Welcome back to the Ozblogs (as I’ve started internally referring to them) as we get into the final stretch of my trip down under, and the bulk of my exploration of Perth itself.
I can’t really think of a good way to make this into a continuous narrative flow, so we’ll just go day by day and describe the stuff I did and whatnot, mmkay?
Monday 11th of April
The first day back from Ledge Point. My cousin Rachael dropped me off at Barrack St, near the semi-famous Bell Tower, one of the more prominent Perth landmarks (which has kinda been put even more in the shade by Elizabeth Quay, but more on that later). The tower contains a collection of antique church bells from the St Martin-in-the-fields church in Trafalgar Square, that were gifted to Perth in 1988. I saw the bells, I watched a demonstration about how the bells are rung, I rang one of the bells. I went up to the observation level and snapped some photos. I got some pictures of the Love Locks on the footbridge outside, then I sauntered over to see Elizabeth Quay.
Elizabeth Quay is the new hotness when it comes to Perth’s landmarks and attractions, having officially opened at the start of the year (although development of bits of it is still ongoing, notably a big hotel complex). It’s quite a nice place to visit, and certainly a lot more attractive than what was there before (pretty much just a bit of road along the waterfront, as I understand it). There’s some interesting architecture there that should hopefully make the visage of Perth’s waterfront a wee bit more distinct.
From Elizabeth Quay, I headed up towards the main part of the CBD and found myself wandering up London Court, a very picturesque shopping street just off one Hay Street. With its mock-Tudor stylings, it’s a wee bit ‘fake’, especially if you’ve ever been to York, but it’s a nice change of pace from all the modern architecture that tends to be prominent in a ‘new world’ city like this. The shops there are all very ‘touristy’ – kitchy souvenirs a-go-go. If you’re in Perth and you want to buy a kangaroo plushie and a hat with corks dangling off it, this is where you’d probably want to go. The only shop I went into on London Court was Tactics, a wargaming/board games/RPG shop where I picked up a copy of the Aussie version of Cards Against Humanity, as a gift for Ledge Point usage. I must go back to Tactics the next time I’m over there, I love rummaging around RPG books and whatnot.
After London Court I moseyed along Hay St, poked around a few shops (I was noseying around to see if I could find any deals on cheap 3DS games, but to no avail), headed up Murray St doing the same, then turned north along the Barrack St bridge into Northbridge, to have a look at the museums and art galleries, one in particular – The Nostalgia Box.
The Nostalgia Box is a museum after my own heart, being a collection of vintage video games consoles and computers, everything from your run of the mill Playstations and NESes, to relative rarities like the Magnavox Odyssey and Neo Geo. They also have a bunch of retro consoles set up that you can play, so I took the opportunity to have a crack at Metal Slug on the Neo Geo (not an actual Neo Geo, unfortunately, but a Neo Geo X, the Android-based convertible handheld-with-a-console-base emulator thingy) and Sega Rally on the Saturn.
Dammit, I should by another Saturn some time. I miss that console.
While I was in the Nostalgia Box, the weather, which had been overcast for most of that time, finally broke, and the heavens opened. Bucketing down. Seeing what was occuring, I whistled up an Uber and headed outside to brave the rain in my no-jacket state. I spotted a taxi that matched the make and colour of the Uber that was coming, so I jumped in.
It was only after we’d travelled a few streets I realised that this wasn’t my Uber, it was an actual taxi, so not only did I have to pay a fare that was higher than what the Uber would’ve been, I had to pay a fee to Uber for cancelling that. Oops. All because I was in a rush due to rain. Gah.
Tuesday 12th of April
I knew going into my trip Down Under that I’d be over there when Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice came out (it actually released when I was in Sydney, if I remember right), and I fancied seeing it, so on the Monday night after my rain-based Uber FAIL, I did a bit of research into cinemas in Perth, and I discovered the Gold Class concept that Event Cinemas have, which is unlike anything I’ve seen in any cinema over here. Maybe 12 seats or so total in each cinema, all big leather recliners, and food and drink can be brought to your seat at specific pre-ordered times during the film. I don’t go to the cinema often, and I thought ‘why not?’ and decided to hit the pictures the next day to watch Clark Kent and Bruce Wayne knock each other’s pans in while drinking beer.
I did that, and it was a great way to do the cinema thing. Seriously, Odeon and the likes need to do some of that stuff over here. I’d go to the cinema more often if they did. Beer, chips, potato wedges and leather seats beats screaming kids and pick ‘n mix any day.
Wednesday 13th of April
Traveled a bit further afield this day, and visited Fremantle for the first time, with Nancy. The first stop was Freo’s cemetary, to visit the grave of AC/DC legend Bon Scott. We had a bit of trouble trying to find the grave, but after a bit of asking around, we eventually made our way to the right part of the enormous graveyard and found the bold Bon’s resting place.
After I paid my respects to one of rock music’s great personalities, we made our way back to the car and headed for the main bit of Freo to grab some food at Bather’s Beach House before visiting the Maritime Museum. The exhibits at the musuem were pretty interesting, goimg all the way from militaria to sport to marine biology. Well worth a visit if you head over to Freo.
Thursday 14th of April
This day I visited the Perth Royal Mint. It was pretty interesting. Watched gold getting poured. Couldn’t take photos inside due to security policies (probably because of the mahoosive amounts of expensive stuff in the place – the souvenir shop was a wee bit more extravagant than the typical touristy tchotchkes.
Friday 15th of April
This was a pretty full day – Nancy drove me to Perth Zoo, where I ambled around the place admiring the wildlife and dodging shitloads of schoolkids (it was the Easter holidays after all). The zoo had a rather cool temporary dinosaur-themed thing going through it, with lots of animatronic prehistoric sauropods scattered throughout the zoo, in amongst all the usual zoo stuff. The downside was, due to the time of day and it being a quite nice sunny day, a lot of the animals were having a bit of a kip. I still managed to take some rather nice photos, a few of which are attached to this post. The heron on the footbridge was a particularly cool shot to get, as I thought the heron was going to get spooked and fly away, but it was clearly fairly used to humans and didn’t give a toss about me and my camera as it perched on the handrail of the footbridge I was walking along.
After leaving the zoo, I ambled to the ferry terminal on the South Perth Esplanade and caught the ferry back over the river to Elizabeth Quay. I then caught the free Green CAT bus up to Northbridge (just to make the Uber back to the house that wee bit cheaper) and found a rather nice wee Mexican themed bar/restaurant, La Cholita, and had a burrito and a beer for lunch. The burrito was really nice, made with nice fresh ingredients. When I go to Perth I definitely fancy checking that place out again.
An Uber took me home (an actual Uber this time, not a mis-identified taxi) and that evening my Uncle and I sat in the back lounge of the house watching a bit of Aussie Rules footy, with the West Coast Eagles taking on the Richmond Tigers, a game my wee cousin actually went to see with some of her pals. After the game, Gordon and I sank a few beers and watched Still Game. Good way to end the evening.
Saturday 16th April
This day was all about aircraft, as Gordon and I visited the RAAF Aviation Heritage Museum. The museum contains a fair bit of interesting stuff, seperated into two main halls, one devoted to civil aviation and one to military aviation. It’s the military section that has the real ‘big ticket item’, however, in a lovingly-restored Lancaster bomber as the centrepiece, as well as a number of other cool aircraft, including a Spitfire. Some choice photos are attached.
That evening, Gordon and I switched aircraft for craft beer and headed out to the Northbridge Brewing Co. brewpub to meet up with some familiar faces – Peter Stroud, Joe McGuinness, Clive D’Cruz and a couple other of Gordon’s mates who I was meeting for the first time at this point. Beers were drunk, banter flowed, the evening drew in and we had a good wee night out. After the NBC, we headed to a food court for munchies, where I had my first experience with a Japanese Bento box, with yakiniku beef and some nice bits of proper sushi (the only sushi I’d had before this was pre-packaged stuff from Tesco and it turned my stomach. Next time I’m over there I’m going to try and do the sushi thing properly though). After the scran we had a couple more in the Brass Monkey for one for the road before taxiing back to Yokine.
Right, I think I’ll cut this entry off here – join me again next time when I’ll wrap up what happened during my final days Down Under.