The Ups and Dams of travel in Western Australia

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Trip End Mar 08, 2013


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Flag of Australia  , Western Australia,
Tuesday, November 27, 2012


In Perth we stayed at a site near the centre and for the first time in 3 months left the camper to explore using public transport. For the oldies the concession day travel pass was $4.40 ( 2.50 ish) and was for travel on buses and trains all day.  The only downside to this great offer was the bus driver assuming that we were seniors!!  This ticket even got us to Fremantle!  In fact the city centre buses were free for everyone but the CBD is small enough to walk around.   Perth is a small vibrant city with parks, modern shopping and business centre and a great river frontage.  We walked around Kings Park with Gill and Mike (hello), New Zealanders, who moved out from GB many years ago.  We first met at Port Headland looking at salt flats and salt mountains and bonded over Happy Hour at a very weird station with one of the worst camp sites (a yard full of old machinery and ants)we have stayed at. We met twice more before John and I got left behind and they did a 1000K detour before reaching Perth!   We also met up with Kathy, an old college friend, and had a brief taste of real Perth living and a wonderful lunch.


The roads in and around Perth are clogged with traffic, road works and building programmes. Like many of the towns we passed through there seems to be plenty of money available for major improvement.  They are currently regenerating the river frontage in the city centre.  I went up the Bell Tower which was a Millennium project using the bells of St Martin's (I owe you three farthings!) in London - plus 6 new bells.  You can look into the bell room and also watch the ringers.  St Martin’s bells were apparently too large for the church tower and causing damage – they were to be smelted down to make new bells, as is the tradition, but Perth 'swapped’ them for the metals to make new bells!

South of Perth are the forests – the further south, the bigger the trees – until you are in temperate rain forest.  And that, of course, means rain.  Yes thanks, we have had some – though not nearly so much as we would have had at home, she wrote hurriedly.  We know SW England has been underwater – including our garden!   And the land use has changed again.  We are getting the hang of it now – everyone did wheat, then everyone did cows (dairy or beef – doesn’t seem to matter), then everyone does vineyards (wineries here). 

In order to keep everything going during the hot summers they have built dams everywhere, some more successful than others.  The little town of Harvey had its own personal dam.  The farming methods in the catchment of Wellington Dam have made the water so saline that it cannot be used!  They are trying to replant the catchment in the hope that in years to come the water will improve.  The lakes are frequently used as recreation areas for boating, fishing and water sports with areas set aside for picnics and barbies.

And the ‘ups’?  They are the place names!  ‘Up’ is an aboriginal term meaning ‘place of’ and it’s really common down here.   Dwellingup, Nannup, Marrinup, Manjimup , Jalbarragup etc There’s even a Pamelup!   Good fun – you couldn’t make it up.
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