Monday, June 9, 2014

Final Day and Home

We are home after a fun filled three weeks in Western Australia.  It is always fun to visit places we have not been, see new places, and have new experiences and adventures.  But it is also good to be home and sleep in our own bed, eat familiar food, and get clean clothes.

Our last day in Perth was spent doing some laundry and repacking suit cases.  But the day was not all work.  We took the Red CAT (Central Area Transit) bus to the CBD to mail a package to ourselves and  spend a few more hours in Perth.  You can tell the CAT buses by the CAT painted on the side.


In the public art department we saw a series of bonze statues called Footsteps in Time that depict businesspeople through the ages.  First represents the Dutch exploration around 1697.


Next the Anglo – Celtic settlement of the Swan River around 1829


The Discovery of Gold 1885 – 95


Post World War II European Immigration – 1945 – 55


and finally Millennium Man – 2004


and I will add one more picture that I believe adds to this public art, and that is a view of the statues with 2014 man on business.


We then caught Blue Cat bus to the museum area just north of the CBD.  There we visited the Western Australia Museum. 


The museum has a variety of displays including the history of Western Australia (closed because of the Dinosaur display), local animals, information on the aboriginal natives, and lots more we didn’t have a chance to see.

Of course we had to stop at the Ben and Jerry’s Airstream trailer for an ice cream!


The museum area also includes the Art Museum, and the State Library.  There is a large public space with a large TV screen.  While we were there, it displayed moving color blobs, short movies, and a live picture of the area with computer generated dinosaurs that appeared to be moving around the area.


There were wide steps, where people congregated to talk or watch the screen.


Later, on our way back to the hotel we say St Mary’s Cathedral.


On Friday, we flew from Perth to Melbourne where we stayed overnight before catching our airplane home.  Then Saturday was the long flights.  We flew from Melbourne to Auckland, had a two hour layover, and then flew 12 hours to Los Angeles.

Our last view of Australia


The coast of New Zealand as we made the approach into Auckland


We flew in the Premium Economy seats like we did going over.  The space is wonderful, the food good, and the service on Air New Zealand excellent.


Because of the landing time in Los Angeles, there were no flights to Omaha, so we stayed overnight and flew home on Sunday.  On arrival we had a nice surprise when Dan, Alaina, Dayna, and Anne greeted us at the airport.  That also gave us a reason for one more restaurant meal before we headed home.

Overall, this is been a great trip.  We were discussing the some of the events and places and couldn’t come up with a single favorite.  All of the places we saw and things we did were fun.  Seeing and visiting the Magpie group was lots of fun, and of course being with Sylvia and Roy was the icing on the cake.

This was our third trip to Australia.  We have been a lot of places during our trips, including Brisbane, Sydney, Canberra, Gold Coast, the Blue Mountains, Uluru, Kata Tjuta, Kings Canyon, Melbourne, Perth, Freemantle, Fraser Island, Margaret River, Augusta, Albany,  Wave Rock, The Pinnacles.  We walked at the tops of the trees (twice), and have seen lots of unusual animals and birds.  And we have just scratched the surface of the variety of Australia.  Australia is a great country with friendly people.  Even with the long plane ride, it is well worth the effort.

We don’t know what is next for our travels, but we have some trips we are thinking about taking…..probably road trips yet this summer.  So, check back periodically…….you just never know what adventure we will think up next time.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

The Pinnacles

We had a lovely day for a drive through the country.  It was a bright sunshiny day with temperatures in the low 20’s…………..(that would be the low 70’s for us). 


The drive north from Perth was 220 kilometers, mostly along two-lane roads.  But traffic was light, weather was good, and the roads were great.

I have shown a picture of our Hyundai ix35 (the copper chariot).  It has been a terrific car for our travels around Western Australia.  We have driven well over 2,000 kilometers, at an average of 7.5 liters per 100 kilometers.  It is very comfortable to drive.  Roy has been my navigator the entire trip, so I didn’t have to worry about how we got there.  That makes things much easier when driving on the “other” side of the road and on the “other” side of the car.

The road was mostly through bush country and past small coastal towns.  Our first stop was at Cervantes where there is an information center for the Pinnacles and Nambung National Park.  The information center was actually a small variety store.  The store clerk was very helpful in providing us a couple of maps and information.  I say variety store, but the variety was very different from what most people would expect.  It had a whole wall of bolts and nuts (1/2” bolts 5” long, and bigger).  A display of needle and thread…..but no fabric, lots of fishing tackle and bait (live and artificial), magazines, and of course tourist “art” objects.  It was fun just wondering around the store.

From there we went to the Lobster Shack for lunch.  This area is famous for its lobsters.  It was an outdoor eatery and had four items on the menu.  Fish and Chips, Sea Food Medallions, and Lobster 1/2 or whole).  The food was great.  I got a kick out of the sign in the middle of the restaurant.


This is the first time I have been to a place where the distance to Cape Town, South Africa is a shorter distance than New York City!

After lunch we found a place where Katie could put her feet in the Indian Ocean.  This has been her tradition since she was a little girl.


She has now waded in the Atlantic, Pacific (from both sides), The Southern Ocean, The Indian Ocean, The Tasman Sea, Gulf of Mexico, and the Caribbean Sea.

From there we went to Nambung National Park and The Pinnacles.  This is a desert area just inland from the Indian Ocean, where thousands of limestone rocks have been exposed.  The rocks stick up out of the stand like little pinnacles. 

When you drive into the area, it is hard to believe they are there because it looks like just bush country.  This is the board walk leading to the interpretive center. 


But just a short distance you find this.




This view is looking toward the coast and Indian Ocean.


There is road through the area with lots of turn outs so you can stop and explore the area.



This will give you and idea of the size of the pinnacles.  As you can see the size varies.  These are not boulders sitting on top of the sand, but the tops of bigger rocks that have been exposed through erosion over thousands of years.  Think icebergs where most of the rock is below ground level.


Here is a picture of the four of us at the Pinnacles. 


I will leave you with this final picture of “public art” from Perth.  We have passed it many times during the day and though it was interesting, but at night, with the shadows from by the multiple layers of metal really makes it look like a lot of kangaroos are passing by.


This will probably be our last entry in the blog until we get home.  We start our journey back tomorrow with a flight to Melbourne.  Then Saturday, we fly from Melbourne to Auckland to Los Angeles and on Sunday we fly from Los Angeles to Omaha via Denver.

This has been a fun trip.  We thank Roy and Sylvia for flying over from their home in Brisbane to join us for these almost three weeks.  And a special thanks to Gilly and Terri for organizing all of us during the Magpie meet up week.  We got to see a part of Australia we didn’t expect to and meet some great people.

Until the trip wrap-up…..thanks for coming along.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

A day in Perth

Today was the most we have done in the City of Perth itself.  When we were here a few days ago we did a lot, but most was in the surrounding area.

This morning we caught the CAT Red bus and went to a large pedestrian mall in the Central Business District (CBD).  This is one of four bus routes that goes around the CBD.  The cool thing is these buses are free. 


The mall was about 10 blocks from our hotel.  It consists of a 2 block by 3 block area that is full of stores of all types and sizes.  All vehicles go around this area, so it is totally open to pedestrians.  As the saying goes, if you can’t find it here, then you probably don’t need it!

this is a narrow walkway that used to be an alley.


This is a view along one of the main walk areas that used to be a street.


This is another “alley” that is made up to look like a London shopping street.


Complete with a painting of Henry VIII.


Of course there were street entertainers


and public art



After our shopping we got back on the Red CAT and rode it all the way around its route.

This is City Hall.  It was built by the convicts many years ago.  The rumor is the “arrow” windows were copied from the arrow pattern on the convict’s clothing.  They did it as a “joke”.


We enjoy the lattice work found on many of the balconies on the older buildings.  This is fairly common all over Australia in the bigger cities.


This is the Swedish Hotel near the mall.  We ate here during our earlier visit to Perth.  What we didn’t realize until today, is the building is purple.


This afternoon we went to Kings Park and Botanical Garden.  It is a large park just West of the CBD.  It overlooks the city and the Swan River.



We had lunch at the Botanical Café,



and then walked among the plants and trees.


Snake Eremophila


Not sure what this is because it was unmarked, but a succulent from South Africa.


View of the water garden


Fountain along the path we took.


Boab tree.  This one is over 200 years old.  The trunks are so big because they store water.


Needless to say, it was a lovely afternoon in the park. 

This evening we went to Restorante Italiano, located a couple of blocks from our hotel.  On the menu this evening was

Lamb Shank stew (and Corona beer complete with lime wedge)


and Lasagna and salad.


Tomorrow we are headed North of Perth to an area called the Pinnacles and to put our feet in the Indian Ocean.