For my final day in Tokyo before my flight to Perth I went to Odaiba - a man made island in Tokyo Bay. I took the unmanned monorail across the Rainbow Bridge and got off at the first stop. I walked along the Tokyo Beach (man made of course) and in to the Decks shopping mall, where I went to the indoor theme park Joypolis (owned by Sega) featuring simulators, games, arcades and a rollercoaster, which can perhaps be compared to London's very own Trocadero. After a couple of hours at Odaiba, I made my way back to the hostel to pick up my bag before heading to Shinjuku station (busiest station in the world) to catch the Narita Express.
The flight was not too busy, as I had already predicted, so I had two seats to myself and was able to create a little bed out of the two sets of pillows and blankets. I watched a few TV episodes, but pretty much slept all the way to Perth and we landed an hour ahead of schedule at the local time of 6am. I made my way through the lengthy customs queues and out the other side to catch the airport shuttle to the city centre (which incidentally is a complete rip-off costing $20 in to Perth city centre, when it cost me only $30 by coach or train to Bunbury nearly 3 hours away!) But there you go. I of course was at the hostel too early to check in, so left my luggage in their 'safe storage room' (supposedly, anyway) and went for a wander around the Mount Lawley and Northbridge areas of the city.
Then I headed back to check in to my room. Turns out I had been booked in to an all girl dormitory, only I could have guessed the minute I opened the door to be greeted by a carpet full of girls' clothese strewn all over the place along with empty wine boxes (known over here as goon because after drinking a box of wine you turn in to one!!) and other female paraphernalia. It was actually ridiculous. It looked like 10 girls had tried on everything they owned before a night out and then changed and left the garments scattered across the floors, beds, chairs, etc. So after picking a 'clean' route across the floor to the empty bed that was mine, I unpacked what I didn't want to take to Bunbury and got washed and changed. Then it was straight back out with my luggage to catch a bus to the coach terminal and then a 3 hour coach ride to Bunbury.
Brigid was already there to pick me up when I arrived. Went straight to a drive through bottle shop for my first Australian experience! Then we went to her house where I met her parents and their gorgeous dog Buddy. Then for my second Australian experience we went to Brigid's secret kangaroo spot at dusk. But unfortunately I only saw a couple of wild kangaroos. So we headed back to Brigid's for my first Aussie BBQ. And not too long after, I turned in for the night after a long day of travelling.
The next day Brigid and I went to Margaret River for wine, fudge, and cheese tastings (quick family joke which Brigid is now in on "Beryl would have loved it"). I was also fortunate enough to be treated to the most beautiful lunch at Amberley vineyard, and had a glass of their award winning Semillon Sauvignon to accompany my meal. Then on our way back home we stopped off at Bussleton to see Australia's longest jetty (but unfortunately it was under construction). But this was more than made up for by the fact that we bumped in to a man who rescues orphaned kangaroos hanging out on the grass with three Joeys. Brigid chatted to him and he let me stroke one, and indeed hold one! It was so cute, and had very soft fur. The man was, in a diplomatic sense, a bit of a character, but had a good heart and clearly cared about the animals very much.
I started my third day in Bunbury with a trip to the Dolphin Discovery Centre. Dolphins have been spontaneously coming to Koombana Bay for decades, but because they are wild animals their visits are unpredictable. I was lucky enough to be there at the right time as four or five dolphins swam in to the bay and everyone at the centre got in to the sea with them. It was so nice to see these animals in their natural environment, and the fact that they are not fed to encourage them to visit, but its just their own inquisitive nature which brings them to the shores makes it all the better.
After the dolphins had swum back out, I wandered along the beach and in to the city centre for a spot of shopping (mostly of the window variety). Then it was back to Brigid's to read a book and chill out before going out to dinner with Brigid, her sister and sister's fiancé and some friends, to Mash, a micro brewery and restaurant for hearty Australian pub grub and a glass of Blonde. Then we went back and attempted to watch Memoirs of a Geisha which I have started reading, but fell asleep before the end in classic "me watching a film at home" style.
On Sunday I went to the back beach and took my first proper dip in the Indian ocean - which was colder than I thought, but still nice before being privileged enough to join the Evans family for their famous fortnightly pizza night, cooked in their own woodburn pizza oven.
An early start for the next day as I caught the 6am train back to Perth. I arrived in the city at half 8, walked to the hostel, dumped my stuff and then headed back to the station to get a train to Fremantle (for the freshest fish and chips I have eaten to date at the Fishing Bay Harbour and a trip to Fremantle prison), Cottlesloe (one of Perth's famous beaches), and Subiaco (for chilled out cosmopolitanism) - or Freo, Cotts and Subi to the locals. On my way back to the hostel I stopped off at the Western Australia Art Gallery in the cultural centre of Perth.
I woke up early the next day too despite my roommates returning home at 1am and turning all the lights on and having drinks and laughs on the balcony whilst I was attempting to sleep. I walked to Kings Park for a wander round the botanical garden via the Barrack Jetty and other touristy spots including the Town Hall, London Court, Ferris Wheel, Bell Tower and along the Swan River. Then jogged back from Kings Park to the hostel. The only problem was that I hadn't taken my camera, because I was walking and jogging so couldn't capture the beautiful views of Perth that I saw from Kings Park! I spent the afternoon taking a guided walking tour around the city looking at works of art in public spaces. When I went back to the hostel I got chatting to some German travellers, and headed out to sample the watering holes in Northbridge with them that evening.
Then I packed my stuff and checked out at 7am ready to catch my flight to Sydney…