Top Trail: The Dales, Christmas Island
All the essential ingredients for an amazing holiday can be found in Perth. Think endless beaches and ocean sunsets, new dining, shopping and cultural precincts and a lively emerging cultural scene, parks, nature reserves and marine adventures, fresh local produce and its very own wine region. Little wonder Perth's up there with the world's most liveable cities. Centring on Australia's sunniest capital city, Perth invites you to relax and enjoy the outdoor lifestyle, from city to country and river to sea. Regular flights to Perth depart from overseas, all state capitals and many regional locations. Alternatively, you can make the journey part of the adventure boarding the legendary Indian Pacific rail, taking an epic road trip across the Nullarbor, or joining a summer cruise of the coast. Take your pick of 19 pristine beaches, from iconic Cottesloe to the surf hotspot of Scarborough. Or hit the neighbouring city of Fremantle to soak up a little heritage and culture, strolling through one of the world's best preserved 19th century port streetscapes and sampling the catch of the day at the Fishing Boat Harbour. Make the short hop by ferry from Perth to Rottnest Island, a car-free and carefree Class A nature reserve blessed with some of Australia's most beautiful beaches and secluded bays. Or follow the river 45 minutes inland to taste the fruits of Western Australia's oldest wine region - the Swan Valley - touring the cellar doors, boutique breweries and providores of fine fresh produce. To the south, Rockingham and the Shoalwater Islands Marine Park offer close encounters of the marine kind, from penguins and dolphins to dive wrecks and snorkel trails. While the vibrant seaside town of Mandurah invites you to spend a day on its pretty foreshore or wide open waterways, dining or picnicking, fishing or bird watching, sailing or paddling. To the north east, the rolling hills, orchards, vineyards and pastures of the beautiful Avon Valley make for a scenic daytrip to Western Australia's first inland settlement and the river that inspired the greatest white water race - the Avon Descent.