I've now been on the West Coast of Australia for over two weeks and I've got far too much stuff to try and pack into this journal entry. Therefore I'm going to try to put together a bit of a highlights package, I'm afraid Sky have bought the rights to the full story!
When I touched down in Perth I made my way out to the coastal suburb of Fremantle and checked into a terrible Backpackers, where was a Lonely Planet when I needed one! It was just like being back in Halls of Residence, drunken people everywhere and someone even set off the fire alarm at five in the morning smoking in their room, that brought back a few memories!
Freo itself was really nice though, it had lots of outdoor cafes and cool little bars. It also had a good nautical museum (I had too much time on my hands!) where you could look into a working peroscope across the whole of Fremantle, pretty cool! I also headed to an Aussie Rules game, the beach and gave Perth a look.
From there I booked onto a tour up the coast to a place called Exmouth and onto a trip to go snorkelling with 12 metre long whalesharks, it sounded too good to refuse! The tour took us along some stunning coastline and included a trip to the Pinnacles desert, shell beach (a beach of ....) and past a load of trees which all stood pointing east at an angle of 45 degrees due to the strenght of the coastal wind!
The trip was made all the better because everyone got on really well and, apart from the inevitably high quota of English, there was a nice mix of nationalities as well. Some of the World Cup related banter was excellent and I enjoyed listening to the ravings of Patrick, the mad Swiss man, about his sides chances. Having said that, I hope they don't go and win it now! Thanks to Adam the song Roxanne has taken on a whole new meaning for a few of us, I never really appreciated how much Sting says the words 'Roxanne' and 'Red Light'! Abseiling also took on a whole new meaning when Mike went down forwards, I kid you not, forwards! There was no way in the world I was going to partake in any such craziness!
Other highlights of the tour were sandboarding (much as I tried, I never stayed on!), Coral Bay and Monkey Mia. At Monkey Mia you could enjoy amazing sunsets and sunrises and dolphins came-in in the morning to feed. There was a fair number of tourists there and at one point they choose people (not many) to come out of the crowd and feed them. I wasn't too bother either way but when I got chosen I was well chuffed, dolphins are pretty cool. In hindsight I should have known I was going to get picked after they picked a child followed by an old woman. What is the next minority quota to fill, a ginger of course and I couldn't have been more conspicuous between the blondes and brunettes!
Coral Bay was memorable for the copious amounts of table tennis played between Adam, Ludo and myself. We were all really close and I have to say I was pining after my Dutch table tennis partner (from Vietnam) to give me that vital edge! Whilst we were engrossed in our game, the remainder of the group were enjoying a few drinking games and because of the late start the following day our driver Lara (really cool) was on a bit of a mission! The first sign of this was when she missed her chair!
From there we headed to Exmouth and Lara hired out a DVD player and the infamous Wolf Creek. Wolf Creek is an Australian movie based on a true story about a serial killer in North-West Australia. It was pretty disturbing so to ensure a good night sleep for everyone we watched Finding Nemo straight after, truly frightening! The next day started badly when the whaleshark snorkelling was cancelled but we went snorkelling on the reef and I saw a turtle. Doubly cool having watched Finding Nemo and I could just imagine him saying things like, 'Little dude' and 'Find your exit buddy', 'sweet'!
In order to avoid getting in trouble I have to make a quick mention of the supercool Lou, Beck and Chloe, without whom the trip would have been a complete disaster, thanks girls!
On the way back I was dropped off in a place called Carnarvon to find some work. Having assessed the situation, I decided that it was perhaps the not the place I wanted to stay. There was nothing to do whatsoever, the hostel owner was a money-pinching dictator and I didn't feel safe after dark! As a result I got booked on a Greyhound up to Broome, a mere 21 hours, to meet back up with Pie for a few days.
We just chilled out and I met the guys he had been travelling up the coast with. We went to a cool outdoor bar a few times and on one night the others had to save me from a strange Australian guy who wanted to dance with me! In the end they had to make a protective circle round me to get rid of him, rather disturbing!
In conversation it turned out a group were heading up the coast camping for a night and were going to hire out a 4x4. It took me all of two seconds to agree to an invitation and I don't regret it one bit. We went to a place called Cape Leveque which was absolutely stunning. Beautiful orange sand dunes, rock formations, stunning gorges, white sandy beaches and clear blue waters. I have to say I have never been a big beaches person but the West Coast is starting to change my opinion, the Cape was absolutely stunning and I could have just chilled out there for days. It is so unspoilt and relatively untouristy so you can get the feeling that you have the place to yourself at times.
Some of the driving was great fun as well, sadly I was too young to drive but for those who were old enough they got a real experience. At times we were driving in thick sands and a trip like that wouldn't be complete without us getting stuck at least once. We had the six of us under the car palming handfuls of sand away to make it possible to get going again, great fun!
We eventually got back to Broome exhausted but happy after a fun-filled few days and cleaned ourselves up so that we could go back into civilised society! I am now on my last day in Broome and the West Coast and tomorrow I'm heading on a camping trip to the Kimberley region where there are meant to be stunning gorges, crocs and waterfalls, can't wait! I end my trip at a place called Kununurra where there is meant to be plenty of fruit picking work. Sadly it has come to that time when I have to do the 'work' part of the work-travel visa!
Anywhere, I think that is all for now,
Take care everyone,