Charming Perth - Western Australia's capital

Trip Start Jan 06, 2010
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9
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Trip End Mar 12, 2010


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Where I stayed

Flag of Australia  , Western Australia,
Monday, February 1, 2010

Monday 1st Feb 2010
a.m.

Finished packing, checked out, and went to my favourite place for breakfast before setting off for Brisbane airport 85kms to the North. The flight to Perth was uneventful it took 4.5 hours and we landed slightly ahead of time at 17:45. I caught the local shuttle bus service into town, which is a door to door service and is very good.

p.m.
The Hotel Criterion is something else! It is styled on the 1920's and has never been modernised since, but for quaint period hotel, as it says in its literature, read as dingy, dreary and run-down.

My room is a bit like an army barrack room with three single beds separated by about a foot. The small windows are six feet up the wall, and even if you were a 7ft.giant you still couldn't see out of them because they have frosted glass. In fact I’ve stayed in better barrack rooms! It is easily the worst hotel I’ve stopped in so far. Now the Internet is free, yeah if you can put up with a speed of 0.5 millibits/week and that’s if you can get it to connect in the first place, no wonder it’s free they wouldn’t dare charge for it!

Perth itself looks a mixture of old and new and certainly has charm. The climate is a bit kinder at about 23 although it can get a bit windy.

Tuesday 2nd Feb 2010

a.m.

Woke up this morning feeling rough with a cough, cold, sore throat and shivery, something I must have picked up on the flight from Brisbane. So I dosed myself up with Beachams and went to pick the hire car up. The hotel hasn’t got a car park and parking charges are high in Perth during the day but free at night, so as long as you move the car before 8 in the morning and don’t park again until after 6 in the evening you are ok, which makes for some long days out!

p.m.
Drove across the Swan river to Fremantle and did the jail tour, which was built by the English convicts and a Squadron of Sappers in 1855 and served as a jail until 1991. It was the only place in Western Australia that the death penalty could be carried out and the last hanging took place in 1964. Good tour well worth doing.

Wednesday 3rd Feb 2010
a.m.

Up early so I could move the car onto a car park for a couple of hours whilst I had breakfast, which I had to force down, not much of an appetite, so I took some more Beachams and went for a drive to Kings Park which is a lovely park almost within walking distance of the city centre. It has some great views over the Swan River.

p.m.

Went for a drive North-East of the city to a place called Whiteman Park which is a sanctuary for Australia’s indigenous animal population. You could walk around amongst the Kangaroos and feed them. Saw about 10 different species of Kangaroo and Wallabies, Koalas, Tasmanian Devils and a whole host of other animals.

Thursday 4th Feb 2010
a.m.

Moved the car before 7 and got an early-bird parking permit for $10 for the day. Found a local Laundromat and caught up on my washing. No facilities at the hotel. (Another black mark). I shall enjoy writing my Expedia review for this hotel!

p.m.

Had a tour round Perth Mint which was opened by the British in 1899 as a branch of the Royal Mint, to deal with the gold-rush in Western Australia at that time. Held a 400oz bar of gold in my hands, pity I couldn’t get it in my pocket without being seen! It is worth about $200,000. Also saw an ingot of pure gold being poured. The mint stopped smelting gold in 1990 and had produced 2,596 tons of the stuff in its time.

Friday 5th Feb 2010
Day trip to Rottnest Island. It took 30 minutes from Fremantle harbour on a twin-hulled catamaran. It was a nice smooth crossing and once on the island I booked the 2 hour round trip on the island train. The track was originally laid to service the two 9.2in. gun emplacements at Oliver Hill Lookout. These were the defence against a sea invasion of Fremantle Port, one of the most important ports in Western Australia, but they were never fired in anger. The guided tour around the gun complex took an hour and included the underground tunnels associated with the guns. By the time the train got us back to the quayside it was lunchtime and feeling a bit hungry I made my way to the Rottnest Hotel and had the best ever Steak sandwich, washed down with a pint of the best cider I have ever tried. It is called Pip Squeak and it is really dry, pale and refreshing when served with ice.

Saturday 6th Feb 2010
I dropped the car back at the rental centre and walked back to the Hotel and got sorted for my epic train journey across the Nullarbor Plains to Adelaide tomorrow. I don't reach Adelaide until Tuesday so I will be out of comms for a couple of days... Lets hope I can publish this blog before I leave... CYA soon...
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