Off to a rainy start, we headed into Perth city centre. Perth is a modern and compact city but you really need a car to get around. However, as our hire car was to be collected in a couple of days we waited for the bus. Between the raindrops we wandered around the centre, harbour – and Kings Park when the rain finally decided to stop. Here’s a photo of Perth’s iconic skyline as seen from Kings Park.
The following day the sun came out and despite being a bit chilly, we headed to Scarborough Beach for a walk. Miles of golden sands, good surf – not dissimilar to Cornwall!
Apparently, the wind (known as ‘the Doctor’) blows in from Fremantle and picks up every afternoon in Perth, making Perth’s beaches a prime spot for kite surfing.
I also discovered the lifeguards here use a clever app to tell them where the rip currents are! It’s is probably worth me downloading it too as despite knowing the theory, I never can spot them.
We made the most of the weekend spending some time with Gemma and Sean. On Saturday we went to nearby town, Fremantle, for their annual ‘Beerfest’ craft beer festival on Saturday, for some local brews, food stalls and live music.
Fremantle (known as ‘Freo’ to the locals) is a lovely little town: a living port, arty and colourful with a sociable heart and is popular with tourists and locals alike – lots of great restaurants, pubs and cafes along the main street, which is also known as the ‘Cappuccino Strip’.
On Sunday we went to Swan Valley to do some wine tasting. Swan Valley is just fifteen minutes down the road from Gemma and Sean’s place and consists of more than 150 wineries, breweries, coffee, cheese and chocolate producers offering free tastings – therefore a great way to spend a day! Fortunately for us, Sean offered to be the designated driver for the day so we could enjoy the wines.
We visited a variety of wine producers, ranging from small independent wineries that only sell from the cellar door, to international brands that are available back home in UK supermarkets. We went to an Italian wine producer, a French one – and lots of good Aussie wine makers, producing a broad range of wines from spicy, complex reds to oaky, buttery whites, dessert wines, sparkling varieties and everything in between.
A boozy weekend indeed, but when in Rome (or Perth)…
However, it was so hot that the ground heated up and walking between the water slides was like walking on hot coals – and we had no choice but to endure this, given that we weren’t allowed to wear flip flops on the slides. Still, it was worth it!
Going on a Monday during school term time also meant there were no queues and had plenty of opportunities to cool off on such a hot day.
The fine weather continued into Tuesday so we took the ferry from Fremantle to Rottnest Island (or ‘Rotto’ as the locals call it!) On the 45 minute ferry crossing we were lucky enough to spot three humpback whales, about to start their migration south to Antarctica. The boat cut the engines so we could stop and watch them for a few minutes.
Being a small island, there are no cars on Rottnest, so the best way to explore the island is by bicycle. We hired bikes and were set on covering the full 24km circuit, but the flies were so annoying we ended up spending more time on the beach where there were no bugs. A lot of people were cycling with head nets on, so I think this is something we definitely need to add to our travel kits as I’m sure this won’t be the first time we’ll encounter this!
The beaches on Rotto are stunning – mostly deserted, secluded bays with coral reefs, white sand and beautiful turquoise water. It actually reminded me a bit of the beaches on the Isles of Scilly.
Rottnest is also home to a colony of quokkas, friendly marsupials that are quite unlike anything I’ve seen before. They are inquisitive little creatures and are found all over the island, even in the main town, where they will walk (or perhaps hop is a better description) over to you to say hello, sniff you out (probably seeing if you have any food for them, though feeding them is forbidden) and are for the most part, tame.
Next up we’re heading north on a camping/road trip. I’ll write the next post when we’re back in Perth in a week.