Wandering through Western Australia - Trip Report

Jul 18th, 2006, 02:58 AM
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Wandering through Western Australia - Trip Report

This trip was taken from June 30 – July 13, 2006. All prices given in Australian dollars unless indicated otherwise. All bookings (except Garuda) were made online.

We live on a remote camp on the island of Sumatra, Indonesia, so it’s a bit of an ordeal to get in and out. Suffice it to say we left home at 8:30 am and arrived at Singapore’s Changi International Airport just past 5:00 pm. A long day considering the flight from Pekanbaru, Indonesia to Singapore is a mere 35 minutes (Garuda – US $162 each).

We’ve come to appreciate Western Australia for many reasons, one of which is the short travel time from Singapore. Our flight left two hours after our arrival at Changi and we were on the ground in Perth shortly before midnight, a mere five hours later (Singapore Air – US $578 each).

We’d booked a room at the Country Comfort Motel in Belmont on www.wotif.com. This place is not posh, but it’s convenient to the airport, offers 24 hour free airport shuttle and is priced right at $102. Our room was adequate but noisy, as it faced a major street. We were too tired to care, having arrived at the motel at 1:30 am.

We’d arranged a rental car through M2000 (www.m2000car.com.au), primarily because they offer a low excess ($440). We try to avoid purchasing rental car insurance, so a low excess is a big selling point for us. M2000 is off-airport, but will deliver to hotels/motels and will allow you to return the car to the airport for a small fee. Our 12 day rental was $412.

Travel day – Perth to Albany

We woke to a beautiful, cool day and found a brand new Nissan Tiida waiting for us in the motel’s parking lot. What a great little car - roomy, good gas mileage (30 mpg) and a big trunk that easily accommodated our 29” suitcase (upright, no less), carry-on bags and a full sized cooler.

After locating provisions at a grocery store, we headed to Albany via Highway 30.

Just past Armadale the landscape suddenly became hilly and we passed trees laden with mandarins. They call this winter? Eventually the road narrowed to two lanes and we found ourselves in the agricultural belt, surrounded by farms and sheep.

We took a break in the Shire of Williams, where we visited the Woolshed and had an impromptu picnic in the town park. We then continued our journey, passing through the Shire of Kojonup, proud home of one million sheep.

As we approached Mt. Barker, the landscape became much greener and we began to see curious bright green birds with black heads along the shoulder of the road - Ringneck Parrots (?)

Some 4.5 hours after leaving Perth, we found ourselves in Albany, searching for our temporary home, The Foreshore Apartments.

We’d booked Vermeer (#102), one of two apartments owned by Dutch born Australians, Pleun and Hennie, who also own and operate the Lily Dutch Windmill:

http://members.ozemail.com.au/~thelily/

Our apartment was rather odd shaped, but spotlessly clean, well equipped and it had the most comfortable bed we’ve run across in awhile. Our only complaint was that there was too much furniture in too little space, but we’d happily stay here again. We paid $129 per night, with the 5th night free.

Day 1 – Albany

We chose Albany as a base after looking at a map of Western Australia and discovering all the National Parks in the area. We love to walk and spend time outdoors, so all those parks definitely piqued our interest.

We floundered a bit at first, not having a town map, but finally managed to find an eastbound road, and we were off to Two People’s Bay, a 30 minute drive from Albany. We parked at the Visitor’s Center and walked the Heritage Trail, detouring to Little Beach. What a nice surprise! Little Beach was absolutely gorgeous and we couldn’t have asked for better weather. The water was two shades of blue and positively mesmerizing. There were a few folks out enjoying the beautiful day, including a couple who’d brought along a bottle of wine to enjoy while soaking up the scenery (wish we’d thought of that). We ran into a local man who told us there’d been a pod of whales in the bay a bit earlier. I could have sat on the rocks staring at the water for hours.

This was a nice 5.5 km walk with the exception of the last section on the return which was along a different beach though some boggy, smelly seaweed-like stuff that covered the entire beach.

After a picnic lunch we drove to the surfing area of Nanarup, which had beaches as far as the eyes could see, then we were off to Waychinicup National Park, which is about 65 km east of Albany.

http://www.calm.wa.gov.au/national_p...ychinicup.html

Here we explored Cheyne Beach and the interesting granite outcroppings of Mt. Manypeaks Nature Reserve before walking to Waychinicup Inlet, yet another great find - serene, pretty and incredibly peaceful. We walked along the rocky edge of the inlet where we met a family who told us there was a whale and two dolphins up a bit further. So, we forged on, scrambling over rocky terrain until we had a good view of the inlet, then plunked down on a big rock where we waited and watched. Sure enough, there was a lone whale which entertained us for the next 30 minutes.

It was getting dark, so we tore ourselves away from the whale and headed back to Albany, all the while keeping our eyes peeled for errant kangaroos. We saw two of them on the side of the road, well behaved, and we were treated to a beautiful sunset on the return drive. A perfect end to a perfect day.

Day 2 – Albany

After collecting some maps at the Visitor’s Center and learning that all those “ups” are Aboriginal for “place of”, we were off to Porongurup National Park, some 40 kms north of Albany.

http://www.calm.wa.gov.au/national_p...orongurup.html

This was a pretty drive with green pastures and rolling hills surrounded by forest. We paid our $9 entry fee, parked at the Tree in the Rock, then embarked on the Hayward & Nancy Peaks walk (5.5 km circuit). This trail was marked moderate, but was plenty steep and rocky for the likes of us. It began to rain, making the granite and moss trail slippery and treacherous.

We climbed a small portion of Devil’s Slide (aptly named as it’s very slippery), where we perched high on a rock and had ourselves a nice picnic overlooking the forest.

After our walk we continued north to Stirling Range National Park, some 40 km north of Porongurup. The long straight roads were deserted and seemingly led to nowhere. The red dirt, short trees and low lying shrubs reminded me of Cradle Mountain in Tasmania, whereas Bill said it looked like “the moon”. The range itself was pretty, but it was surrounded by a lot of nothing that wasn’t particularly scenic. It appeared that the only way to get to the range was to climb, and we weren’t up for scaling any mountains.

So, we kept going north, planning to stop at the Lily Dutch Windmill for something fattening, but it was Monday and they were closed.

We headed back to Albany, detouring to the Mt. Romance Sandalwood Factory where we learned about the sandalwood industry in the area and I picked up some nice bath salts.

As we returned to our apartment, we saw loads of kangaroos and several rainbows. Apparently, they don’t call Albany the Rainbow Coast for nothing.

Next: More Albany, then on to Margaret River
Melnq8 is online now  
Jul 18th, 2006, 07:05 PM
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Great trip report - keep it coming please.
sunsurfsand is offline  
Jul 18th, 2006, 10:34 PM
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Thank you sunsurfsand - I'm working on it.
Melnq8 is online now  
Jul 19th, 2006, 12:23 AM
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Day 3 - Albany

Looking for some views over Albany, we sought out Mt. Clarence, which is just east of downtown and home to an ANZAC memorial. In addition to the memorial and a peaceful grove of trees dedicated to fallen soldiers, there were some great views of Princess Royal Harbor.

It was time to explore south of Albany, so off we went to Torndirrup National Park stopping at Whaleworld to visit the museum and to pick up a trail map for Flinders Peninsula. We agreed to try the Isthmus Hill/ Bald Head Walk, which I will always remember as “the walk with the black snake”.

We parked at the Isthmus Hill carpark, where a sign warned us that tiger snakes are common in the area. We had no idea whether or not tiger snakes were venomous, but this being Australia, we suspected they probably were. We walked 5 km of the 16 km track; the entire walk takes 6-8 hours and it’s not a loop, you have to double back.

This was a really nice walk on top of the peninsula with gorgeous beach and water on either side; the Southern ocean on one, King George Sound on the other. The views were incredible. The trail was moderately steep and became overgrown and more difficult to navigate the further we walked.

Having not seen any snakes on the way in, I’d pretty much pushed slithery creatures out of my mind…then suddenly, there it was…a black snake about three feet long. Fortunately, the snake didn’t want to have anything to do with me and it slithered off into the bush. Bill, who was walking behind me, didn’t see it, but knew something was up when I made a bizarre noise and did a little backward jig. I’ve since done some research on Australian snakes and I’m convinced it was the black variant of the tiger snake. And yes, they’re venomous.

After our walk we decided to check out the blowholes located off Salmon Holes Road. To get to the blowholes you walk an 800m path and down 78 steps. The blowholes don’t always blow, it depends on the surf. We only saw a little spray, but it was nice just the same. Before leaving the area we also stopped at the Gap and Natural Bridge, two natural features carved from granite. These were really interesting and it was definitely a worthwhile stop.

On our way back to town we detoured to the Albany Wind Farm, which supplies up to 75% of Albany’s electricity. Here we found 12 enormous wind turbines, interpretation panels explaining wind farm technology, and a 1 km boardwalk which joins the Bibbulmun Track (965 km track from Perth to Albany).

http://www.calm.wa.gov.au/tourism/bi..._thetrack.html

We really enjoyed the wind farm, especially the lookouts and the coastal portion of the boardwalk.

Next: Exploring Denmark from Albany, then on to Margaret River
Melnq8 is online now  
Jul 23rd, 2006, 12:39 AM
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Day 4 – Albany

It was our last full day in Albany, so we headed west towards Denmark via Princess Royal Harbour Road and Lower Denmark Road (scenic route). This was yet another pretty drive through undulating green pastures. Sections of the drive reminded me of the South Island of New Zealand, a personal favorite. We eventually joined Highway 1, and found ourselves in the quaint, heavily treed town of Denmark.

I was really taken with the place and vowed to spend a few days here if we ever find ourselves back in Western Australia. I particularly liked the huge park in the center of town with the Denmark River running through it.

After driving around part of the Wilson Inlet and checking out the views from Ocean Beach Lookout, we parked and walked 3.5 km of the 9 km (one way) Wilson Inlet Heritage Trail. This trail follows the route of the Denmark-Nornalup railway. It’s wide, completely flat, sheltered in the trees and part of the Bibbulmun Track. We saw and heard some intriguing birdlife, but otherwise it was a bit boring (too flat), so we only walked a small portion before turning back.

Back on Highway 1, we continued on to Walpole, detouring to William Bay National Park, where we walked to Greens Pool and Elephant Rocks, then had ourselves a nice picnic on a rock overlooking the Southern Ocean. Gorgeous views, gorgeous day!

We continued our drive to Walpole, passing a meadery, vineyards and a toffee factory that I planned to visit on the way back. We turned off at the Valley of the Giants, paid our $6 each entry fee, and took ourselves a walk. I’d read somewhere that there are only three tree top walks in the world, all in Australia, and having been to the other two, I was determined to see the third. I’ve since learned that there are more than three (if you count the one in Perth anyway).

The Valley of the Giants Tree Top Walk is located in the Walpole-Nornalup National Park, home of some enormous tingle trees which are only found within a 6,000 hectare area. The tree top walk is touted as the world’s longest at 600 meters and rises to 40 meters at its highest point.

As expected, I loved it. There’s just something about being suspended in air, walking amongst massive towering trees that I really enjoy. We found this walkway wigglier than the others we’d been on, due to the long span between pylons.

http://www.calm.wa.gov.au/tourism/va...he_giants.html

We also took the Ancient Empire walk through 400 year old tingle forest – fantastic! Apparently this area gets 185 days of rain a year, but we were lucky and didn’t get a drop.

On our return to Albany we detoured to Peaceful Bay and found yet another gorgeous, deserted beach. We also made a stop at the Toffee Factory, where we sampled the goods and bought ourselves some chilli chocolate and lemon myrtle toffee. Yummers.

After a short break at the Denmark Tavern, we returned to Albany.

Next: Margaret River via Pemberton (this time I mean it)
Melnq8 is online now  
Jul 23rd, 2006, 02:20 PM
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Thank you for the well detailed report. We are planning a visit in early October and your report is very helpful. I was looking at the Foreshore Apartments as a possible place to stay while are in Albany so I appreciate in the information.

Looking forward to Margaret River report.
travel4flowers is offline  
Jul 23rd, 2006, 03:58 PM
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travel4flowers -

The Foreshore Apartments are walking distance from the Visitor's Center and a grocery store. They're also next to a railway track, but trains only left there during the day, so noise wasn't a problem.

There's no view to speak of, as the apartments face an atrium above some businesses.

Hennie, Pleun and their daughter Tanya own two of the apartments and they're nicely decorated and comfortable.
Can't speak for the other apartments though, as they're owned by other people - I couldn't tell if they were all holiday rentals or if people lived there year round.

Albany is a wonderful place - so much to see and do - we're already taking about going back.
Melnq8 is online now  
Jul 23rd, 2006, 06:50 PM
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Travel Day – Albany to Margaret River via Pemberton

Unfortunately, it was time to leave Albany, so we packed up and headed towards Denmark via Highway 1. Having devoured most of our toffee the previous night, we made another stop at the Toffee Factory and picked up some more – this time choosing macadamia nut, Western Australia wildflower, and coffee toffee.

We passed Walpole and entered the Southern Forests, a really pretty drive through heavily treed forests with HUGE trees. We picked up #10 at Shannon to Northcliffe, then #259 at Northcliffe to Pemberton. We entered Pemberton, home of the biggest avocado industry in Western Australia, and sought out the Gloucester Tree, the highest karri tree in the area.

http://www.calm.wa.gov.au/national_p...loucester.html

We visited Pemberton last year, but hadn’t done much research on the area, so we were disappointed with it, and later discovered we’d missed quite a bit. So, this year, we were better prepared, having picked up a Pemberton Visitor’s Guide in Albany.

We had no idea there was so much to see and do in Pemberton, and if we return to the area, I’d seriously consider staying here for a few days.

Pemberton is home to several fire lookouts that were built in the top of enormous karri trees during the 1930’s and 1940’s. Three of the lookouts can still be climbed, and offer impressive views of the surrounding forests. Having paid our $22.50 W.A. Holiday Parks pass (*), we found ourselves at the foot of the 60 meter high Gloucester Tree, looking up at an imposing steel ladder which spirals around the 7.3 meter girth of this massive tree.

I’m not afraid of heights, but this tree was intimidating! Determined to climb it, I began my accent, hanging on to the steel ladder for dear life. Halfway up the tree, my legs began to shake so much that Bill, who was behind me, commented on my “sewing machine legs”. Huffing and puffing, we finally pulled ourselves onto the viewing platform where we spent several minutes soaking up the view. Definitely worth the climb.

By now three much younger people had joined us on the platform. Not wanting to slow them down, I encouraged them to go down first. Bill followed, and I brought up the rear, once again hanging on for dear life and breathing a sigh of relief once back on terra firma. What a blast!

* National Park Passes – from a visitor’s perspective, the park pass requirements of W.A. are confusing. We visited Waychinicup National Park without a pass and there was no indication that one was needed, let alone a place to pay for one. When we visited Porongurup, there were signs and an honesty fee station where we paid $9 for the day. We later learned that park passes are needed in National Parks that have toilets and barbecue pits, but it’s not clear to visitors which parks have these. So, we decided to play it safe and purchased a $22.50 four week holiday park pass when we reached Gloucester National Park. I found this site upon our return home and it helps clear up some questions:

http://www.calm.wa.gov.au/national_p...rk_passes.html

After the tree climb, we took the 800 meter Karri Forest Walk. We would have loved to take some of the longer walks as well, but were pressed for time, as we wanted to reach Margaret River by sunset.

We really enjoyed what we saw of Gloucester National Park. Near the base of the tree climb was a man selling bird feed. He and some visitors were covered head to toe in the most brightly colored birds I’ve ever see. Once again I was awed by the incredible birdlife of Australia.

Needing sustenance, we sought out Jarrah Jacks Brewery and Woodsmoke Wine & Café, which is located 3 km outside of Pemberton. What a great place! It was a beautiful day, so we sat at a picnic table overlooking the vineyard. Here we sampled six of their beers (beer sampler - $10 – loved the wheat beer), some of their 2002 Merlot (bought a bottle to take with us - $22) and had ourselves a nice alfresco lunch – grilled chicken breast for me ($25) and chicken curry for Bill ($25). The food was good, not great, but we very much enjoyed this stop.

Before leaving the area we visited the Lavender and Berry Farm, where we walked through their gardens, visited their animals – alpacas, ponies, ducks and two enormous geese that chased me around the lawn – and bought some lovely lavender soap.

We then backtracked to Pemberton, where we picked up Highway 10. The drive from Pemberton to Peerabeelup was mostly through gorgeous karri tree forest, but became rather flat and boring after that. Around 4 pm we began to see wallabies and kangaroos on the side of the road, which made us a bit nervous as we were driving into the sun. We arrived in Margaret River around 5 pm (left Albany just past 9 am) and sought out our accommodation for the next four nights – Waterfall cottages.

We’d booked a studio cottage for $120 per night. It was very small with a tiny bathroom - the door almost hit the toilet when opened and the hair dryer had to be stored and used in the kitchen. The shower was good sized though. Our unit consisted of a double bed, two person sofa, two person table with chairs, small kitchen area and small TV. There was virtually no place to put our luggage and no place to hang our wet towels (rooms not serviced). We had serious space problems and felt very cramped. If we stayed here again, we’d definitely book a larger cottage.
www.waterfallcottages.com.au

The area surrounding our cottage was very pretty and peaceful. Each day we were visited by a pair of ducks, but we never did see the property’s two pet kangaroos (we saw plenty others though).

After getting settled we drove into town and had kebabs at Kappadokia, Bill’s favorite Margaret River establishment ($15 for two).

Next: Three days in Margaret River

Melnq8 is online now  
Jul 24th, 2006, 12:30 AM
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Day 1 – Margaret River

Old farts that we are, we both woke up sore in some rather odd places thanks to our tree climb.

We were blessed with another beautiful day, so we drove to the Visitor’s Center to look into walks in the area. We wanted to try a walk we understood to begin at Prevelly Park, but were unable to find it. After consulting a roadside map, we switched gears and decided to look for the Cape to Cape Walk at Ellensbrook instead. The Cape to Cape Walk covers 140 km from Cape Naturaliste to Cape Leeuwin.

After floundering a bit we finally stumbled upon the trail, which we then walked as far as Gracetown. This was an undulating coastal walk overlooking the Indian Ocean with great views. It was easy for the most part, but 1/3 of the trail was through deep sand which was difficult to walk through. We happened upon a big lizard, but fortunately no snakes.

We had a picnic at Left Handers Beach near a memorial for a surfer killed by a shark there in 2004. We then backtracked to Ellensbrook Homestead (8.5 km return), where we walked the 1.6 km to Meekadarabee Falls, a nice stroll through heavy forest.

Back in Margaret River we gassed up the car ($1.50 per liter!), then drove to Olio Bello, makers of organic olive oil and related products. We’d bought some wonderful mandarins here last year and were looking forward to more, but alas, that was not to be. Apparently, they’d had a very cold spring and their mandarin crop had suffered. So, we sampled some dips and left with a tub of green tapenade for Bill and a tub of sundried tomato dip with pine nuts for me. Then it was off to the Margaret River Chocolate Factory where we sampled their delicious chocolate and bought a few bags for later. Needing some cheese, crackers and fruit to go with the other items we’d collected, we stopped at the Margaret River Dairy for some of their delicious Flinders Bay chilli farmhouse cheese and at IGA for some sweet clementines. Armed with all we needed for an alfresco meal, we headed back to the cottage to enjoy our spoils accompanied by the nice bottle of Merlot we’d brought from Pemberton.

Next: More Margaret River

Melnq8 is online now  
Jul 24th, 2006, 05:05 AM
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Day 2 – Margaret River

We woke to yet another pretty day - gotta love the Western Australia version of winter!

We attempted to find the Cape to Cape Walk from Point Road, but our map was inadequate and we wandered around for awhile on an unsealed “scenic road” through the Boranup Karri Forest. After an aggravating search we finally found it, only to discover that Point Road was restricted to four-wheel drive vehicles. Not willing to risk the health of our rental car, we parked and walked the road until it ended at a campground, where we picked up the Cape to Cape Walk, which we took as far as Conto’s Campground before turning back (11 km return). Most of this walk was on the road, which was wide and basically flat, but it was a pretty walk through serene karri forest. The trail became considerably steeper when we actually reached the Cape to Cape path. We saw a brown snake basking in the sun right on the trail, a humongous spider in the campground, and many birds, some of which sounded like they were being murdered.

This part of Western Australia seems to have a lot of campgrounds hidden in out-of-the-way places, accessible only by unsealed or four-wheel drive roads. We’d noticed several in the National Parks near Albany as well. We also saw some interesting four-wheel drive campers, and now we understand their popularity.

After our walk, we called in at Eagle Vale Winery on Caves Road. We had a nice chat with the French winemaker while sampling the wines. We fell in love with the 2003 Shiraz so bought a bottle – the only bottle to actually make it home with us - ($30). We asked for a winery lunch recommendation, and were sent to Wills Domain, located about 25 minutes north.

http://www.willsdomain.com.au/one/index.asp

After sampling the wines at Wills Domain we shared a lunch platter overlooking the vineyard. I’ve never had a platter like this – it was wonderful! Sizzling chorizo, Geographe cheese, Yallingup wood fired bread (unbelievably good), macadamia nut pesto, sun dried tomato, wild mushroom and feta chutney, Australian crispbread, olives, and huge raisins. Add a bottle of ice cold Wills Domain 2005 chardonnay and we thought we died and went to heaven (platter for 2 - $40, bottle of chardonnay - $32). We’re still talking about this lunch and it was definitely the culinary highlight of our trip.

Sated, we returned to our cottage, but not before stopping to photograph the dozens of kangaroos that had gathered in the huge yard of a home not far from the Waterfall Cottages.

Next – Final day in Margaret River, then on to Perth
Melnq8 is online now  
Jul 27th, 2006, 01:34 AM
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Day 3 – Margaret River

It rained throughout the night and threatened to continue, so in lieu of our daily walk, we decided to eat and drink our way through Margaret River. We began at The Berry Farm, which produces an interesting assortment of fruit vinegars, jams and wines; we left with some Shiraz jelly and boysenberry orange jam.

Then it was off to Serventy Organic wines, where we had a nice chat with the owner regarding the differences between organic and non-organic wines, had a few samples, and purchased a bottle of Rose.

Next was Leeuwin Estate, where we liked the wines we tried, (especially the 2003 Art Series Chardonnay – the name says it all) but the winery/restaurant was a bit pretentious for our tastes.

Stomachs growling, we went back to town for a kebab fix at Kappadokia Turkish Kebabs – chicken for Bill and falafel with feta, garlic and chilli sauce for me – yum. There was a Sunday market underway in the parking lot with vendors selling anything from mandarins to soap. Kappadokia was baking some bread that smelled absolutely divine, so we couldn’t resist picking up a loaf ($3). We found that having a fresh, warm loaf of bread in the car is a lot like having a take out bag full of hot French fries; it shrunk considerably on the drive back to the cottage.

We took a wrong turn and got lost in a neighborhood with streets named after wines – Merlot, Shiraz, Chardonnay, Grenache, etc. Once we regained our bearings, we went back to Olio Bello for more tapenade and sun dried tomato dip to go with our bread for dinner.

Then it was off to the Colonial Brewing Company where we tried their sampler which consisted of five of their beers ($12). We preferred the beer from Jarrah Jack’s in Pemberton (which was less expensive too), but we found the in-house entertainment hilarious, especially a customer who danced up to the counter to get wine refills.

Our last stop was at Cape Mentelle Winery, the third oldest winery in Margaret River and producers of a vast variety of wine

That evening we enjoyed a dinner in our room of all local products – bread from Kappadokia, dips from Olio Bello, chilli baked ricotta from Margaret River Dairy, chardonnay from Wills Domain and some lovely Imperial mandarins. Delicious!

Travel Day – Margaret River to Perth

We left Margaret River and headed north. We took Highway 10 to Bunbury, and then picked up 20 to Perth. We passed lots of mandarin trees and vineyards in Harvey, and there were several roadside kiosks selling huge bags of mandarins. We saw a lot of grapes still on the vine – we’d asked the owner of Serventy about this and she told us that it was a bad year for reds and many vineyards didn’t even bother to pick their red grapes. She also told us that 2006 was a very good year for Chardonnay, so we have that to look forward to.

We reached Perth in just under three hours and began the search for our downtown accommodation – The Medina Grand - www.medina.com.au, where we’d booked a one bedroom serviced apartment - $186 per night. We’d chosen the Medina for its location, a short drive from the University of Western Australia, where Bill would be attending a two day conference.

We immediately had concerns about noise, as some of the Medina’s apartments face a busy intersection, but our room faced the Exhibition Center and was relatively quiet.

Our apartment was nice enough, with a large bathroom, well equipped kitchen, lounge and separate bedroom. It had some over-the-top weird contemporary furniture though - a hairy leopard print stool in the bedroom which just got in the way and appeared to serve no purpose, another animal print chair in the lounge that could not have possibly been designed to sit in, and a couch that looked nice, but pitched its occupants forward to the point falling off head first.. I had to wonder if the hotel owners and designers had bothered to try out the furniture.

That evening we had dinner at Maharaja Indian Restaurant in Nedlands on Stirling Highway. The food was good, but the service was abysmal. Some customers walked out, but the staff didn’t even seem to notice – two curry dishes with rice and two glasses of wine - $54.50.

Day 1 – Perth

I was on my own and unwilling to drive on the left in the city, so I chose to explore Perth by foot. I walked around the CBD and the Hay Street Mall where I did some shopping and picked up a really good sandwich at City Greens (heavy brown bread, feta, sun dried tomato and fresh oregano - $6.50). By early afternoon the mall was packed, so I retreated to the apartment.
Later that evening we walked back to Hay Street in search of dinner. It was only 7 pm, but apparently they roll up the sidewalks in Perth around 5 or 6, because all of downtown was deserted. Even the fast food outlets were closed!

Day 2 Perth –
Craving a flat white, I walked back to Hay Street Mall and had a coffee and croissant at one of the many coffee shops in the area. I picked up another one of those delicious sandwiches from City Greens for later, and then watched a candy making demonstration at Roc in Piccadilly Arcade - http://www.roccandy.com.au/. I love all things sweet and I really enjoyed watching the candy makers stretch, pound and otherwise abuse a huge log of hot toffee while giving a running commentary. The finished product wasn’t too bad either.
Armed with a map I walked to Kings Park where I spent the next two hours. I loved this place; an oasis of calm in a bustling city. Kings Park is massive, covering over 400 hectares and providing some awesome views of the city and the Swan River. There’s a botanic garden, acres of natural bush, free guided walks, a tram tour, and numerous walking and biking paths. Kings Park is also home to its own Tree Top Walk which is only about 16 meters tall at its highest point, but it’s in a gorgeous setting.
We’re not city people by any means, but both of us really liked Perth.
That evening we had dinner at the Metro Bar in our hotel – hummos, olive oil and dukah for an appetizer, tenderloin for Bill and spinach and ricotta pasta for me. The meal was expensive ($91 with drinks) but pretty good. It’s here that I learned my new word for the trip – spatchcock – which according to the diner next to us is a whole grilled chicken. Who knew?
Departure Day –
We had an early flight, so we were up with the birds and headed out the door by 6 am. It was only a 20 minute drive to the airport, but there was a huge line in immigration and by the time we got to our gate our flight was already boarding. Our return flight to Singapore was very turbulent, but we took off and we landed; can’t ask for more than that.
Once in Singapore, we took a taxi to our hotel for the evening (our flight didn’t leave for Indonesia until the following day) then took the MRT to Clarke Quay. Unwilling to begin the after-vacation diet just yet, our destination was The Brewerkz, home of really good beer and beer dipped onion rings!
Melnq8 is online now  
Jul 27th, 2006, 02:11 AM
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Sorry for those last few run on paragaphs - I tried to make corrections, but the changes didn't take.
Melnq8 is online now  
Aug 1st, 2006, 06:12 PM
  #13  
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 78
Great report. This is extremely useful for our upcoming trip. Thank you for trip report.
travel4flowers is offline  
Aug 3rd, 2006, 07:22 PM
  #14  
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
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Bookmarking to review in detail later. Looks like a wonderful trip report!
Toucan2 is offline  
Aug 4th, 2006, 06:32 PM
  #15  
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 10,694
Now you've done it. I've already told Steve that after our upcoming trip to Australia, we have to then start planning the trip to Western Australia.

Thank you for the great detail, and the links too! It sounds like you had a wonderful time.
Toucan2 is offline  
Aug 4th, 2006, 07:42 PM
  #16  
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Toucan2 -

Always glad to spread the word about Australia - the more I go, the more I want to go back. So much to do, so little time.

Have a great trip!
Melnq8 is online now  
Apr 27th, 2007, 04:26 AM
  #17  
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 107
Hi Melnq8

Not sure if you're still tracking this, but remember me from some NZ South Island posts back in end 04 - early 05? You offered me some great suggestions then. I hope to get inspirations from your WA report for my upcoming trip to Perth - Albany in sept/oct. Cheers!
Chenoa is offline  
Apr 27th, 2007, 05:07 AM
  #18  
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Chenoa -

Yes, I do remember you. Sept/Oct should be a great time in WA - wildflowers! Happy planning.

Melnq8 is online now  
Apr 30th, 2007, 07:43 PM
  #19  
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 78
Chenoa, September-October is a good time to visit WA. Our trip was mostly in September. It was a little cold to start so you should have it nice later in September-October.

I really enjoyed WA. It wasn't too crowded and I loved the natural wonders. It might be a little late for wildflowers especially since the drought doesn't seem to ending for Australia. If you want to see some pictures of our trip check out our website http://www.martageorge.com/.
travel4flowers is offline  
May 2nd, 2007, 09:17 AM
  #20  
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
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Hi marta / george!

What a small world .... When I accessed your link, I was pleasantly surprised. Why, would you believe that your (Marta's) travelogue (blog) has been added onto my favourites for some time.

Chenoa is offline  

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