Party On, Perth

May 13, 2006 at 7:21 pm (Uncategorized)

I think I might have a winner for favorite Australian city. Perth rocked.

The day that I got there it was still early. I spent the day roaming the city and getting my bearings (my sense of direction has been less than reliable as of late). I also realized quickly that I needed a solid plan for the following two days or else I would just get eaten up by indecision. I wrote out a schedule for myself, complete with vital information such as phone numbers and street names, and followed it at all times. It was a little too organized for me, but it maximized my time in Western Australia.

Day two: An early alarm and I was out the door at 9am. I had a weird experience on the train, perfectly awkward in every way. When my stop came up I stood at the door and waited for it to open. It didn't. I didn't get the door figured out in time (there was a plastic patch that you had to press to let it know you wanted out) so I had to go another stop and backtrack. After that, things went a little more smoothly. I got on the bus at Warwick Interchange and managed to get off at just the right stop to land me at the Aquarium of Western Australia!

The aquarium looks really small, but you can't see more than a quarter of it from the outside. Inside, your path is marked for you. The starting point is one of Australia's biggest tanks and the underwater walkway that you get to see everything through. They had the biggest stingrays I've ever seen. I have a video of them being fed that is currently sitting on my camera until I get my bookie out and learn how to put it on my computer. They also had lots of sharks and a couple of fair-size sea turtles. I was completely mesmerized.

After the half hour I spent in the tunnel, I went upstairs to see the Western Australian/Indian Ocean sealife. I hated Finding Nemo so I was not particularly excited for the clown fish, but then they turned out to be a lot smaller and cuter than I had realized. One of them was even playing hide-and-seek. I also saw a picture of a box jellyfish (one of the deadliest creatures in the world) but was disappointed that they did not have a live specimen ready for my inspection. Booooooo.

The rest of the visit was pretty standard. Touch-pool. Seals. Fighting my way through throngs of eight-year-olds. All the normal aquarium stuff. I said goodbye to my new friends (I was especially fond of the pineapple fish) around lunch time- right on schedule.

After the best fish n' chips I tasted on the lost continent I was back on the bus. My hostel was very close to the train station so I stopped there to change and to upload pictures. Then I got back on the train, this time en route to Fremantle.

Lonely Planet talked Fremantle up a fair bit in the 'Around Perth' section. I don't really think that they did it justice. Practically the entire town was old buildings, which is impressive for Australia. You get used to that sort of thing in Boston, but Australia is such a new country that most cities have historical parts or little chunks here and there and the rest is all newer stuff. It was immediately clear to me from the train window that this would not be the case in Fremantle and it was awesome. I took a nice slow walk after I got off the train and saw a lot of town by the time I arrived at Little Creatures, a local brewery, for beers and dinner. I had mussels, a Bright Ale and an Amber Ale. It was goooooodddd.

The nice waiter at Little Creatures gave me a map that made it easy to find the historic Fremantle Prison. I got up to the main gate just as the sun was setting and purchased one ticket for the torchlight tour. It sounded good on the website and in Lonely Planet, and it was. Also, it was absolutely terrifying. The "torches" turned out to be flashlights. Tiny ones. There were 'surprises' along the way that made me jump out of my skin. There were about 25 other people on the tour so I just sandwiched myself in the middle of the group and tried to focus on the history.

Walking back to the hostel from the train I was still a little bit freaked out. The hostel that I was staying at was an old converted army barracks, built in 1896 only 40 years after the prison was built. I started thinking about all of the ghosts and creepies that could potentially be stored in that building, or in my room even and just started hoping that my one roommate had not moved out that morning.

Day three: I started my last day in Perth at King's Park which was a lot like Sydney's Royal Botanic Gardens. It was a lot bigger than I expected and there was no tree-top walk (damn you, Lonely Planet) so I did what I could before noon. Then I grabbed a bite on my way to the Perth mint. The mint was really cool. I got a short tour about the history of the place and then got to take a look in the rooms where the coins are minted (through glass) and finally got to see a gold pouring where they made a gold bar. Photos were not allowed inside the mint (security purposes) which was a little bit disappointing.

Then I got on the train for one last trip. I got off at Cottesloe and was heading in the direction of the beach when I met a guy and a girl from Osaka. They were looking for the beach as well so we went together. It wasn't hard to find and we arrived a good half an hour before the sunset started. I got to touch the Indian Ocean and actually wished that I had brought my bathing suit. The three of us sat on the beach and talked about America/Australia/Japan. Sunset was spectacular.

We headed back to Perth and the guy took off to meet up with a friend. Noriko and I went off to find food. We had been talking about sushi for a while, so we found a food court that was entirely Asian food and had a pleasant meal before retiring back to our respective hostels. We were going to have a drink first, but she was jet-lagged and I had to pack so we said our good-byes.

The next morning I got out bright and early and once again found myself sitting in the airport on my way back to Sydney and my last night in Australia.

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2 Comments

  1. Matthew said,

    Ah, I’m glad to hear your final days in Australia were good ones. Like you, I found my days traveling alone in Japan to be some of the best.

  2. Zach said,

    Where is the finale. There must be a finale.

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