On the banks of the Swan River, built upon the oldest land on the planet rests the most isolated city in the world. Perth is the state capital of Western Australia and is situated in the south west. It is so remote that Dili in East Timor and Jakarta in Indonesia are closer to Perth than any other Australian city, apart from Adelaide, which is still 2,104km away. Since Captain James Sterling founded the settlement in 1829 the city has grown to have a population of over 1.83 million people making it the forth largest city in Australia.
Our stop in Perth was to be our last destination on this amazing trip, so we had to make it a special one. We spent a few days exploring the city and the suburbs. The famous Kings Park being was a real highlight, probably one of the best inner city parks I have been to, its also one of the largest inner city parks in the world. Covering over 4 square kilometres, the park is perched high above the city and offers fantastic views over the Swan River and the CBD. In the extreme heat of Perth its the perfect place to relax in the city.
I spent 2 months in Perth when I was 18 and loved my time in the city. I stayed in the town of Fremantle just south of the city on the coast. Freo serves as the port to Fremantle and is a great little settlement right on the beaches. I remember my time well there and was really looking forward to seeing the town again. For the most part, Freo has stayed the the picturesque town it is, there are however some areas which seem to have just been left to weather. Run down parts of town which once heaved with people. The Coffee Strip however really does come to life during the evenings and at weekends, with lots of bars and restaurants over flowing. A perfect place to spend an evening.
The bars and restaurants which call the Coffee Strip home are all fantastic, there is one place however which for me, tops the lot. Fremantle is also home to the famous Little Creatures Brewery. Little Creatures is renown Western Australian Beer which has been brewed out of Fremantle since 2000. The Brewery itself is a huge complex resting right on the dockside and is a fantastic place to spend an evening with great food entertainment and of course brilliant beer.
There’s a big reason why Perth is so attractive to me, and thats what lies just beyond its Port, 18 kilometres across the sea. By the Wadjemup people its known as Noongar which means ‘across the water’. Across the water from Perth lies the small island of Rottnest. One of the most perfect islands in all of Australia. They say the best beaches in Australia are all found on the west coast, Rotto is the perfect example why. Research has shown that the 19 square kilometre island has been inhabited by aborigines for 50,000 years. In the 18th century the island was turned into an Aboriginal prison where nearly 3,700 aboriginals were held captive by the Europeans. Many buildings from the old prison still remain on the islands, as do over 300 graves of aboriginal prisoners.
Nowadays the islands is a popular holiday destinations for many Australians and tourists, nearly half a million each year in fact. This was my second time to the island, and it was just as beautiful as I remember it.
The best way to see the island is by bike, there are no cars permitted on the islands so the roads are safe and they take you to every part of the island. We hired bikes for our 3 day stay and immediately set out on the roads to discover the islands secrets. As always the Western Australian weather was perfect and burning hot for our entire stay.
Thomson Bay is the main settlement on the island, it is here where we stayed for our time there. It only takes a couple of hours to cycle around the island so you are never too far from any of the inlets or beaches. We spent the 3 days trying to get to as many of the beaches as possible. Around every headland you pass you come across another stunning Rottnest Beach, each one better than the last. The waters are crystal clear blue and they lap against the stunning white sand of the dunes. The island is surround my amazing coral reefs which offer some great snorkelling and diving. It really was mind blowing how beautiful the island was.
Rotto is also home to a curious little creature which isn’t found anywhere else in the world. All across the island we came across loads of a small animal called Quokkas. I remember these from my last trip 8 years ago and was really excited to see some more of them. Quokkas are marsupials and thus related to the kangaroo and wallaby although they are much smaller and much more used to humans. They are amazing little things and they even seem to be always smiling! We stopped my a small group at one point on a bike ride and they are came straight over to us, one was even rustling though my bag! They are great little things and really add to the unique feel of the island.
The three days on the island were over all too soon and we were soon on our way back to Fremantle for our last few days of the entire trip, which hadn’t really sunk in yet. Before we headed back to Perth we spent a couple nights at Cottesloe Beach. Cottesloe is one of the most famous beaches in Western Australia. Its easy to see why, once again the beautiful colours of the water are matched by the green slopes of grass which form beyond the beach. Its the perfect place to spend a a few days. its also home to the Cottesloe Surf Life Saving Club. The clubs building is a beautifully designed building which rests right on the sands. It was the perfect beach to have my last swim in the ocean on this great trip.
So from Cottesloe we headed back to Perth for our final 3 days. Nearly 14 months traveling around the world was almost at an end. I genuinely can’t believe how fast it has gone. It only seems like yesterday we were traveling through east Africa and now here we were, the final chapter.
We spent the last few days in the city getting things sorted for the flight home, buying some last minute souvenirs and a few last pints of Little Creatures.
I remember sitting at the airport waiting for our flight to be called, thinking about all the places we had been, people we had met and experiences we had. It has been a trip that I will remember for the rest of my life and it has sure given me some enthusiasm to visit the parts of the world I am still to see. They say while you are travelling you tick off the places on the list that you want to see. It seems however that this trip, has only made my list grow longer. Thank you so much to everyone we met on the way, its you who made this trip something special, far too many to mention all by name. To everyone who kindly offered us their fantastic hospitality, it was hugely appreciated.
Thank you also to everyone who read the blog while we have been away. I have received some brilliant feedback and comments on it along the way, I really appreciate it. Since I have been writing Blue Skies Design has taken off in a way, its been read now in over 50 countries around the world and theres a few more special things to come from it in the near future. I never really expected so many people to read and enjoy it and I look forward to expanding it even more in the future. This will not be the end of it, there will be much more to come, so please keep checking the site and Twitter to keep track of updates. I will also be putting up a short film I made of the trip very soon, so make sure you check back and have a watch.
Like I say, this is not the end, I actually think its more of a starting point. I have more trips planned in the future and have even more planned for Blue Skies Design.
“Live the full life of the mind, exhilarated by new ideas, intoxicated by the romance of the unusual.” E. Hemingway