East Perth is where you’ll find the Western Australian Cricket Association oval, known colloquially as the WACA (pronounced ‘Wacka’), where cricket matches entertain the crowds over the summer months. Gloucester Park Raceway, with night harness horseracing on Friday nights, is nearby. Once the dead end of town – except when night matches or race meets lit up the night sky – East Perth is now an enclave of offices and hip inner-city apartments. There are two historically significant sites in this precinct, the Perth Mint and Queens Gardens.
The mint’s imposing facade was built in 1899 from Rottnest Island limestone, and is one of the best examples of Perth’s gold-boom architecture. Here at Australia’s oldest operating mint you can see the world’s largest collection of natural gold specimens, including the ‘Golden Beauty’, a 11.5-kilogram nugget. Visitors can hold a 400-ounce gold bar, mint their own coins, take a guided tour and watch gold being poured. 310 Hay St (cnr Hill St), East Perth; (08) 9421 7277; open 9am–5pm Mon–Fri, 9am–1pm Sat–Sun and public holidays.
The serene, English-style Queens Gardens feature a tranquil water garden complete with a replica of the famous Peter Pan statue that graces London’s Kensington Gardens. These gardens were originally clay pits, where bricks were kilned for use in early colonial buildings such as the Perth Town Hall. Cnr Hay and Plain sts.
Across Hale Street from Queens Gardens is the WACA, the home of the state’s cricket team, the Western Warriors. True lovers of the sport should visit the WACA’s cricket museum .