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Australians think of Adelaide as a city of churches, but Adelaide has outgrown its reputation as a sleepy country town dotted with cathedrals and spires. The Adelaide of this millennium is infinitely more complex, with a large, multiethnic population and thriving urban art and music scenes supported by a "space activation program" that encourages pop-up shops, markets, performances, street food, mini festivals, art exhibitions, and other "off-the-cuff" experiences in the cities underutilized streets and public spaces.Bright and clean, leafy and beautiful Adelaide is a breeze to explore, with a grid pattern of streets encircled by parkland. The heart of the greenbelt is divided by the meandering River Torrens, which passes the Festival Centre in its prettiest stretch.
Proclaimed a city on July 1, 1998, Albany with a population of 28,000 is rapidly expanding. It is the commercial center of Western Australia's southern region and the oldest settlement in the state, established in 1826. Boasting an excellent harbor on King George Sound led to Albany becoming a thriving whaling port. Later, when steam ships started traveling between England and Australia, Albany was an important coaling station and served as a penal and a military outpost. The coastline offers some of Australia's most rugged and spectacular scenery. At certain times of the year, whales can be spotted off the coast. Among the city's attractions are some fine old colonial buildings that reflect Albany's Victorian heritage. Various lookout points offer stunning vistas.
The port city of Fremantle is a jewel in Western Australia's crown, largely because of its colonial architectural heritage and hippy vibe. Freo (as the locals call it) is a city of largely friendly, interesting, and sometimes eccentric residents supportive of busking, street art, and alfresco dining. Like all great port cities, Freo is cosmopolitan, with mariners from all parts of the world strolling the streets—including thousands of U.S. Navy personnel on rest and recreation throughout the year. It's also a good jumping-off point for a day trip to Rottnest Island, where lovely beaches, rocky coves, and unique wallaby-like inhabitants called quokkas set the scene.Modern Fremantle is a far cry from the barren, sandy plain that greeted the first wave of English settlers back in 1829 at the newly constituted Swan River Colony. Most were city dwellers, and after five months at sea in sailing ships they landed on salt-marsh flats that sorely tested their fortitude. Living in tents with packing cases for chairs, they found no edible crops, and the nearest freshwater was a distant 51 km (32 miles)—and a tortuous trip up the waters of the Swan. As a result they soon moved the settlement upriver to the vicinity of present-day Perth.Fremantle remained the principal port, and many attractive limestone buildings were built to service the port traders. Australia's 1987 defense of the America's Cup—held in waters off Fremantle—triggered a major restoration of the colonial streetscapes. In the leafy suburbs nearly every other house is a restored 19th-century gem.
|Breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks in a choice of included dining venues|
|Use of swimming pools, hot tubs, fitness centre and leisure facilities where available|
|Tea and coffee in seleted venues|
|Butler service in all suites|
|Shuttle service to and from ports and airport where available|