Stuff to Write Home About – Volume 11 Issue 1 Perth

In honour of the tenth anniversary of my trip to Australia and New Zealand, I am re-releasing articles previously published elsewhere. It looks like this is the second-last one, so enjoy! My trip will soon be finished.

Let’s talk about Perth. Perth is a beautiful city with lots of ways to keep physically fit outdoors. That means there are a lot of runners and a huge park in the city. The day that I went to the park, I took the free bus as close as it would take me and then I climbed a huge staircase (also favoured by runners) called “Jacob’s Ladder”. Someone told me that the park, King’s Park, is the largest inner-city park in the world. I have not yet verified that information, but it may as well be true. The park is massive.

The day that I arrived in Perth, the city was in the midst of a heat wave in one of the hottest summers on record. During the day, it was 45C and when I arrived after sunset, it was still 35C. Perth is a very nice city, but it’s just too hot for me. Forty degrees Celsius every day, is simply too much heat. I did enjoy watching Olympic hockey when it was 30C early in the morning.  The importance of watching Olympic “Ice Hockey” was not on the minds of the locals at all.

Since it was so hot and my hostel didn’t have air con (it is a hostel after all), I had to come up with ways of cooling off. I went shopping in air conditioned shopping centres mostly. One day, I went on a winery tour of the Swan Valley. The wines here are pretty good, but I think I prefer the ones from the Barossa Valley near Adelaide. This tour counted as a visit to my 3rd different wine region in Australia. Another day, I went down to Hillary’s Boat Harbour and to the Aquarium of Western Australia (AQWA). I spent a few hours there and got some cool photos of some interesting sea creatures. It was a pretty good aquarium, but I prefer the Melbourne Aquarium. There is also a nice beach in this area, so I had to of course check it out after visiting the aquarium.

I took a day to go down to Fremantle as well. It was still hot, so I spent some time in the museum that doubles as a big cooler, the Maritime Museum. Fremantle is still an active shipping port and has a rich history in shipping and war-time activities, which are described at the museum. They even have an old decommissioned submarine on display. That tour would’ve cost extra, so I just looked at the sub from the outside. Other interesting parts of Fremantle are the markets. There were people reading fortunes and Tarot cards, people selling food that smelled really good, and lots of other random things. After all this, I was thirsty so I visited another great spot in Fremantle called the Little Creatures Brewery. I didn’t have a tour of the place, but I did really enjoy the ice cold beer from the tap on this afternoon (and at least one other afternoon if I’m being truthful).

I had heard things about the Margaret River region, which is south of Perth, so I took a tour to check it out. We tasted wine at one winery, checked out a wildlife sanctuary for raptor-type birds (flight demo included), walked through Mammoth Cave, and checked out the longest wooden structure in the southern hemisphere (the jetty at Busselton). So, that was my week in the city.

After a week staying in Perth City, I went to stay at Cottesloe Beach. I had a great time staying at the beach. The vibe in the hostel here is totally different from the city hostel. Even those who work are in “beach mode” and it’s much more relaxed and open. There was sand in everything by the end of it, but I didn’t even care. I was staying at the beach! I went to the beach every day. Sleep in, enjoy the sea breeze coming in the window and then head for the beach, which was a 4 minute walk from my room. The 35C+ weather is easier to take when you can go in and out of the ocean waters an unlimited number of times. There is also a nice walk along the beach that goes for a few kilometres, which I took on a cooler day.

I did venture into the city a couple of times during this week, but they were short trips. I got anxious if I got too far away from the beach for too long. On one of the little trips, I went to see a movie in Kings Park. That was pretty neat, sitting on the grass and watching a movie by moonlight. There were even some ducks there trying to steal my popcorn! It was easy for them because I’m a messy eater when it comes to popcorn. I’m just glad they didn’t bite my toes.

A really fantastic day trip that I took was to Rottnest Island. I took the ferry from Fremantle and hired a bike to ride around the little Island. I think I rode nearly 20 Km on the winding up& down roads on Rottnest. There are lots of little coves and beaches to stop and take a rest, which of course I did. That was a really good day. So, even though I complained about the heat, I found Perth and area (especially Cottesloe and Fremantle) to be rather nice…laid-back, fit, and pretty.

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