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Perth, Australia – San Diego’s West Coast Sister City



Sister Cities International was launched in 1956 by Dwight D. Eisenhower. He felt that forging partnerships between cities across the world would help connect people at the community level, to forge lasting international relationships, and foster trust, resulting in a more united world.

More than 2,000 US cities participate in the Sister Cities network and San Diego is among them. The city entered into its first Sister City Agreement with Yokohama, Japan in 1957. Since then, it has partnered with more cities around the world, and today, San Diego has 16 sister cities, spread over every continent.

It’s fair to say that some of the sisters seem a little random, but that’s not the case with San Diego’s sole sister in Australasia. Perth is located on Australia’s sun-kissed West Coast and as you gaze out to watch the sun set beneath the Indian Ocean, you could easily be fooled into thinking you were looking out across the Pacific.

How to get to Perth

It is possible to fly from San Diego to Perth, but most travelers find it easiest to simply drive to LAX and take a flight from there. There are several options, all of which involve at least one layover. Most are via Melbourne and keep in mind that the first leg involves a flight time of between 14 and 15 hours, while the second leg takes around five hours.

A return flight is somewhere in the range of $2,200 to $2,600 in economy. Business class is in the $11,000 to $12,000 range, so a good compromise could be the Qantas Premium Economy cabin, which works out between $6,000 and $6,500 depending on dates.

If you’ve time on your hands and want a truly unique experience, Princess Cruises has a number of options ranging from 52 to more than 100 nights that depart from Los Angeles and take in Perth.

A range of accommodation options

Just like San Diego, Perth has plenty of options when it comes to finding a place to stay, and there is something for every taste and budget. Most people recommend the Central Business District for first-timers, as it places you in easy reach of all the main attractions. If you go with this option, you can manage without a rental car and make use of public transport – in fact, it’s recommended, as unless you stay somewhere that has parking facilities, the car can be more of a burden than it is worth.

A tempting alternative is Fremantle. Once a separate town, Freo is now more like a southern suburb of Perth, but it still has its own distinct vibe and is a lot of fun. The Esplanade Hotel has a worldwide reputation, and despite the 4.5 stars, there are some good deals to be had if you time it right.

Anyone traveling on a budget should seriously consider Perth’s extensive choice of hostels. The great thing about them is the variety. Some check all the boxes that the word “hostel” conjures, with shared dormitories and plenty of backpackers. However, others have private bedrooms with en suite bathrooms and are essentially similar to US budget hotels, but with shared kitchens and common rooms.

Great nightlife for casino gamers

Both Perth and Fremantle boast some memorable night spots, whether you are looking for a quiet drink, a thumping night club or something in between. But perhaps the best of them all is almost exactly midway between the two, just to the south of the Swan River that serves as the official Perth / Fremantle border.

The Perth Crown is one of the top casinos in all of Australia. Australians have a passion for pokies – the local name for slot games – and you will see them at pubs, truck stops, and, of course online. The CasinoAus website can provide more details about that side of casino gaming in Australia at However, the Crown has all the pokies you can imagine, 2,000+ at the last count, and there are also all the usual table games like blackjack, baccarat, and roulette, plus four types of poker – ideal for visitors from the poker capital of the USA!

An intriguing Naval history

With thousands of miles of ocean to one side and thousands of miles of outback to the other, it should come as no surprise that Perth has a strong and proud seafaring history. In fact, Fremantle’s origin is the port area that served the city.

The Shipwreck Galleries on Cliff Street and the Maritime Museum on Victoria Quay are both essential places to visit if you want to really understand the city’s roots. Exhibits cover four centuries, from artifacts from the Batavia, which was wrecked just off the coast of Perth in 1628 to the HMAS Ovens, an Oberon-class submarine that was used by the Australian Navy from 1967 to 1995.

Stunning nature on Rottnest Island

Australian flora and fauna is like nothing else on Earth. There are numerous possibilities for exploring nature in and around Perth, but arguably the best destination of all is Rottnest Island. The 90-minute ferry journey is an experience in itself, and on arrival, you will be struck by the gorgeous turquoise color of the water.

Rottnest is home to an amazing variety of wildlife, but its most famous inhabitant is the quokka. This is a small marsupial, similar to a wallaby but about the size of a domestic cat. The island is also a perfect place to catch sight of Australia’s famous fur seals and sea lions.

Close sisters 9,300 miles apart

There is a thrill to visiting any of San Diego’s sister cities. But few give the same feeling of a genuine familial relationship as Perth. 9,300 miles is a long way, but distance is only a number where family is concerned!

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