A taste of Perth (and vicinity)

Mar 15th, 2012, 01:56 AM
  #121  
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Sunday – Kangaroos, flat whites and beaches

I tell TJ about my favorite photography haunt and ask if she’d like to see a more accurate portrayal of ‘roo life. Bless her energetic self, she’s game, so she and I are out the door just after six am, working our way north on the Mitchell Freeway. We take the Whitfords exit and are soon entering Pinnaroo Valley Memorial Park. We wander the cemetery’s pathways, cameras poised, searching for kangaroos. Within minutes we’ve spotted a few; they stop grazing and look up at us curiously. We see dozens more as we wander the park; most of them merely eyeball us then continue feeding. We observe these interesting creatures for about an hour, watching them joust, groom, scratch and go about the business of being a kangaroo. Perhaps I’m just weird, but I really enjoy kangaroo watching. Likewise, TJ seems genuinely captivated.

We return home to collect Bill and head to North Beach, where we have a leisurely breakfast at Soda Café, across the street from the beach. TJ orders a coffee, and is confused when asked what kind. We suggest a flat white, and later give her the rundown on coffee options in Australia. No filter coffee in these here parts…thank goodness.

Sated and caffeinated, we drive north just past Hillary’s Boat Harbor to show off the gorgeous Perth coastline. We then turn back south and work our way down the coast via the West Coast Highway. It’s a hot Perth day and it seems everyone is at the beach. We detour at Scarborough Beach, but there’s not a parking spot to be found, so we continue on to City Beach, stopping for a look see and bit of a poke around before moving on.

We continue our drive south. Our plan is to combine some time at Cottesloe Beach with the 2012 Sculptures by the Sea exhibit, but we’ve seriously underestimated how busy Perth beaches can be on a holiday weekend. We find a parking spot a few blocks away and work our way toward the jam packed beach. It seems all of Perth had the same idea.

We locate a tiny sliver of shade, and hide from the blazing sun. The sculptures are difficult to see with the heaving mass of humanity, but TJ seems to enjoy her dip in the Indian Ocean and she gets to experience what hot Sundays in Perth are all about.

We pop into the small sculpture exhibit before heading out, but it’s so freaking hot inside that we can’t breathe. Then it’s back home to nurse our sunburns, walk around the neighborhood, (me making a feeble attempt to identify birds and flora), shower and chill. We barbecue for dinner, and introduce TJ to our favorite Aussie ice cream, Connoisseur Vanilla.

It's been exhausting, but we've managed to give TJ a good taste of Perth, and hopefully whet her appetite for a return visit.
Melnq8 is offline  
Mar 15th, 2012, 02:50 AM
  #122  
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Sunday – Kangaroos, flat whites and beaches

I tell TJ about my favorite photography haunt and ask if she’d like to see a more accurate portrayal of ‘roo life. Bless her energetic self, she’s game, so she and I are out the door just after six am, working our way north on the Mitchell Freeway. We take the Whitfords exit and are soon entering Pinnaroo Valley Memorial Park. We wander the cemetery’s pathways, cameras poised, searching for kangaroos. Within minutes we’ve spotted a few; they stop grazing and look up at us curiously. We see dozens more as we wander the park; most of them merely eyeball us then continue feeding. We observe these interesting creatures for about an hour, watching them joust, groom, scratch and go about the business of being a kangaroo. Perhaps I’m just weird, but I really enjoy kangaroo watching. Likewise, TJ seems genuinely captivated.

We return home to collect Bill and head to North Beach, where we have a leisurely breakfast at Soda Café, across the street from the beach. TJ orders a coffee, and is confused when asked what kind. We suggest a flat white, and later give her the rundown on coffee options in Australia. No filter coffee in these here parts…thank goodness.

Sated and caffeinated, we drive north just past Hillary’s Boat Harbor to show off the gorgeous Perth coastline. We then turn back south and work our way down the coast via the West Coast Highway. We detour at Scarborough Beach, but there’s not a parking spot to be found, so we continue on to City Beach, stopping for a look see and bit of a poke around before moving on.

We continue our drive south. Our plan is to combine some time at Cottesloe Beach with the 2012 Sculptures by the Sea exhibit, but we’ve seriously underestimated how busy it would be. We find a parking spot a few blocks away; it seems most of Perth is here.

We locate a tiny sliver of shade, and hide from the blazing sun. The sculptures are difficult to see with the heaving mass of humanity, but TJ seems to enjoy her dip in the Indian Ocean and she gets to experience what hot Sundays in Perth are all about.

We pop into the small sculpture exhibit before heading out, but it’s so freaking hot inside that we can’t breathe. Then it’s back home to nurse our sunburns, walk around the neighborhood, (me making a feeble attempt to identify birds and flora), shower and chill. We barbecue for dinner, and introduce TJ to our favorite Aussie ice cream, Connoisseur Vanilla.

It’s been exhausting, but we’ve managed to give TJ a good taste of Perth, and hopefully whet her appetite for a return visit.
Melnq8 is offline  
Mar 15th, 2012, 02:51 AM
  #123  
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Oops.
Melnq8 is offline  
May 27th, 2012, 11:28 PM
  #124  
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33) Exploring Armadale

On a blissfully cool and clear Friday morning in late May we head south via the Tonkin and Albany highways. Autumn has brought us some much needed rain; the undulating countryside is brilliantly green. It takes us about an hour to reach Admiral Road, where we turn left and seek out Bungendore Park (Aboriginal for Place of Gum Blossom), a 498 hectare bushland reserve on the western edge of the Darling Scarp, some three kilometers southeast of Armadale.

Bungendore is mentioned in my Family Walks in the Perth Outdoors book, which features the Robin Ramble, one of a series of walks in the park. It’s been described as a class three, three kilometer loop and is expected to take 90 minutes. We park south of the school as advised, and begin to search for yellow dots. Once again, the directions in the book are misleading, or perhaps just dated, but we can’t find any yellow dots. We meander up an unsealed road, walking for about half a mile before we see our first yellow dot and an information kiosk. Evidently the carpark has been re-located, mystery solved.

We follow the yellow dots through jarrah woodland via a wide trail, which is basically a disused gravel road. The track description tells us we’re surrounded by bull banksias, snottygobbles and sheoaks. We wander, enjoying the peace and quiet. It’s a pleasant enough walk, easy and level, a nice stroll through the bush (2.7 miles, takes us just over an hour).

We backtrack on Admiral to the Albany Highway, turn left on Waterwheel, left on Canns and left on Carradine, where we leave the car in a makeshift parking area. We’re here to explore Armadale Settlers Common, a 383 hectare bushland reserve in the Darling Range Regional Park, which I stumbled upon while researching walking options in the area. It’s pretty through here….the leaves are changing and we’re surrounded by vibrant green rolling hills.

Now this is more like it. We walk up a short incline and stroll from one trail to another, surrounded by scenic bush and some pretty incredible birdlife, including more red-tailed black cockatoos than we’ve ever seen in one place. It feels like a scene from The Birds. At first, we’re impressed by how well the intersecting trails are marked. This, together with the map I downloaded and brought with us, makes it pretty easy to navigate…until we're unable to find the trail that will take us back to the car. Huh. We search, we backtrack, we begin to get frustrated…eventually realizing that at least one of the trail signs is missing and that there are trails that don’t appear on our map. Uh-oh, a person could be lost for days out here. All ends well though, we eventually find our way back by retracing our steps. We both like this area better than Bungendore, despite the missing track markers. We cover about 1/4 of the trails in the commons, which we have completely to ourselves (3.75 miles, about 90 minutes). Note: Don’t attempt this without a map unless you have an uncanny sense of direction.

Map here: http://www.armadale.wa.gov.au/files/..._Map_MGA94.pdf

I’d scoped out two nearby possibilities for lunch, the Elizabethan Village Pub in Bedfordale and Roley’s on the Ridge in Roleystone. We reckon Roley’s might be booked out on such a beautiful Friday afternoon, so we decide to have lunch at the pub, and then have coffee and cake at Roley’s afterwards if we can get a table.

The Elizabethan Village Pub does indeed feel like an authentic British Pub...dark and brooding, with white rendered walls and exposed timber ceilings, an onsite brewery with plenty of good brew on tap, a massive outdoor seating area and the biggest carpark I’ve seen to date in Western Australia. We enjoy our lunch here; the food is tasty, the servings generous and good value (bruschetta for me - $12.50, spicy beef curry for the carnivore $21).

http://www.elizabethanpub.com.au/?page_id=2

Our last stop is Roley’s on the Ridge, which is indeed on a ridge, or more accurately, perched atop a big rock outcropping, with spectacular views of the valley below. It's just after 2 pm, but the restaurant is empty (!) We share a decadently rich chocolate fondant with raspberry coulis and cream on the patio overlooking the valley – a lovely end to a beautiful day in Western Australia.

http://www.roleysontheridge.com/

Photos here: 233-240

http://www.worldisround.com/articles.../photo233.html
Melnq8 is offline  
May 28th, 2012, 05:27 AM
  #125  
 
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Snottygobbles. Hehehe
Toucan2 is offline  
May 28th, 2012, 03:51 PM
  #126  
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Yeah I know, I can't type that without smiling.
Melnq8 is offline  
May 29th, 2012, 12:16 AM
  #127  
 
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Pardon my ignorance but what are the intriguing-sounding snottygobbles, please?

Am printing off the recent instalments of your epistle, Melnq8, for when we do our WA trip in 2014. We will have plenty of time then as we will be retired from paid employment!
dottyp is offline  
May 29th, 2012, 12:26 AM
  #128  
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A snottygobble is a tree. There are a couple of theories as to why they're called snottygobbles 1) The look of the inside of the fruit, and 2) Because the fruit is eaten (or gobbled) by wild pigs.

The name is actually more interesting than the tree.

http://www.roleybushcare.com/bush-to...ty-gobble.html
Melnq8 is offline  
Jun 3rd, 2012, 11:34 PM
  #129  
 
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It is a cold, grey and wet day here in South Australia today and I clicked on to see if you were still in WA.
Wow!
I am overcome with nostalgia for the day "Sunday – Kangaroos, flat whites and beaches" having grown up in Perth - in Woodlands - close to the beach to be precise.
As youngsters we travelled a lot - for those days - by car - to Kalgoorlie and to family farms in the wheat belt. These were long and slow trips with five of us squeezed into quite small cars and the only air conditioning was the windows!
My partner and I also used to visit New Norcia in the early 1970's - well before it was 'discovered'.
However it was the Sunday trip that brought back so many memories - and those kangaroo photos and that landscape.
I am amazed at the Soda Cafe - I had my first swimming lessons as a five year old at Mettams pool - and there was nothing there - indeed it was nearly the end of the coast road in those days.
Since leaving Perth in 1974 most of our trips to WA have been family visits and we have had little time for touring, but with no family there anymore here's hoping I can return and revisit so many of the places you have written about.
Thank you!
Good wishes for your next posting.
love_travel_Aus is offline  
Jun 4th, 2012, 07:08 PM
  #130  
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Glad to help bring back some memories love_travel_Aus. Sounds like you probably wouldn't recognize WA these days.

Hopefully I'll be able to fit in a few more outings before we leave WA for good.

I'm doing a bit of catching up myself, on this very wet chilly Tuesday in the Rai Valley of the South Island of NZ.
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Aug 10th, 2012, 04:18 PM
  #131  
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34) A nice surprise…Lake Leschenaultia

A Friday in early August, the sky a vibrant blue without so much as a hint of cloud, we set out. We work our way to the Great Eastern Highway, and eventually begin to climb up into the eastern Perth Hills.

Four years in Western Australia and we’re still amazed by the sheer number of massive trucks that routinely tug up the Great Eastern and Great Northern highways, hauling all manner of mining equipment and today…pigs. Bill comments on the “serious truckage” as we ease around the lumbering vehicles struggling uphill.

We bypass lush green pasture and plenty of inhospitable red dirt, eventually finding what we’re looking for; the turn off to Chidlow via Old Northam Road. At the roundabout we take the first exit onto Thomas, turn right onto Rosedale and there it is, Lake Leschenaultia (pronounced lesh-en-ol-te-ah…I think). And what a sight it is…how pretty is this? The dark blue shimmering lake is fringed by lush green lawn, white sand beach, towering trees, and a large number of picnic tables. In addition to the onsite café, camping sites, and canoe rental (all closed this time of year), there’s 168 hectares of woodsy bush just begging to be explored.

It’s been a long time since we were in this part of the Perth Hills and I immediately regret not getting back here sooner.

We set out on the three kilometer Lakeside Trail, which begins at the eastern end of the dam wall. We circle the lake and take a few side trails, just us and countless chirping, laughing, singing birds….the birdlife is just incredible. We hear several kookaburras; we see a red-tailed black cockatoo and many birds that we can’t identify.

This may be a popular summer destination, but today we have the track to ourselves. We thoroughly enjoy this peaceful easy walk, which ends entirely too soon. We next seek out the six kilometer MTB trail (mountain bike trail) which undulates through jarrah forest and eventually deposits us back where we began. We’ve logged six miles in about 2.5 hours and we’re both quite taken with this lovely park.

We’ve earned a nice lunch, so we backtrack on the Great Eastern Highway and keep our eyes peeled for Inn Mahogany Creek in Mundaring, formerly the unassuming Mahogany Inn, where we’d indulged in “devons” in front of a fire a few years back (see entry #6). My, how things have changed. After being closed for seemingly forever, I barely recognize the newly re-vamped posh restaurant, which re-opened about a year ago. Gone are the “devons”, replaced by an upscale, modern Australian menu.

We while away the afternoon on the Inn’s outdoor deck, (which unfortunately is right next to the Great Eastern Highway), enjoying a budget-busting, sleep-inducing calorie fest. We share the chorizo, olive and bread starter ($17), then Bill tucks into his Tasmanian salmon, potato cake, asparagus, crispy prosciutto, poached egg, salmon roe, buerre blanc main, which he says is very good ($34). I opt for the starter sized sweet potato gnocchi, mushrooms, garlic, cream sauce, parmesan and truffle oil ($21), which is also good, despite the mushrooms; I never have like fungi. We share the vanilla bean brulee, which comes with sour cherry wontons and a strawberry glaze ($14), and disappears in record time. It’s a lovely splash out lunch ($121 with drinks and flat whites).

We work our way back home, backtracking through the ‘burbs of Midland, exercised, content and ready for a nap.

Photos here: 241-250

http://www.worldisround.com/articles.../photo241.html
Melnq8 is offline  
Aug 10th, 2012, 11:16 PM
  #132  
 
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Hi, Melnq8,

The more I read of your wonderful exploits, as well as your adventures of the epicurean kind, in WA the more I feel the need to start planning now to make sure we will have enough time to follow your footsteps.

I for one will miss your descriptive and compelling-reading travelogues when you move on to new climes. You make places come alive and the reader rush to put these places on their bucket list - well, me anyway!
dottyp is offline  
Aug 11th, 2012, 12:52 AM
  #133  
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You're very kind dotty. As much as we've done, I can't help but feel we've missed even more. Anyone who says Perth and WA are boring, obviously hasn't tried very hard.

Having just returned from my gazillionth visit to the Swan Valley where we introduced some Perth newbies to our two favorite wineries and had yet another fabulous meal at Lamont's, I have laugh at my comment from my first installment:

------------------

"I can’t quite put my finger on it, but the Swan Valley doesn’t appeal to us the way other Australian wine regions do...I hope to go back again for one last try before I give up on the Swan for good."

-------------------

One last try my arse. The Swan has certainly grown on us, and we've grown because of the Swan (literally!)
Melnq8 is offline  
Apr 6th, 2013, 12:51 PM
  #134  
 
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ttt for trip planning.

thanks for sharing this with us, Mel.
annhig is offline  
Apr 6th, 2013, 03:40 PM
  #135  
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No worries annhig. Hope it helps. I've been a bit remiss in updates, but we're still exploring WA.
Melnq8 is offline  
Apr 7th, 2013, 01:46 AM
  #136  
 
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Hi Mel - one question - what is the temp likely to be in Perth in late December?

we're thinking of a trip to Aus and NZ in late 2013 and hoping to take in one of the test matches. We're tossing up at the moment between Brisbane and Perth, but someone said that it might be very hot in Perth by then. [match is 11-16 dec I think]

any thoughts you'd be kind enough to share with me?
annhig is offline  
Apr 7th, 2013, 06:15 PM
  #137  
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Hot to ungodly hot. Upper 30's, but generally dry.

It's also holiday time for locals, so prices will be at a premium and you'll want to book well in advance. There's an accommodation shortage in Perth at the moment, so prices are sky high, even in low season.
Melnq8 is offline  
Apr 8th, 2013, 02:17 AM
  #138  
 
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thanks, Mel - you're confirming what I was coming round to, which is that Brisbane for the Test looks a better idea. i've checked, and accommodation seems pretty reasonable there, even for the days of the match. And it should be a bit cooler.

now to work out how to get the tickets!
annhig is offline  
Jun 28th, 2014, 04:04 PM
  #139  
 
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Hi Mel. I have unexpectedly ended up in Freemantle for a few days. It was not a planned trip and with only a couple of days to organise 4 days here and 3 in Melbourne on the way back to Queensland, I had very limited time to research what to do when we got here. I have been trying to speed read this report of yours when I have had a few moments free to pick up some ideas of what can be done.
I wanted to thank you for taking the time to put all this information together. The detail you have included has made it easier to consider options and your writing is very easy to read. Your efforts are appreciated.
elydah is online now  
Jun 28th, 2014, 06:15 PM
  #140  
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You're very welcome elydah - enjoy WA.
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