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My First Time in Perth, Western Australia

Published
June 20, 2017

20 June 2017

Downtown Perth, as seen from across the Swan River

I ARRIVED in Perth City and there had been very little rain in the Western-most state of Australia. It was winter and it was still a warm 22 degrees celsius. The reason why I wanted to go to Perth was I had never been before and I wanted to have a look at the Western State. I was staying at an Airbnb in Northbridge which was quite an arty district. There were a lot of older homes there and it was easy to walk into the city, there were trains and public transport that was well organised and easy to access.

The waterfront was right there too and there were playgrounds and walkways. I was there during Western Australia day that had a lot of free outdoor events.

My friend Nader lived there and I had met him in Auckland at a hiking meet up group. He had lived in Perth for several years and it was good to meet up with him again as we both had similar interests.

I went out to dinner with some of his hiking friends and that was a lot of fun. I went out on a couple of short one hour walks with his hiking group and they were so friendly and hospitable.

Perth was quite a well planned city with a lot of parks. The population of Perth is 2.14 million people. There was a lot of building going on and high rise apartments being built. I heard there was one of the parks that was going to be developed into a water park, which a lot of the locals had opposed.

Perth city really boomed along with the mining industry there, with the a lot of iron ore mining sites set up around the state of Western Australia. But with the slow down of the mining activities the city had slowed down a bit too. The rents had gone down, where at one point people would bid on houses — so who ever was willing to pay the most rent would get the house. There were a lot of empty rooms and accommodation around the city, which surprised me. Everyone was hoping for mining to make a come back. Perth is also the head quarters for Rio Tinto, a major mining company worldwide as well as within Australia.

I enjoyed the inner city district of Northbridge, had a good movie theatre. I visited Fremantle and saw the old prison there, in fact there was a lot to do in Perth when the weather was nice. I was in Perth for a total of 8 days and I got out and about with my friend acting as my tour guide Nader.

 

Pelican and the moon at Fremantle

 

Fairy in a Western Australian shopping mall, blessing people

I went to the Western Australian Museum that had an exhibition that looked at the Aboriginals and the protests going on since 1973. Basically it was the history of the protests of the Aboriginal people. They had met in Uluru and discussed how to get recognition as the first people of Australia.

I read a book called Stan Grant “Talking to my country”, about arsenic poisoning in New South Wales at water holes going back to 1830–50’s. He was a well known CNN reporter, he suffered depression in his 40s not feeling part of the Australian nation as an aboriginal person. They almost had to prove that they existed. The British had claimed when they landed in Australia there was no existing people there, which was a lie.

It was very interesting of 30–40 years of protests, was good to see that exhibition.

National Parks around WA

Next on my list was to see the National Parks around Perth. I didn’t know whether to go North or South. There was a lot of information online, and I was told to go to Pinnacles which was 60,000 year old rocks and it was a two hour drive North of Perth City and it was along the Indian Ocean Highway.

There were a lot of watch out for wildlife signs around too. I was driving along and saw some kangaroos along the side of the road that was cool.

I headed North to the Pinnacles and someone had been killed so the roads were all blocked. The roads were pretty narrow and you do have to be careful when you are driving over there.

When I got to the Pinnacles, I was amazed! They are thousand of pillars made of limestone in a desert in the area known as Nambung National Park and they are also known as the Cervantes Pinnacles. Experts are still at a loss to explain exactly how they were formed, one such suggestion is that shells were broken down into lime rich sand and they were blown inland to form high mobile dunes, however the manner which they developed has been subject of much debate. There are 3 different theories of formation to them another one is that, they were born in sand dunes when acidic rainwater leaked down cementing the lime rich sand and binding into clumps and vegetation on top of the dunes helped things along by holding them together.They are formed in WA and other locations and suggest they have been exposed for 6,000 years roughly.

There were a lot of aboriginal artefacts found around the area too so it was quite rich with Aboriginal cultural history, with evidence dating back over 60,000 years of Aboriginal occupation.

I went back down to Perth and thought about driving all over the State, I wanted to go to Esperance and I wanted to see the birdlife there but the time of year was autumn and winter and wasn’t the best time to see them, plus it was a very long drive.I borrowed Nader’s tent, sleeping bag and cooking stove, hired an rental car for $25 AUD a day and brought some food and off I went.

Then I decided to head to the South to a popular tourist spot called Margaret River. Its great for wine tasting tours, caves and hiking. I didn’t know a lot about it and I didn’t know where to stay. I visited Yallingup and then carried on down to Margaret River. I stayed at Contos Campground in the Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park, the weather was 20 degrees during the day and at night dropped as low as 5 degrees, which wasn’t that bad. It only cost $10 AUD a night to stay at the campground which was pretty cheap! I stayed for three nights and found I had plenty to do.

I met a guy working for the department of wildlife and service as a ranger and he told me why they have some of these fires is to help the forest regenerate and they don’t need to be put out a lot of the time, they just monitor them.

 

Controlled burnoff near Margaret River, Western Australia

There were beautiful places to see like the Boranup Karri Forest, which was filled with native eucalyptus trees which were 500–600 years old.

I went to two different caves, for about $50 AUD which was amazing. I went to the Lake Caves not far from Contos Campground about 2kms away. There was a suspended table formation which weighed several tonnes and hovers above clear lake water, and beautiful crystal straws and staginites with drops of water on the tips. The pure crystal was mind blowing! I went to the Mammoth cave with over 10,000 fossils there. There were sites of excavations showing 50,000 year old jaw bones of a creature called zygomaturus. The Mammoth Cave was different there wasn’t running water and a lot of old bone!

I enjoyed Margaret River and then I ended up going to one other National Park was Wellington National Park. That was beautiful, one doesn’t expect WA to be so green! I stayed at the Honeymoon pools camping and there were walkways everywhere and several overnight trekking trips I went upriver and saw the rapids and was amazed at the beauty there. I saw a bush fire that was burning out, I didn’t want to get caught in a bush fire which are really common there especially because there had been no rain.

It says if you get caught you are meant to lie low in your car, and your better to surround yourself with rocks.

Along the Indian Ocean there was a coast to coast trail I could have walked from in fact there were a lot of long distance trails around WA. I was amazed at all the walks and trails there were around.

I went back to Perth, looking at the map it is massive, I didn’t even get to make a dent! I would like to come back again and go further north and south.

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