After our awesome 12 days in New Zealand we made our way to Melbourne, again, for a night before hopping on yet another airplane to make the four hour flight across Australia to reach Perth. The fact that the flight itself was four hours really illustrates just how massive Australia is – interestingly our flight to New Zealand was actually slightly shorter.
We arrived into Perth airport and caught an Uber to our accommodation in Mosman Park. First impressions of Perth weren’t great as we drove through some run down looking areas but then we arrived to our place for the week – The Loft, which was a studio apartment in a nice suburb of Perth, which we didn’t get a chance to look around as it was dark by the time we arrived.
The Loft itself was a great space, which had everything we needed for our stay and was located above our hosts garage, separate from the main house – we were later told that this used to be their music room before they renovated and started to use it as an AirBnb.
During our stay in The Loft we were also able to use our hosts BBQ, which was located on the veranda at the front of their house. We decided to take our last opportunity to cook sausages and burgers and to enjoy sitting outside in the sun – the food was tasty.
On our first full day after arriving we decided to have a relaxed morning to recover after a really action packed and busy couple of weeks. So we didn’t make our way into the city until around 11am.
Upon arriving into the city we were extremely surprised at how nice and built up everything was. The main reason for our surprise was because we were expected a city that resembled Cairns which was pretty quiet and a bit older looking than the bigger cities of Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne. This was simply not the case, it had a Brisbane kind of feel to it and felt really new and metropolitan. Also the Perth Fringe was on during our stay, which gave it a cool buzz as we looked around the city.
We wandered around for a few hours, made our way to Elizabeth Quay and overheard Aloe Black rehearsing for his performance later that night, which was unexpected as we didn’t know he was still around – he sounded pretty good.
For lunch we found a great little cafe which served some tasty bagels and decent coffee. This was close to the Botanical Gardens (Kings Garden) – yes another one we have visited on our travels, we cannot believe that there has been pretty much one everywhere we have visited.
Once we arrived at Kings Garden we found one of the best lookouts over the city and Swan River.
As it was another hot and sunny day we decided to take a moment and grab a couple of beers at the Botanic Cafe. This was great as we really needed to get out of the sun and have a cold drink and it also gave us the opportunity to try a beer brewed in Western Australia, as we had tried a locally brewed one everywhere else we had travelled.
We visited the city on our last full day in Perth for a meal at a Cambodian restaurant called My Bayon. We decided on this restaurant as we had heard good things about it and wanted to try a different type of cuisine. We weren’t disappointed as the food was exquisite. We both tried the Ah Mok Curry which is a traditional Cambodian dish where barramundi fish is cooked wrapped in a banana leaf. What’s more is that each time this particular dish is chosen the restaurant donates $1 to Awareness Cambodia.
Before getting to Perth we had heard that Fremantle was a cool area to visit. We also knew that there was a market every Friday, Saturday and Sunday. We found the market and enjoyed checking out all the stalls. There was quite a lot of cool and interesting items, but nothing that we wanted to purchase, which was a shame.
Afterwards we looked around the town itself and even found out that they have a one o’clock gun that is shot everyday. This was interesting as they have a one o’clock gun in Edinburgh, Scotland. We didn’t know that they had this anywhere else in the world. We leant that the gun was fired at the same time everyday to enable ships to set their maritime clocks they needed to navigate the world’s oceans.
We set off on our journey to Rottnest Island at 7:50am to arrive at Fremantle Quay to get our 30 minute ferry at 9:10am. It was another beautifully sunny day and we were excited to see the island and to hopefully see a quokka – a cute marsupial found on this island, known for their smiles while people take selfies with them.
Our first port of call once we arrived was a ‘Meet the quokka’ talk where they told us all about the little furry creatures. We were surprised to hear that quokkas can actually be found on the mainland but as they have a lot of competition and predators they are a lot rarer. However, on Rottnest Island they have what may be considered paradise for them. Other than an osprey nothing else hunts them and there is plenty of food around, so the island has a pretty healthy population.
We were pretty lucky that near the meeting point there were a little group of quokkas and we managed to get our ‘quokka selfies’. Although this was a lot more difficult that we initially thought, involving having to sit or lie on the floor to get to their level and hope they remained still and looked at the camera, so there were quite a few failed attempts! But our mission to find a quokka was complete and we had only been on the island for 15 minutes.
Next, we hired a couple of bicycles to get around the island. Overall we cycled 18km around the island, found some stunning views of bays and beaches and then pulled up to snorkel in Little Salmon Bay.
The water was just what you wanted as it was cool as you walked in but then was warm as you swam around. There weren’t many fish around but the ones that were got pretty close. It was fun to be in the ocean again.
We then made the last 4.2km ride back to the main area of the island to return our bicycles and get a well deserved cold drink and some ice cream – yum!
We didn’t catch a ferry back to the mainland until 6pm, which was pretty rough as the ferry was crashing over waves but we made it back safe and sound. We had a tiring but awesome day.
We really liked this area as it was a short walk to the beach and not far to the main city or Fremantle via train.
However, our time in the area was made a little scarier as there were lots of magpies around, which we know doesn’t sound very scary! But the Australian magpie isn’t the same as the one found in the UK as they are known to swoop at passers by, normally this only happens during mating season (August to October) as they are trying to protect their nests, but they have rarely been known to swoop outside of this time. They also only usually swoop at cyclists and runners as their speed makes them feel threatened. Many people wear helmets with spikes on their heads to protect themselves. However, one day, out of season, and just walking by at a slow pace, Lauren heard a magpie hovering around but could only see it’s shadow so didn’t know how close it was. We certainly didn’t expect it to swoop down and peck at her head. As funny as it is now, at the time it was actually pretty scary and pretty painful. After that we felt hyper vigilant around the area as we read that magpies can hold a grudge against someone and will attack the same person again, and it is advised to find a different route. We don’t know what Lauren did to be victimised as she was.
On our last day we headed to the beach for the last time in Australia. It was a dog friendly beach so there were so many dogs running around like headless chickens having a whale of a time running into the ocean chasing tennis balls and waves. It was a lovely beach and the sun was shining so we really enjoyed dipping our feet in the sea and walking along the beach.
Rockingham – Our wild dolphin experience
Another early start as we made our way into the city to be picked up at 6:50am to be transported by coach to Rockingham (40 minutes south of Perth) for our wild dolphin experience. This was something that Lauren had been talking about doing for our whole trip and even before we started travelling.
It was also going to be our last experience on our travels, so even more pressure for it to be an amazing one! And it was!
The dolphins were Indo-Pacific bottlenose and we managed to swim with a few males and then a mother and her calf sticking close together. We also saw them feeding and one of the dolphins catch an octopus.
For a lot of our swimming around we were actually following a stingray who the dolphins were following as they also hunt squid and octopus that hide in the sea grass. It’s a bit of a cheeky way of them trying to catch the food the stingray finds without having to work as hard for it. We were told that it was only one of two places this behaviour has been witnessed (the other being Mexico) and has even been documented by the BBC. We felt lucky to have seen them hunting in this way.
It was amazing to also hear the dolphins buzzing and whistling under the water, which was louder than we thought and were told that it can travel for 800 metres underwater which is very useful as these sounds are used to communicate with each other and for echolocation allowing them to picture their surroundings and to locate their prey. Another interesting fact we were told was that dolphins have semi-conscious sleeps in five to ten second naps, which equates to eight hours everyday.
We had the most incredible day and to have the experience we did swimming amongst all the wild dolphins in their natural environment was truly wonderful.
We were only in Perth for a short time but we found ourselves very surprised at how much we liked the city as it was a lot livelier and built up than we anticipated after being told by people on the East Coast of Australia that it’s quieter on the West Coast. We thoroughly enjoyed the experiences we had in Perth and can’t believe that we managed to get a selfie with a quokka and were lucky enough to swim with a group of wild dolphins.
Perth is a place that we would probably visit again if we ever made our way back to Australia in the future.
Lauren’s favourite thing – swimming with wild dolphins
Daniel’s favourite thing – cycling around Rottnest Island
So that’s it for Perth and Australia, now to make the long way back to England via Doha, Qatar…