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Heading Over to Western Australia and the Golden Beaches of Perth
Thursday 18th August to Friday 26th August 2011 – Perth, Australia
As I said goodbye to Cairns, and all the friends I have made, I turn my attention towards Western Australia, and to one of the places I was looking forward to most of all on this trip. Perth was the next stop for me, and I couldn’t wait to walk on the long, sandy beaches.
Looking out of the plane window at the ground below, I could see the endless Eastern shoreline disappearing into the distance, the sparkling ocean and scattered beaches vanishing from sight. I started to glimpse the reddened, sun-baked sand of the desert below as we climbed into the clouds above Australia, and out of sight. Throughout the journey I was able to get quick glimpses of the landscape through the parting clouds, but was only able to see endless reds and browns. Pools of water were evident in places, and pockets of green vegetation revealed themselves briefly, only to vanish again, as if swept away by the winds and engulfed by the sea of red sand.
As we descended into Perth, the greens of the trees returned, as did the golden sands and bright blue ocean. I could feel the warmth through the window and smell the sea breeze. I wanted to get off the plane and run into the sea.
The hostel was a little way from the sea, and required a walk to get there, and although the sun was still shining, it was getting late in the day and the temperature dropped more than I had anticipated. I wasn’t really dressed appropriately the first time I visited the long, golden beach, but I couldn’t pull myself away as I sat – slightly cold – on the evening sand, watching the sun set brilliantly behind the layer of cloud.
During my stay in Perth I managed to visit a lot of places. The beach was endless, as was my walk along the coastal pathway. In order to add a little variety into the walk, I stepped of the pathway and took another route through a park, through the bushes and trees. It wasn’t long before I found a hill overlooking the sea, and stood for a while, taking in the sights and breathing the cool ocean air. As I looked to move off I noticed an odd shape millimeters from my feet. To my amazement, a snake lay coiled up on the grass in the heat of the sun, way too close to my bare feet in my sandals. I was lucky I hadn’t stepped on it in the first instance, and as I moved to get away, so the snake slid off into the undergrowth and out of harms way. I wanted to see snakes in the wild, but probably not this close.
Another walk lead me to a national park, around a big lake with beautiful flowers and scenery. People were out walking their dogs and children, whilst others were engaged in an energetic workout along the waters edge. I was happy to just walk with my camera in hand, snapping away like a happy tourist, mindful of the numerous mounds of dog mess littered about along the path, hoping to catch another glimpse of a wild snake, wishfully.
On another day I ventured into the city, and what a city it is! From a distance the towering buildings shone brightly in the sunlight, whereas up close they reflected off the water along the river. There was green everywhere, from palm trees, to big, open fields, flowers and bushes, and plenty of wildlife. For a big city there seemed ample opportunity to sit and relax, away from the hustle and bustle of city life. The Botanical Gardens offered a welcome retreat, though the fields were awash with students and tourists, and office workers on their lunch break. If I worked or studied in Perth, this would be where I would come.
Before leaving Perth I took a trip to a nearby town called Fremantle, for it’s historical interest. It was good to see the busy small streets in this harbor town, and the old buildings, as well as Fremantle Prison. The day was full of walking, and when I spotted signs for a ferry to Rottnest Island, I whipped out my Lonely Planet book to see if I could spend the afternoon there. The island sounds very inviting with all it’s beaches and cycle routes, but given the time of day, I would be unable to see it today. I hoped to come back, but I never made the time, much to my regret.
Having spent a week in Perth, I was already in love with the sandy beaches and lush green vegetation and beautiful plants, the small towns and busy city, the wildlife with its deadly snakes. I could easily see myself living here, but for now I should move on as there is still so much to see and do. Darwin was next, followed by Alice Springs and a trip to Uluru. I didn’t know it yet, but the remainder of the trip was quite possibly some of the best times I have ever had whilst travelling. I sat overlooking the beach, better dressed this time, watching the baby rabbits feeding in the bushes on the beach below, clambering over each other with their big, fluffy paws, trying to get to the higher, tastier branches.
Written by Daniel Stevens,