Quirks of Perth - What’s Different in WA
The biggest state in Australia is bound to have her fair share of idiosyncrasies. These quirks may be niggly, annoying, or a welcome perk for locals, but one thing’s for sure - it gives us travellers more to see and experience!
So what are some of these quirks, you wonder? We’re glad you asked! We at CheapTickets.sg have put together a list of curiosities that lie beneath the gleaming exterior of Western Australia. Some may be familiar to locals, while some may surprise even the most seasoned Perthie - but rest assured that each of these quirks will be more jaw-dropping up close. Prepare for a bundle of surprises from the already eclectic city-state, and read on!
The Origins of Rottnest Island
Bring up the wildlife in Western Australia, and most locals and tourists will wax lyrical about the friendly quokkas that have set up residence in Rottnest Island. However, public opinion on these lovely critters was not always great, which brings us to the story of how the island gained its name.
A long time ago in the 17th century, a Dutch explorer by the name of Williem de Vlamingh set foot on an island off the shores of ‘Southland’. He was not the first explorer to land on this island, but he was clearly the most surprised when he met the quokkas for the first time, mistaking them for ‘giant rats’ and christening the island 't Eylandt 't Rottenest, or “Rat’s Nest Island”. Given how amicable these quokkas are, it’d be safe to assume that a massive misunderstanding must have led to the naming process - or a phobia of some sort!
What’s Pretty in Pink, and Perfect for Summer?
Most of us would think of popsicles, or cotton candy. While both of these sweet treats will be available in abundance in Western Australian beaches, they’ve done one better - an entire pink lagoon. No artificial dyes or fancy optical illusions, just Australian geological magic!
These natural phenomena can be found at Hutt Lagoon, a lake north of Perth full of halobacteria and dunaliella salina algae. These organisms are colored a natural red, giving the water its distinctive pink shade. However, given the briney conditions required for them to thrive, the color of these waters can change throughout the seasons. Check with local guides to figure out when Hutt Lagoon unveils its boldest shades of pink, and plan your trip accordingly so you can get the views you desire!
There’s Treasure in the Wild Wild West!
Finding treasure in a faraway land is the stuff of old wives’ tales - unless if you’re talking about Western Australia! Looking for gold? The Boddington Gold Mine and the Super Pit are the two largest gold mines in the world, and they both sit in Western Australia. But what if you prefer diamonds to gold? No problem - WA is also home to Australia’s largest (and the world’s fourth-largest) diamond mine, the Argyle mines in the Kimberley region. Perhaps you yearn for another statement of luxe, like pearls? Broome is home to Australia’s oldest pearl producers, packing 150 years of oyster hunting and seeding.
Unfortunately, most of the good stuff isn’t just lying around anymore, with big corporations controlling most mines that exist today. However, remnants of the gold rush in Australia remain, along with the many processes that come after it.
You’ve Dug Up the Gold - Now How Do You Refine It?
So you’ve got yourself some gold ore from Perth’s massive mines - what do you get from this fine powder to the coveted bars we wish we owned today? Back in the 19th century you’d need a melting house, and Perth was home to the oldest one of them all. Originally a branch of Britain’s Royal Mint in 1899, The Perth Mint is still in operation today and hosts visitors intrigued by the universal allure of gold.
What can you expect if you’re planning to pop by the Perth Mint? Tours run by the Mint’s experienced tour guides (beginning hourly from 930am to 330pm) feature a guided heritage walk, entrance to the Mint’s gold exhibition, and a gold pouring demonstration.
The Great Australian Emu War
In the wake of World War One, the Australian government offered 5000 returning veterans land and money to start pastures anew. However, when the wheat came and it was time to harvest, these veterans faced an enemy they had never crossed swords with - a horde of emus.
The odds were stacked against these veterans - with 20000 emus, each veteran had a small family of big birds to deal with, and their knowledge of the lands did not make the task easier. Despite receiving support from the Australian military in the form of Lewis machine guns, the emus proved too cunning to eliminate. Canberra eventually withdrew their soldiers and guns, and the emus clinched a resounding victory. The people and the birds share a far more cordial relationship, but should war ever rear its ugly head, history appears to favor the winged.
One last fun fact for you - did you know that Perth is only a 5 hours flight away from Singapore? With that out of the way, there really is no reason to put off your trip to Perth any longer. Hit up our promotions for Western Australia here, and secure your fast-track to paradise today!