Published: February 22nd 2011February 7th 2011
Before we start our blog we want to wish a BIG congratulations to Jon and Laura and also Di and James on their engagements! We can’t wait to come home for the big days!
Our original plans were to head over to the east coast but what with the floods in Brisbane and the cyclones battering north Queensland we decided to spend some more time in Western Australia; spending it with family and do some more exploring over this side of the country. One of Matt and Michelle’s favourite holiday destinations is a place called Rottnest Island, so they kindly organised a trip for the lot of us to go pay the island a visit. “Rotto”, as it’s known by the locals has numerous tropical secluded beaches and bays situated only 19km off the coast of Freemantle. A Dutch explorer by the name of Willem de Vlamingh claimed discovery of the island back in 1696 and named it Rotte-nest meaning Rats Nest in Dutch because of the king sized rats that inhabited the island, these actually turned out to be Quokka’s which are like dwarf kangaroos and we saw many of them during our trip! We left Mandurah early in
A big Rat = a Quokka
the morning and thanks to some speedy driving from Matt we made it to the ferry with literally seconds to spare and a very patience Captain! After a brief 30 minute ferry ride, we had arrived on Rottnest Island and as there are no cars allowed on the island only a few buses to get people from place to place, Matt had hired bikes for the duration of our stay to help us get around. We checked into our accommodation, which turned out to be an old prison that housed Aborigines from the mainland up until 1920. We spent our first day relaxing at Geordie Bay beach, playing with Addison & Harper in the water, also teaching them how to jump / dive into the hotels swimming pool and letting our bum adjust to life in the saddle! That evening we cycled down to the Quokka Arms down on the waterfront for a nice meal and watch the Quokka’s try and get scraps of food off the restaurants other dinners. The next morning we caught the train up to the Oliver Hill Battery (.... we didn’t fancy the cycle up the many hills!), which was built during World War Two
Squirrel & Point!
to protect Freemantle and Western Australia’s coastline where we also learnt that the gun was only fired in training and never shot in vain! From here we visited the Museum to learn about life in the Aboriginal Prison and about the fish that swim in the surrounding waters. We had time for another quick dip in the sea, followed by an ice cold pint at the Quokka Arms to cool us down before catching our ferry back to the mainland. Back in Mandurah we spent the next couple of nights at Matt and Michelle’s, indulging in a Chinese takeaway and utilising their cinema room to watch “Inception.” Definitely think we need to watch the film again to make sure we understand it; if anyone knows exactly what happened at the ending please write us a comment and let us know!
Since arriving in Western Australia we’d been pretty non-stop, so with Jane and Brad working away for the week we spent it dog sitting their canines; puppy dog Willow and adorable Daisy dog. Our days were taken up by teaching the dogs new tricks, taking them down the beach for a swim and numerous walks, catching up with family
We couldn't build a snowman this year so we went with the next best thing; sandman!
and friends back home and organising ourselves for the rest of the trip. During this time Cerri also managed to have her first haircut in 8 months courtesy of Aisha who is a hairdresser, it looks lovely! We also discovered that Mandurah had a British confectionery shop that specialised in British sweets and crisps so we stocked up on a few home comforts mainly hula hoops, beef flavour obviously! We also took a trip to Freemantle with Mel & Mahala to see their names outside the National Martime Museum, as they were one of the original ten pound pommes.
After the chill-out week was over we visited one of Perth’s most famous sandy shores, Cottesloe Beach with Matt, Michelle and the girls. Situated just above Freemantle and South of Perth City Centre, Cottesloe Beach is where Perth’s young and rich come to hang out, sadly I’m neither of these but me and Matt had good fun people watching whilst I was holding the belly in! After the beach we hit “The Naked Fig”, a restaurant that had been recommended to us by Cerri’s old boss for a spot of lunch before making our way back down to Mandurah for
Couples combo at Cottisloe beach
an early night at Mel & Mahala’s, as we were off on a road with them the next day.
So we were off on another road trip the next morning, this time heading even further south to Albany with Mel & Mahala. Enroute we stopped off in the small town of Mount Barker, which was where Mel and Mahala first settled over here and it was good fun taking a history lesson with them and seeing their old house which they built from scratch. From there we made our way through the Porongurup National Park, stopping off at the “Tree in a Rock”, which is exactly what is says it is... a tree growing out through a huge boulder rock. The further south we got, the more the temperature dropped so we popped into the tea rooms for a little something to warm us up in the form of some Devonshire cream teas! We found it crazy that we were starting to find temperatures of 20 degrees cold! Once warmed up we continued further south arriving at our destination, the town of Albany. We were staying in a suburb called Middleton Beach, so after dropping off our bags we
Dog Rock - Woof!
wandered down to check out the beach. It turned out to be a bit of a gem with what can only be described as duck pond turquoise water with surrounding rugged cliffs. Although the weather wasn’t that great we took a stroll along the cliff side path to get some photo’s and appreciate the beautiful surroundings we were in. The following day the weather got a bit worse in the form of drizzle, it didn’t dampen our spirits but it did remind us of home! We headed to the Whale World Museum, which used to be an actual whaling station until 1978 when it ceased hunting the world’s largest mammal. The place still had an eerie feeling about it and with the grey drizzle engulfing us you could sense that a lot of killing and bloodshed happened here. We ducked in and out of the different exhibitions escaping the rain, from the boat that was used out at sea to harpoon the whales, to the fleshers who would cut up the whale bodies, to the eye opening experiences of the many different uses for whale blubber. From here we headed to a small town called Denmark for an award winning
Whaling Station in Albany
pie and a nice cup of tea to warm us up... again! Denmark was reminiscent of Totnes back home in Devon as it had an “alternative” feeling about it, the tie die t-shirts, people walking around without shoes on and the chill-out vibe man! On our way back to Albany we stopped off at the Green Pool Beach and Elephant Cove, two beaches where the water even looked enticing on a cold, rainy day; on the drive back to the main road we were on the kangaroo hunt aka spotting and within a few minutes we spotted our first roo, camouflaged quite well in the bush having a nibble with a fellow furry friend, once again Cerri was camera happy! Then we went onto the Natural Bridge and Gap in the Torndirrup National Park, where the cliffs had collapsed forming a bridge and producing a massive gap. We finished the day off by watching the sunset at the nearby blowholes, whilst further kangaroo spotting on the way back to the hotel. On our final day in Albany we visited what Albany is most famous for.... “Dog Rock”, a large rock which is shaped like a dogs head, the locals had
even painted a dog collar on it! We then dropped in on the old jail or Gaol as they’re known over here. It was here that a man by the name of Frederick Deeming was imprisoned; he was a suspect in the still ongoing case... who is Jack the Ripper? Anyway this guy did a lot of other sinister things and quite rightly deserved to be in Jail; after our history lesson over we discovered that the Gaol has a ghostly nature at night time and after Uncle Mel scared Cerri in one of the cells we weren’t going to be visiting at night time to find out! From the Old Gaol we went on to the visitor’s centre where we spent the next hour looking at the exhibitions and getting involved with the kids activities before getting on the road. We drove down to Shelley Beach, which wasn’t as Shelly as we’d expect but still extremely picturesque, we then started the long drive back up to Mandurah, making a slight detour via the Stirling Ranges. We ventured up to Bluff Knoll lookout to see the cracking views of the surrounding mountain peaks ,as these peaks started to eclipse the
Family pic at sunset
final rays of light we knew it was time to head on home.
There are more photos below