You Must See the West Coast!

By Amy, Cultural Embrace Work in Australia

Boats, Bikes, Beaches…life in Perth

How many times did I hear it…”you HAVE to get to the west coast”, “you MUST see the west coast,” etc. etc.  What on earth made me think that a few days would be enough?! Oh, what I would give to go back! But can’t focus on what I missed, this is about what I did see and do….and it was plenty enough to realize how much I love Perth!

Perth CBD is fairly small in comparison to the likes of Sydney & Melbourne, but who needs a massive business district when you have flawless beaches everywhere you turn! I spent my first day wandering around exploring the city, checking out the local museum & art gallery; and walking along the Swan river.  I also spoiled myself with a proper hotel room after 3 days on the train and it was absolutely luxurious! I moved into the hostel the next day and met three wonderful roomates from Holland, Switzerland, and Canada so it distracted me from the luxury that is enjoyed by the other half! 😉

I was able to reconnect with a fellow traveller from Melbourne who was staying with a friend in Perth and they took me for Fish & Chips on Cottesloe Beach.  This was apparently Heath Ledger’s favorite beach and I had no doubt why that would be after seeing it—with its crystal clear water, white sand beaches, grass ledges overlooking the beach (so you can avoid sand if so inclined) and light breeze making for the perfect view over dinner.

One thing that was a completely unique experience that I’m so glad I did was a visit to Rottnest Island.  This island is vehicle free other than its tourist bus, trash truck, and train.  Everyone gets around by bike and you can ride the 22 km around the entire perimeter of the island, including stopping off at beaches along the shores for snorkeling.  The island is pretty remote and I hadn’t packed enough water so I didn’t make it around the entire island but was thoroughly impressed with what I did see. There are no more than 200 residents on the island and the longest resident has only lived there for 7 years.  There is a primary school on the island with 1 teacher and 1 headmaster.  There are cabins that can be rented and a few small shops and a grocery for you to get the basics you may need.  There was very little that was touristy about this island other than the non-stop ferries bringing people over from the mainland, however I’m not sure where everyone went because there would be miles that I wouldn’t see anyone at all…it was such an awesome exerience!

I spent a day wandering through Kings Park with a perfect view of the city and walked through the treetops on an especially beautiful day. This park is so easy to just completely lose track of time as there is something around each turn to draw you in and it is so enticing to just relax in the peacefulness of it all. On my last day I went down to Freemantle to check out their markets and stumbled into a didgeridoo (Aboriginal instrument) class where they wouldn’t take no for an answer.  I learned to “speak” and make a few of the common animal noises.  Thankfully there were 3 others in the class were just as bad as I was so we wound up having a great time and weren’t too embarrassed to give it our all.  The instructor was very generous with his praise and by the end of it had us convinced that we were all quite good! Maybe I’ll have to buy my own and have it shipped home….then again, maybe not! 🙂

So though it was short-lived, Perth was still able to win over my heart as a fan of Australia’s west coast and so I will now join in with the rest in preaching to everyone…”You MUST see the west coast!”
Take care!:)

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