My Journey in Perth
This is my wanderlust story in Perth.
It was just a short getaway before I venture into my new career, but what a break it was! A week of absolute liberation wanderlusting alone with my most valued possession, my camera.
I want to share about my days in Perth… about my journey & simply about what I experienced.
Day 1, 5th March 2016 – Perth CBD:
I took the midnight flight (Air Asia) to Perth. Touchdown was at about 6am. Upon landing, I met up a friend who’s family is in Perth & had breakfast with him @ the Machinetta. I continued to rest there for about an hour or so before walking out to the bus terminals. There’s free shuttle bus at T3 to Perth CBD & its reasonably frequent too. Perth CBD is full with historical beautiful buildings. I spent sometime walking along the streets capturing the architectural wonders and was stunned looking at some of the gorgeous churches around. One of the first things I always do while traveling is to get the ‘getting around’ sorted. I went against renting a car as I was alone & because it was just for a week. So the next best thing was to get the Transperth Smartrider card which can be used for the bus, train and ferry. The value of the card is $10 & you can fill it up with whatever amount desired. I remember walking to the Murray St train station counter & getting my Transperth card there. For my one week trip, I loaded my card with $50, which turned out to be more than enough. The early breakfast made me hungry faster than usual so I grabbed an early lunch at the Hungry Jacks. I’ve never seen this fast food chain anywhere else before that but its such a famous spot for the locals. You see it everywhere in Perth! From there I walked to the visitor centre to get some useful pamphlets and to get some info on some places in my list. After walking around a while longer around the CBD, I decided I should get to the hostel to check-in & rest a bit before I start walking again. It was a really sunny day with some breeze, so it was not that pleasant to walk around lugging your backpack after the flight. For my first day, I booked to stay in a 3 bed dorm at the Witch’s Hat Backpackers Hostel. Getting to my first hostel turned out to be quite a challenge. Maybe it was the weather, my bag-pack & because I was pretty tired by then. I took bus 60 to Bulwark St & got down at the wrong stop as the bus driver forgot to prompt me at the correct stop. So I had to walk a few extra mile on top of the 500m that I had to to reach the Witch’s Hat. What a relief it was to finally see the famous cone shaped roof of the Witch’s Hat! After having a chat with the manager on duty, a pleasant girl from Germany, I spent some time walking around the hostel as my bed was not ready. I find it to be a nice place with sufficient facilities, the only set back was it’s occupied by some long-time residents and it’s not easy to compete with them for some of the facilities there, especially the TV! After resting for a few hours in the lovely little room, I got ready all freshened up to walk to the nearby Hyde Park. Perth residents are blessed with gorgeous parks, some with lakes, within their neighborhood. I find it to be a real blessing as a day with your family after a stressful week at work can be such a refreshing bonding & quality time. I spent almost 4 hours at this beautiful park. The fascinating huge trees, lovely black swans, chilling breeze and convenient walking & cycling track makes a wonderful spot to spend your time at. Back at the hostel, I finally met my room mates, two lovely girls from Germany & Croatia who happily shared their experience and travel stories so far. As my usual night routine, I discarded items I no longer need for my next day & I readied myself for my second day journey.
Some snaps from each place I went :
The Witch’s Hat
Day 2, 6th March 2016 – Fremantle (or known by its hip name, Freo):
With my tummy filled with the free breakfast provided by the hostel, I set off for my second day journey. Walking about 500m to the left of the hostel, I reached the nearest bus stop where the free Blue CAT bus stops. I hopped on to get down at the Horsebridge bus station where I continued walking to Perth train station. I got to platform 7 to catch the yellow line train, which is the Fremantle line, as that’s where I was headed to for my 2nd day adventure. I made my first supermarket stop at Coles in Fremantle city before walking to the Fremantle Prison YHA Backpackers Hostel. I was really stunned to see how they have converted part of the women’s prison into a neat and cool hostel! Little did I know then that this is where I would spend the rest of my stay in WA. For my first day, I stayed in a mixed 10 bed dorm. After settling in & refreshing myself, I walked to the Fremantle Prison which is open for visitors & offers different tours to choose from. After taking pictures, I walked down about 450m to the amazing Fremantle Market which is only opened on Friday, the weekends and on public holidays. After spending about 2 hours here enjoying the tasty foods & engrossing myself with the fresh fruits and products on sale, I walked out the opposite entrance to wait for the free Blue CAT bus to get to my next destination, the South Beach. An incident happened while I waited for the bus and it was not a pleasant one. A white Aussie couple got into an heated argument with a group of indigenous Australians and it soon turned into a brawl as both were not backing off. It was such a sad sight with little kids and elderly people, both locals and tourists, watching and getting unpleasantly disturbed. It ended with the white couples getting in a bus and leaving. I must have looked rather shocked and puzzled with everything that happened as a local white lady sitting beside me started talking to me to share what she had in her mind on what just happened.
I was back to being happy and chirpy when I reached the South Beach. What a view waited me there! I got down the bus and I remember clearly saying loudly ‘You gotta be kidding me!’ I mean, if I can even describe it in words, this is what I ‘got’ into – Blue blue sky with cotton like clouds and cooling breeze on a super sunny day – truly blissful. To have such a gorgeous beach near a residence area which is accessible by free buses. Really?!! Lucky you, people of Perth :). After snapping countless pics to my heart’s content, I lied down on the clean green grass to absorb the alluring surrounding & moment I was in. I truly lost myself and became one with Mother Nature. My oh my, just how gorgeous she is! Dragging myself away from the mesmerizing beach, few hours later, I walked back to the bus stop to get to my next spot, the Fishing Boat Harbor at Mews Rd, a place which is now one of my favorite in Fremantle. The beautiful sea view, the line up of world famous seafood restaurants and the lovely beach itself are sufficient pulling factor that will keep one frequenting this wonderful place. I had a late lunch at the famous Kailis Fish Market. What a treat it was. Just be careful of the bold seagulls that surrounds the restaurants waiting to grab leftovers on the table. Some do not even wait till you leave the table! Enjoying the great fresh food, the gorgeous view & the free wi-fi, I spent another 3 hours there before finally heading back to the hostel for the day.
Perth Train Station
Fremantle Prison YHA Backpackers Hostel
Fremantle Fishing Boat Harbor
Day 3, 7th March 2016 – Fremantle
A day where I had to settle with a change of plan! I was supposed to continue my journey to Margaret River today but because I completely overlooked the fact that it’s WA’s Labour Day & long weekend, I got kind of ‘stranded’ in Freo. I was frantically looking for transport to reach Margaret River since I couldn’t get any tickets for the coach bus, be it from Perth or Freo. I considered & looked for various alternatives, from asking around for lift from other backpackers there (so much so I think I would be remembered as the desperate ‘lift’ woman), to trying to book a cab, to posting an ad in Gumtree. No one was heading there from the hostel. Cab would cost me $440 and that’s more than what I paid for my flight! Only a man looking for a ‘fun’ weekend answered my ad in Gumtree. So there goes my Margaret River plan & the plan for days 4, 5 & 6 respectively! My intended route was to Albany from Margaret River & then to see the Wave Rock at Hyden town and finally to see the Pinnacles before making my way back to Perth on my second last day. Well, that was a big lesson learnt & was indeed a good experience. I mean to frantically look for an alternative at the 11th hour & making lots of new friends along the way! So, in the end, I decided to just go for a change of plan & as it turned out, its not at all a bad Plan B. This meant I had more time to explore the hippie town, Freo. I started the day by walking to King’s Square to look for breakfast & also to book my ticket for Rottnest Island the next day at Freo’s Visitor Centre. From there I headed to Cottesloe Beach by train from Fremantle train station. There was supposed to be free shuttle service from the train station to the beach but after waiting for about half an hour at the bus stop, I walked uphill to the beach. Not an easy walk especially in the hot sun! I knew earlier from my friend that it was the Sculpture by the Sea time of the year at Cottesloe Beach, so I expected a huge turnout there; but the long weekend pulled an even bigger crowd to this popular annual event that there was barely any space to move freely! I remember smiling upon hearing a local singing ‘I wanted to go to the beach, but it looks like Asia in there, so I turned back’. Still, I really enjoyed looking at the sculptures on display. Unique and truly inspiring. I didn’t stay long there though, with the crowd and the heat, I left to Perth city from there by getting on the train to Perth UG station. From there I got in bus no. 10 to Burswood Entertainment Complex. The Crown offered a changed environment from Cottesloe obviously & I had a good time playing in the casino. The agenda was to gain some gambling experience, the Aussie way. I think I played for about an hour and since I was very careful not to ‘loose’ anything from this experience, I made sure I stopped playing when I broke even. From there, I took a cab to Swan River where I strolled from one end to the other to reach Bell Tower. From there I walked to a bus stop at the city & got into a long haul bus that took me back to Fremantle. A very adventurous & fun Plan B, I was contented! 🙂
Day 4, 8th March – Rottnest Island;
I was excited as a kid on day 4 knowing that I’m getting on a ferry to Rottnest Island. I was so eager to be dumbfounded by the pristine crystal clear blue water and the soft white sand beaches and to ‘meet’ the super cute Quokkas. So, I started early morning to B Shed Terminal to get on the Rottnest Island Express. I packed my Subway brunch for the day before heading to the jetty. This was the day I got both most excited & tired, but it was all worth it at the end of the day. This island is truly a hidden gem & still a very much unspoiled island due to the conscious decision by the government to keep it that way. I was on the earliest ferry in & last ferry out to fully utilise my day in Rottnest and it turned out to be a good decision. I can do a whole post on Rottnest & I intend to do just that.
Just a shot for now 🙂
Day 5, 9th March 2016 – King’s Park, Perth
After a tiring day at Rottnest Island the day before, I decided to go easy on day 5. I headed back to Perth city to explore more of what the beautiful city has to offer. The city indeed has much to offer. With the stunning buildings, lots of shopping spots for the shopaholics and captivating parks, there’s much to see and do in Perth city. I had lunch at the food court in Carillon Center as I was happy with the choices it provided. I usually do not shop when I go on a backpacking trip but as I promised my nieces to get some souvenirs for them, I went to London Court to get something memorable for them. I also got myself a koala charm at Pandora to add on to my travel pandora charm. When I was done exploring the city, I took bus no. 37 to King’s Park from George’s Terrace. King’s Park, which is perfectly situated on top of Mt. Eliza overlooking Swan River and Perth City, has to be my most favorite spot in Perth CBD. I mean to find a serene spot that balances nature & a busy city life like that, I truly feel Perth people are a lucky lot. After walking around the park & being awed by the view, I found an amazing spot – just behind a large gazebo which provided a good shade overlooking the astounding view. I had a really challenging time to get up from the spot, even after 3 hours of siting idly enjoying my playlist and absorbing in the breathtaking view before me again and again!
The Gazebo / My spot @ King’s Park
King’s Park – The view from ‘my spot’, behind the gazebo
Day 6, 10th March 2016 – Fremantle
On my second last day, I wanted to complete exploring Freo before I head back to Perth for my flight the next morning. After having spent 5 nights in this lovely town, I’ve come to really adore it. I started my day at the happening Cappuccino Strip. If you are a coffee lover, don’t miss to take a sip here. After relaxing & having my brunch here, I walked around looking for the cinema. I’m a movie geek, so I consciously try to make it a point to catch a movie at the local cinema to experience the whole movie-going experience. There are two cinemas to choose from, the HOYTS Millennium at Collie’s St & the Luna on SX at Essex St. I went for the latter as that’s where they screen good movies & offer a greater movie going experience. This is the view I got from 3 different locals when I asked around for the direction to the cinema. The staff on duty at Luna was really friendly & helped make up my mind when I was struggling to choose between Brooklyn & The Lady in the Van. I opted for the former simply because I love Saoirse Ronan. What a good movie it was!
Luna @ SX at Essex St
Day 7, 11th March 2016 – Last day of my journey
My original plan was to return on 13th March, but since my intended plan of exploring Margaret River, Albany & Hyden had to be cancelled, I changed my flight to two days earlier. Was my first time flying with Malindo & I do think it has the potential to give Air Asia a run for its money! My flight was at 3pm but I left early in the morning so that I can reach the airport earlier and rest there. I said my goodbyes to my lovely roommate from Lyon and the ever helpful & friendly hostel staffs.
I do intend to visit WA again one day so that I can explore the places I missed AND I’m definitely driving the next time around.