Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Swan Valley, Araluen Botanic Park, AQWA in Perth

Hi folks, I'm back from my pilgrimage to Mount Singai, Kuching, Sarawak. Before, I write about this latest trip, let me finish off my travel in Perth. My god sister has taken leave from work to take my around on Day 13 and Day 14 of my stay in Perth before I leave on Day 15. We were all up and ready in the morning for our excursion but as luck has it, there was a planned power outage that morning and she forgot to take out her car from the garage and we could not open the garage door manually. Thus we have to wait for the power to return before we can start our journey. So instead, we spent the morning in Galeria Centro as it is within walking distance.

Power returned after lunch and we went off the the Botanic Park at Araluen. There were plenty of tulips and other flowers in full bloom as it is now the beginning of Spring.

After the visit, she planned to drop us off at Burswood, near the casino. But she took a wrong turning and we ended up in the city and so we took the train instead to Burswood. Here Angeline, my wife's friend was waiting for us. She took us to Spencer Village where there is a food court with plenty of Asian stores and we had our dinner there. From here we when to Carousel Shopping mall for more shopping as it was Thursday, late night shopping in the suburbs.

Day 14
There was no power cut today and we went off smoothly in the morning to the Swan Valley. The first stop was at the Margaret River Chocolate Factory for free chocolate tasting.

Next was honey tasting that was followed by some wine tasting at Lancaster winery.
We then had ice cream at the Oggies Ice Creamery. Next was a visit to an animal farm nearby and a strawberry farm. Unfortunately, strawberry was not yet in season. From here we went to the city.

We had lunch at Miss Maud Restaurant and this was a delicious and sumptuous smorgasbord lunch. The next item was a visit to AQWA, the Aquarium of Western Australia that was located in Hillarys Boat Harbour. This is touted to be Australia' largest aquarium and underwater tunnel. There were some outdoor displays but the rain and the strong wind made the visit a bit uncomfortable.

Our last stop was at the shopping mall at Karrinyup, another one of Perth's suburbs. From here, we handed for the Church of Infant Jesus as there was a pot luck dinner to celebrate the anniversary of the Church's dedication. After the dinner, we went to have a night view of Perth from King's Park. The visit was short as the strong wind made it rather cold. Thus ended my visit to Perth.

Ronald Kwok

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Caversham Park, Pinnacles, Lancelin - Perth Tour

Today is my last outing from Perth using the local tour company. This is also a full day tour leaving at 8.00am and the first stop is the Caversham Wildlife Park where you can get close to koalas, kangaroos and wombat after passing historical Guildford and the Swan Valley. There are much more to see other than the animals mentioned above but that were what we got to see during our short guided visit there.

From here, it was a long drive to the fishing town of Cervantes where there is a beautiful white sandy beach. On our way there we pass through vast farmlands and also large area of wild flowers that were starting to bloom. We also went through what is supposed to be one of the largest wind farm in Western Australia where energy is harnessed from wind power.

For lunch, we had the normal make-your-own buffet sandwich from ingredients provided by the coach driver himself. So looks like this is a standard feature of the tour companies here. This time it was not in an outdoor picnic area but inside a wild flower shop. After our lunch, we drove into Nambung National Park where the amazing Pinnacles Dessert is located. There are fascinating pinnacles in the dessert and one can get lost if one wanders too far out of the tracks.

Next stop was at Lancelin where there are massive white sand dunes. The 4WD took us up and down some of the sand dunes for an exciting ride. The more adventurous tried their hands at sand boarding and all seems to enjoyed it even though some tumbled over and had sand all over themselves.

Since the return trip covered almost 700km, we were back in Perth only at about 8.30pm. By the time we got home, it was almost 10pm and it was the latest time that we were back.

Ronald Kwok

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Fremantle & Perth Zoo

Today I decided to re-visit Fremantle so I bought a whole day ticket for unlimited use on the buses and trains. From Perth we took the train to Fremantle that took us about 30 minutes. From the station we boarded the free CAT (Central Area Transit) bus service for a city tour. There are similar free CAT's in Perth, in fact there are 3 CAT's in Perth - Red, Blue and Yellow (the one in Fremantle is orange CAT) that provide free bus ride around Central Perth in three different loops.

We dropped off at the Fremantle Fishing Boat Harbour for our lunch. Since we had already tried the fish & chips at Cicerello, we decided to tried at Kailis, another sea food restaurant there. This time we had the sea-food barbecue plate and it was really yummy.

After our lunch, we walked to the shopping area in town to have a look around. We took the train back to Perth so that my wife can do her souvenirs shopping. We found one souvenir shop where we found the charges reasonable and my wife bought most of her souvenirs there. This shop is owned by an Afgan with a Japanese wife. That's cosmopolitan Perth for you!
Day 11
We went to the city again in the morning and wanted to go on the cruise to Swan Valley but alas, being in the low season, the next available tour will only be on Thursday, two days away. Since we were already at the jetty, the next best thing would be to take the normal ferry across to South Perth and visit the Perth Zoo. So off we go on the ferry and the zoo was just 10 minutes walk from the jetty across the Swan River.

The zoo was interesting but since some parts were under renovation, there was less to see than what it should be. I was more captivated by the many type of wild flowers found in the zoo. Can you guess the names of these flowers?

We had lunch at South Perth before we cross back to the city centre. It was the final shopping spree for my wife as the next three days were already planned for other activities.

Ronald Kwok