Your access point to the western coast of Australia, Perth is home to about 1.7 million citizens, providing a lone beacon of light pollution in a sparingly populated part of the world. For comparison's sake, the second largest city in Western Australia is Rockingham, which is about one-twentieth the size. This means that if you want to explore the natural wonders to be found on this coast and in the desert further inland from an urban area, this is it.
As is the case for many Australian cities, Perth was originally an area where aboriginal people, the Noongar, lived and was later colonized and controlled by England, who filtered convicts in to help with labor. Today, Perth is known for a significant foreign population (the British are the largest minority), high livability ratings (meaning its safe and relatively affluent), and an atmosphere that caters both to leisure and adventure activities. the city is small enough where it can be explored by foot, via a solid cycling infrastructure, or by reliable and inexpensive public transportation.
Adventure travel ideas abound in Perth, starting with easy access to the water, whether it is internationally renowned scuba diving and snorkeling, like Ningaloo Reef or Rottnest Island, or just relaxation and swimming, the most popular of which can be had locally at Cottesloe Beach. Great bush walks can be taken as close to the metropolitan area as Kings Park, which opens up onto superlative views of the city skyline, and you may even encounter the iconic kangaroos in a number of places close by (Pinnaroo Valley Memorial Park, Yanchep National Park, and Chittering Valley, to name a few). Wine aficionados need to look no further than Margaret River, a day trip to the south; although we'd much rather you prove your adventure mettle by hitting up the beaches, some of which are notable surf destinations. Then again, head into the wide-open desert lands if you're one for unique attractions like the water-less Lake Ballard or the jagged, man-sized army of rocks known as the Pinnacles in Nambung National Park.
For those who want to enjoy the nightlife, stick around Perth for your fair share of clubbing experiences and bars, which tend to concentrate in Northbridge or the central business district. Be aware though, closing time is 2pm and is well-enforced, unlike the scene you may have heard about in the larger cities of eastern Australia. More about Perth's nightlife can be found here. There are also some great outlets for cuisine, but don't expect them to be open too late when you've had a few drinks and are looking for grub, because most will be closed by 10pm. Still, it's a large city with a population that possesses varied tastes, so you'll have no trouble finding food you'll like.
In summation, Perth is the type of city that mixes the small town security and comfort of Western Australia with the big city style and swagger of more frequented Australian travel destinations like Sydney and Melbourne. It's also by far the most significant city of a million people within a 2,500 km (1,550 mile) radius, making it the most off-the-beaten-path travel destination on the planet. If you're intrigued by Western Australia, you can't do any better than to start here.