Most of the two and a half million people who live in Western Australia reside in the sophisticated and scenic state capital. Perth grew on the banks of the Swan River, named after the Scottish city of the same name, and was proclaimed by Queen Victoria as a city in 1856. The discovery of gold in Kalgoorlie and Coolgardie, to the east of the city, in the 1890s led to a dramatic rise in its population and an economic boom. Another boom followed in the 1960s courtesy of iron ore and nickel.
Today the city is characterised by numerous waterways, green parks and a compact central business district. There is plenty to occupy visitors in Perth, including touring the city by tram or bus, enjoying water sports on the Swan River, or just sipping a glass of the famous local wine in a riverside or beachside restaurant. Perth is said to have more restaurants per capita than any other Australian city. Not far from the city is Western Australia's oldest wine-growing region, Swan Valley, which welcomes tourists to visit the many award-winning family-owned wineries, which offer alfresco and restaurant meals and cellar tastings.
Perth is also the site of the world's oldest operating mint, and boasts several museums and art galleries, historic buildings, a casino and a good variety of shopping opportunities. Last, but not least, the city offers more than 50 miles (80km) of white sandy beaches. Among the most popular are Cottesloe and Scarborough.