Most people don’t venture out to Western Australia when visiting the country. Western Australia or WA as the Australias refer to it is underrated. Perth is the biggest city in Western Australia and also what most people are familuar with when it comes to Western Australia. I learned earlier that Australia has over 12,000 beaches. I can honestly say that I have loved every one I’ve seen since we arrived in Brisbane two months ago.
Instead of just visiting Perth we decided to spend weeks in Western Australia to explore this underrated area and get the full sense of living like a local here. We flew into Perth and took an Uber to a house we rented in Fremantle just a few miles outside of Perth before renting a car the next day.
Freemantle is a very relaxed town the Western area close to Perth. Strangely this reminds me most of the United States. Except safer and cleaner. The roads are wider and traffic lights are present in a few place (not many).
Fremantle market is a huge market selling food, clothing, coffee, tribal art, crafts and fresh fruit and vegetables. This is where I tried the “famous gourmet” onion bahta. Layers of fried onions mixed with fried spinach and lightly covered in rice flour. After trying one, I came back and bought three more. Truffled local farm raised salami was another gem in the market. This would be really expensive in the United States. In Australia the local farm raised lamb is remarkably less expensive here also. Another big score was finding the Ottoman Borek stand. The owner makes the borek daily by hand. Borek is thin dough in many layers baked with ground beef. Its like a savory lasagna.
We rode our bikes from Fremantle to Cottesloe beach. The ride was about 30 minutes and along the coast most of the way and along paved marked bike paths along the other ways. This is the most popular beach in Perth. It was very crowded but enough space between each other to breath and move. It was also New Year’s Day. The beach is set in a cove and patrolled by the Surf Life Saving Club. The water was freezing cold (on my standards) and the heat was scorching hot in direct sun but with a cool breeze blowing by every now and then. It was fun to see it so festive and alive with people relaxing. The area was in a nice part of town too.
Fremantle Prison is a landmark and tourist attraction. I’m starting to notice that Australians love their prison tours. This is the third city I’ve visited that host a prison for people to tour. In Tasmania the Port Arther prison and Melbourne has the Old Melbourne Gaol. This is the first prison I’ve taken a tour of. The only way to see this prison is to pay for a tour. The tours leave every 45 minutes. We took the basic ($20/each) guided tour through the prison. The tour was ninety minutes and very informative. Without a guided tour it wouldn’t have been as interesting.
Busstleton is a town we stopped on our journey down the coast of Western Australia. The town has parks and outdoor spaces for people to gather. The beach is built like a playground for adults and children. A huge wooden dock is built around an area in the ocean for people to swim. Areas between the swimming docks are roped off for kayaking, stand up paddle boarding. It’s nice to see a community come together and enjoy one area at no cost or space worries. There is plenty of space for everyone and Australians have a respectable attitude towards each other. I haven’t heard anyone get loud, act out or get angry in public the past two months I’ve been in this country.
We stayed at the Paradise Motel. At first glance pulling in, it reminded me of a place you would go in America to end your life. The difference was this place was clean and organized. It was a motel that has a parking space right outside your door. Anytime I saw these in Las Vegas it was usually in a horrible area of town. Busstleton is the extreme opposite. This motel was just and older building but the insides had all been renovated and updated.
Stopping through Bunbury, Bunsborough & Cape Naturalist, we came, we saw, we left. Bunsborough was a little more upscale than Bunbury but both towns were nice.
Margaret River is an upscale town on the ocean in Western Australia. Looking back on my travels through Australia, this town reminds me of Port Douglas and Noosa but on a larger scale. This area is known for surfing and kite surfing. The tides are much rougher and stronger than in Bunsborough or the Bustleton beaches. Stopping by Surfers Point beach we saw a lone wind surfer riding out the rough waves. This guy must have been a professional because the sea was extremely rough and he was alone. His wife dropped him off and left with the kids.
Margaret River famers market is held on Saturday and we happened to be here to see it. Being here in January is peak season in Australia. This market was packed with locals. Since we’ve been in Australia I’ve only bought Australian brands and only Australian made products. I find them to taste far better than American brands. Being away from America for this long, I’ve realized the difference in taste from all the preservatives used in American brands. The meat especially taste different here — it’s some of the best I’ve ever had. I’m guessing because the meat is raised on a farm and the animals are free to roam and graze all day. Speaking of meats, we bought fresh lamb and pork from a farmer here at the market. I’ve never had meat straight from the farm before. I asked him about the killing process and if it was painless. Unfortunately, the animals are sent to slaughter at a different location than the farm due to government regulations. The animals are then returned (dead) to the farm for butcher. He also explained about shipping live animals to other countries for slaughter rather than the meat itself to save on taste and the long exportation process sacrificing the taste. The lamb we have been eating from the supermarket is better than the Costco Australian lamb in America (and that was good too).
Going to the Sunflowers Animal Farm was a highlight in Margaret River. This is an interactive animal farm with over 250 animals to feed, pet and hold. The animals are stress free and happy to see people. Even the chickens were running into the arms of people. Cuddling a full grown chicken was an experience I’ll never forget. There were three baby kangaroos there and the staff let us hold them in a pillowcase (make believe pouch) and feed them bottles. Getting up close and personal with an ostrich and emu was a little frightening, even some of the kids were freaked out by their size and looks.
Western Australia’s first commercial deer farm is a couple of miles from the interactive Sunflowers animal farm. The difference is these deer are being raised for meat. We stopped by and bought fresh venison skewers and pate to eat for dinner. This is another extraordinary opportunity to buy meat straight from the farm. Something that would be very difficult to do in the United States. The strange thing is the prices are much lower for meat here and it taste better. When we lived in Las Vegas the meat was so tough and chewy in the grocery stores, I was forced to go to a butcher for all meats. The cost was much higher but the worry of quality was eased. Venison taste a lot like liver.
My favorite part of traveling is seeing live animals all around the world. The Yallingup Sheep Shearing Shed was a highlight. We got to see a live sheep shearing and pet and feed sheep at the farm. The gift shop featured merino wool fashions from the sheep there. The prices were high but considering we were at the source made it understandable.
Since there were only four of us at the show that day, Doug was asked to volunteer. I never knew the love of my life could round up a sheep and then drag it back into a pen. This was the true highlight of the day. The owner of the farm John sheared a sheep in less than two minutes keeping the entire coat in one piece. A border collie and a hybrid dog (Australian dingo and border collie mix) round up several sheep outside and brought them in for shearing.
I learned that a baby lamb under one year old is “lamb” in the grocery store, and a lamb that is one year old or older is “mutton” in the grocery store. As much as I loved feeding the baby lambs during the show, I still love the taste of lamb (especially in Australia). Australia has the most lamb in the world with 90 million lamb in the country. I always thought New Zealand had the most but we learned they only have 30 million. Another strange fact is lamb pooh doesn’t stink and makes the best fertilizer for that reason. Most of the male sheep are used for meat while the females are used for wool and reproduction before turning to “mutton” and sold overseas.
Margaret River is known for their wineries. There are so many of them to visit. Since I gave up drinking years ago, I don’t even have an interest in going to a winery. Some of the best wines in Western Australia are made here. All of the wineries are beautiful with huge properties and perfect landscaping. Lunch and dinner is served at the wineries but we didn’t splurge on either.
Gas Bay beach was recommend to us by the coffee barista at Yallingup Coffee Roasters. Not only was the coffee great at that place but her recommendation put us in a private coved beach with front row views of kite surfing that day. It was very windy here which made it a perfect place for kite surfers.
This is the place I decided to give up Tim Tams for a while. After thinking about it I added up at least 220 Tim Tams I’ve eaten since arriving to Australia in November. My new food obsessions are triple cream brie from Tasmania and morello cherries in the jar. If I’m not eating a wheel of cheese it’s a jar of morello cherries, either way it’s the whole thing.
Redgate beach is rocky and dangerous but beautiful. The waves crash against the mountainous rocks sticking out of the ocean meters from the shore. Swimming is dangerous here because of the rip tides. Signs are posted everywhere warning about the peril of the ocean here. Lives have been lost here and I can see how.
Gnarabup Beach is a natural coved beach with rough waves to surf, boogie board and play in. The water temperature was cold considering it was summer but once I got in it wasn’t as bad. During this time of year huge pieces of seaweed is washed ashore and laying all over the beach. Once you get past the edge of the seaweed first going in, it’s clear water. There is a beach front cafe that serves food and a boat ramp right next to the beach.
I’ve noticed the locals arrive later in the day to the beach. I’m wondering if it’s because the sun isn’t as strong. There are tv commercials airing here about the sun killing people with cancer. Australians take the sun very seriously here.
Denmark is a three and a half hour driving drive from Margaret River. Wineries and national parks paved the way here. One of the attractions is the Treetop Walk. This is one of the national park activities. A 600 meter suspension bridge snakes through the forest as high as the Tingle tree’s tops. The bridge is also ver 40 meters high and moved and swayed as we walked on it.
Green Pools is made of huge elephant rocks make a pool area with calm waters inside the pool. It looks like a Stone Age luxury beach. Some people chilled on the rocks and some on the sand. You could see the ocean just over the rocks that barricade some of the force, just trying to get in.
Off of a bumpy unpaved road we were rewarded with Waterfall Beach. A beach where a natural waterfall meets the beach. The waterfall was very small and tucked away with a two inch deep water indention from the beach into the ocean (during low tide). Not much of a waterfall but the beauty of nature makes up for it.
Denmark Animal Farm was a huge highlight, actually anytime I can see live animals is a highlight. The animals were just as happy to see us as we were to see them. All of the pens were open to enter and play with the animals as you give them treats. Every animal farm I’ve visited so far has a kangaroo and they are the ones I love seeing the most.
There have been “heaps” (as the Australians say) of animals I’ve come across since arriving in Australia. Ghandi once said you can tell a lot about a country from the way they treat the animals. I truly believe that. Australia has been the most respectful place I’ve visited in the treatment of animals. All of the farm animals have lots of land to graze and roam, they look very healthy and even the wild animals seem relaxed. A commercial came on the television advertising pork from a local farm. One of the selling points was they offered “all the creature comforts” for the animals on the farm. As of result of this attitude the meat taste much better here than anywhere I’ve been on this trip so far. None of the animals are killed on the farm (unless it’s for the farmer’s personal use), legally they must be brought to an abattoir.
Middleton Beach is in the suburbs of Albany. Even though it was very windy, people were still swimming and enjoying the ocean. It was so windy, it was hard to just stand there and look out to sea without the wind beating on our faces. I ended up feeding the seagulls and we left shortly after. This beach was nice but it wasn’t as beautiful as some of the others I’ve seen in Western Australia.
Two Peoples Bay Nature Reserve is a protective area of landscaping. There is a fee of $12 (AUD) and it’s on the honor system. This buys a day pass into the reserve. A local (from the farmers market) told us that most people just drive pass the pay machine and park. After driving past and not paying, we parked at Little Beach. The parking lot was packed so we had to park far from the walkway. As we were walking to the beach we noticed most of the cars had their pay stubs displayed in the front windshield. We started feeling bad about not paying and by the time we got to the beach we wondered what would happen to the car. When the day was over we returned to the car and had a ticket on our windshield from the ranger. It was then we realized we should just pay so we don’t have any bad karma on us during the trip. In a nutshell, the honor system works. I’d rather just pay the $12 than worry about karma and fines and whatever else comes with it.
There haven’t been very many places we’ve visited that make my mouth drop like Little Beach did. This beach looked like something you see in a near death experience. I’ve never seen such a perfect white sand beach with the bluest waters of all our travels. We couldn’t stop smiling the entire path to the beach. The great thing about it was there weren’t very many people there. If this was in the US, it would be mobbed with people. The water was chilly but worth every second just to experience swimming at such a perfect beach. Speaking of cold water, one of the things I travel with a surf shirt. Now I have two, a short sleeve and long sleeve. Both of them are made by O’Neill. It makes it easier to get in and stay in the ocean when it’s cold. I think all water is cold though. It’s too hot in Asia to wear it to the beach but here in Australia their perfect.
Natural Gap Bridge in the Torndirrup National Park is another example of the city spending money on it’s parks. The pathway and view points were new, updated and safe for all to enjoy this powerful channel of water from twenty five meters high.
Looking at this part of the trip as a relaxing stop makes it more enjoyable. I like the wilderness and space of these towns in Western Australia but find myself ready to leave and go onto other ventures of the trip. I love visiting remote places but like leaving them too.
Misery Beach – beautiful and secluded. Hard to believe there are so many secluded beaches like this in Western Australia. We were the only ones on the beach at one time. I’m not sure where the name Misery comes from because it was stunning, safe and beautiful.
Just a short walk down the beach led to Hamelin Bay . A huge stingray was circling the shore when we got there. Seeing him reminded me of the late Steve Erwin. – stingrays swim close to the shore and let people pet them and get close to them. I had to touch one myself and found that they are not only extremely large, they are squishy and slimey.
The King Jarrah Tree is one of the tallest trees in Wellington National Park. This stop was on the way during the four and a half hour drive from Albany. It’s a 500 year old tree. I didn’t take the time to read the history but did get out and look at the tree. This is one of the many sights of Albany. We stopped by the Albany Farmers Market. This is a small market on Saturdays from 8-12. We were lucky enough to be there on a Saturday. For such a small market they had everything you need nicely presented and mostly all organic including the meats.
Ascot is Perth’s Summer racing track. Of course we had to visit this track being the racetrack extrodinares that we are. It was so hot at the track, it was almost impossible to stand outside in the direct sunlight without sweat pouring. We must have looked like scumbags because we were stopped on the escaltor going up the VIP area underdressed and sweaty. In Australia, people dress up really nice to go to the races. Men are wearing suits and women are wearing dresses nice enough to attend a wedding. After betting a couple of races with bookies (legal here) we cashed out with a profit of $10.00 and left winners.
Kings Garden – beautiful spacious lush green grass, flower, plants and trees. It’s amazing how much open land and parks Australia has. I wish the United States had more space in urban areas. When I first moved to Las Vegas there was space and distance between areas, especially the strip. Today houses are built within feet apart and no space in the front or backyard. It’s referred to as track homes and if never seen anything like it until las vegas. Anyway it’s a dead horse now. Pretty pathways are all around this park and people are chilling everywhere. Plants from different regions of Australia are along the pathways as part of the botanical gardens.
Western Australia is just as impressive as the east coast. The weather was warm and beautiful and there are plenty of beautiful beaches that are less populated than the more popular ones on the east coast. I especially loved the vast country roads full of lamb and sometimes even seeing wild kangaroos. They love to hang out at golf courses and open land of holiday parks. It was fun seeing kangaroo in their natural wild environment. I will really miss them when we leave Australia. After seeing so many things, it’s hard to put them all into words or pictures on one post. Hopefully I will read this later in life and just be thankful for the memories I did write about.
1 response to Western Australia
This was quite a comprehensive report! I can’t believe there are 12,000 beaches anywhere in the world! As for the beach descriptions, I believe I would like Redgate beach best. The landscape looks like something one would find on the moon as regards the rock formations. I like your new eating obsessions with cherries and brie — instead of several hundred Tim Tams! All this options have a tendency to add several pounds to one’s frame — but with your hiking, biking, beaching, and touring, I doubt that weight will be a problem. Your animal experiences are wonderful! Who gets a chance to hold a kangaroo and a chicken, pet a lamb/muttton and participate in a shearing exercise. Even though I travel vicariously with you, I doubt that I have the stamina to endure all the activities in which you engage everyday. The prison tours were very interesting. I’ve been through Alcatraz a couple times, but am not sure there are other prisons that are tourist attractions in the U.S. Safe travels, dear Barbie, until we meet again.
Love you, Mom
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