Qantas, or its subsidiary Qantaslink (tel. 13 13 13 in Australia; www.qantas.com.au), flies at least once a day from all mainland capitals as well as Broome, Kalgoorlie, and Alice Springs. It also services several other towns in Western Australia. Virgin Blue (tel. 13 67 89 in Australia; www.virginblue.com.au) flies direct from Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Brisbane, Darwin, and Broome, with connections from other cities. Jetstar (tel. 13 15 38 in Australia; www.jetstar.com) has daily flights from Sydney, with connections from Melbourne, Brisbane, and Gold Coast. Skywest (tel. 1300/660 088 in WA; www.skywest.com.au) connects Perth to many significant towns in WA, to Darwin, and to Melbourne (weekly). Tiger Airways (tel. 03/9335 3033 in Australia; www.tigerairways.com) has daily flights from Melbourne, with connections to other mainland cities.
Perth Airport is 12km (7 1/2 miles) northeast of the city. There are three main terminals: international, T1, on the east side of the facility; domestic, T2 (Qantas & Jetstar), and T3 (others) on the west. Luggage trolley hire is expensive, costing A$4 (coins needed) curbside at all terminals, and in domestic arrivals. They are free for international arrivals. Allow a minimum of 20 minutes to transfer between international and domestic terminals; using the CONNECT inter-terminal shuttle, A$8 for everyone over 5 years, though Qantas, Oneworld and Virgin Blue passengers may be eligible for free transfers. At T1, look for volunteer Customer Service Officers called "Gold Coats," who can provide assistance and information; while all terminals have WOWs (West Oz Welcomers) wearing Akubra hats.
Avis (tel. 08/9277 1177 domestic terminal, 08/9477 1302 international terminal), Budget (tel. 08/9277 9277), Europcar (tel. 08/9237 4325 domestic, 08/9237 6870 international), Hertz (tel. 08/9479 4788), and Thrifty (tel. 08/9277 1854) have desks at both terminals.
The Perth Airport CONNECT shuttle (tel. 1300/666 806 in Australia, www.perthairportconnect.com.au) aims to meet all flights within 30 to 45 minutes of Customs clearance, or luggage collection at domestic terminals. The shuttle services hotels, motels, and hostels in the city and Fremantle (where it may also operate to a private address).You need to book all Fremantle transfers and Perth to airport pick-ups. Prices are on a sliding scale depending on numbers in a group. Transfers between the international terminal and Perth cost A$18 one-way and A$30 return for one passenger, up to A$48 one-way and A$89 return for four passengers, or A$35 for families; from the domestic terminal, they cost from A$15 one-way and A$25 return for one passenger, up to A$36 one-way and A$67 return for four passengers, and A$28 for families. Fremantle prices are higher.
Public bus no. 37 runs to the city from the domestic terminal, but no buses run from the international terminal. A taxi to the city is about A$40 from the international terminal and A$32 from the domestic terminal, including a A$2 fee for picking up a taxi at the airport.
The 3-day journey to Perth from Sydney via Broken Hill, Adelaide, and Kalgoorlie aboard the Indian Pacific, operated by Great Southern Rail (tel. 13 21 47 in Australia; www.greatsouthernrail.com.au), is a great experience. It has the world's longest stretch of straight rail (over 483km/300 miles) along the Nullarbor Plain. The train runs twice a week (Sept-Nov and Jan-Mar, otherwise once a week) in each direction, and can carry your vehicle. The one-way fare ranges from A$3,450 in the spacious Platinum Service (only certain times of year), to A$2,068 in Gold Service with meals and an en-suite bathroom, to A$1,452 in comfy but cramped (if you're large or tall) Red Sleeper Service (meals cost extra, and bathrooms are shared), down to A$751 for sit-up-all-the-way Daynighter Seats (for the young budget traveler). Rail passes are available. There are connections from the Overland and Ghan trains.
All long-distance trains pull into the East Perth Terminal, Summers Street off Lord Street, East Perth. A taxi to the city center costs about A$18.
Greyhound Australia (tel. 13 14 99 in Australia) has no service from the eastern states; there's only a 3-days-a-week service from Darwin via Broome (about 62 hr.), and the full fare is about A$718. The Western Explorer Pass gives greater flexibility; it is valid for 183 days and costs A$849.
There are only two interstate routes -- the 4,310km (2,694-mile) route from Darwin via Broome in the north, and the 2,708km (1,679-mile) odyssey from Adelaide across the Nullarbor Plain. Arm yourself with up-to-date details on sightseeing and the limited accommodations before setting off.