After more than two years in isolation: Australia is again an accessible dream destination. Instead of starting a tour of the fifth continent in Sydney, you should land in Perth first – this has many advantages.
Perth is closer than you think. Not only because of new non-stop flights from London and Rome to the Western Australian metropolis, which the Qantas Dreamliner covers in just under 16 hours. Even if you fly from Frankfurt to Singapore in the afternoon, you’ll land in the city-state early in the morning. The connecting flight to Perth takes only four hours – which is less than a flight from Hamburg to the Canary Islands.
Since Singapore and Perth are in the same time zone, the difference is only six hours. The time difference is no more than a flight from Germany to New York, you just have to put the clock forward instead of back. On the other hand, if you have booked a reverse connection to Sydney or Melbourne, you can spend two consecutive nights on the plane and get on your wheels accordingly.
Perth has long been overshadowed by Australia’s major cities on the east and south coasts. But this has changed radically over the past ten years. The city on the wide Swan River has rediscovered its advantageous location on the water: around the square water basin, Elizabeth Quay, a promenade with restaurants, bars and works of art, was built, including high-rise apartment buildings and the first Was surrounded by new hotels. The Ritz-Carlton in Australia.
Perth and the mining boom
In the past, it was mainly business people who traveled to Perth, which pushed up prices for some accommodation. “But the mining boom changed everything,” says Tiana Anderson of Tourism Western Australia. Like hardly any other place in Australia, Perth has benefited from the booming mining of iron ore and its export to China from the Pilbara and Kimberley regions.
“A new law requires mining companies to invest part of their profits in the city,” says Tiana. Thus came into existence not only the skyscrapers of raw materials companies such as Rio Tinto, BHP and Fortescue Metals Group, but also new hotels and extensive renovation projects of historic buildings.
A symbol of the new Perth is the revitalization of the 1870 State Building, empty for 35 years, now with a hotel, restaurant and bar in the former post office counter area.
The expansion of the Western Australia Museum Boola Bardeep, which was completed in November 2020 and cost the equivalent of 260 million euros, is considered an architectural landmark. Pritzker Prize winner Rem Koolhaas and his Office for Metropolitan Architecture from Rotterdam could be won over to superstructure the existing building.
Rottnest Island, Roti oder Wadjemp
But Perth also means beaches and nature. In the suburb of Cottesloe Beach, even in mild winters, swimmers take to the waters of the Indian Ocean. On the horizon, container ships entering the port of Freemantle are anchored. From the deep-sea port of the old port city with its historic buildings, ferries travel in a 30-minute journey to the offshore island of Rottnest, one of the most popular destinations in the west.
The eleven kilometer long and four kilometer wide island is car free and is famous for quokkas. These little bunny-sized kangaroos are affectionate, have become a popular selfie on Instagram, and wander around restaurants looking for some food. But signs state: “Don’t feed the locals” – meaning seagulls and quokkas.
Sighted by Dutch sailors as early as the 17th century, Rottnest Island – hence the name, as quokkas were believed to be a species of rat – has become an attractive travel destination within Western Australia over the past two pandemic years, even That the borders between different states were also closed.
Many of today’s family and bicycle-friendly “breads” of pine and palm trees, cabins, campgrounds and some hotel rooms also have a dark chapter: from 1838 to the 1930s, the Wadjemp, as the aborigines called it, 3700 There was a prison island for Aborigines, and in both world wars the island served as an internment camp. The cemetery and Wadjemp Museum are reminders of this.
relocation to the east coast
If you want to travel further within the country, you usually have to rely on a plane because of the size if you want to avoid sitting in a train or car for days. In contrast to the current situation at many airports in Europe, things are more relaxed at Australian airports. Liquids, including bottles of wine, have also been allowed to be carried in hand luggage for years.
From late 2021, after a Qantas jet lands at Sydney airport, it’s not only “Welcome to Sydney”, but Qantas staff have struck a new note and started an announcement with the sentence: “I would like to Meet the traditional owner of… Landes, the Gadigal people of the Era Nation and their past, present and future leaders,” says the flight attendant as the plane taxis to the gate. Time.
The city itself grows, especially where building land is scarce and expensive. Closer to downtown, between the famous Harbor Bridge and Darling Harbour’s viewpoint, a new district is emerging: Barangaroo, named after an 18th-century Aboriginal woman famous for her resistance to colonists.
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The Crown, the city’s tallest building at 271 metres, is already completed. The tower, rotated 60 degrees, housed expensive apartments, a 350-room hotel and a casino behind a glass façade and changed Sydney’s skyline.
At the foot of the new landmark was the Waterfront, a consumer mile with 90 restaurants and shops. During lunch breaks, employees stream down to the water from nearby offices and sit with their snacks in the sun on boulders on the shore. And in the evenings, the nightlife of Darling Harbor has already shifted further north, to Barangaroo.
The same applies to elsewhere in Australia: there are hardly any tourists from Europe anymore. Mark Holmes, general manager of Crown Towers, says, “Except for some Singaporeans. But since the test requirement for re-entry was removed there, we are again registering bookings from the USA.”
Jobbing, Traveling and Surfing
In restaurants and hotels, as is the case everywhere, there is a shortage of service staff. But in Australia, the pandemic was made more difficult by the fact that skilled workers from overseas were linked to one employer by a sponsor and could not switch if they were at risk of job loss and had to leave the country .
In other sectors too, such as agriculture, there is a shortage of young people who have worked in the fields and explored the continent with a working holiday visa. Before Corona, 250,000 backpackers aged between 18 and 30 in particular supported the Australian economy and tourism every year.
“It will take three years for the work and travel staff to re-settle,” says Stephen Beck, chef at the Crown Hotel. Responsible for the staff of nine restaurants.
It was not for nothing that the Australian government was the first to make work and travel possible again in February after a long lockdown and even offered the possibility of reimbursement of visa fees for the first few months as an incentive. If it’s not an invitation.
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