2019 tour travel blog

Perth Bell Tower

Perth - Welcome rainbow, their first rain in months

Water park in Perth

Red gum, Perth Botanical Gardens

Glass bridge, W.A. Botanical Gardens

Perth


Tony was awake about an hour before the alarm went off (woken by the bladder alarm that has not adjusted to leaving NZ). It seemed to take forever to get off to sleep again, and no sooner that happened than the alarm went off. We take our gear into the hallway to finish packing, and have a quick breakfast. Uber is on time, and it takes about half an hour to drive to Tullamarine airport. We are surprised that there is a lot of traffic at this early hour, but we are still at check-in an hour before we need to be (which we generally always plan to be, just in case).

After the ride, Tony checks the cost and is surprised that not only did they use the Uber credit, they also took off the first time user discount (AU$15). Total of the fare was just under AU$30, wow! We got to grab a luggage trolley, and they want AU$4, bugger that, we have backpacks…

We check in at Jetstar, accidentally as a group. Tony’s bag is over by 1kg, but because Cynthea was light on hers, they let it through. Airport security is all good, but Cynthea’s hips mean she gets special treatment. We grab a bite to eat to take on the flight, and at the gate they are weighing carry-on. Not to worry, pockets and jackets are stuffed full, haha. The people in front have huge carry-on, well over weight, so they are taken aside to get a mortgage. The staff look at us (the lady beside Cynthea just has a handbag), and we are asked if we are together. Yes, we say (well, we “are” all on the same flight, aren’t we?), and we are waved through without any further checks.

JQ972 to Perth is on an Airbus A321, cost AU$539, and takes 4hr25. Dawn is breaking as we take off into a red sky, and Tony is soon asleep. The flight gets rough at one point, and service stops during the turbulence. Tony wakes up and is surprised that they have been in the air two hours already. There still is not a lot to see, cloud all the way. Cynthea gets up for a wee wee walk, and the crew come past with the trolley. Tony is asked if we want anything to eat and drink, and is surprised when told that there is $30 to spend… don’t know how that happened and a check of the ticket shows luggage as the only extra. Oh well, if they insist, not that we are hungry, but it is use it or lose it. We also have a few carrots to munch through before we land, as you cannot transport fruit and vege interstate, WA is particularly hard on this. About an hour out from landing the skies clear, and we can see beautiful blue sea and white sand beaches.

As we come into Perth we have a rainbow beside us, we can see the end of it, but bloody pot of gold there. Today is the first rain in over two months… Clocks back two hours. Jeff and Karen are here to meet us, and we head into town to drop off bags at the hostel. Breakfast at a wee café around the corner, well, breakfast for them, it is lunch for us, not that we are that hungry, having had second breakfast.

It doesn’t feel cold, but it is quite windy, and there are frequent showers. Jeff and Karen take us to Elizabeth Quay, where we dodge showers while looking around and checking options for Rottnest Island trips. We check out the Bell Tower and then the water park feature that has a steam cycle that reminds us of Rotorua, without the smell. There are some cool looking jellyfish by the wharf, hundreds of them, and we wonder how much of a punch they pack if you get stung. Jeff has an appointment to go to, so we look at options for replacing Cynthea’s wheeled backpack. She is struggling with it as it is not that stable, and the grab handle is rough on her hands.

We head back to the hostel to check into the room. What a hoot, we had requested a private double room, and we wonder what we are in for as we are first led into a ten bed dorm room. Another door is unlocked into what looked like a cupboard, if there had been stairs we would not have been surprised to see Harry Potter! In the room is a coffee table, and a two-seater couch across the back wall. Tony is looking for another door, but there isn’t one, and then he spots the ladder up to the loft. This is going to be interesting… He wonders if Cynthea can get up there in the first place, never mind getting down. She gives it a go, and it is a fail. Tony also has a crack, and will be able to get up here, but not easily back down again. It won’t be a good look in the middle of the night having to rush for the loo either. The duty manager says it is a popular room, but concedes we will have trouble. Only problem is they are fully booked for private rooms, however there is one chap still to check in. We are told that they had trouble with this guy in the past, breaking house rules, and he may not end up staying here. The guy has also used this room before. Tony suggests that they just swap the rooms over now, and they say they will sort something.

Back to the car, and we are taken up the hill overlooking the city, King’s Park and the Botanical Gardens. We drive around as much as we can, but it is too wet to walk just now. It looks there is a break in the weather, so we have a walk around the War Memorial and the Flame of Remembrance, that QEII lit in 2000. We duck into the café for a bite and a beer, then Jeff and Karen drop us off at a supermarket close to our hostel. It takes under half an hour to walk back, there is a vibrant restaurant scene close to where we are staying, and we later find out we are on the free bus route that runs 7am-7pm daily.

We arrive at the hostel to find our room is sorted – we not only have a double room to ourselves, but we also have an ensuite. A free upgrade, six nights here cost NZ$294. The bed is comfy, but the room is not sound proof. The tv lounge is right next door, and the telly is blaring. We are so tired we are asleep in no time. We are hoping that the night club next door won’t be open this weekend, their smokers courtyard is right outside our room. Happy happy, joy joy, not.

16 April – Tuesday

Phil Webb picks us up after breakfast, and tells us he is a crap tour guide, but anything we want to see is fine with him. He lives south of Perth, in Cockburn City, suburb of Success. He reckoned the local football team moved to the area because that was the only way they would see Success. We last saw Phil in Turkey, eight years ago, it is great to catch up again. Phil says he will take us up to King’s Park (where we were in the rain yesterday), and this time we are in luck and have a long walk around the gardens. Then we drive out to Innaloo (how do these places get their names!), and Scarborough. It is very windy here on the beach, so we don’t stick around long, but we are impressed by the deep bowl at the skate park. We take a couple of photos, but it doesn’t show the depth well (not to mention it looks dodgy taking photos of young boys!).

We head down the coast to Cottesloe, but it is still very windy. The tide is very high, Phil tells us it is usually a lot further out. There are a huge number of surfers in the water, but we decide to push on to Freemantle for lunch. Rain is still threatening, and the wind is still up, so we do our siteseeing in the car. We look at a couple of seafood restaurants that Cynthea is keen to try out, but the non-seafood fare is pricey in these touristy places. We check out Joe’s Fish Shack, “Eat at Joes” in big letters on the side of the building reminds us of a place at Redondo Beach near L.A. in California.

We walk to the main street, and settle for a feed at a sports bar. We buy a groupon voucher for a meal, AU$35 gets us a starter, two mains, and two beers. Big meals that are enough for the three of us. But when we get there, there is a sign on the wall that says we have a reservation first, but we figure that won’t be problem as the place is near empty. But no, barmaid says we need a booking, so we sit down at a table while Phil talks to her about how silly it is when they are not busy. He asks if he needs to go outside to call her and make a booking, and she eventually gives in and we are set to go.

We have a wander around town after lunch, and Tony spots a tight-arse Tuesday special – half price waffles. And of course we have to have a scoop of icecream with that.

Phil offers to drive us back into Perth, but we opt to be dropped off at the Cockburn train station, as from here we can get off at Elizabeth Wharf and book Rottnest Is for Thursday. It is about NZ$11 for the train into town, and after booking the ferry to Rottnest we are set to walk back to the hostel, about 25-30 minutes away. That is until it turns to rubbish weather and the rain starts up again. The guy at the booking office shows us where the free bus leaves from, and we see that it stops close to the hostel, so we are up for that. It is supposed to be 21 degrees here, we think their machine is broken! We guess which stop to get off, and pick the wrong one, so it is a dash in the rain to the hostel, across the road from the next stop. At least we know that when we go to Rottnest we can catch the bus and be at the wharf within half an hour, taking the long way there, but we don’t have to walk!

Cynthea’s cousin, Marie Slythe, calls down to drop some bits off to us. We will see her on Saturday, and she tells us this is her old neighbourhood, her parents’ house for 10 years was about a dozen houses along the road, as is the church she went to. Her home is also close by, not far to walk when we visit on Saturday.



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