Western Australia, Part 1 – My Crush on Perth

By the time I was ready to catch my flight to Perth last Sunday my sleep schedule was completely turned around – I was going to bed at 7AM and sleeping through most of the day. The rainy weather in Sydney and rapidly shortening days didn’t help, either. Since I needed to catch a bus at 6:15AM to get to the airport, I figured I’d just stay up for the rest of the day. I napped a little on the flight, but not more than a few minutes at a time. I’m a bit of a nervous flyer.

I took the shuttle bus into the city. The driver was nice, he pointed me at the train station that I’d need to find later, and he took the scenic route into Perth, following the swan river. Palm trees and bike paths abound – there’s something like 700km of bike trails in and around Perth, apparently. If I’m in this corner of the world again I’ll plan to hire a bike and explore for a couple of days.

I stopped for a quick bite to eat in the pedestrian mall, where this band was playing some cool jazz:

Next to me was this giant ball that was settled into a base of water, sort of like a fountain – the rock was HUGE but you could spin it around fairly easily.

I spent the better part of three hours walking all along the trails that followed the river. The harbour was really beautiful, if I’d had more time I would have loved to take a cruise.

This is the swan bell tower; it houses 12 bells dating back to, I think, the 15th century. But they wanted ten bucks just to get into it so I didn’t bother. Just because they blew like six million bucks building this thing doesn’t mean they need to take it out on ME.

I was trying to get up to the bottanical gardens, which you can see in the background in the picture above. They’re on this huge hill that just seems to rise right up out of nowhere, though, and it was hard to figure out how to get up there.

See what I mean?

A more direct route used to exist, but it’s been closed because of falling rocks (that reminds me of Fort Howe at home.) It still looked cool, though.

There were some nice parklands along these trails, with lots of ducks and geese – at least, I think they were geese. Maybe they were swans, or something else altogether. I’m not all that “up” on my fauna. Either way, they were jet black, which was definitely kind of different.

Once I finally weaved my way through all this tamed wilderness (there were signs on the bike paths, which was helpful) I FINALLY figured out how to get up to the botannical gardens. Unfortunately, this involved my climbing the HILL OF DOOM.

It’s hard to get an impression of “tilt” in pictures, but let me assure you: however steep this hill may look to you, IT WAS WORSE. It started out steep and got progressively steeper as it went up. It was extremely disconcerting. And it was a long, long, long, long, long, long hill. I set off at a reasonable pace and absolutely refused to take a break on the way up for fear that a period of inertia would cause me to just give up and roll all the way down. IT JUST KEPT GOING.

A view from a bench at the top of the hill, where I took a break. When I’d caught my breath I started up toward the gardens. I noticed a viewpoint on the way, so I went to check it out – apparently there are STAIRS going up from somewhere, but I’m not sure how to access them and I don’t think that it would have been any better than the Hill of Doom.

A popular spot for people looking for a bit of exercise, as you can see. I can’t blame ’em – if I lived in Perth I’d be outside as much as possible. And what gym can compete with a free workout like that, and with a view like this as a reward?

Then I walked up into the botannical gardens. I took about a hundred and fifty similar “view” shots, because it was so amazing and you keep imagining that every picture is absolutely necessary, but really – these ones sum it up as well as you’re interested in, I’m sure. This one is nice, though:

The gardens were beautiful, I could have easily spent a few hours wandering around – and as it is, I did spend about an hour and a half there. I kept thinking that it was later than it really was, the weather was registering for me as “summer” so the low sun made me feel like it was late in the evening. Having just pulled an all-nighter probably didn’t help, either.

This bridge was really cool. A lot of these walkways are up in the tops of the trees, which made me think about the tree top walk that I was going to be taking in a couple of days.

These trees are shrimps next to the ones I’d see later, though.

At about four o’clock I went back to the city (and got to walk DOWN the Hill of Doom, which was awesome) and decided to check out a pub that my travel guide mentioned. It was great – I got a burger and potato wedges, which were both completely delicious, but even cooler: THEY HAD NEWCASTLE BROWN ALE! ON TAP!! After a long day of walking around, you can BET that I practically pissed myself when I found that out. The guy asked me if I wanted a pint or just a half, and I said, “Oh, A PINT. PLEASE.” It was the best beer I have ever ingested. And just to round things out in terms of awesomeness, the guy working at the bar was not only Canadian, not only a Maritimer, not only a New Brunswicker, but he grew up in Rothesay! That’s like half an hour away from where I grew up! And I make his acquaintance in Perth. It really is a small world.

This post is getting long, so I’ll end off here and save the travel hilarity for the next one (either tonight or tomorrow). But I’ll end with just one more thing:

When I was wandering around in the city of Perth, I kept seeing these little banners with a little cityscape as a logo on them. Like this:

At first I was like, “What is this? ‘Perth: City of Four Tall Buildings’? What?”

Then after wandering along the harbour for a bit, I turned around and looked up and saw:

Well whaddaya know. Guess they picked the right logo.

That’s enough for now – just a couple of hours ago I wrote my LAST EXAM OF THE YEAR! So now that I am free I think I’ll go out and enjoy the sunlight for a little while, then come back home to make dinner and figure out how I’m getting to Darlinghurst to see a show tonight.

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5 Comments on “Western Australia, Part 1 – My Crush on Perth”

  1. Angie Says:

    Glad you enjoyed Perth! Those animals are indeed Black Swans – the animal symbol of WA.

    By the pictures, I can tell which “hill of doom” you went up on. lol poor you! There’s actually an easier way to get up to King Park… but it involves a “hill of doom” of a different stature! There’s also “stairs of doom” which you could have taken… haha

  2. Bea Scott Says:

    Great photos! Seeing them makes me anxious to get on a plane right now!

  3. Candice Says:

    to get up that huge hill- kings park – you need to go up jacobs ladder which you get onto by following the path round from that cycle path you pictured. I have some nice photos of perth on my blog :) i enjoyed seeing yours


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  5. Western Australia really have a natural beauty. Great!


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