South Western Australia : From Albany to Perth

A lot of travelers¬†make this typical trip along the coast and I can’t blame them. Leaving Albany this road is one stretch of nice beaches, winding roads through lush forests and little cozy towns.

Denmark is one of those. Here you can discover the Greens Pool. A great spot for snorkelling and strolling along the beach. Don’t forget to bring a visit to the Elephant Rocks around the corner.

Walpole is your next stop along the way. Here you can visit the Valley of the Giants Tree Top Walk where you can see the typical gigantic tingle trees. If you want to skip the tourist spot and the fees, there is another giant tingle tree you can see for free a little further down the road along Hilltop Road. This is a one-way route that brings you to a trail where you can see the old lady in full flesh. Yes, I was talking about the tree.

Pemberton – Another great cool hangout spot where you find a lot of backpackers. Test your climbing skills over here and climb up the Gloucester Tree. This giant Karri tree used to be a fire lookout but is now a popular attraction. Car parking costs you 12 AUD.

Busselton is a great place to hang around. You can go for a drink in the downtown area or stroll along the boardwalk. Walking down the 2 kilometer long Busselton Jetty is the main thing to do and is free in the morning and evening (costs 3 AUD between 9 AM and 6 PM).

Refreshments Down South : Albany

The last two weeks of my stay here in Western Australia I was able to explore a bit more of what the south west of Australia has to offer. And my holy didgeridoo, I wasn’t disappointed !

Albany most likely has cooler temperatures than Perth and with another week of 30 + temperatures I was ready to cool off for a bit.

Albany was my first place to go to. I ended up in a very relaxed hostel called ‘Hostel 1849 Backpackers‘ with an excellent service and free pancakes every morning.

Albany has amazing places to see but without a car you are very limited to what you can see. The first time I was only dependent on my own two feet. I walked from downtown Albany along the Princess Royal Drive through the Port (this way by far the least impressive part of the trail) to get to the start of the Ellen Cove Boardwalk. This is a nice walk with some stops along the way. Make a stop at Kings Point for a lunch. At the end of the Ellen Cove Boardwalk you will arrive at Middleton Beach, a gorgeous stretch of beaches and the typical jetty and pontoon. This magnificent beach goes all the way until Emu Point, another popular place you can visit. I turned around at Emu Point since I still had to walk all the way back. I decided to take a shortcut that ended up being a giant detour. Lesson learned.

The most amazing place I have seen so far in Western Australia would be the Albany Wind Farm. This piece of land with its 18 wind turbines offers great places to hike. One of these trails goes all the way down a couple hundred stairs to the beach. Good workout and totally worth the effort, especially on calmer days when you practically have the whole beach to yourself.

You do need a car (or bike) to reach this and the following places.

Most people recommend the¬†Natural Bridge and The Gap but these places are currently still under renovation so I wasn’t able to check that out. So make sure you inform yourself before you make it all the way out there.

Albany is famous for its two big hills. Mount Clarence and Mount Melville. Mount Clarence has the Desert Mounted Corps Memorial and splendid views over the city.

Mount Melville has some great views to offer as well. Don’t forget to go up to the observation tower for great views.

Another little hidden gem is Little Beach, definitely check it out if you got the time.

Rottnest Island Adventures

Last weekend I was invited to join some friends on a Rottnest Island Adventure.

Rottnest Island is a little island before the coast of Perth and a popular tourist destination, especially for day tourists. A ferry goes daily from Perth to the island. On the island there are no cars allowed except for the bay seeker bus that runs around the island to drop off or pick up passengers at the designated stops.

The island got its name because of the quokkas. They look like little happy kangaroos and are scattered over the island. But when the Dutch explorers discovered this island in the 17th century they mistook them for big rats and called the island a true rat nest. The quokkas¬†¬†can only be found on the island and managed to survive all this time because they don’t have any predators lingering around.

An other animal I encountered was a dugite. This pretty venomous snake was just chilling along the beach when I passed it. It was my first snake encounter since I got here in Australia.

A popular thing to do in Rottnest Island is doing a bike tour around the island. It offers a handful of great stops along the way. Since I visited the island on a weekday and it wasn’t high season yet I sometimes was riding my bike with not a single soul in sight. It felt like I was the last man on earth especially after 3.30 PM when all the day tourists were on their way back to Perth on the last ferry. Please also note that most of the tours that are offered on the island along the trail will end around 2.30 – 3 PM (like the lighthouse tour) in case you stay the night on the island.

Cape Vlamingh is the furthest point you can go on the island and the views won’t disappoint you.

Rotto (how the Aussies call Rottnest Island) is surrounded with heaps of white sandy beaches and coral blue water, a true paradise for snorkelers and a perfect romantic getaway.

 

 

Ready to Thwack !

Two weeks into the Australian Adventure and it has been a sweet ride so far.

Last Saturday I was invited to join my roommate and his team on a sail race on the Swan River. That was an offer I could not refuse. For someone who never went sailing before in his life it was bound to be an interesting adventure. My part of the team work was being ballast and switch from the one side of the boat to the other whenever the sailboat turned without getting decapitated by the swinging mast. This is called tacking in proper terms.

Because this was a very short race tacking happened quite often and in the tacking process you only have a couple seconds to get to the other side before the boat turns the other way or you’re in trouble.

I missed that moment nearly once.

Thinking the race was over (because we celebrated with beers) but we were only halfway. Didn’t get the memo until the captain yelled : Ready to tack.

I was still enjoying my beer and was trying to make it to the other side with only one hand and a late warning. I got stuck halfway my journey and held on for dear life… with a beer in my hand. What a funny sight it must have been.

So sailing is pretty popular in Perth.

Another popular thing to do is taking a stroll through Kings Park. This beautiful landmark gives you a magnificent view over the city. People meet there for picnics, family walks and it also is the perfect workout to for runners to make it up the hill.

And of course you have to check out the beautiful white sandy beaches when you are there. Scarborough Beach is a great example for that. You can even have a barbie there before dipping your feet in the Indian Ocean while watching the sunset.

You won’t be disappointed.

All Clichés Explored

One week in Australia¬†and I feel like I’ve dipped my toes into the Aussie¬†lifestyle quite a bit.

Australian Wildlife

Everyone knows that Australia has the most deadly¬†wildlife on this planet. In the waters you have sharks, jellyfish and crocodiles while on land you have to be careful of snakes and spiders. The latter one welcomed me¬†when I just arrived at my friend’s place two hours after my arrival in Australia. The redback spider, tiny but pretty poisonous, was sitting in the mailbox waiting for some good news. We took a look at her before losing her at our doorstep. One of these days she’ll be saying g’day again.

on Monday I saw a couple jellyfishes in Freo (Fremantle РSouth Perth) who seem to leave a nasty sting behind.

But don’t let these two small encounters withhold you from visiting Australia. There are no reported deaths from the redback spider since the creation of the anti venom somewhere in the 50’s.

To the Left

Getting in the car on the wrong side, looking in the wrong direction when crossing the street, passing people on the wrong side and quite often almost bumping into them. As I was not clumsy enough yet…

The Accent 

Absolutely a fan of the accent. It’s so chill. The coolest couple of words I’ve encountered is that guys DO say ‘mate’ most of the time and Mc Donald’s is called ‘Macca’s’ over here, even in the commercials.

The Barbie

Another great word is the ‘Barbie’¬†(without the shrimp though since they are called prawns here anyway). Barbie on the beach? No problem. Over here they have barbecues installed at the beach ready to use. Don’t worry about carrying the whole BBQ set to the beach, the Aussies have it all figured out how to have a perfect Sunday lunch at the beach. Last Sunday my roommate and a couple of his friends invited me for a barbie at Scarborough Beach.

Wear Sunscreen 

Yesterday I went downtown Perth to look for a job. I find it always a good idea to create a visual map of the area before you start applying for jobs. This way you know where everything is located. The neighbourhoods, the bus station, what is around.

What was supposed to be a short walk through the main streets of Downtown Perth ended up in crossing the entire city…twice. It was a beautiful sunny day with a perfect temperature of 24¬įC. Perth does have the winning numbers when it comes to the place with the most hours of sunshine in the entire country.

I definitely didn’t hold a lottery ticket for that since I got quite sunburned yesterday.

So always wear a good amount of sunscreen.

Let if fly 

The most unexpected part of this is the amount of flies that stick around and the incredible weird and loud sound the crows make. The sound of the crows woke me up on my first morning here and I had no idea what animal it could be. Now I know better. They also seem to attack you and steal your food from time to time.

The Journey Down Under

Howdy friends !

If you are reading this it means I finally made it to Australia !

I started this blog in the airport of Singapore where I was waiting for my connecting flight to Perth.

During my flight from Frankfurt to Singapore I have¬†been treated with a 13 hours cheesy foot smell from my lovely neighbour, lady ’36J’ and have exhausted myself with a movie marathon until my eyes felt like they caught fire. Sleep was hard to find.

Then I still had a five hour flight ahead of me before I arrived at my final destination. The flight from Singapore to Perth was pretty fast as I almost slept through the entire second half of the flight.

Getting into Australia was super quick, even with getting my visa activated. They just link your passport to your visa application on their system and give you a passport stamp and you are all good to go !

In Perth, my friend Tim picked me up from the airport and the new adventure could really start.

I will explore Perth for the entire month of November where I will be staying with Tim.

When we arrived at my new home I got a great introduction to the wildlife of Australia as there was a female redback spider sitting in the mailbox. Better be careful where you put your hands here.

After dinner I was totally done and had to give in to my little sleep deprivation.

This morning around 5 AM I woke up from noises outside. It’s a great thing to hear all animals sounds¬†you’ve never heard before. Some of them I have no idea what they could be. The most mysterious¬†one is a ‘Gollum’ sounding cat that is¬†annoyed. Also the birds sing their songs differently here.

This weekend there is a wine tour planned for Tim’s friend birthday and a party afterwards. I feel my first Australian Hangover coming my way.

Cheers !