Dec 25, 2005
|Perth is the fourth largest Australian city and is located on the Swan River, Western Australia. It is the only large city in Western Australia and is known for its warm climate, fine wines and great golf. Sounds like the perfect place for us to visit, so we did just that over the Christmas holidays. I will be sending many photos with this saga, on a web site called ofoto. Just sign in when you get the invitation from me and you can view all the wonderful images of this area.
We took a 6 AM flight out of Townsville and yes we had to get up at 3:30AM to make that flight, talk about O dark thirty, it wasn't even dawn yet..... Ten hours later, yes 10, we arrived at the Perth airport, picked up our rental care and drove north to an area called Swan valley, to our golfing resort hotel, "The Vines". A golf resort set in a winery, how good is that. Two hours time change so we are pretty tired and need sleep, tomorrow December 23 is going to be great. And it was.. We played golf in the morning with the biggest kangaroos we had ever seen, some as big as Ricki. As we were eating breakfast in the hotel, one of the local ducks came wandering thru the restaurant. What a hoot, the hostess had to lead it out using breadcrumbs as bait. The ducks at the hotel were so use to the people that they swam in the pool with the people. Only in Australia. Then it was off to the Swan Valley to visit several local wineries for free tasting and free TASTING! The swain valley has several hundred local vineyards and wineries. Could not get to them all but we tried. Tasted the wine, had beautiful food in the little restaurants and chatted with so many nice people we lost count. Now all we have to do is figure out how we are going to get all this wine back home, extra suite case no doubt.
Dec. 24th, More golf in the morning and then we are off to find our friend a bottle of White Port wine, can only get it here, so we go searching more wineries but we found it. Then we had the most incredible lunch at the winery called the "Black Swan", gourmet chef, world class food in a little out of the way café set in the middle of the vines half way around the world, life is strange.
Christmas Day...golf early of course, more kangaroos, big rain storm heading our way. The hotel is full and the restaurant is gearing up for a big buffet dinner. Elvis is singing on the PA system----only in Australia. Ate our dinner at the hotel, as everything for miles is closed, the food was plentiful, but not the usual Christmas fare for us. An interesting array of things such as marinated octopus salad, but the big surprise was roast turkey, as they do not eat a lot of turkey here and it is almost never on the menu. Had a very good day.
Next day is Boxing Day in Australia, this is also a holiday and again everything is closed except the golf course...Tradition has it that the day after Christmas the rich families boxed up all the left over food and took it to the poor, thus the tradition was born and that extended the holidays for the Australians. We took off to the West coast and beach area to check out the Indian Ocean and the beaches of western Australia. The water was a gorgeous blue green and the sand was very soft. Looked a lot like American beaches with less people. The Aussies were out in force enjoying the warm weather, beaches, parks and picnic areas, much like the 4th of July in the states. We dipped our toes in the Indian Ocean, it was cold.
Dec. 27th we left our golf resort and headed into downtown Perth to another hotel closer to the waterfront and tourist areas. We were within walking distance of the River and ferries going to other local attractions. But it was hot in the daytime, so we had to stay in the shade, waterfront restaurants with oysters, and lobster. We toured the local area, shopped in a huge shopping plaza.
Dec. 28th, we were off to play golf north of Perth in one of the top ten courses in Australia. We had a ball, just awing at the huge bunkers, water hazards and of course the enormous greens, just like you see on TV at the big golf tournaments. Big course, lots of fun, but we were really tired, so the rest of the day we napped and rested. We are getting older you know.
Dec. 29th we toured South Perth, the waterfront and walked our little feet off. We had a wonderful day sight seeing and chatting with a lot of very friendly people. (See the water front pictures in Ofoto, it was beautiful). Perth sets on the river and it is so beautiful, the air is clean, the water is clean and ferries across are very cheap. What a great place
Dec. 30th played more golf and drove south to check out the area. We ate good food, chatted with great people and had a lot of fun. Visited Fremantle, the port city, it was one of the original penal colonies and now is a major tourist attraction, for its markets, seafood restaurants and museums. We wandered around all day, looking, talking and eating some really good seafood.
Dec. 31st, New Years Eve. We planned to do nothing except drink our Champaign, toast the New Year and people watch. The Australian's know how to celebrate and they did it with gusto, lots of fire works over the river. Local bands playing and kids running and playing, the whole family always gets involved where the Aussies are concerned.
Jan. 1, we are getting ready to fly back to Townsville, late tonight, the red eye to Sydney. We are not looking forward to the five-hour flight, but we had such a good time. We went back to the little winery restaurant and had one more great meal before we left then off to the airport. Got a great surprise at the airport, the flight was overbooked and they upgraded us to business class. So we kicked back, drank our free Champaign, put on our sleep masks, ear plugs and slept the sleep of the exhausted for five hours to Sydney. Hopped on our next flight and arrived home safe and sound. What a great trip. I am attaching some observations of our trip, general stuff that I thought of, so enjoy. Be sure to go to Ofoto, sign in and view the 40 pictures I am sending.
Random thoughts of a Yank in Australia:
• There was no clock in our five star hotel room.
• No Christmas tree in the hotel lobby or anywhere else.
• 90 degrees outside not a Christmas light anywhere.
• Ducks in the swimming pool.
• Emu on the golf course.
• Restaurants not open from 2 PM until 6 PM.
• No fence or barrier on the big open pit on the golf course.
• Everyone was very courteous and friendly, not a grumpy gus in town
• We only got two towels in our room no matter what
• Only saw one street person
• No beggars on the street
• All the clerks spoke English
• Had to pay the hotel to park our car
• The maps were incorrect, had three different ones, all said something different.
• The freeway system was great but the access ramps were impossible to find.
• Statues and art work in all the parks with no graffiti.
• Benches to set on in the parks that were not anchored in cement.....
• Australia is about 10 to 15 years behind the USA, I hope they never catch up in some ways.