|Perth was the gateway for the goldrush and remains the center of Australian mining today; it's why we're here!|
We are four days settled into C2's lovely home away from home, a suite at the Pan Pacific Perth hotel where they know him well. We've fallen into a routine of sorts, rise early (given the 3 hour jet lag), head to the Pan Pacific Club for breakfast and newspaper, return to our room where the beds are made and the bathroom tidied. I could get used to that part! Spend the day on some adventure, return to the hotel, shower, head back to the Pan Pacific Club for drinks and games of chess, and then to a Perth restaurant for a late dinner. No dishes, no house-cleaning, no changing sheets, free food; golly where do I sign up? It's been a nice break for all of us, even if C2 worked through much of it and Murphy wasn't with us.
Did you know that the city of Perth is THE most isolated city in the WORLD? Australia is such a contradiction and perhaps nothing embodies that contradiction more than Perth. This land of Australia is hostile, prone to extreme heat, deadly bushfires, cyclones, the most dangerous spiders and snakes in existence, beautiful beaches prowled by Great White sharks, fields of jellyfish, and other lethal sea creatures, and yet these people impose themselves on the landscape, force it to resemble a first-world European nation with a twist, and pretend that Perth isn't actually the end of the world and thousands of kilometres from anything else resembling civilization.
|Thompson's Bay Rottnest Island|
Anyhoo, Rottnest is a lightly developed, car-free refuge of magnificent natural wonder. From the ferry dock, we hired bicycles to explore this scrubby island, play "spot the Quokkas", and frolic in the natural reefs and basins. We were particularly enchanted by the breathtaking beauty of the basin at Thompson's Bay with its' hard coral reefs, stunning water colour contrasts, and powder white sand. These beaches are not surrounded by tall resorts and chain restaurants but instead by natural sand dunes, wind-swept bush and Eucalyptus, and the occasional day-tripper parking their bike before hurling themselves with delight into the water.
|Thompson's Bay Rottnest Island|
That these waters are also the play and hunting grounds of the Great White Shark and several other species of shark as well as other nasty sea creatures is a concern only that one is reminded to always be alert and to exercise appropriate caution. Pretty sure, I wouldn't dive off of a boat off of Rottnest to swim, as it was I got stung by a Marine Stinger (jellyfish) off of Geordie Bay close to shore.
Closer to Perth, we spent a few hours at the local beach, Cottlesoe Beach. Cottlesoe which rivals anything I have seen in the Caribbean or the Mediterranean has a very different vibe to our Melbourne beaches. St. Kilda beach which is our local beach in Melbourne has an energetic, frantic vibe, music throbs in the background, frisbee games are played in the water, skateboarders and rollerbladers range up and down the boardwalk, and the barbie is always sizzling something. Melbourne does not get a lot of really hot weather so when the temperatures do rise, everyone heads to the beach.
|Cottlesoe Beach - Perth|
Perth on the other hand had over 60 days of temperatures in excess of 30c last summer. Cottlesoe has a languid, calm, organic vibe. People here are used to heat and days at the beach are as familiar as vegemite on toast. To us Canadians, who mostly experience beaches on 7-day Air Canada charters where we use minimal amounts of sunscreen to maximize sun exposure only to mournfully watch our burns flake off on the flight home, the novelty of living near a beach has not worn off.
|Harbour Bay - Fremantle|