Central business district
The central business district of Perth is bounded by the Swan River to the south and east, with Kings Park on the western end, while the railway reserve formed a northern border. A state and federally funded project named Perth City Link sunk a section of the railway line, to link Northbridge and the CBD for the first time in 100 years. The Perth Arena is a building in the city link area that has received a number of architecture awards. St Georges Terrace is the prominent street of the area with 1.3 million m2 of office space in the CBD. Hay Street and Murray Street have most of the retail and entertainment facilities. The tallest building in the city is Central Park, which is the seventh tallest building in Australia. The CBD has recently been the centre of a mining-induced boom, with several commercial and residential projects being built, including Brookfield Place, a 244 m (801 ft) office building for Anglo-Australian mining company BHP Billiton.
Geology and landforms
Perth is set on the Swan River, named for the native black swans by Willem de Vlamingh, captain of a Dutch expedition and namer of WA's Rottnest Island who discovered the birds while exploring the area in 1697. Traditionally, this water body had been known by Aboriginal inhabitants as Derbarl Yerrigan. The city centre and most of the suburbs are located on the sandy and relatively flat Swan Coastal Plain, which lies between the Darling Scarp and the Indian Ocean.
The soils of this area are quite infertile. The metropolitan area extends along the coast to Two Rocks in the north and Singleton to the south, a total distance of approximately 125 kilometres. From the coast in the west to Mundaring in the east is a total distance of approximately 50 kilometres. The Perth metropolitan area covers 6,418 square kilometres. Much of Perth was originally built on a series of freshwater wetlands running from Herdsman Lake in the west through to Claisebrook Cove in the east. To the east, the city is bordered by a low escarpment called the Darling Scarp. Perth is on generally flat, rolling land – largely due to the high amount of sandy soils and deep bedrock. The Perth metropolitan area has two major river systems: the first is made up of the Swan and Canning Rivers; the second is that of the Serpentine and Murray Rivers, which discharge into the Peel Inlet at Mandurah.
Perth is one of the most isolated major cities in the world. The nearest city with a population of more than 100,000 is Adelaide, 2,104 kilometres away. Only Honolulu (population 953,000), 3,841 kilometres from San Francisco, is more isolated. Perth is geographically closer to both Dili, East Timor (2,785 kilometres), and Jakarta, Indonesia (3,002 kilometres), than to Sydney (3,291 kilometres), Brisbane (3,604 kilometres), or Canberra (3,106 kilometres).