Date: 1 December to 7 December 2009
Where I’ve Been: Perth, Australia
Where I’ve Stayed: The Emperors Crown
Ever since I finally bit the bullet and booked my Round the World ticket Australia has been the place I have most been looking forward to visiting. I really didn’t have any idea what to expect apart from blue skies and warmer temperatures and so far, in that respect, I definitely haven’t been disappointed!
Perth – A Beautiful City
My delayed flight left Singapore about 3.30am on 1 December in the end and I eventually arrived in Perth about 8.30am. I jumped on the shuttle bus and got dropped off at my accommodation, the Emperors Crown. As I couldn’t check in until 2pm I dropped my bag off and wandered into the City where I booked onto a walking tour to explore.
It really is a lovely city, it is apparently closer to Singapore and Jakarta than it is Sydney, which gives you some idea of the scale of the country! I was quite surprised by the CBD in the City Centre, there are numerous skyscrapers that I hadn’t expected and then there are lots of bars and restaurants all around.
It’s greatest feature, in my opinion, is that is right on the Swan River and the area around this, called Kings Park, is a lovely place to relax with numerous cycle paths/walking and running tracks and just areas to sit down and chill out. In ten minutes you can leave the hustle and bustle of the city behind and be in almost complete silence. I had a good walk all around, including up to a view point that looks down across the City.
Generally that is how I spent my first couple of days in Perth, just exploring the City and trying to avoid spending too much money. I had definitely got used to South-East Asia prices as on my first night in Perth I went out to the Brass Monkey, a pub near the hostel, for a pint which cost me £6!
A Fascinating Trip to the Pinnacles Desert
I was due to go Rottnest Island on Friday, but ended up getting lost on my way to the harbour and missed the boat. Luckily the nice people there gave me my money back so I intend to go next week! Rottnest is a small island about ten miles of the coast of Perth, which has been highly recommended to me.
Yesterday I did however go on a trip to the Pinnacles Desert, Cervantes, Lancelin and Caversham Wildlife Park. It was a busy day, but an enjoyable one.
Caversham Wildlife Park is about 30 minutes from Perth and it gave me my first chance to meet some Australian wildlife. I was able to get up close to kangaroos, wombats, koalas and possums, amongst many others. It was clean, the animals were well looked after, we listened to some keeper talks and the staff obviously really love what they do and know their stuff.
We then headed onto the main part of the day – the Pinnacles Desert. The Pinnacles Desert is, as you might guess, a desert but it has thousands of eerie limestone pillars rising from its surface. It really is quite a sight. Some of these pillars are tiny and some over nine feet tall and apparently they have been there for millions of years.
It is a stunning landscape – the desert interspersed by all of these pillars of rock – combined with the clear blue sky it made for a fascinating visit. You really do feel you are in a completely different place – I certainly felt as far from a December morning in England as I could get. Well worth a visit.
Sandboarding – Not For Me!
After the Pinnacles we left for our last stop – sandboarding in a town called Lancelin. Now Lancelin, which is not far from the Pinnacles is a small town of around 6,000 people, and apparently Australia’s premier sandboarding destination.
I’ve got to say, I am not sold on sandboarding, and it seemed like I was the only one who felt this. For those of you who don’t know what it is, it is simply sitting on a board and sliding down some (very high) sand dunes. I loved it the first time I did, but then I realised I had to plod up about 20metres of very steep sand dunes in the heat. All of this to spent a few seconds sliding down them again.
After a couple of goes I decided to just sit at the top and watch others do it whilst surveying the vista, which was very impressive – mile upon mile of sand dunes. I definitely enjoyed the view more than the sandboarding!
We got back to Perth about 7.30pm and I was absolutely shattered – all in all a very enjoyable day.
Football – Australian Style
So after yesterday’s day of culture and excitement I decided today was the day to take things one step further – I would go and watch an Australian A-League game! The A-League is the professional football league in Australia and I thought I would take advantage of the fact Perth Glory had a home game whilst I am here.
I strolled the twenty minutes to the ground and paid the $22 (about £15) to watch the game against Brisbane Roar. It finished 1-1 and was certainly not of the highest standard. The crowd was about 5,000 and there were only two players I recognised – Craig Moore, the former Rangers played, was playing for Brisbane Roar and Andy Todd, the former Bolton and Blackburn player, was playing for Perth.
The quality was such that, if it were not for the fact I am awaiting an operation on my knee, I would be seriously tempted to try and use my working holiday visa by playing for one of the teams in the A League!
Anyway I am now back at my backpacker hostel and tomorrow I am heading on to Fremantle, which is just up the road from Perth.