2006 Australia – Perth & Beyond

21 hours after we left Amsterdam Qantas flight QF16 finally touched down in Perth, Southwest Australia. In spite of the long journey and lack of sleep both of us were extremely exited to start our 5-week exploration of Australia. The first two days we used to acclimatize and get to know Perth a bit. And we loved it! Cleaner than any city we’ve been to before, a fantastic skyline adjacent to Swan River, and enough things to explore, have fun and feel good.

I can keep on raving about Kings Park, definitely the most beautiful city park I have ever seen so far. The botanic garden was stunning and so were the views over Perth. Most impressive however was the monument erected to commemorate the Bali Bombing in 2002. Sober and tastefully done as it was it caused the both of us shivers on our spines and tears welling up.

We rented a camper for 6 days and left Perth for a long trip to Hyden, about 350 km eastwards. As soon as we left the suburbs we were driving through what seemed an almost completely deserted area. It was a beautiful drive but quite monotone since the road seemed to go on and on and on forever. In Hyden we visited the impressive wave rock, a 15 meter high and 100 meter long piece of granite eroded by the wind in the shape of a wave. We also did a fantastic morning walk through the area and this is when we saw our first kangaroos….

After the walk we headed south to the coastal city of Albany. There we hiked through stunning beach scenery, which was spectacular to say the least. Big drops, natural stone bridges and blowholes formed an amazing view. The ocean was fantastically clear and emerald blue. It was only then when we realized that the next stop south was Antarctica… We followed the road to Denmark, a small but very picturesque village, where we stayed overnight. Our campsite was on the waterfront, a pristine setting amongst trees.

After a good nights rest we continued further west again to the famous valley of giants. The timber trees over here are massive, a couple of meters in diameter and up to 60 meters high. We felt really humble in this beautiful forest where “treebeard” must feel at home.  Over here we did the “tree top walk”. This brought us up to 40 meters high, just under the forest canapé. Wow, what a place and what an unusual way to enjoy the natural beauty!! After another walk through the forest we then headed on west to Margareth River.

There we found once again fantastic deserted beaches and overwhelming scenery. We visited a lake cave, which was an interesting experience. The main attractions however were the wineries in the area. So in the afternoon we joined a wine tasting tour past several wineries, which the both of us enjoyed a lot. Neither of us can remember how many wines we tasted but it were plenty indeed.

The last day of our ‘south-west’ tour we headed to Bunbury where we boarded on a dolphin-watching cruise. Well, we saw plenty of them!!! It was awesome to see them playing in the waves created by the ship. Later that afternoon we continued on to Fremantle, a harbor ‘fun’ city close to Perth. We enjoyed the food at one of the many good restaurants at the ‘cappuccino strip’ before we spend the last night in our camper.

Back in Perth we relaxed at the pool while laundry was taken care off. In the evening we went back to Kings Park to make some night pictures of the skyline and enjoy the view one final time. We had dinner at Fraser’s, a fantastic restaurant in Kings Park with views to die for. What a fantastic way to say goodbye to Perth.

Our first week in Australia has flown by like nothing. But what a superb week it has been. We have driven in total over 1700 km and witnessed the most beautiful scenery one can imagine. Already now we knew our Australia trip would become a great success.

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