Practically Perfect Perth - Western Australia, August 2019

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September 14th 2019
Published: September 14th 2019
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Practically Perfect Perth – Western Australia, August 2019

Perth is one of the most isolated major cities on the planet, while also being located in the world’s most populous time zone. The nearest city is Adelaide some 1,327 miles away - only Honolulu, 2,395 miles from San Francisco, is more isolated.The Greater Perth region boasts a population of just over 2 million – 40%!o(MISSING)f whom are England-born, and considering the city is named after Perth in Scotland, only 9%!c(MISSING)laim Scottish ancestry. It’s modest claim to fame being the birthplace of Heath Ledger, and where Hugh Jackman studied at the WA Academy of Performing Arts.

A little bit of history: The first inhabitants of Australia arrived from the north approximately 40,000 to 60,000 years ago. Prior to the arrival of Europeans, Western Australia was occupied solely by Indigenous Australians who had lived peacefully and in harmony with the land for tens of thousands of years. Like so many Indigenous cultures of the 18th and 19th centuries, things were about to change.

In March 1827, Captain James Stirling of the Royal Navy arrived in the Swan River and discovered a land that possessed great natural attractions, in contrast to the previous Dutch and French navigators who described New Holland (a name given to Australia by the Dutch) as sterile, forbidding and inhospitable. This landing and subsequent report by Stirling to His Majesty’s Government back in England, led to the foundation of the Swan River Settlement in June 1829. Using the Swan River for transport three towns were formed, Perth, Fremantle and Guildford. Fremantle 12 miles downstream on the coast, served as the colony’s functional port and Guildford 12 miles to the east, was chosen to supply produce to the surrounding region because of the rich, fertile soil found in the Swan Valley.

Experiencing severe labor shortages, the British sent convicts to Western Australia between 1850 and 1868 to help establish settlements. 9721 convicts were transported to WA on 43 convict voyages. Between 1850 and 1868 Western Australia was a Penal Colony. The convicts were involved in a significant amount of infrastructure such as the Fremantle Prison, Government House, The Cloisters, the Swan River Mechanics’ Institute and the Perth Town Hall.

It took until the turn of the century to explore most of this massive state. In 1890, gold was discovered in the Kimberley and Kalgoorlie. This led to a population explosion and established Perth as the colony’s trade capital, with Fremantle having to upgrade the harbor to cope with increased demand. With the advent of WWII, the 1940s initiated a huge demand for minerals and WA had plenty - lead, iron ore, diamonds, nickel, mineral sands, oil and gas.

I started my latest adventure on a blistering hot afternoon, with temperatures around 107f by the time I boarded my trusty transportation steed (aka Super Shuttle), to make my way to the Las Vegas airport. Connecting in Los Angeles to my Virgin Australia flight, I spent the next 14 hours sitting in a metal tube, hurtling across the Pacific and finally touching down in Brisbane just as dawn was breaking. VA gets me where I want to go, but the meals served onboard suck, and that’s putting it mildly! I’ve taken long haul flights on many occasions, but rarely have I seen such tasteless, reheated dog food pretending to be dinner. This disgusting hash was served about an hour after takeoff and we then waited 12 hours before they supplied another inedible dish, passing as breakfast. One small 6oz water bottle was supplied for the entire journey – I couldn’t believe it – Delta flights have at least 3 rounds of beverage service during the same transpacific flight and provide a mid-flight snack, but not VA.

But once I was feet down in southern Queensland and making my way to Customs and Immigration, I was pleasantly surprised to find we were the only international flight arriving so early (5:20am). This resulted in the entire immigration hall being virtually empty and staffed with enough officers to process the entire passenger load in a matter of minutes - I was picking up my luggage within 15 minutes of deplaning. Brisbane is an easy airport to navigate, in spite of it having two separate airports (international and domestic) located about 2 miles apart. With luggage in hand, it was a short walk into the Arrivals Hall and there was the VA transfer desk, where I deposited my bag for the third and final leg to Perth. Just steps from the transfer desk is the free shuttle bus which drives a continuous loop between the two terminals – this trip takes approximately 20 minutes. The fresh air was so welcoming, with temps around 40f and a brisk breeze blowing away my flight exhaustion. Arriving at the domestic airport, clearing security was a no-brainer and I located the departure gate to Perth. With a two-hour layover and after passing on the miserable meals earlier, I was starving. As anyone who has visited Australia and/or New Zealand knows, the Ozzies and Kiwis make THE best meat pies on the planet. The airport food court was the answer and for $12.35 ($8.35 USD) I got a chicken and swiss cheese single-portion pie and a large coffee – that’s a great deal for an airport fast food joint. It was simply delicious. The flaky phyllo puff pastry was stuffed with white chicken pieces in a thick creamy cheese sauce, I couldn’t eat it fast enough. The portion size was perfect, my appetite was totally satisfied by the last bite and I was able to relax and slowly sip the coffee to complete my first meal Down Under.

Time to spend another 5 hours trapped with a bunch of strangers, to traverse the entire Australian continent from coast to coast. Unfortunately a young couple brought their equally-young offspring onboard and that rug rat commenced to screech and wail at the top of his lungs, for almost the entire flight – I was ready to rip his head off – where’s a roll of duct tape when you need it? To add insult to injury, I was seated next to the worst passenger possible – she couldn’t sit still for more than 2 minutes at a stretch. After the 17th time of being smacked on my arm/leg/shoulder by her constant movements, I had had enough. I asked if she was descended from a jack-in-a-box dynasty and/or, did she suffer from St. Vitus Dance syndrome …..she barely breathed for the reminder of the flight…. wonder if it was something I said? LOL. I was never so happy to get to my destination when we kissed the tarmac in Perth just before noon. It was sunny and warm and upon meeting my pre-arranged driver in the Arrivals Hall, we were off to downtown Perth and my hotel.

Doubletree by Hilton is a new property (opened in late December 2018) and located on one of the main streets, slap in the middle of the CBD (central business district). This 206-room hotel is the first Doubletree in Western Australia and recently won a coveted award. Everything is within walking distance and the free CAT public bus system has a stop at the front door. Nightclubs, restaurants, fast food joints, banks, pharmacy, post office and god-knows-what-else line this street…. I can’t wait to explore it all. I had been upgraded to a king deluxe room on the 14th floor, high enough not to hear the nightclub noise from across the street, which stays open until 5am. Dropping everything I headed to the shower – it’s been two days in the same clothes, and I couldn’t wait any longer. Once unpacked and settled in, I browsed the television channels and caught up on the latest news before crashing for much-needed sleep. I had planned on going to the Executive Lounge around 6pm for canapes and cocktails, but I was passed out by then!

After a deep reviving sleep, I woke up around 6am to heavy rain but by 7:30am when I was awake and dressed the rain had stopped, and skies were clearing – promising a dry day with cool temps. Time to introduce myself to the onsite restaurant staff on the lobby floor…. I’ll get around to the staff in the lounge later on. As always, I have the choice to eat breakfast in either the lounge or the hotel restaurant – I usually opt for the restaurant as the food choices are more extensive. This was the case in the James Street Kitchen where breakfast, lunch and dinner are served 7 days a week. Grabbing a copy of the West Australia Times, I enjoyed a buffet breakfast with gallons of coffee, and then back to the room to plan my upcoming sightseeing moves. The room is delightful with the outside wall being floor-to-ceiling glass, providing sweeping vistas of the central city and suburbs as far as the eye can see. A 55” HD tv, set in the wall at the foot of the bed and a well-appointed bathroom with upgraded amenities; strong Wifi signal and an excellent a/c system – this all works for the next month as my home-away-from-home. Hilton has plans to open more properties in the region over the coming 18 months, including a Garden Inn and another Doubletree.

Perth's soaring city center is a glam architectural salute to the economic wave that Western Australia has surfed for the past 20 years. But in among the glass and steel are some gorgeous old heritage buildings and excellent places to eat and drink (modern Australian bistros and small bars aplenty). Many of Perth's big-ticket sports and entertainment venues are here too, while the shimmering Swan River estuary provides a timeless reminder that this place has always been 'Mooro', on Wadjuk land. James Street (where I’m staying) is a total hoot – it has it all. Directly across the street is a Thai massage parlor, next door to Club X Live Peep Show for $2.00 ($1.35 USD) … I can only imagine. It has the requisite homeless people pushing shopping carts containing their worldly goods, along with tourists gaping at everything, all set among beautiful 19th century buildings. Yes it’s raunchy, it’s my kind of place and I have a feeling I’m going to have a ball here over the coming weeks.

My first experience in the Executive Lounge on the second floor was definitely positive. Overlooking James Street it has seating for about 75 people, with comfortable sofas and armchairs scattered in and around the dining tables and chairs. Between 6 and 8:30pm each evening, it’s canapes and cocktails with a good selection of each. I had dinner here on the second evening…. the piping hot tomato basil bisque was probably the best ever – I went back for a second helping. Accompanied by mini beef pies (nowhere near as wonderful as the one I had in Brisbane), mango and quinoa salad, fresh fruit and cheese platter, all added up to a delightful meal – this is way more than canapes! The serving staff kept my bourbon on ice topped up until I could barely see straight, by the time came to call it a night and stagger back to my room.

The city has an extensive transportation system known as Transperth, providing bus, ferry and train services across the region. As with many other cites, Perth has a “Smartrider” card which allows unlimited travel without having to purchase separate tickets for each journey. The initial card costs $10 ($6.75 USD), plus an additional $10 purchase to activate the card and begin travel. After that, this card can be “topped up” for any amount, and is accepted on buses, trains and ferries. These are available at various locations – my closest one is just a block away, at the Busy Bee Pharmacy. There is also the CAT (Central Area Transit) bus route which is free and covers a large area of the city, broken down into 4 color-coded regions: red, blue, green and yellow. The Doubletree is in the blue CAT zone and I’ll be able to ride the north to south loop thru the entire CBD terminating at Elizabeth Quay down by the docks. They run from early morning until late at night, 7 days a week except for major holidays. And the best part? The bus stop is just steps away from the hotel entrance. These four zones will cover most of what the official HOHO tourist bus routes cover, so I’m opting to do this instead…., free ALWAYS beats a cost!

The first couple of days had the craziest weather systems: starting out with an overnight deluge, followed by blue skies and sunshine, then rain again. This repeated a couple of times throughout the day, each weather change lasting about 2 hours. Periods of being very windy and cold – probably in the low 40’s – but warming up quickly when the sun broke thru the heavy overcast. I guess this is winter Down Under. Finally a day of promised clear skies, brilliant sunshine and no rain arrived – time to sally forth and explore this interesting city. I left the hotel around 9am - it was still cool enough to require long sleeves, but it felt so refreshing after being indoors. Just a 4-minute wait before the arrival of the Blue Cat bus and I was pleasantly surprised to see how close to airport shuttles the interior resembled. Padded comfy seating with wide windows on both sides for great viewing. The entire circuit took about 45 minutes, and I noticed we followed almost the same route as the HOHO tourist bus, terminating at Elizabeth Quay Bus Station. It’s here that the four different CAT routes converge, so it was easy to jump from one to the other. This is without a doubt, the very best way to see Perth for free. I don’t need the recorded commentary that the HOHO buses provide – I have a free city map which gives me all the information I need. So far, I haven’t spent a red cent and yet have covered the entire central city with all its points of interest!

Perth is such an eclectic city – many of the buildings have 19th century facades and sit side-by-side with soaring glass and steel edifices. Hand painted gigantic wall murals adorn the sides of older buildings – evidently there are many very talented graffiti artists living here. The streets are clean and well maintained, with city parks dotting various intersections. The most stunning vista is that of the harbor at Barrack Street Jetty. Here the Captain Cook Cruises leave for Fremantle and the Swan River, and various sightseeing companies have their stalls.

That so much land has been devoted to native bush and flowers says something about Perth and its residents – Kings Park is huge. As one of the biggest inner city parks in the world, it dwarfs Central Park in New York City, yet it's astonishingly easy to explore. There is a wealth of things to see and do here. Western Australia is home to more than 12,000 wildflower species, sprinkled across thousands of square miles. Fortunately, the state's floral gems are distilled into a magical garden, which is created each year for display during the Kings Park Festival. During this month-long event each September, there are events, walks and celebrations, and blooms often last until mid-to-late October. The best areas are in front of the Aspects of Kings Park gallery and shop, and around the Pioneer Women's Memorial. Walk over the suspended treetop bridge in the Park – the vistas are incredible. This arched pedestrian bridge made of steel and glass, hangs 171 above ground level and takes visitors above the park's tree canopy. It’s part of a 2,034’ walk that winds through the Western Australian Botanic Garden, with interpretive signage dotted along the way. Along with beautiful views of the river, the walk also enters a marri woodland forest. Bridge entry is free and is open 9am to 5pm, 7 days a week. Probably the most stunning feature of the Park is the giant boab tree, which is estimated to be about 750 years old. This boab tree weighs in at an incredible 36 tons and was transported 1,988 miles south from its home in Western Australia's Kimberley region in 2008. This massive logistical feat was undertaken to save the tree from destruction, as it lay in the path of a new highway. Boabs are special to the Kimberley’s Aboriginal people, and nuts from this tree were harvested and returned to its place of origin. Another “freebie” in the Park is a variety of walks which depart daily at 10am, 12pm and 2pm. Meet one of the Kings Park volunteer guides outside the Aspects of Kings Park gallery and shop near Fraser Avenue, and you'll soon find yourself tracing bushland paths, learning about carnivorous plants, discovering historic and cultural monuments or observing the many native plant species that vary between coast and desert. Tours run for between one and three hours, and don't require any reservations. An entire day can be spent sightseeing in the Park and still only see a small portion of it…. this place requires multiple return visits.

Another outstanding free feature regarding Perth, it’s the first and only Australian capital city giving people free blanket Wifi internet access across its CBD area. Once connected, you can roam the city streets and remain connected to the internet, for as long as you need. The City of Fremantle also has a range of free Wifi spots. How cool is that? This just gets better and better, I love not spending money.

I decided to go ahead and try out the HOHO bus, just to ensure that I hadn’t missed anything of note while riding the free CAT buses over the past couple of weeks. Arriving at the Barrack Street Jetty just after 9am, the first HOHO bus was about to leave. When purchasing my ticket directly with the driver and using a credit card, I was offered a triple event deal for the low price of $94.00 ($64.22 USD). This was a concession fare (aka “senior”, although no ID has to be shown to prove that) and included a 48-hour HOHO bus ticket, a roundtrip ferry ride from the harbor to Fremantle, along with a Fremantle HOHO tram tour. This was a savings of over $30 USD if purchased individually, so of course I jumped at the chance. I make a point of always asking what discounts if any are available, especially if senior fares are offered. You can end up saving a boatload of money over a short period of time. There are only two HOHO buses which arrive at each stop one hour apart covering the same loop, which takes approximately 2 hours to complete the entire 11-stop route. By 2pm I was starving and upon asking this same driver for lunch recommendations, he suggested I try The Lucky Shag Pub located right on the waterfront, overlooking the harbor and South Perth, just a short walk from the jetty. Here I ordered a platter of fish and chips with a large iced coffee for $30.54 ($20.84 USD) and grabbed a table next to the glass wall for incredible views. The place was packed with lunchtime Ozzie workers, and I spent a very pleasant 90 minutes enjoying lunch while watching the harbor action. It was a fabulous day, cloudless blue skies, brilliant sunshine and a cool breeze – temperature was hovering around 65f and was perfect for photographs.

My triple deal ticket was good for 3 days so on a brilliant Sunday morning, I once again rode the blue CAT bus down to the jetty to board the 9:55am Fremantle ferry. I feel like a local now, I ride around the city jumping on and off the buses as though I have lived here for years! LOL.

A little bit of history: Just 25 miles southwest of Perth lies the port city of Fremantle, located at the mouth of the Swan River. It was founded in 1829 by Captain Charles Howe Fremantle in the name of King George IV, and convict labor was used to build many of the original buildings such as the Fremantle Prison and the Fremantle Arts Centre. With the arrival of the gold rush in the latter part of the nineteenth century, the town soon developed into a thriving port.

Known to the locals as “Freo”, today much of the colonial architecture remains, which makes Fremantle a beautiful and historic city. Full of color with busy restaurants and bars open all hours of the day and night, one of the most intriguing aspects is that it is still possible to walk down streets that have remained virtually unchanged since the mid-19th century. The city is much more than an architectural time capsule and provides a unique opportunity to experience and enjoy a range of cultural activities in a relaxed atmosphere.

Like its Perth cousin, Fremantle has a boatload of things to see and do: browse through bookstores, local designer boutiques and the historic Fremantle Markets; enjoy fresh, succulent seafood and watch the fishing boats come and go at the Fishing Boat Harbor, pizza and pasta along the Cappuccino Strip, world famous coffee at one of the many cafes, or visit one of the stylish microbreweries which offer an incredible range of amber ales and stunning harbor views. For a small town, Fremantle has quite the selection of museums such as the Maritime, Shipwreck or the Army Museum. Western Australia’s only World Heritage listed building, the Fremantle Prison, was used as a place of incarceration for 136 years and offers various tours with experienced guides to learn about this rather uncomfortably recent prison history. This prison is usually the highlight of any tourist visit, especially when many Australian visitors can claim ancestors had taken up involuntary residence here. The 6-acre site includes the prison cellblocks, gatehouse, perimeter walls, cottages, and tunnels. It was initially used for convicts transported from Britain but was transferred to the colonial government in 1886 as use for locally-sentenced prisoners. Royal Commissions were held in 1898 and 1911, and instigated some reform to the prison system, but significant changes did not begin until the 1960s. The government department in charge of the prison underwent several reorganizations in the 1970s and 1980s, but the culture of Fremantle Prison was resistant to change. Growing prisoner discontent culminated in a 1988 riot with guards taken hostage, and a fire that caused $1.8 million ($1.2 USD) worth of damage. The prison closed in 1991, replaced by the new maximum-security Casuarina Prison a few miles away. Open daily from 9am to 5pm, a variety of tours are offered. These include True Crime, Tunnels and Torchlight tours priced from $22 to $42 ($15 to $29 USD) depending on how many tours are purchased – save money and go for the combination of all 3. Touring the prison takes approximately 75 minutes, with Visa and Mastercard accepted.

The cruise to Fremantle took just over an hour, surrounded by stunning scenery the entire time. It was still quite cool in spite of the blazing sunshine, but that didn’t deter me from selecting one of the open-air seats at the rear of the boat. This turned out to be a stroke of luck as midway thru the cruise, a small pod of bottle-nose river dolphins decided to frolic just a few hundred feet away. Apparently there are about 200 of these dolphins which call the Swan River home, and it’s not unusual to see them when out on the water. Sitting where I was, was the ideal opportunity for fantastic photographs before docking at O’Connor Landing in Fremantle just after 11am. There is a parking lot at the exit, with the Fremantle Trolley Tour bus waiting just a few steps away. Climbing aboard for my next adventure I met the delightful James, trolley driver for the next 4 hours, who was a font of knowledge regarding the city and region, not to mention possessing a wicked sense of humor.

This HOHO trolley runs every day during the summer season (September thru April) and five days during winter (May thru August), closed on Mondays and Wednesdays. The routing is timed to coincide with the arrival of the ferry from Perth 3 times each day and has a total of 8 stops. That may not seem like a lot, but it is, as it stops at the major historical points of interest, covers the entire downtown section of this port city and takes approximately an hour and 15 minutes to complete the loop. What is most impressive, is that some of these incredible points of interest are free to the public, such as the Roundhouse Prison, Shipwreck Museum, Lunatic Asylum and others. It’s a tourist’s dream and easy to navigate – you just follow the crowds! At every turn there is another Victorian-era building beautifully preserved just waiting to pose for your camera. Endless restaurants, ice cream stands, coffee houses and of course bars – you’re really spoilt for choice here. Always something going on, from buskers entertaining the crowds, to music and art festivals, and even a parade to Bless the Fleet, which caused no end of driving problems later in the day, with various downtown streets closed off to vehicular traffic.

Back at O’Connor Landing I had an hour to kill before the return trip to Perth, so I found a comfy bench and watched the harbor traffic coming and going. Massive container ships were loading and preparing to leave for distant exotic ports, and it’s here that cruise ships dock for Perth shore excursions. On average $26B ($18B in USD) in trade goods are handled annually in Fremantle port, and as each ship is charged between $7,000 and $10,000 ($4,800 and $6,800 USD) daily berthing fees, the loading and unloading procedures needless to say, are completed at lightning speed. Another pleasant hour cruising back to Elizabeth Quay with the sun beginning to set behind the city’s skyscrapers. The late afternoon sunlight bathed the bordering riverbanks in a golden glow, reflecting off the multiple windows of properties lining the water’s edges, and casting an eerie light on the water’s surface. The sun had just disappeared behind the buildings as we docked, and within 3 minutes the Blue CAT bus had arrived to take me home to the Doubletree – I was walking into the hotel just as darkness fell over the city. What a fabulous day trip – highly recommend it to anyone thinking about a vacation in Perth.

Next up on my sightseeing agenda is Rottnest Island, my final adventure before flying home. Considered Perth’s idyllic island playground, Rottnest is just a short ferry ride from the mainland and a world away from city life. For such a tiny island, this car-free and carefree reserve packs a lot of pleasure into any day trip. Getting to “Rotto” as the locals affectionately call it, is a breeze. Located just 12 miles off the coast, ferries depart regularly from Fremantle, Perth’s Barrack Street Jetty and Hillary’s Marina – I’m leaving from the latter. Assuming you have the cash, you can also opt to arrive in style by helicopter or air taxi, or even cruise across in your own boat – I won’t be arriving by any of these!

On its shores, 63 stunning beaches, 20 beautiful bays and many coral reefs and wrecks beckon tourists to enjoy some of Australia’s finest swimming spots, snorkel trails and surf breaks. And on dry land, there’s always the cutest mini marsupial, found only in Western Australia, the world famous quokka, as well as many unique plant and animal species.

A little bit of history: the island was inhabited by Aboriginal people until rising sea levels separated the island from the mainland of Western Australia about 7,000 years ago. It features in Noongar Aboriginal mythology as Wadjemup, meaning "place across the water where the spirits are". Aboriginal artifacts on the island have been dated from 6,500 to more than 30,000 years ago. However, more recent evidence suggests human occupation as far back as 70,000 years. There were no people on the island when European exploration began in the 17th century, and the Aboriginal people on the mainland did not have boats that could make the crossing, so the island had probably been uninhabited for several thousand years.

The first Europeans known to land on the island were 13 Dutch sailors, who landed near Bathurst Point on March 19, 1658 while their ship was being provisioned nearby. In his 1681 chart John Daniel, an English sea captain, marked an island as Maiden’s Isle, possibly referring to Rottnest, but that name didn’t survive. The name by which the island is now known, was called “t Eylandt 't Rottenest ("Rats' Nest Island") by Dutch captain Willem de Vlamingh, who spent six days exploring the island from December 29, 1696, mistaking the quokkas for giant rats. Other explorers who stopped at the island included members of the French expedition in 1801, and 1803; Phillip Parker King in 1822, and Captain James Stirling in 1827. Early visitors commonly reported that much of the island was heavily wooded, which is not the case today.

And what is a quokka you ask? Known as the world’s happiest animal, it’s a type of marsupial, about the size of a house cat, is native to Western Australia and not found anywhere else on the planet. Looking like a very small kangaroo, it has some tree climbing ability and usually lives about ten years. They are the cutest rat-like animals I have ever seen, on a par with Koalas. As the island is free of predators such as foxes and feral cats, only humans form any type of threat to their existence.

After shopping around the various tourist deals, I found one for $167.00 ($114.50 USD) offering a full day itinerary including hotel pickup and drop off, round-trip ferry ticket, 4-hour coach tour of the island hitting all the highlights, morning tea and a box lunch – quite reasonable for quite a lot. My shuttle transfer to Hillary’s Marina arrived at the Doubletree just before 8am and following an hour’s drive north, I was boarding the Rottnest Express ferry for the final leg to the island.

The next few hours were positively a delight. Roaming the island onboard a coach with massive picture windows, enabled me to see and experience this marvelous piece of land. The turquoise-blue Indian Ocean lapped at the multiple golden-sand beaches which stretched for miles in both directions. The island is a perfect location to see humpback and southern right whales as they make their annual migration along Western Australia’s coastline. In April about 35,000 whales travel north from the Antarctic to feeding and birthing grounds in the Indian Ocean. From late August to November, on their return journey with newborn calves, they spend significant time around Rottnest Island's protected waters, before once more heading south. For the best chance at spotting them so I’m told, is to join one of the Fast Ferries on one of their seasonal two-hour whale watching cruises. On dry land, you may be able to spot them from the West End Boardwalk, which is accessible by bike or the Island Explorer bus. I didn’t get lucky in seeing any during my time here, but hey, you can’t have everything right? Just before dusk, it was time to return to Perth and reality. Just a couple more days before I bid adieu to Oz and make the long flights home – this is definitely a region I’ll return to – it’s simply magical here.

Additional photos below
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19th September 2019
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Beautiful architecture
All so grand.

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