23rd July, 2011
24th July, 2011
25th July, 2011
26th July, 2011

Saturday 23rd July, 2011

Drop Cap nother good night's sleep and our last indulgent breakfast. Under our own control from now on. Kids threw stones at the train last night and cracked a window in the dining car. I hope the car is alright.


Drop Cap he car is OK but very dirty. It took surprisingly little effort to find Canning Highway and the Canning Bridge Motor Lodge. Our room was ready, which was great. The room (or unit really) is very spacious. We have a queen bedroom with the ensuite shower etc and Geoff has a single in the lounge. There is a kitchenette with stove top, microwave, fridge, kettle and toaster so we will be able to do our own breakfasts. We went to the local IGA to get bread and milk etc and found a wonderfully stocked store, lots of fresh fruit, made up salads, hot foods including roast lamb, beef and pork, BBQ chickens, roast veg and gravy. We decided to get a chicken and roast vegs to heat up for dinner instead of going out, although there is a plethora of restaurants in walking distance, from Macca's to Italian, Thai and Vietnamese etc etc.

We had lunch at the motel, then rang Nan at her retirement village in Murdoch. She sounded a bit vague and not very well, but she is 88. We arranged to meet her at her "Clubhouse" on Monday at 11:30ish for lunch so I hope she will be OK.

Fremantle photograph

Breakwater and Lighthouse at Fremantle

Drop Cap fter this we drove to Fremantle, a quaint but quite busy maritime port where we got entangled with lots of one way wharves and breakwaters. We parked and walked up to a lighthouse on the breakwater, where numbers of people were fishing. I actually saw one man catch a fish!

Museum photograph

Maritime Museum Fremantle

Drop Cap e passed the peculiar upturned boat-shaped building of the Maritime Museum which had a decommissioned submarine moored outside but could not find the Shipwreck Galleries which hold the remains of the "Batavia", an infamous wreck, of which we saw some of the contents at Geraldton Maritime Museum back in 1998. We have the intention of getting a cruise from Fremantle to Perth one day (or vice versa) so looked for the ferry terminal. Then back to our room for the evening. Soon I will get the chicken etc ready.

Sunday 24th July, 2011

Drop Cap oday we went back to Fremantle (it is closer than Perth City) and booked ourselves on a river cruise with lunch to Perth and back. This was great, but we had an hour and a half to fill in so we went to the E-Shed Markets, had morning tea and a nose around the stalls. Lots and lots of Chinese made Aussie souvenirs but quite a selection of old wares (Geoff bought a pair of cufflinks) crystals, medieval wares etc.

Drop Cap e filled in the time quite easily then went on board the MV James Stirling for a run downriver to Perth. We had a buffet lunch consisting of various salads (all with lots of pro points, like pasta, potato etc) then a lamb curry and rice. The previous lunch crowd (up from Perth) seemed to have depleted the supplies a lot, but we managed a large plateful which was very flavoursome.

Wharf photograph

Cruising into Barrack Street Wharf, Perth

Drop Cap e sailed past multi-million dollar real estate belonging to people like Gina Rinehart and Kerry Stokes and saw lots of boats (Perth has one boat per three people apparently) and sailed into Barrack Street Wharf in Perth by the new Carillion Bell Tower. It was a lovely cruise enlivened by a good commentary and it was great to be on the water again. Perth's skyline is constantly changing as befits the country's youngest capital (and richest!) and the carillion was new since our last time here.

Carillion photograph

Carillion Tower, Barrack Street, Perth

Boats photograph

River Traffic

Drop Cap ailing back we encountered two pods of dolphins in the river, which was a bit of a fillip to the day. There were lots of sailing boats tacking back and forth and it was very enjoyable. We walked up to the Maritime Museum on our return but it was getting late and the stench from the livestock carrier moored at the dock was revolting so we didn't stay.

Drop Cap e then decided to drive into Perth and find out how much parking there was near the Perth Mint, which we plan to visit on Tuesday. This was really easy, compared with getting into Sydney around 5 pm on a Sunday (or any other day, come to that). Hopefully, it seemed there should be somewhere to park near enough. Perth is an attractive city, very easy to get around.

Tomorrow we go to see Nan and have lunch. I hope we can find Murdoch.

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Monday 25th July, 2011

Drop Cap oday we mooched about until it was time to go to Nan's Retirement Village. It was an easy trip and we were early. It is a very attractive complex on the grounds of Murdoch Uni, which uses it as a fund raiser. They have all sorts of facilities including swimming pool, gym, library, bowling green, golf putting, billiards, restaurant etc.

Drop Cap an's unit is lovely, two bedrooms, well-equipped kitchen-dining and lounge, patio etc. Very nice. We had lunch with her in the Clubhouse - sausages and mash with vegs, nothing fancy but adequate. We then took her back to her unit and had coffee and a chat until about 3 pm. It was lovely to see her again.

Drop Cap hen we went to Fremantle (again!) to try to find out how to get on the new Indian Ocean Drive to Cervantes. There seemed nobody with an idea in the Tourist Info place, so we got a map, just a line printout in a map shop.
Then Geoff decided he needed to find a Telstra shop to pay his account and we drove all over the country trying to find a major shopping centre where we could find a Telstra shop. Finally did, with minutes to spare till closing, and then they could not take his payment because their computers were down. Finally had to take it to another phone shop and then to the post office to pay. We then did some shopping and came back to put on a load of washing.

Drop Cap e walked out to find dinner locally and tried the Vietnamese restaurant just across the road from the Motel. We all enjoyed the chicken stirfry and the BBQ pork cutlets and special fried rice and agreed that we would happily eat there again. However, there was no time left, this trip.

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Tuesday 26th July, 2011

Drop Cap oday was great. We got out relatively early (for us) and headed into Perth. This was incredibly easy, compared with getting into Sydney - and we got a three hour parking place on the roadside!

Mint photograph

Perth Mint

Drop Cap e went first to the Perth Mint - keeper of the wealth of WA. It was a very interesting tour around the lovely old building. They had some genuine large nuggets of gold and lots of artifacts, commemorative pieces and Olympic medals and jewellery , as well as a replica of a gold prospector's camp in which Mac got into the swing and pretended to be a prospector.

Prospector photograph

Mac Plays Prospector, Perth Mint

Drop Cap he famous "gold pour" was quite spectacular, the pourer put on all kinds of protective clothing and pulled the glowing crucible out of the furnace with long tongs, then poured the molten gold into a mould. This cooled off remarkably quickly as he doused it in cold water, putting it up against his face to show us. It was an entertaining and interesting morning.

Perth photograph

View of Perth City from King's Park

Drop Cap fter we left Geoff navigated us across the city, where major roadworks were screwing up the traffic to lovely Kings Park and Botanic Gardens. This was lovely and the sky cleared and the sun came out.

View photograph

River View from King's Park

Drop Cap e had lunch at the cafe , then went for a two hour walk among the various paths, starting at the War Memorial. This lookout gave a terrific view over the river and the city buildings. There was a perpetual flame surrounded by beds of pansies (for thoughts). It was very tasteful.

Memorial photograph

War Memorial, King's Park

Eternal Flame photograph

Geoff and the Eternal Flame, King's Park

Botanic Garden photograph

Botanic Gardens, King's Park

Drop Cap hen we walked among the plantings of WA flora, showcasing the plants of every area. Being such a big state it has incredible diversity.

Drop Cap ne of the most interesting of the exhibits were the Boab trees from up in the Kimberley desert region, gifted to Kings Park by the aborigines of that region. There are some young ones but the prize exhibit was huge, very old and had been trucked down from the far north in a major operation.

Giant Boab Tree photograph

Giant Boab Tree

Fountain photograph

Fountain in King's Park

Drop Cap e were getting footsore so we sat down on a bench overlooking the water garden and a fountain dedicated to pioneer women. The jets went up and down in patterns and it was quite lovely. We browsed around the gift shop, which has some spectacular glassware and various other arts and crafts (very exxey) but also some other cheaper stuff. We didn't buy any though. It was a great day, and although quite footsore I enjoyed it immensely.

Drop Cap e came back and had a simply enormous meal at a local Italian place called Spaghi. We could not believe the size of the starters and then we had the main to contend with - very nice, but basically, we waddled home!

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