Kyle in Australia

Kyle's adventures in Perth, WA and beyond.

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Monday, February 28, 2005

Northam

There's not much in Northam [map], it's just another pleasant, 1800's Western Australian town of about 7,000 people. There are a few nice old buildings, some churches, an amazing number of hairdressers (one pun: Shear Extravagance), and an old railway station/museum that was closed for refurbishment. I only took one photo. I sat outside a café watching the locals, many of whom waved to each other. It was all, simply, quite nice.
It was a 6-hour round trip, but I will probably be going back next week, simply because I had the nicest meal I have had in a long time at Café Yasou, a Greek/Cypriot restaurant.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Postcard from Perth

Here is you very own personal postcard from Australia:
Postcard From Perth
23 Feb.
Hello, all is going well here, I have been having fun getting out and about on my scooter and on a coach trip up north, but thought it was time that I sat down and wrote some postcards. Western Australia is great, there is a lot to see and do, although I do not like going more than 150 km in either direction on my scooter, as it makes my bum a bit sore! There is so much variety here too, but it is so spread out that a lot of driving would be needed to see much. Luckily my grandmother and aunt are coming over in a month, so my last month here will be a grand tour with them, and then my time here will be over and it is back to the UK in May! Take care, ktx.

Sunday, February 20, 2005

Aussie Outback Safaris - Monkey Mia

Last week I spent 4 days in the company of 14 other Europeans with Aussie Outback Safaris as we made our way up to Monkey Mia via a few other places.

We left Perth [map] at 7.30 am on Tuesday, and made our way northwards to our first stop the Nambung National park, [map] home of the Pinnacles, thousands of huge limestone pillars rising from the shifting yellow sands, resembling a landscape from a science fiction movie. From here it was a short journey to Hangover Beach [map], for a swim and lunch, and then on on Greenough Wildlife Park [map], for some Kangaroo feeding, and snake handling. The evening found us in Hutt River Province, [map] an independent state within Western Australia formed in 1970. Here we stayed the night, ate a good meal and got to know one another, finally sleeping under the stars in swags.

Day two saw us rise at 6 am, eat breakfast, break camp and leave before 7 am, after which we headed to Kalbarri National Park and Pot Alley, next to Red Bluff where two of the Batavia mutineers were marooned. From Here to the Kalbarri Gorges, abseiling the Z-bend Gorge, and taking photos at the Loop one, including Nature's Window. [map]. From Kalbarri we went to Shell Beach, a beach made up of millions of tiny shells, over 90 km long. [map], and then to Monkey Mia [map] after a quick stop in Denham, Australia's most westernly town [map] for a bit of tyre maintenance, as it was spotted earlier in the day that we had a slow puncture in our truck! After tyre pumping we made our camp in Monkey Mia, and then after dinner had a stroll along the beach, a quick beer and then to bed.

I found a nice dark shaded spot for my swag, and set myself up for the night, and about 12.30 it started raining... until I looked around and realised the reticulation (automated sprinkler system) had come on, so I dragged my swag elsewhere and resumed my sleep. In the morning 2 of my fellow travellers were sleeping where I had been the previous night, and complained of the rain - it turns out they set up bed exactly where I had just moved from, and the retic had started up again at some point in the night.

Day three was a less hectic start, with breakfast and then a short walk to the beach to see the first wave of dolphins, which were smaller than I had thought they would be, and then on board the Aristocat 2, for a tour out to try and see some more wildlife, but strangely there was none. Still it didn't matter, the boat ride was fun, and the boom netting memorable - if only because my swimming trunks came off! From Monkey Mia we moved on to Ocean Park [map], where they keep many species of shark, and some cute turtles. From here we continued to Eagle Bluff [map], which I really think does look like an eagle. Also of all these map links I am providing, it is the only map in which you can see all the aspects I have photographed! Our last stop of the day was Hamelin Pool [map], home of the most accessible living stromatolites in the world. Stromatolites are an oxygen-producing bacteria, partially responsible for turning the Precambrian carbon-dioxide-rich atmosphere into the 20% oxygen atmosphere we know today. Another couple of hours driving found us at Eurardy Station [map], our farm-stay for the night, and also provider of our evening entertainment: Spot-lit kangaroo spotting. You really had to stop and think about how you were in the middle of nowhere, on a farm the size of your average British county, driving around late a night watching kangaroos. Ripper, as the man said. After a bit of a didgeridoo session, a spot of damper, we toasted marshmallows, and then to bed.

"Wake up", were the words to greet me at 6 am on the fourth and final day of the tour, and within an our we had breakfasted and packed up ready for the final day. First thing we made our way to Geraldton [map] to HMAS Sydney II, a memorial to HMAS Sydney lost in 1941. This wasn't part of the tour, but was just an extra hour's morning tea while we waited for the truck to have 2 new tyres fitted! After this we made it further back south, stopping off for a bit of sandboarding, and then lunch at Leeman for lunch by the sea, and finally back to Perth in the evening.

The highlight of my holiday so far. 78 pictures of all the above can been seen here: http://kylet.co.uk/pictures/monkeyMia/

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Epic Scooter Journeys, Parts I and II

Well, 200km in a day is epic when you are riding a 50cc scooter, and you cannot tell my bum otherwise.

On Monday, on the spur of the moment I decided to go to York, Western Australia's first inland settlement, after I finger measured it on the map and decided it would take about 2 hours to get there.

2.5 hours, a cup of tea and some chips later I arrived, wandered over a steel-rope suspension bridge, found the gaol to be closed until March and so just had a wander round, went through the old flour mills, visited some churches and went up a very steep hill - the scooter could only manage 10km/hr - to Mount Brown lookout, and then came home. All in a not very eventful, but thoroughly enjoyable day, I even made it home in time for tea.

Some pictures: http://kylet.co.uk/pictures/york-wa/

Today I went to Toodyay, another 1800's era inland settlement, but a bit nearer - only 75km (or 2 hours) either way. This time I had lunch at the town's Coca-Cola themed diner, and then wandered up the high street admiring old buildings, and then onto the gaol which was open (I was the day's only visitor), and finally to Toodyay's working flour mill, and then back home again.

Some pictures : http://kylet.co.uk/pictures/toodyay/

I have decided the thing I like best about heading out to the quite bits on my scooter - the smell. The heat makes the eucalypts smell great, and the slowness of the journey (rarely over 50km/hr) and the quietness of the roads means I can look about and take in the scenery. I think next I might tackle Lancelin, which might be more of the 3-3.5 hour journey, but if I get going early enough on Friday, I might just do it. I might look for a cushion for my bum before I go, though.

Sunday, February 06, 2005

Leighton Battery

It is nice to get out an about on the weekend, m'friend Rita and I have just returned from Leighton Battery coastal defence tunnels at Buckland Hill, near to Freemantle, and together with the rest of Perth defences they covered a 30km range of the area.

I do like going down tunnels, which is the main reason I wanted to go, but the history of the installation was interesting too, follow the above link for more information and photos than I can provide.

I did not take many photos, as it was all pretty cramped and underground, however there are some photos here : http://home.st.net.au/~dunn/ozatwar/bucklandhill.htm

Friday, February 04, 2005

Outback tour booked.

Just booked a tour with Aussie Outback Safaris, a 4 day trip up to the Pinnacles and Monkey Mia, all sounds like fun, it'll be nice to get a bit further afield than the scooter can take me!