Perth & the sunny South West
Since our last blog we have now arrived on the west coast of Australia (WA). To give you a few facts, WA makes up a third of Australia but it only has a tenth of its population as most of the state is desert. Its quite common to have 10km between you and your nearest neighbour, so this really is the outback.
When I arrived in Perth I caught the airport shuttle into the city. I crossed the Swan River and I got my first glimpse of the Perth skyline, it was really pretty. The city overlooks the Swan River and has loads of green open spaces. I got a good feel for the city immediately :) I spent my first few days in Perth just strolling around the city and familarising myself with the streets and parks. It was nice to take it easy after all the rushing around on the east coast.
On Good Friday, Caro and I decided to do our praying at the beach at Cottesloe. Its apparently the beach to be seen at. We spent a very leisurely day reading our novels and playing in the waves :) On Easter Saturday we caught the train to Fremantle (Freo) a suburb of Perth to stay the night. Luckily there was a Busker Festival on and they streets were full of performers; some juggling, some singing, some balancing plates etc... That night we thought we'd sample the nightlife and met some local boys who got us into the niteclub for free. The DJ was really good and we danced the night away. Easter Sunday arrived and we were tired and groggy so went for a walk along the esplanade and down to the beach. We got the train back to Perth mid afternoon and checked back into our Perth hostel.
Next morning I was up at 6am to start a 5 day tour of the South West of WA. There were 19 of us on the bus; 2 Japanese, 7 German's, 2 Swiss, 2 Chinese, 3 English, 1 Scottish, 1 Canadian and me :) Our 1st stop was at the Ngilgi Caves which were only discovered in 1900. They are the biggest caves of there kind in WA. They extend for miles underground and at their deepest are 11m underground. One section of the cave is called the Amphitheathre and it is breathtaking. Its huge and stalactites and stalagmites hang from the ceiling and floor. That afternoon we stopped at some beaches and rock formations along the coast. We arrived at our hostel at 7pm and cooked dinner and had an early night as we were up at 5.30am the next morning.
Day 2 : Our 1st stop today was the Bicentennial tree which is 75m high and can be climbed by the brave and reckless. Steel poles have been driven into the tree trunk to create steps and people can climb to the top of the forest canopy for breathtaking views. I attempted to climb about 2m up and froze with pure terror. You can see all the way to the ground and there is nothing to catch you if you fall. The so called steps were also not made for short people as it struggled to reach each pole. All in all it was terrifying and I quickly came back down to ground level. Our of the tour group of 19 people, only 4 went to the top. Next stop was the Tree Top Walk, which is an elevated walkway among the trees. At its highest it is 40m above the ground and the views were lovely. That afternoon we spent a blissful hour at the Green Pools which are part of a National Park. I'll let the photos speak for themselves, the sand was pure white and the sea crystal clear - stunning.
Day 3 : Had us tackling a 45min uphill climb of Mt. Trio in 28 degree heat. It was vertical the whole way up and the first bit of major exercise I've done in a while so I really felt it ! The view from the top was beautuful so well worth the hike. We lost half of our group that afternoon as some made their way back to Perth. The remaining 9 of us spent 4 hours driving to the jewel of the South West of WA ; Esperance. We had a few drinks in the hostel that night before hitting the hay.
Day 4: Today was a really chilled day. We actually had a ly in, we didn't have to get up til 7am :) We spent the day at the Cape Le Grand National Park. This N.P. is mostly beaches so we spent a leisurely 1 hour at each of the 3 beaches walking in the white sand and splashing in the waves. I've never seen water so clear. Even out over my depth I could still see my toes ! That afternoon we spent 2 hours driving the Great Ocean Drive. This drive took us to more beautiful beaches and coastal lookouts. The south-west of WA is said to have the most beautiful beaches in the world and I agree with them. the East coast has some beautiful beaches too but you can't always swim in them an account of sharks, crocs, box jelly fish etc...
Day 5 : Today was pretty uneventful as we made the 720km drive back to Perth. We stopped at Wave Rock for lunch. We arrived back to Perth after 6pm and I checked back into the hostel. Caro had dinner ready for me and then we got ready to head out. It was Caro's last night in Perth as she was flying to Sydney the next day and I had organsied to meet my group for drinks. We ended up in the Irish bar, Rosie O' Grady's. There was a live band and the place was packed. I met 2 guys from Dungloe who knew some people in Killybegs !
It was a great night and we stumbled home after 3am. Poor Caro was up the next morn after 7am so we said our goodbye's that night as I didn't intend to get up at the crack of dawn to see her off.
My first day on my lonesome in Perth I spent the afternoon at King's Park. It overlooks the city and the Swan river. I spent a lovely afternoon here, walking through the gardens and sitting in the sun reading my book.
Monday 12th I'm off on another tour to the north of WA
Will update blog shortly