We drove back down to Perth, which took almost all day from Kalbarri with only a few petrol stops and a lunch break. We decided that we would like to base ourselves in Fremantle so that we could see all of things in the area that we did not get around to do when we were living here! We picked the one closest to Fremantle centre, so that we could walk to most places, it was the most expensive site that we had, had at $35 but we assumed it was because we were practically in a city. The pitch we had was nice, we had low walls around us, a paved area to park on, a wooden picnic table on a grassed area, it was like having or own private garden. The following day we decided to get the boat over to Rottnest Island a short 30 trip from Fremantle harbour. We were dropped at the small town where we hired bicycles to explore the island as there is no traffic only a bayseeker bus. We set off on the little pavements and firstly reached a beautiful jam packed bay, we moved on deciding it was only so popular because it was so close. We cycled on past some holiday flats to Geordie Bay which had a couple of shops around the bay and a few sun bathers. We stopped just around a rocky headland, still within the bay but on a separate bit of beach. The bay was full of boats, some here for the day and others anchored down for their holidays. It all looked a rich mans playground. We moved on to Armstrong bay where we sun bathed and swan for an hour or so, there were only about 4 other people on the whole of the beach. The bay was good for snorkelling but the water was a bit murky and neither of us ventured out very far. After a gourmet sandwich for lunch at Geordie bay shops we spotted our first Quokka, a native animal to the island, similar to a small Wombat. Longreach bay was a final stop, with pure white sand and turquoise waters it was also really quiet and full of boats anchored up. It was really hot so the sea was refreshing, it was not until we got back that we found out it had been 40 degrees, a bit of a scorcher.
The following day and the reason for our real return to Perth was the 3rd day of the test between Australia and India at the WACA. We took the train from Fremantle up to the City laden with a full cooler bag of lunch, wraps, pasta salad, healthy coleslaw and fruit salad! We took our seats, we had brought them in the drinking zone as about 2/3 rds of the ground is a dry area. When we left it was really cool and overcast, but by the time we had sat down and were waiting for the teams to come out on to the pitch it started to warm up and the clouds disappeared. It did not reach 40 degrees like the day before but it was well in to the 30's. I managed to get a wide brim hat to add to my collection and enjoyed a good day of cricket. The Australians were in the field and they just managed to get the Indians out so that they could bat for a couple of hours although in that short space of time they did manage to lose a couple wickets. It was Wayne's first cricket match and he enjoyed the day, the beer, the weather, the picnic and also the cricket.
Our 3rd day back and we decided to take a visit to Fremantle historic prison, we decided to take part in the "doing time tour". The guide led us around the whole site explaining how the convicts from England first excavated the site and then built the prison out of the limestone that they had excavated. It was also the only prison in Australia to have both a Men's and Women's prison within the same grounds. We were led through the registration area, the cells, chapel, grounds and also the gallows where hangings did occur. There was also an example of how the cells had changed through the ages, initially only a hammock, later as things progressed sinks were added and then taken away due to the inmates destruction back to a single bed, a chair and small table as the cells ended up. We were also shown the solitary confinement wing, where the cells had nothing in but a small window and a small barred shutter on the door, this was frequently closed to plunge the offenders in to total blackness 23 hours per day. We were also shown the effects of a riot that had taken place in the prison leading to the collapse of part of the roof. We also had time to have a look in a small museum to see whether any of our ancestors had been inmates at Fremantle, there were a couple of Bone's and also a couple Bicknell's so you never know if they could be distant relations. The museum also had a piece on modern day prisons within Western Australia and what they are trying to do to stop offenders reoffending. This led us on to and Art Gallery where the pieces on display were painted by inmates from around the state as a therapy or release, a couple were very good. That evening we had been invited back to Justin's (our old house), for dinner and drinks. We turned up about 4.30pm and we started from there, we all sat around on the sofas in the garden. We had a good evening about 10 of us in total with some good food. Denise made some Italian nibbles, stuffed olives, mushrooms, dates and smoked salmon bites, this was then followed by homemade smoked salmon and rocket pizza and parma ham, chorizo and olive pizza. Justin then brought out Thai mussels and a chicken and asparagus salad. At about midnight Denise then brought out her chocolate fondue set accompanied by strawberries, orange segments and pizza dough covered in sugar and cinnamon a great evening. The following day ended up in a sort of recovery day, Wayne and Gavin drinking wine for breakfast, I then had an Italian pizza lesson the ulterior motive of having lunch. In the evening Justin, Denise, Gavin, Wayne and I all had another meal that Justin had made a chicken pasta with salad. We spent our second night sleeping in Holly outside the house.
The next day we decided that we had should try and move on away from Perth. We spent the morning at the Perth mint museum. The tour took us through the history of the gold rush of Western Australia, a large collection of gold and also a display of melting gold and making it into a gold bar. It was really interesting to see how hot the furnace meted the gold to liquid this was then poured into a mould and dropped into water. Once out it cooled almost instantly, so that it could be tapped out of the mould and held in the demonstrators hand.
We looked in the gift shop, but could not afford any of the fantastic jewellery, only the chocolate coins! On our way South of Perth we stopped at a place called Rockingham, only 30 minutes south of Fremantle. We had driven here before and had a look around and decided that as we now had more time we would take a boat trip over to Penguin Island. It was only a short 5 minute journey but it was better than trying to walk across the sandbar that connected the mainland to the island. It is possible to walk across but the water comes waist deep in some parts and the day before some people had been stranded as the tide rose, we decided to play it safe. Our boat ticket included admission to watch the tiny penguins being fed. There is a small sanctuary to house a few penguins that were found injured they all have names and we were introduced to them as the ranger fed the each of the penguins that were hungry, it was a shame to learn that these would never be released back in to the wild as they were now too dependent on the sanctuary and they would not be able to feed themselves. However we took a walk along the boardwalks which cover the island and on one side we really lucky to step down on to the beach and see a couple of wild penguin hiding under the boardwalk probably nesting. We also saw a big colony of Pelicans from a look out point nesting only a short distance away on another island. We took the last boat back after relaxing on the beach and saw quite a lot of people walking across the sandbar back to the car park and the mainland, there was even a little baby being pulled along in a rubber ring, madness.