THE MOST last-minute flight I’ve booked.
Postponed our grad trip to Korea because of the South-North conflict in late April. Saw affordable rates for a two-way ticket, booked them and then announced to my parents three days before flying off: “By the way ma, I’m going to Perth for a short bit.”
Quite a lovely experience taking a trip at midnight after turning 23. Also, it was my first time flying solo.
Best part is? I have friends down in Australia… that simply means free lodging!
So I did not expect that Perth had much to offer really. My 9-day itinerary was jam-packed with activities that only a restless girl like me can appreciate. My friends living in Perth (being fellow occupational therapy students) were also game on for all the physical adventure. Birds of a feather I must say.
I was fortunate to have visited during the time period, as ANZAC Day fell on 25th April. Took a day trip to Perth City to catch the local parade at 9am, with marches by uniformed groups in remembrance of those who had served and died in wars. We managed to observe the memorial service and address at Supreme Court Gardens, basking in the cool mid-morning weather. Spent the rest of the day lounging at King’s Park – figured out that’s where most of the locals would head to as the city seemed scarily empty by 2pm.
Wakeboarding, never tried. Skateboarding, tried and failed. Sandboarding, proud to say that I managed to get the hang of it after an hour! We took a drive up north to Lancelin for some sandboarding action. Rental of sandboards was dirt cheap, at AUD10 per pax for 2 hours. And boy was it dirt fun! Sliding down the sandy dunes, fast and furious, while trying hard to maintain balance. Well, the falling off was just as fun too! Got those muscles activated having to plough my way up after the thrill of going down.
The Pinnacles was about an hour’s drive from Lancelin, so we took a quick stopover. The yellow was such a lovely sight against the bluest of the blue skies. The rocks were just as interesting – all shapes and sizes. While some say they were formed by wind-blown sand, other theories suggest they could have been tree roots many years ago. The photos look as though the weather was deceivingly hot, but it wasn’t! The sun was up, but it was nearing winter when I was there so there was always the constant cool breeze. It’s like being in an air-conditioned room. Only outdoors.
Perth has so many hiking trails to offer – self-guided or with an experienced guide. We travelled to the Serpentine/Jarrahdale region for a good trek on foot. Completed the 1km Stacey’s Walk Track within 1.5.hours, pretty manageable walking. It started to drizzle after lunch so we headed on to the cafe at Serpentine Dam for some coffee. There were a bunch of pretty parakeets, no stranger to the visitors.
With a state as large as Western Australia, roadtrips are a given. We took the opportunity of the long ANZAC Day weekend to drive down south to Margaret River. Made a quick pitstop in Bunbury… the view at Wyalup was gorgeous. I had fun eyeing all the pretty beachfront houses with the fantasy of living in one (as if).
So we splurged on staying overnight at a place called Margarets’ Forest in Margaret River. The town was lovely, with loads of restaurants and cafes to offer. The highlight of our 2D1N trip was really to get our hands (and feet) on horse riding. We took two rides – the Twilight ride in the evening and Bushmen ride the following morning, at this ranch called Jesters’ Flat. I absolutely adored the experience! It was daunting at first, trying to get used to instructing the horse, holding the reins, getting the right sitting posture… praying hard that I don’t get thrown off.
But the instructors were patient. And soon, we were all learning how to trot and canter. The horses were such darlings. I wished I had more photos to showcase here, but it was really hard to snap any while you’re busy manning the reins! The view while on the Twilight ride… breathtaking! The sunset painted a lovely orange in the sky, and I have never felt so much space around me; the empty fields stretched on for miles which makes it all the more fun for the horses to trot. We were even lucky enough to catch wild emus and kangaroos hiding amongst the bushes.
Nevermind that my adductor muscles hurt really bad thereafter. But a good workout, definitely!
When we were not horse riding, we spent the time exploring the Caldargup caves and visiting the Berry Farm. Also managed to drive up to the cheese farms for tasting, and ultimately buying so much cheese to feed the entire nation.
And I made a new friend, pretending to be fishes and princesses and kings! Me playing; while my friends are doing adult things like tasting wine and buying jam spreads.
Feeling like a 3-year-old again. Remind me that I’d just turned 23 a week ago.
A holiday isn’t a holiday if I don’t get to laze around, with not a care in the world. Besides all the physical line-up of activities, I did spend time doing quite the opposite. Took a bus to Fremantle and wandered about the town and harbour. We did manage to visit the Fremantle Prison and arts centre as well. It was a weekday though, I supposed the markets would be more lively on Saturdays.
Cottlestoe Beach was also a worthwhile place to visit. Lounging in the Australian sun, having a splash in the cool waters. The waves were a tad too strong to be swimming in – mind you that’s the vast Indian Ocean out there. I think I spent the entire morning just basking with a book… and then falling asleep under my sunhat.
What is travelling without tasting the local food? There were so many quaint places to head to for good food and brekkies (Hah! Such an Aussie thing to say). My top recommendations:
- Tuckshop Cafe, Newcastle Street, Perth
- Ciao Italia, Mill Point Road, South Perth
- Little Caesars Pizzeria, Sorrento Quay, Hillarys Boat Harbour, Sorrento
- Kaili’s Seafood, Fishing Boat Harbour, Fremantle
- Beaches Cafe, Marine Parade, Cottlestoe
- Morries Anytime, Bussell Highway, Margaret River
- Cottage Cafe @ The Berry Farm, Bessell Road, Rosa Glen
Well, food does make me happy and I was pleased with the tantalizing spread I got to feast on!
Also met up with my ex-classmates who are now studying in Curtin University. Headed to Shelley Foreshore Park for a delish BBQ… Aussie style! That just means having a lunch BBQ (instead of at night like we do) and using an electric grill (as compared to our charcoal-fire one I supposed). It was great catching up.
Like I said, there was so much that Western Australia had to offer. A different taste from the likes of other cities like Sydney or Melbourne. But having said that, I would love to do more roadtrips to a another Australian state. How do you reckon diving in the Great Barrier Reefs? Or whale-watching in Gold Coast?
Picturesque Perth, thank you for a wonderful time and the bountiful memories made. Till next time.