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Published: January 12th 2016
There was no doubt about it, we knew that today was going to be a scorcher, already we were sleeping without a quilt (or doona), last night was a really warm night and a real indication of the day ahead of us.
Andy will already have told you yesterday about their journey so far, we hope to continue that Australian adventure for our UK visitors, we have an itinerary to fulfil for our friends from England to make sure they had the best possible view of our life in Perth.
We ate our breakfast, already feeling the heat, but keen to get out as today our itinerary scheduled Caversham Wildlife Park, located in Whitman Park at the entrance to the Swan Valley, which holds the largest private collection of native wildlife in Western Australia.
We set off in two vehicles as we are a party of 6, me taking the lead and giving my navigator, Hilary brief instructions on where we were going and good old Google Maps of course to help in the navigation.
The Park is not far away from where we are staying so it was an easy and quick journey. Arriving just at
opening time I drove around the car park looking for a bit of shade, today the cars will need it, some places already taken, and shady spots limited we were lucky, but as a precaution I still put the windscreen sun shade up to protect the inside of the car as much as possible and to keep it as cool as we can inside.
Today was a slip slop slap day, no room for error with the sun beating down, hats on and slathered up with sun lotion we made our way down to the park, it was quiet for now, but of course this is still the christmas holiday break and I have expectations that it would be busy today.
Once in, we purchased some bottles of water and made our way up to the kangaroo enclosure where we find lots of kangaroos already lazing around in the morning heat, interestingly something we have not come across too often on our travels, were the albino kangaroo’s, there were several in the enclosure and some very clearly blind.
We could grab some food from the bins provided but very few of the kangaroo’s seemed interested, they have
Stretching out on the cool grass
None of the kangaroo's or wallaby's were interested in eating today.
either already had their feed or the heat was stifling their appetite. Moving on the next important call for us is the Koala’s my favourite animal, the enclosure opens at 10am and whilst we don’t have the “Cuddle a koala” on offer, we are still allowed to get up close and stroke one.
Meandering through the Australian natives, there was already a queue at the Koala’s, not a long one, but as soon as the gates were unlocked there was a whole swarm of people, we could barely get close, the crowds just swarmed in and a clear indication the park was definitely heading for an extremely busy day.
The enclosure was hot and crowded, they turned the sprinklers on the roof which offered some light relief, the Koala’s were hot too and as always very sleepy, some were grumpy and were not too proud to show it. One guy with a camera was invading the large grumpy koala’s space, the warning was clear to back off. Another Koala decided it had had enough of the crowds, climbed down from its perch and headed off to somewhere a little bit more quiet.
Eventually as the crowds thinned,
we got some photos, we all got to stroke a Koala and then we headed off again to find the next thing on our list, of course meandering past all of the other Australian natives, like Andy’s favourites, the wombats, who despite the increasing temperature were also out playing in their enclosure.
Up at the “meet and greet” area, we are met with a huge crowd of people, we all swarm into an air conditioned marquee set up, it looks like an outback town, a few of the staff are in there and talking through the purpose of this enclosure, after some introductions we are allowed in behind the fence to get up close to our favourite animals, birds, snakes, quolls, wombats. Yes, wombats and one huge wombat called Neil. Unfortunately for Andy this was the longest queue and there was no way we were queuing, it would take a month of Sundays. We watched a few lucky visitors get the opportunity and waited for John and Hilary to catch up, they were engaged with the birds, probably the least popular area but the favourite one for John and Hilary, they have a bird at home in England and
Neil the Wombat
Not as big as Patrick in Ballarat. Not sure Neil would like to have his privates on display like this.
have a very keen interest.
After a while it was lunchtime so we headed over to the cafe for a coffee and a sandwich, by now it was sweltering, the shade was no welcome relief, the park was busier than ever so we decided to bale out and find something cooler to do in the Swan Valley, which of course is a popular wine region.
Back at the cars, fortunately in the shade, but the heat inside is unbearable so I quickly started the engine and got the air-conditioning on the go before everyone jumped back in.
The chocolate factory was closed and though the nut shop was open there was nobody working so there was nothing to look at, a sample of nut brittle later, I find myself turning into Houghtons winery a bit further down the road. It looks quiet, and parking was easy, a few people were dotted around the grounds enjoying the beautiful surrounds.
Inside 5 of us decided on a wine tasting session, Andy headed off for coffee as he is not a wine drinker. I had to be careful as I was driving, I was assured that the tasting session
Jim and Dawn
It is a hot day and a welcome break.
would only amount to a single glass of wine so I would be ok and not over the limit. There was also one wine that I would not be partial to, so I would skip one taste.
We had fun tasting the wines, we were mostly in agreement on what was nice, ok they were all nice except for the chardonnay, for me anyway, I don’t enjoy the oak taste that comes with some chardonnay’s so that was the one I skipped.
A few purchases later, one wine ready to open, in the ice bucket and with some glasses we headed out to find Andy, hoping that he was in a shady spot of the garden, but we find him in the empty cafe area surrounding by fans and the fine water sprays.
We were all about to sit down and join him when one of the staff offered us a seat somewhere much cooler and took us downstairs into what could be described as a cellar. she was right it was cooler. It had clearly been busier earlier with lunches but it was thinning out. She cleared the table and we all sat down to enjoy
a cheese platter, coffee and wine.
I would recommend Houghtons for a visit, it depends what you are looking for really but this ticked a few boxes for me and I will be happy to come back. The wine is popular and can be purchased in many outlets across Australia, but to go and do a tasting with some of their finer wines was great and there is nothing like finding a particularly good one. I can recommend the Rojo Grande if you are into red.
The afternoon ticked on and it was time to leave, alright we weren’t in a hurry but tonight we had planned a christmas dinner and needed to get the turkey roll in the oven.
The heat of the day was stifling and we were all exhausted, with the turkey in the oven, we all slipped into the swimming pool to cool down and bob around in the water.
After a rest and a cool beer we set the table up on the veranda, we had decided to do a salad with the turkey rather than a full roast, it felt too hot to eat a roast dinner. It would be
I Don't want to see all these people today.
This koala chooses to do a runner and avoid the crowds
a good point to say that the following day we find out that this region was the hottest place on earth reaching a maximum temperature (official) of 45 degrees C. I did notice that on the veranda the temperature gauge was showing a cool 47 degrees.
A quote from the West Australian: WA was the hottest place on earth on Monday with temperatures in Geraldton soaring to 45.1 degrees.
The sizzling weather was 15 degrees hotter than the Mid West town's average December forecast, beating temperatures recorded at 8000 other weather stations around the world.
We had a great evening, but it was time to get indoors and the air conditioning on to cool down for bed time, it was still hot.
It has been a great, hot and exhausting day, and there was still plenty to come on the itinerary.
Until tomorrow’s adventure.
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