Australia 2013-14: Week 1

Here are some edited pictures from our first week in Australia; in Western Australia, after arriving from Singapore on Saturday 14th of December to temperatures around 38, and England losing the Ashes in the nearby WACA.

We had left Cardiff in a bit of a rush (to say the least) on Thursday the 12th, but caught the coach and plane to Singapore comfortably. Nothing eventful to tell about our journey, we used the The Ambassador Transit Hotel at Changi to good effect, sleeping well and recovering a good bit of our jet lag before our trip to Perth, and I enjoyed a trip down memory lane in the Hard Rock Cafe in the airport.

On the Saturday evening we went to the Soda Cafe on the seafront for dinner and watched a firework display (after the sunset which we’d missed). We were staying at the Trigg Retreat B&B which was lovely run by Sue Stein and husband Bryson who we’ll be eternally grateful to, for sawing through our case lock, which had mysteriously lost its set combination.

Sunday saw us visiting Jo Manning (a friend of Pete’s from Cardiff Uni days) and her husband Ben and son George. We had a lovely afternoon with them and their friends, two of whom took us all the way back to Trigg, which was very kind for two Poms trying to acclimatise to the heat, one of whom had signs of an asthma attack coming on! The evening saw us on the seafront at Trigg again, where I took the pictures of the sunset you see in the slideshow below.

On the Monday, two of the guests from the B&B took us into the city centre which was again very kind, and we spent some time going round the shops before deciding going to Fremantle (Freo) on the ferry … only we didn’t, we went to South Perth – my mistake; you can’t catch a ferry to Freo, you cruise there. Still, it gave us an excuse to sit in The Windsor Hotel, have a glass of Little Creatures and chill. It was still very hot!

On Tuesday, we were up and early and off to Cervantes for a trip away from Perth, with a chance to see the Western Australian coast and the desert landscape of Pinacles near Cervantes. Deserted roads, dead kangaroos by the wayside, but little else on the drive north. We popped into Guilderton – hoping for a cup of coffee, but instead had a great chat with two bikers from nearby Clarkston who were delighted to have found the place after several attempts previously – it’s also called Moore River. We had the coffee and a couple of pies and chips (not bad) at Lancelin, just a little bit further up the coast, and headed off to Cervantes via Lake Thetis which is pretty unusual at it’s a location for stromatolites – some of the oldest organisms on earth, credited with giving the earth oxygen, and thus life for all other more complex forms of life – like us! We had a little difficulty in finding our B&B for the evening – The Amble Inn, which was in truth a ranch on a rise overlooking the coastal plain – just perfect for a sunset whilst sipping the complementary wine, only the sun and clouds weren’t performing that night. Our host, Dennis, was without his wife – she’d been in hospital for a few weeks, so he did us proud under the circumstances, and we thoroughly enjoyed our evening in the countryside, except … my asthma coughing kicked-in.

After breakfast it was off to The Pinacles desert in The Nambung National Park. What a landscape, so glad we made the effort, and so glad it had cooled down quite a bit for the day. The pictures tell the story I think, and if you look at the link, you’ll see that there is no definitive explanation for why these lime structures are sticking out of the sand. What is evident from other pictures is that shell sand, blown onshore, is very much a feature of this relatively recent landscape – I look forward to hearing, eventually, just how they formed.

Back to Perth for an evening in the splendidly named The Good Life B&B in Perth Hills, near to the airport – we had an early start the next morning to catch a plane to Melbourne. Cherry did us proud, stocking the fridge and cupboards so well that we abandoned our plans to go out for a meal.

On the Thursday morning then (the 19th) we returned the car, caught the plane and arrived in a hot Melbourne to be greeted by Peter, Shells, Ewan and Maggie.

A slideshow, at reduced resolution giving a flavour of the week can be seen below …