Archive for Australia
I was sitting on a train the other day and thoughts drifted (as they often do ) to places around the world. Not so much ones that I wanted to visit but I for some reason, I was thinking about the places I didn’t visit when I had the opportunity.
Western Australia is often forgotten about as a destination for visitors to Australia. It is right across the country from the ever popular Sydney, Melbourne and the Gold Coast but the territories captial Perth is a wonderful place to visit. The metropolitan area has a population of around 1.7m and dates back to 1829 when it was founded by Captain James Cook.
Today, it is considered one of the most remote cities in the world as the closest city with a population of more than 500,000 is Adelaide which is over 2,000km away. This has not prevent Perth from becoming a vibrant, modern city. The city sits on the Swann River which winds its way down to the port of Freemantle and the coast. Virtually all the visitors to Perth arrive at the airport just outside the city. There are excellent connections with the rest of Australia as well as direct flights to cities such as Hong Kong and Singapore.
I’ve been to Perth twice and on both occasions I stayed at a motel and had a hire car for the entire trip. This afforded the freedom to explore this fascinating part of Australia. Perth itself has some wonderful attractions. The Perth Mint is one of the most popular and they had a number of exhibitions, a gift shop and I also saw a demonstration of gold pouring.
My favourite place was just north of the centre at Hillarys. AQWA or to give it it’s full name, the Aquarium of Western Australia is a place I could visit every day. Regular readers know I love scuba diving and it was at AQWA where I was able to take part in an unusual experience. Certified divers can take part in a dive in the shark tank. Its actually more of a crawl than a dive but you get to spend time close up to a variety of sharks, rays and turtles. Its an amazing experience to be so close to these magnificent creatures and if you look carefully on the bottom of the tank, you can find sharks teeth. Sharks shed their teeth regularly so they always have sharp ones. During their lifetime, they will usually have around 32,000 teeth. Apart from the shark tank, there are a wide range of exhibitions of marine life found along the 12,000km coastline.
Perth is blessed with a superb climate and there are plenty of beaches both in the city and in nearby seaside towns. Rockingham is probably my favourite of these little towns. I’ve been there a number of times but I never managed to meet the most famous residents; the dolphins.
In the late afternoon in Perth, it was always nice to take a stroll in one of the many parks. The lakes attract a wide variety of bird life and along with the grand old trees and colourful flowers, these parks are beautifully serene places to visit. The excellent weather means that there are usually people out in the parks jogging and you can also find exercise equipment such as cross trainers in some of the parks.
Australia is well known for it’s diverse wildlife with the kangeroo probably being the most famous. Perth Zoo is an ideal place to see animals such as Dingos, Emus, Koalas, Quokka, Cockatoos and more. There are also animals from other continents as well as various walks and presentations throughout the day. I always like to visit good zoos where the animals are well looked after and Perth Zoo is an excellent example.
In total, I spent around 5-6 weeks in Perth and I hardly scratched the surface. It is definitely a place I would happily go back to time and again. Aside from the endless list of things to see in and do in Perth, it is also the ideal base to explore the rest of Western Australia including the spectacular Ningaloo Reef. Sadly, I didn’t make it that far north as neither of my trips coincided with the annual Whale Shark migration. I’ll have to add it to my bucket list for my next trip to WA.