I'll end this post with fireworks, but sadly the photos won't be of today's Australia Day celebrations. Due to a small plane accident in the Swan River in front of thousands of people enjoying the public holiday and waiting for the fireworks in the evening, the event was cancelled due to the death of the pilot and passenger. A very sad event. RIP * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * FREMANTLE & Coogee Beach In the last days of 2016, we took the visiting family to Fremantle - enjoyed a beer at "Little Creatures", the iconic Fremantle brewery, a sunset swim at Coogee beach (near Fremantle).
Coogee Beach, is one of the beaches with a shark protection area, but I was surprised to see many people were actually swimming outside of that area, obviously not afraid of sharks!
Top: Little Creatures Brewery (1,2,3) Outside another restaurant (4). Bottom: the fishermen memorial statues, the harbour, view from Cicerellos restaurant over the fishing boats, yellow statue outside Cicerellos restaurant.
A Sunset swim at Coogee Beach
PINNAROOO CEMETERY I also took the family to Pinnaroo Cemetery - you can read my 2014 post about it. It's a huge park in the northern suburbs, where there are no headstones or monuments to mark the graves, just bronze memorial plaques. It's also a popular place to see kangaroos! This time we saw a lot of females with their joeys.
Plaques and plastic flowers around the lake, Christmas tinsel around the trees, and Kangaroos at Pinnaroo Cemetery
New Year's Eve was spent at the Portuguese Club dinner and dance event. The food and company was nice, the music was a bit of a let down, but we still managed to dance.
NEW YEAR'S DAY by the river & FIREWORKS show
On the 1st of January we were invited to spend the day with some friends who live by the Canning River (an affluent of the bigger Swan River).
We love going there, it's very relaxing, and we get to feed the ducks and black swans that come around. Our friends got them used to being fed, he's even bought special food for them and when he calls them they all come running...well, swimming.
We also took out the canoes into the river and swam in their beautiful pool.
A day well spent in good company!
Top L to R: Feeding the swans, swimming in the pool, me in a canoe
Bottom L to R: My daughter takes off in a canoe near the swans, a Heron in a nest w/little ones, a cheeky duck jumps on the pillows.
Lots of black swan awaiting their feed at the jetty in our friend's house
And look at the tiny duckling following the Mother!
When we left our friend's house late afternoon, on the way to our house, we drove to the Shelley Foreshore to see the New Year's fireworks celebrations put on by our council of Canning. Just 15 minutes, but it's always exciting for me to watch beautiful fireworks.
And that was how we spent the end of 2016 and the beginning of 2017.
Having visiting family meant I had to show them around the city. It was my brother in law's first visit to Perth, so it was all new to him, and even though my daughter and son in law have been to Perth quite a few times, there were a few new things to show them, such as: Elizabeth Quay, Perth Arena, street art...
PERTH CITY - Buildings & statues
Top from L to R: St George's Cathedral, Perth City Library, mix of old and new, Bottom from L to R: Supreme Court & gardens, Escalon (statue) and Queens Gardens.
They all loved Elizabeth Quay and my son in law whose favourite city is Sydney, thought Perth had now gone up in his ranking! I also took them to the rear of the Forrest building in St. George's Terrace in the city centre, which I'm sure is overlooked by many tourists. Behind is a lovely garden with ponds and statues as well as a replica of Alexander Forrest's residence, which had originally stood on this site, and was demolished in 1981. The brick house is home to a pub - Rigby's Bar & Grill.
Behind Forrest buildings - the replica of Alexander Forrest's house, gardens, ponds and statues
Perth's newest statues -(first two) : in the Kings Square precinct near Perth Arena, (last two) : at Elizabeth Quay
Some of Perth's Christmas decoration - I loved the mirror boxes with black swan shaped ribbons
Sometime in the afternoon my husband called me to say that Perth Arena would be opening it's doors to Roger Federer's first training session for the Hopman Cup.
We weren't too far away so we rushed there and were amazed at the huge crowd waiting to go in.
My brother in law plays tennis and is a big fan of Roger Federer so he was super excited!
With the exception of myself the whole family would then go and watch a match on the 2nd January, but unfortunately due to some booking glitch it wasn't Roger Federer.
Roger Federer at the Perth Arena training session on 29th December 2016
After the tennis and having walked about 11km during the whole day it was time to return home.
My son and daugher in law (and baby) joined us for a fancy French style dinner which was prepared by my daughter and son in law (who is French).
DINNER with the FAMILY
Here you can see the Entree which consisted of beetroot, radish, pine nuts, avocado, salmon, cream cheese, and the little tumbler has prawn and kiwi. Strange combinations I know, but it all tasted wonderful.
The two desserts were a tumbler with chocolate & pistachio cream (left over from the macaroon filling) and a strawberry sprinkled with cinnamon, and 4 home made macaroons filled with chocolate, pistachio and lemon cream.
We couldn't have asked for a better family dinner!!
Hope you enjoyed the tour of Perth, what did you like most?
This mural in the new Kings Square precinct in Wellington street, is just down the road from the Perth Entertainment Centre, and was painted in April 2016. I took these photos in November when looking for a couple of the cows in the area during the Perth Cow Parade. The mural is 20mt long and 2,4mt high and is a "paint by numbers" mural by Canadian born, Perth resident Mel McVee AKA Melski in collaboration with youngsters. For other murals from around the world please check this link:
Check my other colourful murals by Melski: https://sami-colourfulworld.blogspot.com.au/2015/08/monday-murals-old-world-trams.html https://sami-colourfulworld.blogspot.com.au/2015/09/another-mural-in-suburb-of-mount-lawley.html
Christmas was hardly done with and we were packed and ready to go again! On the 27th December we set off for an overnight visit to Wave Rock in Hyden, 340km east of Perth. Travelling via the Brookton highway, in what is known as the Wheatbelt area, we made a couple of coffee stops before arriving in the town of Corrigin. CORRIGIN: Unique to Corrigin is the Dog Cemetery which was established in 1974 as a tribute to Man's best friend. Marked by a giant dog statue, the cemetery is the final resting place for over 200 beloved pets.
Corrigin Dog Cemetery
HYDEN & WAVE ROCK: It was late afternoon when we arrived in Hyden (110km from Corrigin), checked in at the Caravan park and were then directed to our cottage across the road in the "Wave Rock Resort". The resort consists of 14 two bedroom cottages situated on the surrounds of Lake Magic. After unpacking we were just in time to head to the lake just behind our cottage and watch the spectacular sunset. Then it was time to start the barbecue and have dinner.
L to R: Some of the Resort houses, Sunset at Lake Magic, the view of Lake Magic from the enclosed outdoor area, sunset.
The following day after breakfast we packed our car again, and headed to the big rock which is just behind the Caravan park. Wave Rock is a natural rock formation shaped like an ocean wave. It is 14mt high and 110mt long, forming to the north of a hill known as Hyden Rock. In 1964 Wave Rock attracted international attention when a photograph was published in a New York newspaper. It later got printed in National Geographic and the rest is history! The sleepy village that an Australian newspaper back in 1999 implied that was expected to die -"the bank opens once a week, no police or high school" - is very much alive nowadays and living off the tourism industry thanks to it's enterprising locals.
Wave Rock - from L to R: my brother in law, husband, daughter and son in law
We walked all the way to the end of the wave and at the back there is a staircase next to the dam that supplies water to the town of Hyden and we climbed to the top of the wave.
We walked the whole length coming across other interesting rock formations and descended on the opposite side where we joined a walking trail to Hippo's Yawn.
My daughter and I next to an interesting rock
On top of Wave Rock
A short walk away was Hippo's Yawn, another interesting rock. We again sat under it and took some photos. It does look a hippo open mouth doesn't it?
We walked back to the car parked near the Caravan park, and drove to another rock formation 18km away.
Not as well known as Wave Rock, this granite rock is filled with ancient Aboriginal cave paintings - around 450 drawings of mainly hands and depictions of animals caught for food.
This Aboriginal art is thought to be around 3.000 years old, or some sources say over 30.000!! There's also an Aboriginal legend attached to this cave, a gruesome one!
We then returned to the area across the camping place to go and visit the Wildlife Park.
Sadly, we were very disappointed with this visit, as the only animals we saw were 3 or 4 kangaroos, a koala, a camel and lots of birds. It is a private park and I know they need the entry money to care for the animals, but either the animals were hiding or they just weren't there. It all looked very desolate and rundown and my husband and son in law actually walked out before they even went around the whole park!
So I won't even post photos here.
On our way out of the town of Hyden we stopped to buy water for our trip and while my husband went into the shop I crossed the road to photograp the dozens of interesting tin sculptures that depict the history of the town - stories of the first residents and their names - Russ and his bus, John Hyde and his horses, the first Italians - Carolina and Marco, etc, etc.
All these pioneers helped make Hyden survive and thrive.
And what a nice way to honour those first residents!
Hyden's first residents are honoured with tin statues that tell their stories
And it was time to return to Perth - but on the way back we made a little detour so that I could see the Tin Horse Highway in Kulin.
What started as a campaign to promote the annual Kulin Bush Races (horse races) held in October every year, has become a fun self-drive alternative route to Wave Rock with lots of quirky and bright tin creations along the road.
The road and the art goes on for many kilometres, but after stopping for about 15 pictures my husband thought it was time to get back on our way...
Still I managed to get a good selection of what makes Kulin famous!
Some of the quirky statues on the Tin Horse highway in Kulin
What do you think? Could your little town do with some creative road side art to attract tourists?
I leave you with two YMoutube videos about Kulin and it's surrounds and how the Tin Horse highway came about. The first one is quite good with a catchy song.
We got back home from our trip down South on the 22nd December, just in time to start preparing our Christmas Eve dinner and Christmas lunch, as were hosting about 20 people at each event. This year I had lots of helpers - my daughter had the task of wrapping presents to put under the tree and she helped make desserts. The men helped with setting the tables outdoor, putting up some lights on the patio and they too helped in the kitchen. Plus our friends always contribute with food and drinks which is wonderful as I don't have to stand for hours in the kitchen making everything. On both occasions we sat around the table for hours enjoying each other's company and eating far too much...I talk for myself, but I'm sure everyone feels we eat too much on these occasions!
Our Christmas tree with the presents
Our serving table with salad, lamb stew, cod fish in cream sauce, ham and potato salad
Table with Desserts - the cold desserts were added later on, but I forgot to take a photo
My baby grandson, at just 4 weeks attened his first Christmas suitable dressed for the occasion.
On Boxing day, 26th December, we went to Mandurah (a suburb about 70km south of Perth) for lunch with friends. Some of the crowd braved a jump into the canal bordering their newly built home, others swam in the pool.
The brave souls who jumped in the cold canal waters
Before leaving we drove around Mandurah to show the family this picturesque suburb - a lot of houses and apartments are built around man-made canals - The Venice of Perth.
We stopped for coffee in the town centre but the weather had suddenly turned windy and gray and we returned home.
The day after my brother in law and son in law arrived from Europe we set off on our 4 day road trip to the South West region of Western Australia. My daughter had already arrived the week before. YALLINGUP: Situated about 250km from Perth, Yallingup (Place of love) was close enough to Perth not to involve too long a car trip and also happens to be one of the prettiest areas of Western Australia and the visiting family were happy to get to know it.
From L to R: Approaching Yallingup with houses on the hill, the beach, surfboard statues, jeans used as planters on a balcony, another beach in Yallingup, surfer statue.
We stayed in a country cottage just outside Yallingup - quiet, relaxing and with birds and kangaroos visiting the open garden every day, it was idyllic.
From L to R: The cottage front and back (with family), the bushy area, the main bedroom, a visiting Kangaroo and our car packed to return home.
Located just 13km from the town of Dunsborough (10km north of Yallingup), you can find
the Cape Naturaliste Lighthouse on the Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park.
Built in 1903, it is surrounded by the Indian Ocean on 3 sides.
There are paid guided tours to the lighthouse, departing every 30min, but we chose not to go up and just walked around the base of the lighthouse. There's also a free museum with the maritime history of the area and a coffee shop.
Even if you don't go up, as the Cape is 100mt above sea level, you have panoramic views over the Indian Ocean.
During September to December you might be lucky and spot the migratory whales swimming past.
The Cape to Cape 135km hiking trail starts here and ends further south at the Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse in Augusta. The entire trail can take 5 to 7 days to complete.
From L to R: Cape Naturaliste Lighthouse, flowers in the area, the family
One of the beaches in the area is the iconic CANAL ROCKS, with an various granite rocks
forming a canal. There's a wooden bridge across to another granite rock on the
other side of the first canal.
In stormy weather the waves crash again the rocks and churn through the canals making for
an amazing spectacle...just don't go swimming then! I saw some youngsters jumping off the bridge rails into the water and then swimming with the current. It seemed like fun, not that I would be that brave!
From L to R: the bridge at Canal Rocks (1 & 2), Waves again the rocks, fishing boat, a swimmer dives into the sea from the bridge, my daughter reading on a rock.
On the eastern side of the road leading from Dunsborough to the Cape Naturaliste lighthouse, we visited SHELLEY COVE, at the end of Bunker Bay road (first 3 pics on next photo). It's a secluded beach with lots of granite rocks on the sand and at sea, and a limestone cliff on one side. The water looked very calm, but with so many rocks at sea could make for dangerous swimming, the sand is made of pebbles and shells. There were some inviting picnic tables under shady trees. Further down the main road to the western side we visited SUGARLOAF ROCK at the end of Sugarloaf Road. In the middle of the ocean stands a rock which I presume was named after Sugarloaf in Rio de Janeiro as it has a similar shape. It's home to the Red tailed tropic bird, that nest on the rock.
Back on the main road and we took Eagle Bay Road on the Eastern side where we decided to stop at EAGLE BAY BEACH for a swim and a snack. The beach was almost empty and it had the most amazing calm turquoise waters. Although the water was too cold for me the rest of the family went for a dip.
From L to Right - top: Shelley Cove (1, 2 & 3), Sugarloaf Rock. From L to Right - bottom: Eagle Bay (1 & 2), Meelup (1 & 2)
Further south on the western coast, closer to the town of Margaret River and about 30km from Yallingup, we also visited the beaches of Gracetown and Prevelly.
GRACETOWN: This pretty small beach town with about 150 houses, has seen a few tragedies - in 1996, nine people who were sheltering from the rain beneath a stone overhead died when it collapsed over them. I had recently read an article about the commemoration of the 20th anniversary of this tragedy and was able to see the memorial erected in their honour. In 2004, 2010 and 2013 three surfers also died due to great white shark attacks.
Top: Gracetown memorial to the 9 victims of the 1996 tragedy. Bottom: Gracetown houses perched on the hill and beach below.
This whole southern area has lots of wineries, breweries and gourmet products like cheeses, chocolates, ice-creams, nougat, fudge, jams, olive oils, etc. We stopped at a few places to have a taste and buy a few things to bring home, but of course being gourmet they are usually expensive (at least I thought so). We again visited our favourite winery - Laurance's and bought some wine. I had previously mentioned this winery and it's beautiful rose garden, statues and bathrooms.
COWARAMUP: On the interior, just north of Margaret River is the small cow-themed town of Cowaramup. The day we visited it was very hot, and apart from going from cow to cow taking photos - being December they were mostly dressed in their Christmas best - we bought "Two fat cows" ice-cream to cool down. Don't you love the name?
BUSSELTON: On our return home we stopped in Busselton, famous for it's 2km long jetty. At the end of the jetty is an underwater observatory, which I visited a few years ago. The main beach had some fun event going on, and we just sat in one of the beach coffee shops and had something to eat and drink before getting back on the road. With close to 250 photos taken during the 4 day visit, I had trouble choosing the best photos, hence the overload of picture collages, so you get an idea of what we did and saw during this trip.
Hope you enjoyed the ride, even though you didn't have to leave your chair and swat away the hundreds of flies we had to contend with!
Map of Southwest WA) - From Busselton (north east) to Prevelly (southwest) - places we visited are marked in purple with the road traveled in dark blue. (copy of map from Geographe bay tourism)