Travels Downunder – A Reminiscence: Part 12

We left our explorers investigating the sights of Perth and surrounding areas, whilst waiting for better weather…

As mentioned in our last chapter we didn’t want to venture too far north until the end of April so we were still exploring Perth and the surrounding area well into April and decided it was one of the nicest areas we’d been to so far, but as we said before, it’s just so far away from the rest of the world.

The port of Fremantle, or Freo as the locals call it, is very laid back with lots of cafes and bookshops and old buildings with ironwork balconies. Not so attractive is the port area itself where we saw huge ships being loaded with live sheep for export. Australia exports about two million sheep annually, mostly through Fremantle, to the Middle East for Halal slaughter.

I’m quite a big sports fan and was keen to go and see an Australian Rules football game. The season had just started and we managed to get tickets to watch the next available game. It was in Perth at the Subiaco Oval Stadium, which is shared by the West Coast Eagles, from Perth, and the Fremantle Dockers, from Fremantle. The game we saw was between the Dockers and Carlton from Melbourne.

We traveled to the stadium by train and were surprised that supporters from both teams were on the same train as each other and there was a lot of lighthearted banter, all good natured. We couldn’t help comparing it to England were opposing fans would probably have been fighting each other!! As for the match we had no real idea of what was going on but those in the crowd near us were more than happy to explain and eventually we started to get the hang of it. It was all pretty chaotic but in the end the Dockers ran out the winners 15/11. Good fun entertainment.

We had been told that one of the things you simply must do whilst in Perth is to have fish and chips on Cottesloe Beach. We duly obliged and went one evening as the sun was setting over the ocean. It was very nice, the setting was lovely, but I have to say I think British fish and chips are much better.

We eventually left Perth and started wending our way up the coast. At Cervantes there is a very unusual area called The Pinnacles where there are hundreds of limestone pillars which can be up to 12ft tall and cover a very large area. We camped overnight in the bush with about half a dozen other rigs of various types. One couple were in a converted 50 seater coach which was their permanent home. There was also a young Dutch couple who had driven a Land Rover all the way from Holland to Australia via just about every country you could think of. There were a few stories told and a few beers consumed around the camp fire that night…