I watched Hairspray on the plane – was quite funny but glad didn’t go to cinema to see it. We checked into hostel and went out for a walk – went to a beer garden and soaked up the sun & shared a meze plate. I was feeling absolutely shattered but loving the warm sunshine! Went back to hostel, sat in comfy seats, and I spent 2 hours hogging the laptop and internet. By 9pm I couldn’t keep my eyes open and went to bed without dinner. “”
We did some research on trips to Exmouth via Monkey Mia and Coral Bay (up West Coast from Perth). I realize my next words will elicit laughs but we want to take a “holiday” and have someone else make decisions for a change – it’s actually quite tiring finding somewhere to stay each night and deciding what you can afford to eat. Not that we’re struggling for pennies but Oz is just as expensive as NZ and only marginally cheaper than UK so we’re spending more than expected. I miss having a cupboard and fridge of food and my own bed.
Sat 3rd - Lovely day. Very relaxing. Got breakfast in a café in town sitting in sun watching the locals go about their Saturday shopping. Then as we passed the City Info kiosk a lady told us about a free bus to the South side of the Swan River to watch the Red Bull Air Race. We bought a picnic lunch and a six pack of beers and headed to the park. Great views of the planes and they had TV screens and live commentary and music playing. And lots of sunshine!! When a plane entered the circuit the commentator would say, ”Smoke On”. Made us chuckle. This was the 2007 final. Funny how we were in Rio de Janiero, Brazil for one of the races earlier in the year. We moved hostel to Freemantle – half hour on train out of Perth on coast. We dumped our bags then jumped back on train 10 mins to Cottesloe Beach to watch the sunset. Whilst sitting in a bar having drinks a humpback whale swam by! How cool is that! Everyone in the bar jumped up to the windows (though they had no glass in) and oohed and aaahed each time the whale breached. Beautiful sunset. Yummy calamari for dinner from fish & chip shop.
Sun 4th – Wandered round Freemantle Markets and bought some delicious strawberries. Then hit South Beach – a free bus ride away on the CAT. (CAT = Central Area Transport = CAT buses are free to all in Perth City and Freemantle). Beautiful clear waters – postcard worthy. And this beach is considered average on the west coast, nothing fancy. Back to hostel early-ish at 4pm to shower then went back out to the Harbour – lots of fish restaurants and area was buzzing but we had fish for dinner last night. Strolled back into town and ate Mexican. Very good but eating out is pricey. Back at hostel watched Australian Idol.Mon 5th – Another relaxed day. Up at 7.30am and went to supermarket and bought entire days food for under $40. Back to hostel for brekkie and discovered hostel has an entire other block and kitchen – it’s huge! Went to Freemantle Prison and went on a tour – very good guide who was a former prison officer. When the prison closed in 1991 it was a maximum security jail. It was built by convicts in the 1800’s. “Interesting” conditions.
Went to South Beach and ate our tuna & crackers on the grass before hitting the sand for a few hours. A few clouds today but they’re nice as they take the edge of the heat (not like me to moan about it being too warm!) Checked out the local micro-brewery – to me they had invested more effort in the ambience of the place than the beer – it was nice but limited selection. Today we bought fly headnets – they’re pretty bad here in Perth but we’ve heard they are worse further north so the nets are for our trip on Wednesday. At least they don’t bite!
Tues 6th – Checked out of hostel and took train back into Perth. Too early to check in so put our bags in store and went out. Checked out the Swans Bells – Western Australia’s Millennium effort – modest and sufficient. But they wanted $10 to go up the 60m structure which is rather overpriced so we just looked at it from outside. Then jumped on (free) CAT bus to Kings Park – which involved walking up Jacobs Ladder- lots of steps! And steep! Some crazy locals were using it as a workout and going up and down several times, and in the midday sun! Kings Park is a beautiful park up on the hillside so looks down onto Perth City and the Swan River – great views. Strolled through the botanical gardens on a raised bridge and through water gardens.
My cousin Mike, his wife Dawn and their four kids relocated a couple of weeks ago from UK to Perth! How about that for timing! Mike picked us up from the hostel and we went to their place in Canningvale - lovely house in suburbs and the kids were playing in the pool. Enjoyed a good catch-up. Going to stay again next week when we’re back from Exmouth trip.Wed 7th – Joined Exmouth tour today. Up at 5.45am after a rubbish night sleep due to trains right outside the window – plus you knew one was about to come past as we could also hear the beeping traffic barriers!!
Small group of ten and a nice bus so looking like we picked the right trip. First stop after 1hr30 at gas station. Another 1hr30 and we got to The Pinnacles near Cervantes. Reminded me of our Bolivia trip – felt like a really isolated spot. Beautiful golden yellow sand with limestone rocks jutting out of the ground. Had lunch at Jurien Bay – beautiful sand and clear blue water. Later we went sandboarding at Geraldton. The sand was incredibly fine and very tricky to climb up and we kind of sank into it as we tobogganed down. I attempted to “surf” down but your weight is thrown forward and I was concerned I would trap my ankle in the strap and injure myself. No one else could tell me how to do it properly.
Last stop of the day was Pot Bay in Kalbarri, lots of horizontally layered rocks along the coast. The backpackers we stayed in was average, and we had our own room. Good BBQ dins, I helped prepare and Ben did the man thing and cooked the food. Everything in Oz goes on the Barbie – vegetables, sauce, anything!
Thurs 8th – Up at 6am and away for 7am. First we went to Kalbarri National Park gorges and walked to Nature’s Window and the Z-Bend. Good to get some fresh air and light exercise. Another 2hrs of driving before we got to spot for lunch.
Another 180km and we arrived at Shell Beach. Virtually all the beach is formed of shells – most of them simple tiny white ones. It’s a World Heritage Site and gets sharks so the greater area is called Shark Bay. Next stop was town of Denham for supplies before reaching Monkey Mia Resort. Checked in then hit the beach for a spot of sunbathing. Beautiful, quiet spot.
photo shell beach
End of Week 3!