Despite being more than 2,000 miles from any other urban area, Perth doesn’t feel particularly isolated. A clean and prosperous place of some 2 million inhabitants, it seems like a city of the future. Perth was founded in 1829, but not much happened until the 1890s and the discovery of gold. The exploitation of Western Australia’s enormous mineral resources in the ’70s began a cycle of growth that continues. This affluence is especially noticeable in new upscale developments such as Brookfield Place, with its luxury shops and varied restaurants.
The city boasts a vibrant arts and entertainment life, pristine beaches and a genial, multicultural population. Within the city proper, Kings Park is a green wonderland, with bike paths and majestic skyline views, plus a host of galleries and museums. Nearby Fremantle is an artsy enclave and a mecca for yachtsmen. Twenty-five miles from Perth center, Swan Valley is home to numerous wineries, as well as galleries focused on Aboriginal art.
I spent a pleasant and enriching afternoon at the Perth Cultural Centre, which is home to both the Western Australian Museum (James Street, Tel.  1300-134-081) and the Art Gallery of Western Australia (Perth Cultural Centre, Roe Street; Tel.  8-9492-6622). The WAM is currently under renovations until 2020.
While both are of note, I really loved strolling through AGWA, which was founded in 1895. The extent of the holdings is impressive. These are set in chronological groupings called, for example, “Your Collection 1960 – 1980,” which gives visitors an opportunity to observe changes in artistic style and taste. I especially enjoyed the integration of indigenous art into the galleries.