Western Australia is about the size of Europe and boasts a population of about 2m, 1.5m of whom live in and around Perth. The nearest big city is Adelaide (which isn't big), 2000km away. It took us 5 ½ hrs to get there and we crossed 3 time zones. In a nut shell, it's a very remote city, in a very big country surrounded by a lot of b***** all.
A couple of days in Perth is nowhere near enough time to get a proper feel of the place, but it is long enough to know it is worth another visit. It is very open, with masses of green space and the Swan River keeps the horizons distant. In some ways it feels like a 'new town' , which isn't good, but I think that feeling would fade away the more you got to know it.
We spent some of our time in Perth itself, but the majority of the visit was spent exploring elsewhere. Freemantle is essentially the port of Perth and J and I got a boat between the two, past some of the most expensive houses in Australia and out to what looked like a dodgy industrial port. Sharing the boat with large forty-something ladies who achieved drinking bottles of lager much more effectively than they achieved covering ample cleavage combined with this initial impression and I could be forgiven for writing the place off. Once into the town though, Freo is a very lively and colourful. It is very tourist focused, but manages to do so without being tacky. We sent an hour or so in the Freo Market, which has little that we would wish to buy, but had some Interesting buskers, good food and a bar which must have been thee since the first boat came in. Freemantle is also the home of the Little Creatures Brewery; good clean tasting beer made is a vast shed which also had a very nice restaurant. We popped in for a swift half and left some 7 hours later slightly worse for wear!
The highlight of the visit had to be a tri to Rottness Island, about 16km off the coast. The name comes from the Dutch phrase for rats nest as the island is inhabited by great big furry things which look a bit like very big rats but are actually Quokkas; members of the Kangaroo family which bounce about mostly at night. We really wanted to see these little fellas and were not aware of their nocturnal lifestyle until we aboard the early morning ferry.
Luckily there are many other reasons to go to the island. It is a rather green island from which cars are banned and wildlife rule the roost and bordered lots of clean yellow beaches bordered by clear turquoise sea. We hired a couple of bikes, loaded ourselves down with cucumber sandwiches, tomatoes, chicken legs and lashings of ginger beer (not really - we had a bowel of soup and got far too little water), then like the famous five after the other three decided they didn't like the fame anymore, headed off around the island in glorious sunshine. We saw a snake (well Jodie did, and thankfully told me about it just before I rode over it), lizards, whales jumping in the distance and by sheer fluke, also saw a Quokka, obviously suffering from insomnia. Worth a visit.
We left Perth on a early flight, and made the most of one of the last few occasions in the Business Class lounge by getting amongst the bubbly at 8am. It is always the right time to have a drink in an airport.