Friday 29 January 2016

Grand opening of Perth's new playground

The most controversial of Perth's development - the $440 million Elizabeth Quay - was opened to the public today after 4 years of construction. 

The project is not totally complete as a few buildings with both residential and office space are still to be constructed in the next 5 to 7 years.

The area was developed out of the former Esplanade Park area, creating an inlet, new ferry terminal which will move from the nearby Barrack Street , a mini island and suspension bridge across the water, boat moorings....
About four million people are expected to visit this area every year and when all completed, about 10 thousand people will work there.
Just for the inauguration day today 25 thousand people were expected!

We managed an early evening visit, as the day was far too hot at 38C and we waited until sundown to leave home.

The area was packed with people wandering around and enjoying all the entertainment on offer, and the kids were having lots of fun at the water park. 

Kids having fun in the water park. The Swan bells Tower at the end

By the bridge a sculpture by Noongar artist Laurel Nannup - a 5 mt high bird with wings stretched on a boat, tells the story of how the Aboriginal people saw the arrival of the British colonists on the sailing ships.

Me in front of the Bird statue
The double arch over the bridge was packed with people awaiting the light and music show that would start at 8pm.
A bit of a disappointment...maybe because we were on the bridge quite far away from the music and water show, so couldn't see or hear much...

The launch events will run for 3 weeks, including laser and water shows projected from the water at 8pm until 10pm daily (every half an hour for 10 minutes).

You can see the thousands of people lining the bridge

The Swan bells Tower, and to the left are the balls from where the laser light show would later start
From those massive balls sprouted water for the water show (hardly visible from the bridge)
More rides for the kids
A view of the city and the artwork at the entry to Elizabeth Quay

Another massive sculpture - Spanda - by WA artist Chritian de Vietri, represents water ripples. The 20 metre high scultpure cost 1,3 million dollars, can you believe that?

Spanda (the illuminated building is the Perth city council)

The Florence Hummerston kiosk dating back to 1927, which was up the road was dismantled brick by brick and reassembled on the island at a cost of $11 million!! Compensation to the lease holders of the restaurant that operated there, plus costs of dismantling and rebuilding...  It will now reopen as a restaurant with a new operator.  This I think was a waste of money, 11 million!!! Crikey.

Florence Hummerston kiosk (still in the finishing stages)

After the visit we wanted to have dinner, but the entry to the pop-up restaurants in the area had huge queues and we opted to go further up to the city centre to find a restaurant.     The city proved to be a bit emptier, everybody must have been at the opening...

There will be restaurants in the area, but they will only open at the end of February.

We returned home at 10,30 pm and it was still 35C, luckily there was a bit of a breeze...

I'll leave you with a picture taken in September 2014 of Elizabeth Quay under construction.
What a difference, and in my opinion I was pleasantly surprised at how good it all looks!

Sept 2014

Elizabeth Quay
The future Elizabeth Quay - expected to look like this when all the buildings are constructed

Wednesday 27 January 2016

Travelling with my overseas visitors - Beautiful southern beaches

From Albany to Walpole about 120km away there are dozens of beautiful beaches - this is the so called Rainbow Coast! 

Fifteen kilometers west of Denmark (direction Walpole) accessible from the South Coast Highway are the magical Greens Pool and Elephant Rocks beaches, which have been my favourites since I first travelled to the south coast of Western Australia.

Both beaches are sheltered by the rounded rock boulders and are side by side and ideal for snorkellers.
Steps to Greens Pool 
Giant rocks shaped like elephants at Elephant Rocks beach
You can either take the short walk around from Greens Pool to Elephant Rocks Pool, or otherwise walk over the rocky area. To access the beach at Elephant Rocks, you have to go down a flight of steps and then through a very narrow passage between two boulders and reach the calmest waters.

My Dad between the boulders that give access to Elephant Rocks Beach

Youngsters jumping from the rocks into the water at Elephant Rocks beach
A short drive away accessed via a bitumen road are Madfish Beach and Waterfall beach right next to each other.

Road leading to Madfish Beach and Waterfall beach
Barely visible at the end of the rocky formation on the photo above is a windfarm which was also visible from Ocean Beach in Denmark.
In front of Madfish Beach is Madfish Island, which is accessible in low tide, but it's apparently full of snakes! So a no go area!!
The waterfall at Waterfall beach runs into the sea, and apparently people use it to refresh themselves on hot days or just to wash away the salty water from their bodies after a swim.
All these beaches are surrounded by William Bay National park.

Madfish Beach from above
Madfish beach
Waterfall beach with the waterfall that runs into the sea

Just 30km from Walpole is Peaceful Bay on the Southern Ocean. During Spring it's a popular area due to the wildflowers.  With direct access to the beach is a  camping park where we camped the first time we went south.

Nearby is Conspicuous Cliff. It's accessed via a boardwalk and a small stairway down to the sand.
Climbing over 60 steps to the top, there's a wonderful cliff top lookout with fantastic views of the beach and river that flows into the sea. The climb is worthwhile, with various benches along the way, with various views, making the climb easier. My Dad is almost 83 and he happily climbed with me!

Conspicious Cliff - stairs down to the beach
My Dad at the top of Conspicuous cliff- views to one side of the beach
The little river running into the sea - view from the lookout
 I hope you enjoyed visiting the various beautiful beaches and hopefully I enticed you to visit our wonderful South West.

Monday 25 January 2016

Monday Mural - Yellow, Blue and Pink flowers

As I mentioned last Monday, there were more sections to this mural at the Esplanade Busport/train station in the city.

It's a very long and tall wall and there were 3 more panels of flowers - yellow, blue and a pink one a bit further away under the building making it more difficult to see well.

The area is restricted to the buses and their drivers, so I wasn't able to get close to photograph it. All painted by the very talented Leanne Bray.

To see other murals from around the world check Oakland Daily Photo.

The Red flower shown last week and the pink flower hardly visible under the bridge

Friday 22 January 2016

Travelling with my overseas visitors - Animal Farm in Denmark

Situated about 20km from Denmark on the corner of Scotsdale Road and McLeod Road, the Pentland Alpaca Stud - is obviously a popular destination. 
The entry price to the Animal Farm and Wildlife park was $14 for adults and $12 for pensioners which includes a bag of feed for the animals.
The farm also has a Craft Gallery and sells Alpaca garments. They are also Alpaca breeders as the name says and sell their animals.

There's set feeding times for some of the animals at 10am and 3pm and you can you can watch that.

Luckily for us there weren't many people around when we arrived, and as soon as we bought our tickets we were were handed an orphaned joey (baby kangaroo) to cuddle! Big smiles...

My Mom holding the joey

Outside some animals roamed around free and other were behind wire fences (probably not the best behaved ones...) but we were still able to pat and feed them.

My Dad patting a kangaroo

Me patting a koala
The couple of koalas they had there are Victorian koalas (from the State of Victoria), and live about 15 years. In Western Australia they aren't found in the wild. They eat eucalyptus leaves, which is very low in energy reason why they sleep up to 20 hours a day. They don't drink water either.

They also have alpacas and Llamas, which are originally from South America, but do very well in our WA climate, as well as camels, wolves, cows and horses, birds and a petting zoo with chickens, ducks, rabbits, goats, pigs and a few other animals which are the kid's delight!

Our friend feeding the Alpacas

My Dad feeding the greedy goats
The curious Camel
The Scottish Highland Cow
The shy Wolf
The Galah (cockatoo)
Various rabbits
Guinea Fowl
A very naughty and  hyperactive baby goat
This strange bird sat indoors. I originally thought it was a kookaburra, but Grace has informed me it's a Tawney owl.    

We spent a couple of hours here and it was thoroughly enjoyable and of course to be able to see and touch some of the Australian native animals like kangaroos and koalas was the highlight of my visitor's day!

Thursday 21 January 2016

Travelling with my overseas visitors - Albany

Due to the cold and rainy weather the Christmas pageant in Albany (on 5th December) was cancelled (so was Perth's for the same reason).

Despite the weather we decided to go to Albany for the day to visit a few things -  top of the list was the National Anzac Centre  which honours the Anzacs of the First World War. 
In 1914, over 41 thousand Australians and New Zealanders left Albany bound for Europe.

The Centre was opened in November 2014 which marked the centenary of the first convoy's departure from Albany's King George Sound. 

It's located in Mount Adelaide, within Heritage Park, which comprises of a 260 hectare parkland which includes Mount Adelaide.

My parents and friend thought the $24 entry fee was a bit steep so we didn't visit the museum.
Living in Australia I'm used to paying high prices for many things and obviously our incomes are a lot higher than in most European countries, but that sort of fee is very high for them, specially when they are retired!    

In front of the Anzac Centre there was some sort of parade going on so we stayed to watch until it started to rain heavily and we rushed back to the car.

We drove to the summit of Mount Clarence within the Heritage Park area.
The park has is a blend of cultural, historical and natural attractions can be explored by car or on foot and is access is free.

Start of the climb to Mount Clarence
Mount Clarence  -  near the summit (I counted the steps, can't remember now, but I think close to 100) is a 9 mt high bronze statue of an Australian soldier on a horse helping out a New Zealand soldier. The statue is a duplicate of one erected in Suez (Egypt) in the 1930's. From here you have 360 degree views over the city and the sea.

It's here that the Anzac Dawn service is celebrated on the 25th April every year, and the area has a capacity for 4000 people.

Padre White Lookout is a further climb from here (as seen at the back)

Next to it at the summit is the Padre White Lookout. 

At dawn on the 25th April 1932, Padre (military Chaplain) Ernest White led the parishioners from St John's Church to the summit of Mount Clarence, where many had gathered in 1914 to watch the troops depart. 

Padre White started the tradition of the Dawn Service on Anzac Day (25th April) and each year thousands of locals and visitors gather atop Mount Clarence in Albany looking out over King George Sound, for the dawn service commemorating the fallen.

As you can see from the photos the sky was grey and it was cold and windy...

Steps to Padre White Lookout and view of the King George Sound (inlet larger than a bay)

View of the city from the Padre White Lookout

Lest we Forget

We were cold and miserable and went in search of a restaurant. After a lovely lunch we drove around taking a couple more photos around the town.

The very modern Albany Entertainment centre 

Albany Town Hall built in 1888 in the Victorian architectural style
We came across this ship on land - it's a 1970's replica of the Brig Amity - a sailing ship that brought the first European settlers to Western Australia in the early 19th century.
It can be visited, but we didn't feel like leaving the warmth of our car...

Replica of the Brig Amity

It was still early, but everyone was raring to go back to a nice cottage and sit around a lovely fireplace, so I drove back the 54km to Denmark.