20 February - 27 February 2013
From a cheap camp on the Harvey Estuary, where we tried our hands at “scooping” (trying to catch sand crabs with nets) we headed into the big lights of Perth for a week to spend time with my sister.
It was fabulous to see Kate, and the kids (especially Otto) were so excited to have an aunty in their midst for a few days! Otto was just in heaven actually. He’d go swimming with Kate when he wouldn’t go in with his dad, even.
We saw our very first Sturt’s Desert Pea (SA’s floral emblem) in flower in Kings Park, hung out at Scarborough Beach (where our Dad once slept in his younger days), walked around the city so Isobel could get her fill of shops and people, visited the Margaret River Chocolate Company, and enjoyed much of the entertainment on offer from the Perth Festival and the Fringe Festival. We were entertained by mermaids and mermen, giant film screens, grains of rice, a labyrinth of water, got tangled in elastic at Tangled and missed out on our chance of getting Alison Lester to sign our copy of “Are we there yet?” because we were too tired to get into the family day of the Perth Writers Festival.
The highlight of Perth city was the WA museum – we went on three separate days!
But the highlight of the entire week (other than spending time with Kate) was going out to Rottnest Island for a day. We caught a ferry from Freemantle and the whole ferry was entertained by a man flashing on a boat as it whooshed by. I guess they’ve pretty much put a ban on flashing at the WACA and other cricket grounds so they’ve had to resort to flashing full ferries of tourists.
It’s hard to do justice to Rottnest in just a day – even though we were on the 9.30am ferry and left on the last ferry at 4.30pm. Simon and I snorkeled at Parkers Point and saw the pink coral there but were disappointed that most of the snorkel trail was unreadable (once you found the plaques under water) but it was hard going because of the choppy water and the currents. Kate decided that without her glasses it was pointless going snorkeling as she wouldn’t be able to see much, which is such a shame.
We continued to catch the bus around the island and enjoyed our lunch with the very friendly quokkas. They were much cuter than I imagined they’d be and we all found them fun to watch (they hung around our feet as we ate our lunch). Next time I’d stay a couple of days to make the most of it as I was surprised how interesting the ‘settlement’ looked when we hurriedly walked past all the old cottages you can still stay in (they’ve just added corrugated iron sheds out the back to provide a bathroom and toilet to each). We didn’t even have time to get an icecream in before we boarded the ferry!
We did sneak in a quick swim/snorkel at The Basin but again it was hard going snorkeling but a fun place for a swim. The water is just beautiful and clear.
The return ferry was really rough with waves hitting one side of the ferry and splashing up over the windows. Isobel, who is always a bit scared of going on boats, was excited about the boat hitting the waves and wanted to sit on the other side to get ‘splashed’. She’s a funny one that she can go from scared to exhilarated by the same thing in the wink of an eye.
We also caught up with Simon’s Uncle John and his partner Moon and the town of Freemantle again, had a great BBQ with an old schoolfriend of mine who has recently moved over to Perth with her family, and snuck in a quick concert at Freo where we heard “Misty Hoogans” according to Otto (Missy Higgins) which was part of the “Save the Kimberley” campaign.
Perth is a great city but we all left feeling a little tired….and sad to farewell Aunty Katie. We snuck in one last coffee with Uncle John and hit the Albany Hwy heading south again.