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Published: September 16th 2018
R: This is my third time in Perth, and Cate's 4th. The aim here was to catch up with as many people as possible in a short time. On Wednesday morning, we went out with Cate's cousins, who were kindly hosting us, to pretty Lake Leschenaultia, outside of Perth. It was a lovely, but cold morning, and the lake was full of school orienteering groups eagerly trying to win some sort of competition. We stopped for a flask of coffee and some biscuits and were quickly joined by two cheeky 28s - a type of parrot - who wanted biscuits or silverware. They were very tame and even hopped over our cousins arm to get the crumbs!
In the afternoon, we met up with other members of the family, including a new arrival - baby Daisy, who had arrived only a week before, and was sitting under the air heater with Mum to get out of the cold 20°C weather.
We headed out for an self guided evening kangaroo safari at the John Forest national park - a favourite of ours, but alas only saw one kangaroo, and it wasn't even in the national park, rather just sat by
Next day we went into Perth - I had to try on my wedding suit, and we went to see how much had changed since our last visits. The Elizabeth Quay was very much under construction last time I was here, and after a quick walk to spot birds in the Kings Park, which has a great view of the waterfront, we walked down and grabbed a coffee on the front while admiring the very smart new hotels and apartments that were being built. The area is very impressive and a great update to the existing waterfront. The older buildings in town remain and we had a good look around, remembering all our previous visits and memories from here, guided by our cousin Mal. Perth is definitely a city on the up - with loads of new development. The waterfront area was full of green space and nice areas for a stroll in the sunshine. The Swan Bells monument that was the "biggest thing" in this area when I first visited Perth in 2003 is now swamped by the development, which is a bit sad. And there are even U/V meters along the front which tell you
how much sun cream you should be wearing, or simply to go home if the sun gets too strong. Being winter, it still felt warm to us, but the U/V meter said we were safe at level 2/10. One below the point you needed to start wearing sun protection.
After having my suit adjusted a bit at the formal hire place, we were off again to pick up our hire car for the journey down to Margaret River (aka Margs). We stopped off in Guildford - the oldest area of Perth for a light lunch at the Rose and Crown hotel and I ended up quite accidentally with the most enormous slab of beef brisket which was delicious but far too much meat before a long drive. The buildings here are exactly what you would expect of old-town Australia. This used to be the main town in WA in 1829 until Perth took over and was the site of explorers when they first arrived in the area. The Rose and Crown was a semi-original building, built in 1841. Mal had to go to work, so we meandered our way back, now under our own steam through the Swan Valley,
a wine region, which coincidentally led to where our family live. We had a cheeky stop at Mandoon, a large wine estate in the Swan Valley which has restaurant and lawn area. It specialised in Shiraz which I enjoyed in moderation (given our immediate long drive) and we ended up trying Verdelho, a grape we hadn't tried before and immediately bought a bottle - oops.
We popped by to pick up our bags and say some goodbyes to the family, then we headed off on the 3 hour drive south to Margaret River, not stopping anywhere as it was getting dark and we had been warned repeatedly to get off the road before the dusk brought out the large, hopping wildlife.
We arrived about 6:30 and found Gareth and Fi, our friends from Bristol, waiting for us in a rather smart apartment in central Margaret River.
Phew. That really was a flying visit.
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