We did kind of promise not to tell the world, but it’s a secret that’s simply too good to keep to ourselves. Reed on to find out what MUST go on your bucket list.
Fires and Storm
We had originally planned to travel along the Australian east coast, the classic tourist route, from Cairns and Great Barrier Reef up north to Sydney and Melbourne down south. However, when we were in the middle of our planning a week prior to going to Australia, the devastating bushfires were on a high and it was rainy season way up north. We decided to change your plans. Usually, we don’t plan too much after the weather, but fires and heavy tropical rainstorms are not on top of our wish list.
We have always heard great things about Western Australia, but since it’s sooo far away from basically everything else in Australia, we have never really considered it. Now that we wanted to get as far away as possible from the bush fires in New South Wales and Victoria, Western Australia (WA) seemed like the perfect choice. Four tickets got booked from Singapore to Perth and off we went.
8 Days in Perth
We ended up staying eight days in Perth. Initially we had planned for five days, but we really love the city, the people, the atmosphere, the beautiful nature surrounding the city, the parks and in particular the calm lifestyle.
As you can read about in another blog post right here, we experienced some sort of reverse culture shock upon arrival in Australia, which we weren’t really prepared for. The fact that we could read and understand everything made a huge difference and somehow we could relax a bit more. The boys could instantly understand everything going on at the playgrounds and join in on the fun. Being able to read all local signs, menus, and even the local news again was a great feeling.
Perth is the most relaxed and laidback city we have EVER visited around the world (as in a big metropolitan city). People were chatting with us anywhere we went, on the bus, in the supermarket, playgrounds, cafes, the parks etc. The Aussies are such warm and welcoming people. We even met up with a local family, who was following us on Instagram and got in touch with us. Thank you @griptheglobe for meeting up, having fun and sharing all your local knowledge with us – it made our stay in WA extra special.
Down in central Perth we spent a lot of time in the new area around Elisabeth Quay, where we visited the Clock Tower, heard the bells play Waltzing Mathilda, hung out on The Island Playground and cool café/restaurant and just enjoyed this completely new area so much that we came back several times to just hang out and for the kids to spend time at the awesome playground.
Biggest Park in the World
Our visit to Kings Park and Botanical Gardens was such a success that we had to come back for a second visit. Not only do you get insight into vegetation from all over Australia, but it’s made in a really cool way. You have amazing views of the city and the Swan Lake, there are great cafes, huge and awesome playgrounds that were quite different to most other playgrounds. Lots of families and groups of people in the park – the Aussies love to picnic, which makes for a great atmosphere in parks, foreshores, well, basically everywhere.
We took out “public” bikes for 4 hours and biked all around the huge park, you can even drive around the park, that’s how big it is.
A Golden Day
One of the first places we went, was across from our breakfast place, The Perth Mint. We went on a guided tour, and learned a lot in particular about gold found in WA, saw the biggest WA found gold nuggets (which hasn’t been melted as most of the big one has), and we saw the worlds heaviest coin – a one ton one dollar gold coin. The highlights, though, was to see a real gold bar being made and afterwards trying to pick it up… let me just tell you, a pure gold bar is rather heavy.
What’s a Quokka?
From Perth we went on two trips, each of them about 45 min. away by boat or train.
Our first excursion was to Rottnest Island. Going by boat early, taking us out through the Swan Lake to the Indian Ocean, with great views of nice and pretty suburban areas. No cars are allowed on Rottnest Island, so bikes are the best way of getting around (alternatively, going on the little shuttle, that also takes people around). We loved the opportunity to bike around exploring the nature, wildlife and white sand beaches with its shallow waters – perfect for snorkeling, which we also did. This is also the place to see the little Quokka, is a small wallaby-like animal jumping around all over the island, not minding all the visitors at all. We really enjoyed our one day on the island and also enjoyed the boat ride back to the city.
Finally, we went out to Freemantle by train. This is another cool place that shouldn’t be missed, and the town that is known for its prison among other things, which housed convicts from 1850’s to 1991. We enjoyed the relaxed Aussie atmosphere in the town, the parks, Freemantle Markets, walking around the city with lots of cute little shops and cafes, and in particular the foreshore and the beach. Kids playing on the beach while we enjoyed the most magical sunset with a glass of white was a special moment, that we shared with fellow travelers along with a load of fish and chips at one of the many restaurants that will hook you up with this meal, that almost seem obligatory in Freemantle.
We could easily have spent a few more days in Perth, especially with more outings, but since we didn’t have a vehicle while in Perth and weren’t keen on group bus tours, we didn’t make Swan Valley and Perth Hills - can’t do it all. The things we did do in Perth, however, we enjoyed tremendously, and it was time to get started on our road trip from Perth to Adelaide across the Nullarbor... A nearly 4000 km were ahead of us.