The thrill of the journey, the anticipation of the destination, the people you see, the conversations you hear, the worlds you become part of, even if only for a few hours.. Aren't airports just so lovely? When I landed in Perth Airport it was 0730 in the morning. Its a quite place, clear sky, blue water and not many people around. I stayed in Hyatt Regency Perth which is just 20 min drive from the airport. Took a power nap of 2 hours and decided to go out to see the beautiful city. I enjoyed the Swan river scenic cruise which starts in the afternoon at 1415 hours for about 3 hours. That cost me $ 40. The last spot to get down from the cruise is Fremantle which has many attractions like Fremantle prison, rail station, maritime museum, market, Army museum, monument hill. The temperature was 40 degrees outside but the breeze was cool. Returned back to the hotel and relaxed by the poolside. On day - II I went for Pinnacles day tour. The temperature was 33 degrees (better than the previous day). It cost me $ 165. I was impressed with Luke (the bus driver cum guide cum adventurer). He took us around the national park which has Koalas, Kangroos and many other animals. It was a long drive from the national park to the pinnacles & lobster shack. Pinnacles are limestone formations within Nambung national park, near the town of Cervantes. Followed by some jaw dropping moments in Indian ocean. Luke managed to get me vegetarian lunch in Lobster shack which was healthy and stomach filling. Had again a power nap of 30 min in bus & Luke drove the bus on Lancelin sand dunes. Mostly the bus passengers were old couples except few. We all had fun on sand. There were small kids and these smallies made me feel ashamed as they can get sand boarding right in their first attempt while I took 3 attempts and still was not confident.
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Fremantle Prison is the largest convict-built prison in Australia and a UNESCO World Heritage site. It provides a perfect World War prison setting with wide-spread rumors of paranormal existence. What is even more fascinating is its underground tunnel and aqueducts. An exciting place to re-visit an era gone by. It is also the only world heritage site in Perth.
A trip to Prague is incomplete without strolling down the mighty Charles Bridge and soaking in the glorious views of the city. Authorized in the 14th century by Charles IV, this bridge withstood wheeled traffic for a good 500 years until it was entirely pedestrianized after the Second World War. Today, a swarm of tourists, hawkers and street performers make sure this illustrious fairground is perpetually busy and bustling with activity. The many baroque statues stand tall and impressive despite the winds blowing with all the ferocity they could possibly muster. Soothing tunes waft from the many violins and accordions while the buskers play in a state of trance. The constant human chatter adds to the music. Charles Bridge is the soul of Prague and its magic will keep you coming back for more. Interestingly, if you do not shy away from superstitions, rubbing the bronze plaque on the statue of John of Nepomuk will apparently ensure your second visit to the city. Essential information: Kammeny Most (Charles Bridge) is open 24 hours and there obviously is no entry fee. If in case you do not live around Old Town or Mala Strana, both of which are walking distance from the bridge, taking a tram up to Karlovy lázně or Malostranské náměstí is recommended, depending on the side you are coming from.
This is easily any chocolate lover's heaven. Buy award-winning chocolates, candies and fudges here. They have over 300 chocolate products for you to choose from. Here comes the best part though, they provide free tasting samples! The Fremantle Chocolate factory displays such delicious truffles, bars and fudges that you won't be able to stop yourself from indulging completely.
Unfortunately—from a storytelling point of view—there was nothing uncomfortable, palpitating or even vaguely gruesome about my stay in Perth, other than the outrageous prices on everything. It’s a lovely city, lapped by the gentle waves of the Indian Ocean, with spectacular beaches, a decent local music scene and a food environment that, really, is a bit lacking in imagination. Thai and Nepalese are about as outré as it gets. But it’s really the people that I met that made Perth memorable. Sharon, my Couchsurfing host for about nine days, was a total gem. John, the organic gardener and character extraordinaire, was great. And the various other itinerants I met along the way—all under 30 and laboring under what seems to me a pretty exploitive work-holiday visa regime—for the most part delighted me. And a big shout-out to the rodeo crew who made New Year’s a blast.
Perth Town Hall
Built in 1986, the Perth Town hall is a historical heritage. It is constructed on the highest point in the center of the town, this structure boasts of a Victorian Gothic architecture. It was built by a majority of convicts and thus certain motifs on the walls include a hangman's rope and broad arrow. Its architecture is reminiscence of 16th century Italy or Britain, with a hall adjoining a watch tower. It has been extended and renovated several times and its significance to the town can be gauged by the people's movement to stop the demolition of a building that would affect the structure. The Perth Town Hall is an important landmark for the city and its people.
Jumbuck Hill Park
I personally think that Bell Rapids is a pretty decent place to get close to Mother Nature, which provides a short escapade from the city and work :) Besides that, it is a good choice for a family picnic! The Bells Rapid Walk Trail is relatively short but I think in terms of fitness requirement, it is a moderate one. Standing at the footbridge over Swan River, you could see the spectacular view of the rapid that serves as a vantage point for the popular annual White-Water event early August. There are two walk trails available, which is the River Walk (2.5km with mostly flat walk along the river) and Goat Walk (3 km with some steep inclines and loose gravel sections). We decided to challenge the Goat Walk and this energetic uphill climbs proved to be very rewarding with amazing panoramic views along the Darling Scarp and across Swan Coastal Plain to Perth City! :) Apparently at certain times of the year, you could spot the beautiful grey kangaroo in abundance, but sadly we couldn't spot any yesterday :( However, I am relatively happy to be able to spot some cute alpacas when we are leaving Bell Rapids :D
Fishing Boat Harbour
Where can you munch on some lovely Fish and Chips while taking in the lovely sea breeze? The Fishing Boat Harbor, of course! This harbor is the heart of the Fremantle fishing industry and is lined with hundreds of restaurants offering delicious specialties caught directly from the sea. The harbor lets you sit back, relax and enjoy a lovely meal. Soak in some sun and scenery at this lovely harbor.
Moor and Moor Gallery
This gallery provides a taste of some contemporary art. More so, this gallery displays exhibitions of some emerging artists and new students. Fremantle in a way is filled with artists and musicians which is very evident by this gallery. There is also an adjoining cafe here.
Diving into Australia's rich colonial history once again, we end our tour at Roundhouse. The roundhouse is Australia's oldest public building that was built in the Swan River Colony in 1830's. It was actually built to hold convicts. After it ceased being used as a gaol it became a Police Lock-up until the late 1890's and then was used as accommodation for the Water Police, and afterwards as a storage facility for Fremantle Ports. Today it is preserved by the state department. Our tour ends at this historic monument.
St Georges Terrace
St Georges Terrace is the main street in Perth. Some of the earliest building (and tallest ones) are located here like the Colonial Mutual Life building, Citibank House, St Martin's tower etc. The Landmark structure here is the St George's Cathedral, an Anglican Church of Gothic beauty built in 1888.
Kidogo Arthouse and Art Institute
An art institute and an arts center, Kidogo is filled with emerging, as well as prominent artists of Fremantle. A great place to stop and ponder over the finer things in life (as art usually make you do). This art house is small yet displays some of the best artworks in the town. A seaside, relaxed town is bound to give birth to some freethinkers and artists after all!
This trip includes a visit to the Murray st Mall and Hay st Mall, two of the best places to shop in Perth. Both these streets have a variety of speciality stores and the best part is that it is closed to traffic, so there is no vehicular disturbance as you hop from one shop to the other. These streets with a large number of retails stores give you a shopping experience like no other.