Thursday, 15 May 2014

Perth Day 5 - Free City Buses & Architecture Walk

Architect of Eyesore and Eye Candy.


Perth is a small and quiet city. This means fewer sightseeing. This smallness is also its strength. Small cities usually imply friendly locals, clean environment, less tourist crowd (no long queues, crowd in your photos, and peaceful), and much less costly to travel. All this is true for Perth. Especially the last point.

There's no such thing as a free lunch, but in Perth there's free buses. At least if you want to ride the buses within the city limit that's called the FTZ (Free Transit Zone), it's all free. Every single bus.

In addition to this, there're the 4 CAT buses that run the Red, Blue, Yellow and Green bus routes within the city. These CAT buses are also free and are designed with city workers, and I suspect, tourists in mind. They are like Hop-On Hop-Off buses that run by the Perth city for free. I reckon they're much more convenient and providing more services than Hop-On Hop-Off. Let me explain.

Alternatively, you can go to the following website to look up the official timetables.

But if you have a smart phone or tablet that have data roaming, you can view the following page for live update of buses, and know exactly where they are on the routes, and planning your trip on the go.

While I was using it, this page isn't stable. They say they're working on it. Hopefully it will be more stable in the future.

Perth city showing St Georges Terrace and Barrack St

Council House, Perth, WA, Australia
Council House
27 St Georges Terrace
As far as government building goes, while this Council House isn't exactly an eye candy in miniskirt, at least it ain't an eye sore like several other government buildings in the city that I will gladly point them out to you.

Unlike some government buildings that put on a serious stern bureaucratic look, this one is dressed in a veneer of smart casual, which are in fact sun-breakers or cool looking shades. At night, it even puts on on a party dress in on rainbow colour. Groovy!

It's an office building now, but still retains the name Council House to remind its previous owner of Perth's City Council. No, council house isn't government housing as one would understandably misunderstood. I think they prefer House over Building, which is a tad colder.

Some people don't like the look of this building. Well, beauty is in the eye of the holder of camera. And I was the one left with holding the camera.

Council House, Perth, WA, Australia
Council House at night
The muliticolour coat isn't static, but in fact a light show. I have no idea how long it lasts, or what stories it's trying to tell. I didn't stick long enough to find out (the night was cold). Various displays of light pattern are projected onto the building continuously throughout the night.

Speaking of eyesore, just 2 doors down the street (with Government House in between) is the Perth's Concert Hall, which also designed by the same firm Howlett and Bailey Architects. One is in Modernist style and the other is in Brutalist. And man, it's quite brutal (to the eyes).

Perth Concert Hall, WA, Australia
Perth Concert Hall
5 St Georges Terrace
Haven't seen the interior, but the exterior is uninspiring with its grey depressing concrete slabs, and somewhat austere façade. It looks better at night when the bright coloured lights transform its exterior into a more cheerful look.

Opposite the Council House is the St Georges Cathedral that gave this street its name.

St Georges Cathedral, Perth, WA, Australia
St Georges Cathedral Anglican
38 St Georges Terrace
It's always tricky to combine modern art with traditional building. Remember how much controversy there was when they put I.M. Pei's glass pyramid over the entrance of the Louvre? Of course, the pyramid is an ancient idea / shape with modern interpretation. Similarly, in St Georges Cathedral, a modern rendition of the Ascalon is being placed at the corner near the main entrance of the cathedral.

the Ascalon sculpture of St Georges Cathedral Anglican
the Ascalon sculpture of St Georges Cathedral Anglican

the pews and stained glass windows of St Georges Cathedral Anglican, Perth, WA, Australia
the pews and stained glass windows
the pulpit and the cross, St Georges Cathedral Anglican, Perth, WA, Australia
the pulpit and the cross

Next to the Council House and opposite the St Georges Cathedral is the Stirling Gardens. For passing tourists, few could resist taking photos with one of the 5 bronze Kangaroos in the City that stand outside the Gardens. It's a bit of an icon for Perth.

Kangaroos in the City outdoor sculpture, Perth, WA, Australia
Kangaroos in the City outdoor sculpture

Speaking of icon, I think the Bell Tower would qualify. It stands strategically at Barrack Square located at the southern end of Barrack St. As you stroll southwards along Barrack St, you're graced with this majestic structure like some futuristic cathedral with its spire or some mad scientist lightning rod attracting lightning from the sky.

The Swan Bells or the Bell Tower, Perth, WA, Australia
The Swan Bells or the Bell Tower, Perth, WA, Australia

The Swan Bells or the Bell Tower, Perth, WA, Australia
The Swan Bells or the Bell Tower, Perth, WA, Australia
Outside the Bell Tower is a metal fence that hung with love locks. This tradition has been around only recently (less than a few decades), and it has been spreading. For example another one such fence that's heavily decorated with love-locks is on a bridge in Paris called Pont de Arts.

Love locks at the Bells Tower, Perth, WA, Australia
Love locks at the Bells Tower

Every capital city in Australia has a city mall with pedestrian walkway in the city centre. This is a place for shoppers to do shopping, especially and street artists to ply their trades. Sydney has Pitt Street Mall, Melbourne has Burke Street Mall, and Perth is no exception, it has Hay Street Mall with several arcades running off it.

Hay Street Mall, Perth, WA, Australia
Hay Street Mall

The Hay Street Mall is bounded by Barrack and William Streets. As you walk along this pedestrian walkway, which is lined with the usual shops on both sides, and suddenly a Tudor / Elizabethan architecture come into view that seems to be quite delightfully out of place. It turns out to be the London Court shopping arcade. If you walk through it, you'll end up in St Georges Terrace.

London Court entrance at St Georges Terrace, Perth, WA, Australia
London Court entrance at St Georges Terrace

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