It was great to see you again! You’re looking splendid as ever. It had been several years since I last visited with you and it was lovely to be back. You really do know how to charm your visitors, with your late summer sunshine and welcoming and helpful people. Speaking of which, it never gets old to be told that I’m “alright” (“You’re alright, mate”). They’re alright, too. In fact, it was nice to see some familiar places and faces, from the lush Botanic gardens and Harry’s Café de Wheels to Aussie friends and Canadian expats.
It was also nice to discover a different side of you this time around (hello, Western Australia!). The most important thing is that during our time with you, Liv and I had a lot of fun, learned lots, and saw plenty. Here’s a recap for you:
The world’s most isolated metropolis. Yes, it’s true, but it’s also a lovely city with an awesome riverside network of public parks, good public transport, beaches, fantastic hot and dry weather, a really cool fringe festival, lots of history, and much more. Sure, it may not have much of a reputation for anything like Sydney or Melbourne, but, it’s not hard to like everything Perth has to offer. It doesn’t get much better than running along the pedestrian and cycling path that winds itself around the Swan River with the city as a backdrop.
During our stay, Perth served us up some of it’s customary hot and dry summer weather with the temperature reaching as high as 35 degrees. We did find relief from the heat three hours south of Perth in the Margaret River Valley where vineyards are everywhere and you’re only a few minutes from the stunning WA coastline. While in Margaret River we embarked on a DIY cycling tour of a few vineyards and I have to say that it was a brilliant way to take in the region and indulge in its raison d’être.
Back in Perth we took a day trip to beautiful Rottnest Island and came face to face with a hungry and harmless bunch of quokkas. (Note: We knew nothing about these cute and seemingly fearless little marsupials until we saw them on Rottnest. Apparently, they’re naturals at the selfie.) We also took a stroll through Fremantle and visited the famous prison which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The enthusiastic and exceptional tour guides convinced us to go for the tour of the water tunnels beneath the prison and it was indeed well worth it. I’ll definitely recommend that people visit Perth and give some love to your west coast.
As you must know, your beaches, with their tumbling surf, soft sand, and warm waters have to be among the most beautiful in the world. So, it was lovely to finally visit Sydney’s famous northern beaches.
The beaches, the headlands, the views, the salt water rock pools, it all makes for an incomparable surf and beach culture just outside one of the world’s great cities. Staying with Liv’s Aunt and Uncle, Mary and David, in Newport was a real treat and allowed us to easily explore this area. In fact, one of the highlights of our time in Sydney was enjoying a BBQ with our gracious hosts along the water in Clareville. It’s a stunning spot and a walk along the water at sunset after a lovely meal was truly special. Finally, you should know that the quality of Sydney’s fish and chips has not waned and people watching at Bondi Beach remains as fascinating as ever!
We did it, we went to a cricket match! We figured it would be an ideal time to do so given that you and New Zealand are currently hosting the World Cup of Cricket. Believe it or not, Liv and I both quite enjoyed our day at the cricket… All 7.5 hours! Before heading to see South Africa take on the West Indies at the Sydney Cricket Grounds, we got the basics with the help of this article. As luck would have it, South Africa (batting first) put on quite the clinic and their star player, A.B. Devilliers, hit the fastest 150 in One Day International (the World Cup format). I suppose Liv and I are now ruined for future matches given that we essentially saw the Sydney Crosby of cricket have an incredible match, during the world cup, on a beautiful summer day. Alas, we are not ruined and our interest – or at least mine – in the ongoing World Cup has only grown since taking in our first cricket match. Your team has a big semi-final match coming up against India. Good luck!
Life in a Camper Van
After a relaxing and cushy couple of weeks, we decided to pretend we were in our early 20s and take in your East Coast with the help of a camper van. It seemed to make the most sense for a few reasons and so we rented the cheapest camper van we could find and headed out on a journey that took us south from Sydney to Jervis Bay and as far north as Noosa in Queensland. Not surprisingly, you did your part. You provided us with lovely white sand beaches, warm water for swimming, stunning views, plenty of sunshine, and lovely seaside towns with character and charm.
To our surprise, the camper van also did its part. Not only did it only break down twice (we were fully expecting more issues than we encountered), it pushed us to see your lovely towns in a different way and enjoy some wonderful BBQ’s at the various caravan parks where we stayed. It was amazing to see the number of people enjoying your coastline in this way and we’re certainly happy we partook in the experience.
There you have it. A big write-up for a big and vast country. There’s still more of your country left to explore so I’m sure we’ll be back. Thanks again for the memories and we look forward to seeing you again!
Sunbaked and grateful,
Eric (and Liv)
A BIG thank you to Rob Caza and Mary and David Catchlove, our hosts in Perth and Sydney respectively. It was wonderful to see you and we really appreciate your hospitality and your generosity.