I had planned our long weekend in Perth so Judy could meet my mate Tino, and us spending time exploring this beautiful part of Australia. The side bonus was that we took the opportunity to go to a game of Australian Football.
Since arriving in Australia Judy chose the Geelong Cats as her favourite professional Australian football team… My summation is that she likes them because they remind her of the New York Yankees.
Clearly, no accounting for taste!
It made sense to plan our trip around Geelong playing in Perth at the same time so she could go see them play.
The flight to Perth from Brisbane is 5.5 hours so not for the faint of heart for a three-day visit. It’s not so bad flying west as you enjoy the positive time change. (i.e., leave at 9:00 pm and arrive at 11:00 pm).
The tricky part is flying home on Sunday where you leave at 6:00 pm but arrive at 11:30 pm… It makes for a long day and even longer next day as you recover from the mild jet lag.
Monday was painful!
I booked us into the Aloft Perth which is equidistant between the airport and the city center. This sleek, stylish hotel is part of the Marriott chain, and given all of my business travel over the years I’m fortunate to get a few perks.
Room upgrades and free breakfasts are just a couple. The beauty of the Aloft is that parking is onsite, and it has a 24-hour gym.
Friday morning found us out, and on the road early, as I wanted to take Judy down to the Margaret River and explore a few places in the South West.
The 3.5-hour drive started with coal grey skies and intermittent rain squalls, and of course a road stop for “cawfee” as she says in her New York accent. Lol!!
We took a break to take a walk around the town of Margaret River and noted the large number of cafes, with lots of people enjoying morning chats, scones, and warm beverages. It had a great feel to it and a place I’d like to come back to and spend more time.
Next stop was Cape Leeuwin which is just another 59 kms drive south.
What makes this a fascinating spot, other than the enormous lighthouse is that this is where the Great Southern Ocean and the Indian Ocean collide. This is Australia’s most south westerly point.
As we stood on the viewing platform that overlooked the oceans it was blustery or as they’d say in Australia “it’s so windy it would blow a dog off a chain”. Within minutes the weather went from windy and sunny to leaden skies and pelting heavy rain, then back to sun again.
Such is the way of life in this remote and rocky point…
Those lighthouse keepers had a tough life!
Not only physically hard as they had to carry the oil to the top of the lighthouse every 30 minutes during the night, but the lamp oil buckets were heavy and weighed between 20 – 30 kgs each.
Not so bad if you’re on a flat surface, but remember they had to climb the stairs… all 176 steps in a constant rhythm of up and down each night to keep the lamp alight.
Effectively they survived on very little sleep as during the day there was also maintenance to take care of.
Heavy and endless work, little sleep and living in an isolated location…
Not sure it’s a job that I’d take on.
Compounding this is the fact that the lighthouses are often in exposed locations which means gale force winds for much of the year. Oi vey!
Unfortunately for us the Cape Leeuwin lighthouse is currently undergoing restoration work, so we were unable to make the climb to the top. Next time for sure!
Our next stop was north to Jewel Cave which is located in a large forest of native eucalyptus. This deep underground limestone cavern has been created over the last one million years by natural forces.
The one-hour tour takes you deep underground to a depth of 42 meters as you explore the many chambers, often having to duck your head and bend over double to to get through the connecting tunnels.
Likely not a spot for those of you who suffer from claustrophobia, but Mother nature at her very best in terms of the limestone formations.
It’s a definite must see on your visit to this region of Australia.
Last time I visited this beautiful part of Australia was in the depths of a hot summer.
The contrast is extreme in that during my last stay the weather was perfect (mid to high 30’s Celsius) and a cloud free sky for the entire week I was here, effectively baking hot!
However, our visit this past weekend was in the depths of winter, and as you might expect was cold and rainy all weekend.
Although in Perth and the South West you can fit all four seasons into a single day without any worries.
Stay tuned next week as we catch up with Tino and go to watch the game at Optus Stadium.