Perth & South West W.A.
|Perth in the summer its hot & bloody hot if you don't like blue go somewhere else|
For a sure-fire sunshine holiday Perth is almost a sunshine guarantee destination, perfect weather for walking through Perth’s shady parks and gardens, Kings park is clearly the city’s pride with its fantastic selection of native plants, its unparalleled view over the Swan river, the ANZAC memorial and city skyline, there’s also a great gift shop of Australiana if you are looking for quality memorabilia.
|Perth's modern city skyline seen from Kings Park|
Kings Park features a moonlight cinema during the summer months, showing feature films; hire a bean bag, take a picnic or order in a pizza & relax on a bean bag. Don’t forget a rug as the late-night wind can have a bit of a chill in it.
Perth abounds with flowers, shrubs and well-kept gardens, just in the area we were staying we saw, avocado, papaya, olives, citrus, stone fruit mango, figs & banana as well as the normal selection of northern hemisphere indoor nursery plants but here they grow outside.
|Hibiscus in the garden|
North and south of Perth are beaches, well-kept and clean, the beach life subculture in Western Australia dominates here just as much as in the eastern states. North of Perth are City Beach, Cottesloe, Scarborough, Trigg and North beach, go with the locals early in the morning for a few hours before the “doctor” comes in. The “doctor” is the name for the westerly that blows in most days from the sea, it can cool down the beach & whip up some chop and blow sand in your face.
Great open water beaches so a bit of care needs to be taken and don’t forget the sun screen. All along the beach fronts are cafés, bars & restaurants with a vibrant breakfast and restaurant culture. The major arterial routes are an eyesore of signage pollution shops, more shops, car dealerships and more shops, I wonder how they all make money?
Perth is a very “suburbia” orientated city, spread out over a large area, the Australian dream to own their own home will make tourist transport an issue, we used the bus service a lot, it worked really well. A hire car also works well, avoid peak periods eg. Christmas where hire cars companies yield out their cars for up to three times as much as their normal prices. We found Perth an easy city to drive around in not as stressful or aggressive as other cities, the locals don’t seem to comprehend the overtaking lane on dual lane highways, I believe here they’re called drive beside lanes, blocking free flowing traffic with their passivity and choice of lanes. Coming back to Australia is always interesting when I grew up Australian cars were iconic and very common, this visit an old Holden of Ford were a rarity, where have they all gone? If you judge Perth’s wellbeing by its car pool then it’s pretty well off.
Small excursions from Perth can take you north to Hillarys a beach side Marina with outdoor activities, beaches, restaurants and shopping on the agenda. From Hillarys, you can take the ferry to Rottnest island, we were there for concert together with a few thousand fans, we had a great day out there. Meat pies in the local bakery reign supreme.
Another local destination is “Freo” Fremantle it feels a little more cultural than its bigger neighbour, interesting shops, pubs, street facades and cafés contribute to a colourful melting pot. Take 10 minutes out to get a didgeridoo lesson, or visit the nautical museum and take a gander at Australia 2, an Americas cup win that was arguably one of Australia’s greatest international sporting achievements. Fremantle market is a very popular permanent market offering souvenirs, arty stuff, food, bric a brac and the usual paraphernalia.
|Part of Little Creatures brewery in Fremantle|
Down by the beachfront is Little Creatures brewery a modern brewery combined with a high-volume restaurant, extremely popular with both the locals and tourists alike. Their craft beer is a fantastic tasty change from the local lagers.
Take a longer trip if you head south you’ll come to Busselton with its Pier a nice little seaside town very popular during the summer, the pier 1,8 km long a nice promenade in the sun, here you’ll have to pay for everything, interesting and well presented. We were tipped of about Dunsborough “stop and have a look, dream town” so we drove in with great expectations, and dove around it a few times and looked for a parking place with all the other city cruisers in their 4 wheel drives and super clean SUV’s & off-road status symbols, then we drove away without stopping, surely a picturesque small town once upon a time now emblazoned with sighs, overfull parking and congested traffic.
|Well manicured vinyard's, more the norm in Margret River|
Further on south we passed through the Margret river wine growing areas many well-known and lesser known vineyards, the Margret River region is one of Australia’s premium wine growing areas we passed by many exclusive and immaculate looking vineyards all set in the natural Australian eucalyptus bush a fitting backdrop to this area and their heritage.
We stopped for lunch at Clairault vineyard a super nice and shady little restaurant, tasting & shop, tasty but pricey, apparently cellar door sales are more expensive than liquor store prices, check out the prices before you go haywire, and as there are so many vineyards, plan ahead and choose where you want to stop.
We stayed over at Margret river which is not on the coast or a wine lover’s paradise but a colourful small Australian town with a busy main street its fair share of normality and surf fame. Just down the road is the iconic big wave break at Surfers Point, it was all blown out when we were there but if you are in the area it’s well worth the visit to glimpse of the big wave action and Australia’s modern-day hero’s.
|Eagle ray at Hamelin bay, close to 2 meters across|
Another interesting little stop over is Hamelin bay, down by the boat ramp you can get up close with the local eagle rays, these giants swim by in knee deep water and brush along everyone’s legs while looking for a free meal, makes a change from swimming with the dolphins.
Turn off from the coast and travel through the heavily forested national parks until you reach Manjimup. Manjimup was home to a major timber industry with the relics reminding visitors of its past significance. Tall Timbers in the middle of the main street is a restaurant that reflects this timber heritage. Now days Manjimup is the of the local farming industry with broccoli, avocados, stone fruit, apples among their prime crops.
|Tools of the trade, down on the truffle farm|
I was there looking at one of their smaller industries, farming and harvesting black truffles, the winter harvest season is from mid-June to the end of August, this harvest window fuels the off-season summer months in Asia’s big cities as well as Europe and North America.
If you travel north you’ll come upon a string of cray fishing towns “languste or rock lobster”
Like Cervantes, Leeman & Jurien bay there are almost as many cray boats at anchor as houses in these towns, we enjoyed a mean fish and chips at a nonchalant take away in Cervantes.
|The Pinnacles a petrified forest covered by the dessert in eons.|
The pinnacles are part of the Namburg national park a good day trip there and back from Perth, interesting and spectacular without being awe inspiring a nice little national park well-presented $13 per car.
|Natures window in Kalbarri national park, BIG COUNTRY|
Further north through the wheat exporting town of Geraldton is the Kalbarri National park another $13 per car but well worth the price when the sheer magnitude of the river gorge opens up to you from the cliff tops, it certainly gives a big country aspect to the couple of cm on the map. Natures window is a great pic. There’s even a 8km walking track, this only should be undertaken by the fittest, water, hat, sunscreen, walking shoes are a must, it was 40° when we were there. There’s a nice little summer seaside town of Kalbarri on the coast, with boating, fishing & surfing on the menu. Further north we didn’t venture.
|Pink lake, in the middle of no where|
Stop of on the way back to Perth at the Pink lake, we couldn’t find an official viewing place, but pink it is big time. Close by is the Hutt River Provence for a little bit of the breakaway independence spirit, a self-proclaimed enclave with its own royal family, money and stamps.
Like all cities Perth has its museums, we had a look at the Perth Mint, just to have a look at WA’s past and the mining industry that is still the backbone of the state.
|Kailis fresh fish and shellfish shop/restaurant Leederville North Perth|
Perth abounds with cafés and restaurants many of which have breakfast/lunch concepts, modern food reflecting a modern society, cross over and fusion which Australia is so good at. Cafes in shops, restaurants in bookstores, shops in restaurants, food trucks, hawker’s markets, Asian bakeries, Asian fusion restaurants, fish shops in restaurants, health conscious or vegetarian alternatives.
If you make the trip enjoy it, theres plenty to do and see.
If you make the trip enjoy it, theres plenty to do and see.