Welcome once again, dear friends, to another instalment of my trip report of my month Down Under.
When last we left our hero, that being me, I’d hit the sack at my uncle’s house in Yokine, North Perth for the first time. The 20+ hours of travel combined with a few James Squires definitively knocked me out that evening, and I slept like the proverbial log, even in the late-Aussie-summer evening warmth.
The next morning I woke up pretty early, got myself a coffee and a banana and sat outside in the back garden of the house, next to the pool, soaking up the morning sunshine and enjoying the warmth after a pretty grotty Scottish winter. It was a moment of peace before all the activity of the next month – taking it all in, soaking in the fact that I was on the other side of the world, sitting in a place I’d only seen in photographs from trips taken by other members of my family. After all the times my uncle and aunt had said ‘when’s Neil coming down?’, I was finally there, sat by the pool, sipping a coffee and letting my feet cool on the dew covered Astroturf lawn.
After breakfast and properly unpacking my bags, my aunt Nancy and I headed off to King’s Park to take in my first bit of Perth tourism. We walked around some of the walking trails, visited the ANZAC war memorial, I took a bunch of photos (including a couple of nice ones of the Perth skyline – see below for photos) – it was cool. The first spate of touristyness of the trip.
After King’s Park, we headed to a mall in Innaloo to pick up a few bits & bobs I needed – some proper toothpaste and toothbrushes (the cheap ‘travel’ stuff I bought for the trip was really bad. You get what you pay for), a SIM card and data for my phone, stuff like that. Nothing majorly sexy.
The SIM card was a bit of a FAIL though – I thought my phone would’ve been able to run the Optus SIM I bought, and I couldn’t get the phone unlocked, so I was stuck to Wifi for data, as there was no way I was going to pay O2’s exorbitant roaming rates. I really should’ve switched to Three when I got my 6S+. A solution to the problem would eventually present itself, but not for a couple of weeks, but we’ll get to that later.
That night, we sat out under the pergola in the garden’s BBQ area and ate dinner, along with my aunt & uncle’s friends Phil, Donna and their daughters. The scran was great, the chat was good, the company was nice. All in all, a nice way to wind up the first day in Australia.
The next day, I indulged in some more blatant touristyness by visiting Hillarys Boat Harbour and the Aquarium of Western Australia, or AQWA, with my younger cousin Rachael. I took my camera with me (a Sony RX100 Mark I for those wondering – amazing travel camera, although I would’ve stumped up for the Mark III if I was more flush with cash) and got some pretty good shots, some of which are below. The one with the schoolkids pointing up at the massive ray is one of my favourite photos of the whole trip. After AQWA, Rachael and I ambled around the nearby mall waiting for Nancy, who was doing….something in a shop in the mall – I can’t remember what, exactly, and I suppose it’s not really important. After the three of us reconvened we went to Dome for a drink, where I made a bit of a whoopsie.
I had ordered an iced coffee, thinking it’d be like the iced coffee we get here, made with crushed ice, blended, all that sort of stuff. What I didn’t count on was the blob of ice cream, so when I stuck my spoon in to give it a stir, there was a bit of spillage. Not the whole thing, but enough to make a bit of a splashy mess. facepalm
After we left Hilary’s, we headed to Kosmic, a music shop in Osborne Park, to buy strings for a guitar I was borrowing. I didn’t fancy spending an entire month without picking up some sort of instrument, so a wee bit of acoustic janglyness was the perfect thing to keep me from getting guitar-homesick, and would be coming with me to Kalbarri, where we were headed the next day. But we’ll talk more about Kalbarri in the next part…
That evening we went to Northbridge for dinner, meeting my Uncle’s pal Adam and his wife and daughter, Arlene and Erica. We ate at the Good Fortune Roast Duck House, one of the many Asian eateries in Northbridge, and the food here was excellent. It’s always a good sign if a Chinese restaurant has a load of Chinese folk eating at it, and this one did, and it had a good reputation – currently sitting as the #51 rated restaurant in Perth on Tripadvisor. I can attest to the quality of the grub – it was fantastic, especially the Salt & Pepper Squid (first time ever trying squid – yet another first for me on this trip, and it wouldn’t be the last first either). We had a bit of everything – duck, chicken, pork, the squid. Best o’ gear, as we say in my neck of the woods. Two thumbs up for the Good Fortune. If/when I’m back in Perth in a few years’ time, I’ll definitely fancy hitting it again.
We got back and turned in early, because we had to be up at about 5:00AM the next day, to ready ourselves for the six-hour drive north, to the first of my two holdays within this holiday – six days of camping in Kalbarri.
But we’ll save that for the next episode.