsen Rahmani who happens to be the recipient of the Australian Research Council (ARC) Discovery Early Career Researcher Award based at the Australia National University (ANU) Research School of Physics and Engineering says, “These semiconductor nanocrystals can transfer the highest intensity of light and engineer complex light beams that could be used with a laser to project a holographic image in modern displays,”

The basic concept, which took 15 years of research work to prove, that the new nanocrystal has the ability to change the light in three important and possible ways: the intensity of light, the shape of light, and the color of light. What this means is, with the combination of the three, very low levels of light like night time and dark places can be converted into visibility.

“This is the first time anyone has been able to achieve this feat because growing a nano semiconductor on a transparent material is very difficult,” said Ms. Camacho-Morales from the Nonlinear Physics Centre at ANU.

The Night Vision Device (NVD), which is currently in use, is a complex process which enables visibility in levels of light near total darkness. The image produced is typically monochrome, e.g. shades of green. NVDs are most often used by the military and law enforcement agencies but are available to civilian users as well.

Night Vision Devices (NVDs) comes as a unit complete with an image intensifier tube, a protective water resistant covering or ‘housing’ and a mounting system. Other components that come along with the NVD unit include optical apparatus like a ‘sacrificial lens’ or telescopic lenses. It may also come with an Infra Red illuminator which will make it an active instead of a passive night vision device (NVD).

However, all this may change with the new ANU discovery, which is still very much at its nascent stage, hopefully not in the too distant future especially its application in the medical field.