Perth – Family Time

Here we are now in Perth for 10 days ahead of us heading home. Perth is home to Logan and Tara and now Charlie our youngest grandson who was born on the day that we left New Zealand – back on 6 August 2019. Carol’s oldest brother Trevor has come over from New South Wales to meet up with us, but also to have time with Logan, Tara and Charlie. Carol’s sister Linnie then joined us here on the Saturday – with her spending a week with us here as well to catch up with family. Perth has been turning on the heat for us – on the Friday after we arrived, we survived a 40-degree day – time was spent inside with the AC, or in the shade, but any wind that there was, was a hot wind so no respite. A local routine with Logan and Tara is to head up to Ellenbrook to Bunnings and over to the shopping mall – we have made plenty of trips up there in the past week. Logan treated us to some barbequing pleasures on more than one occasion – he has a barbeque for all purposes it seems. Logan and Tara had some friends over on the Saturday and we all enjoyed a nice meal and a couple of cold ones – it was feeling like a holiday. Logan has a water feature that he picked up so on the Sunday we all trekked out (2 vehicle convoy required) to the Lilly Farm and Logan and Tara picked up some water lilies and a bag of gold fish who were then transferred into the water feature in the back yard.

On the Monday morning I had a job interview first thing (7am WA time) but once I had that out of the way, we all loaded up (Linnie and Trevor included) and made our way up and over to Hillary’s Boat Harbour where we boarded the ferry over to Rottnest Island. The ferry was full which surprised us for a Monday morning – obviously we weren’t the only ones on holiday today. The day was hot – the sea breeze as we worked our way across to Rottnest (a distance of 22 km’s from Hillary’s) was a welcome relief. This was the first time to Rottnest for all of us and we had a great day. We loved the ride across in the fast ferry – there were a load of cargo seas moored way out in the Perth Bight or whatever the bay area our from Perth is called. The ride over to the island took us 45 mins – besides the boat being full with passengers, the favoured mode of transport on the island is the bicycle, and so loads of the passengers had hired bikes at Hillary’s to take over to the island for the day or days. Obviously Rottnest is famous for its furry little inhabitant – the Quokka, and you don’t have to go too far on the island to see them. Reality is those that you do see are the opportunist ones that are out in the daytime to feed on what the tourists will give them, whereas Quokka are actually nocturnal and so the best ones are tucked away somewhere during the day, only to come out in the evening. They weren’t plentiful, but there were a few pelican’s to be spotted – do love a good pelican either flying, sitting or swimming. The island is home to something like 350 permanent residents – probably those aligned with working on the island. That said we didn’t see much in the way of houses – although there are a load of beach bach’s that look to be very popular and that is what most visitors to the island stay in. The main / only entry point onto Rottnest is at Thomson Bay where the ferries all dock / depart from, and there main shopping, retail and dining options for the island are based.

We took the opportunity to hop on the Island Hop On Off bus – the island covers something like 19 square kilometres and has tourist bus that stops at something like 15 key spots around the island, so for us, it was a great way to see the island as we hopped off and on at a couple of different spots. Our first stop was at the West End of the island – we were told if you headed off from this point the next land mass you would come upon would be Madagascar. At West End there were some great rock formations, and a large NZ Fur Seal colony so we enjoyed having a good look at what this fantastic little island had to offer. We then got back on the bus and rode it back up the island and got ourselves off at the Geordie Bay area where there were some great boats / launches moored in this lovely bay. It was hot out but we found some shelter down on the beach and I jumped in the Indian Ocean to cool off. Carol and Linnie were less impressed by the cool of the water but dipped their toes (on average the island runs a few degrees cooler than the mainland). We had to board the ferry back by 4.30pm so we got ourselves back to Thomson Bay and found the Rottnest Hotel to have a cool beer and a basket of fries ahead of getting back to the dock. Rottnest was great – we all loved our day on the island if you haven’t been out there before we would recommend it as a must do if you are in Perth for a vacation. We all boarded the ferry and again, enjoyed our run back over to Hillary’s – a good day had by all.

On the Wednesday, Tara had to work, so her and Charlie headed off to the pre-school, whilst we all headed on out to Fremantle for the day. We dropped Carol and Linnie off to go and have a look at a neat sculpture park / display along the waterfront area, whilst the boys headed to the West Australia Army Museum which Trevor (Vietnam veteran) wanted to check out. The museum was great – there was a load more in the museum for me to absorb than I’d expected so it was very good. We passed 3 hours with the aid of the guided tour that we had – Trevor and our guide shared stories back and forth and had a great time, with Logan and I making up the numbers. We left the museum and met the girls down at the Fremantle waterfront at the local dining institution that is Cicerello’s Fremantle – a very popular spot for fish and chips and seafood – fresh from the local waters. We all enjoyed a great meal of local fish and chips before having a wander around the downtown area – Fremantle has a really nice vibe to it, with its old restored buildings, and the waters edge right there. Traffic builds up early on the highways around Perth, and we got ourselves caught in a couple of bottlenecks but it wasn’t too bad and we were soon back with Tara and Charlie to share stories from the day. Thursday saw us heading downtown for Logan and Tara to show some of Perth off to Trevor and Linnie. First stop for us was the recently revitalised Elizabeth Quay area down on the Swan River. Standing proudly there recently restored is the ever-impressive Swan River Bell Tower which stands over 80 metres tall, with 18 bells that chime away during the day. The quay area is also where the downtown ferries to Rottnest Island also depart from.

The Elizabeth Quay complex is a mixed-use development with cafes, ferry terminal, and high-rise apartment buildings. The quay has a very nice inner harbour that one of the local ferries (that plies across the bay) departs from. We were surprised though by all the jellyfish in the waters in this area. We had a good wander around and then we drove us to the really nice Kings Park area for a great picnic. The park area is really nice – the park is perched up on the hill overlooking the heart of Perth. The park had been the venue for a concert the day prior (Aha and Rick Astley), and they were still parking up after the event as we made our way into the park. On the edge of the park is the State War Memorial which has an eternal flame burning – very fitting location looking out over the city. The shade offered by the park was a very welcome reprieve from the 37-degree temperatures today. We had a great time in the park ahead of working our way back home for the evening. Carol and I had an early start to our Friday (well most mornings this past week were early courtesy of Charlie stirring early for Nana Carol to step in), dropping Logan out to the airport at 4.30am for him to head out to camp for the week – was great of him to adjust his shift to have this week with us. We got back to the house around 5am and nabbed a couple of hours sleep before Charlie rose for the day so that was a bonus. Our Friday consisted of taking Tara out for lunch – she took us over to a really nice restored pub in Guildford where we all had a nice lunch before we headed up to the Midland shopping mall and covered some steps traipsing around the mall – ended up being too much for Trevor and I – we retreated to the seats outside until the girls were done.

On Saturday, Carol’s brother Murray who lives in Albany (4 hours south of Perth) came up for the weekend to catch up with Tara and Charlie, and also to take his brother Trevor back south with him for a couple of weeks. Trevor and I had plans for the 3 of us to head down the road to the car museum at Whiteman Park, but Murray was a lot later arriving than expected, so Trevor and I spent the afternoon watching the Supercar racing from Adelaide, so not all bad. The girls had gone off with Tara and Charlie for a baby shower, so once we were all back, Murray treated everyone to some oysters he’d brought up, and fresh lamb chops for our dinner – that and a couple of drinks and we were all had a very nice evening. On the Sunday, Murray and Trevor dropped Linnie round to us and we all had an early lunch before Murray and Trevor started their trek back south to Albany. We enjoyed a quiet afternoon – which did include one last trip up to the Ellenbrook Mall. Tara and Carol took Linnie off to the airport mid evening for her to catch flights to Melbourne and then over to NZ so she can connect with family down south for the week. Monday being our last day with Tara and Charlie, we took the opportunity to babysit Charlie for the morning as Tara had to go off to work for the day. Charlie performed like a saint and was in a great mood for us, so that really helped. A walk around the block and then we dropped him off to Tara at the day-care for a couple of hours.

Carol and I spent our afternoon prepping some meals for Tara to put in the freezer, and then set about the task of packing our bags again – well Carol took charge of that in order to make sure my weight was down a bit. Fortunately we had managed to load Linnie up with some bits and pieces to take home for us as he bag limit was greater than ours, so we were very fortunate on that front. The balance of our time here was spent enjoying some more moments with little Charlie ahead of us having to get a cab out to the airport late evening in preparation for our 1am flight to Melbourne. The run to Perth Airport from Logan and Tara’s is probably 25 mins when you get a good run, so at 10pm we should be pretty right. From here we hop over to Melbourne for our last few days ahead of heading home – yep, back to Christchurch this coming Friday – 28 February – the trek is almost at an end. The Perth temperatures haven’t disappointed – it’s been hot this week – hotter than we would want to be comfortable but we’ve loved our time over here again. Just when we will be back next I’m not sure but we know Charlie will be sprouting up in no time at all, so we’d best not leave it too long.

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