The End of Our Australian Adventure

After an amazing 12 months of travelling around Australia, sadly it had to come to an end. We started our adventure in Perth, from there we went up the west coast to Monkey Mia and down to Margaret River. We flew to Melbourne, did the Great Ocean road and travelled through to Adelaide and Port Lincoln. From there we drove to Sydney passing through Mildura and Canberra before embarking on a trip up the east coast stopping at Coffs Harbour, Byron Bay, Surfers Paradise, Brisbane, Noosa, Rainbow Beach, Hervey Bay, Fraser Island, 1770 Agnes Water, Rockahampton, Airlie Beach, Whitsunday Islands, Townsville, Magnetic Island and finishing in Cairns diving the Great Barrier Reef.

Now we are settling back to normal life in Birmingham, England and miss Australia in so many ways. Our next step is to find work and then plan some more exciting adventures.

Due to the amount of fun we were having our blog sort of fizzled out but we are hoping to reignite it and maybe even give it a makeover. Some content will be deleted and other bits shall be edited. On top of that hopefully they’ll be a lot of new additions. The blog will no longer become an update for friends and family but a form of help and advice for any people hoping to embark on an adventure similar to ours. We’ll point out the Dos and Don’ts of travelling and the mistakes we made. Reviews of travel agencies, hostels and more.

Let us know if you have any ideas for the blog? What would you like to know?

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Tourists see things, travellers experience them!

Perth to Monkey Mia: Day 2 – Kalbarri, Murchison Gorge, Shell Beach, Monkey Mia

It was an early start leaving the farm and a team effort to get everything packed onto the minibus. We said goodbye to the horses then off we set for Kalbarri National park. It was a beautiful sunny day and once we arrived at our destination we had views to match. A rocky landscape like nothing I’d ever seen before apart from on TV. We walked a rocky path to get to Natures Window a naturally made hole in a rock that frames the river. It’s an iconic attraction and was a great photo opportunity. Lindsay said “is this the window?” which made us all chuckle as it was as if she was sarcastically saying “is that it?” I couldn’t help myself from hanging from a few of the rocks to get some good photo’s. For some reason the film 127 hours came to mind. We all jumped back on the minibus to get a bit closer to Z-bend gorge. The walk was a bit more demanding, at times there was no actual path and a few uneven rocks to climb down but it was nothing too taxing. Nearing the river we met some abseiling guys and for $30 we could abseil down a 30 metre cliff face, which was pretty sweet. Most of the group got involved including Ash whilst those who didn’t took snaps. After that boost of adrenaline we chilled on the rocks by the river before climbing back up to enjoy some more views.

Back on the open road and our stomachs were howling at us like a pack of hungry wolves. Luckily we had some music to sing along with to distract us. My ipod was picked to be blasted out and the first song that came on was “whip it” by Devo. Everyone seemed to find it hilarious especially Antoine who said “this is so 80s”. We stopped at Billabong roadhouse for lunch. No BBQ today but there was plenty of food to make a decent sandwich to silence the wolves. Beetroot, sweet corn, ham, cheese, lettuce, tomato, carrot, tuna and more. Once again a group effort to get everything prepared and put away again.

Back into the oven we went… Ahem, I mean minibus. By this time it was pretty hot but once we got moving it became more bearable. We’d already seen a lot of wildlife whilst being on the road, a lot of roo’s live and dead. Suddenly Kelly, our tour guide slammed on the brakes, turned the minibus around, stopped and then jumped out. We hadn’t a clue what was happening and then we noticed she picked up a lizard. Somehow whilst probably driving about 100kph she spotted this well camouflaged lizard which turned out to be a thorny devil. It was great to see one up close and in the wild. We all took some photos then she carefully put it back.

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Shell beach was really cool, a beach of shells… self explanatory really. No fine sand just loads of tiny shells. There was no one else there and water was so clear and blue I couldn’t resist a quick dip. You could walk a fair bit out and the sea wouldn’t go any higher than your knees. We all got some great group photos of us jumping in the air whilst throwing a handful of shells. Thanks Kelly for the idea.

It was minibus time again like Adventure Time but without Jake the dog and Fin the human. Actually nothing like Adventure Time apart from the fact it was an adventure. More tunes from my iPod followed, one in particular was Heroes by David Bowie. We were excited to see dolphins at Monkey Mia and the lyric “like dolphins can swim” became a catch phrase, us cool kids on the back row sung the whole song. We arrived at Monkey Mia just as the sun was setting. Straight away we saw something in the sea…Dolphins! As if! Wild bottle nosed dolphins just like that, at least 3 of them swimming no more than 10 metres away. It was amazing and to top it off the beach was beautiful.

We all unloaded our gear at the hostel and enjoyed a BBQ. Steak was the dish and I enjoyed it all the more washing it down with a cold beer. That night a few of us chilled on the beach, the sky was so clear you could see the milky way! We sat there star gazing sipping back a few beers it really was a beautiful night. Monkey Mia had already got a firm hold on me with two hands and I didn’t want to leave.

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Exhibitions: Mekel Fashion Illustration & Beyond The Pale Rock Posters

Mekel: Perths Fashion Week @ Tu, Northbridge

30th August-12th Sept

Found out that one of the illustrators I follow on instagram, Mekel aka Kelly Coates, was having an exhibition in Perth to celebrate Perth’s fashion week. I was tempted to go check out the opening night but decided on viewing her work minus the big crowd.

It was all based in a boutique store called Tu (French for you/yourself & Mandarin for painting/artform). The store itself is great, selling unique fashions and cute accessories that if I had the money I would buy. And out the back past the exhibition is a tiny cafe called Tea for Tu, which sells some nice food and coffee at a good price. These guys took part in the Northbridge Makeshift activity day (we shall post pics and a post about the Makeshift day).

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The exhibition was small but the work amazingly beautiful! Her style, strong with clean lines and amazing washes of water colours bursting out of the paper. I really like the positioning and quality of her pieces and would love to have one of these up in my home.

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The photos I took were not so great but I shall put them up to show you her work, but I would recommend either checking out her work online Mekel Illustration or follow her on instagram @mekel_illustration. Little did I know until after writing this blog that Kelly Coates has done artwork for a number of big branded companies, this is very impressive. Her clientele, to name but a few are: American Express, Cosmopolitan & Betts

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Anarchy Rock & Ink Posters, Beyond the Pale @ Fremantle Arts Centre

Sat 27th July-15th Sept

Beyond the pale was formed in 1996 by John Harris, an established group of Australian (and one American) artists,  who have since created artwork for some of the worlds biggest bands including: Kiss, The Rolling Stones, Queens of The Stoneage and Kings of Leon.

The artwork taking influence from the 1960s to the rebellious careful punk approach. Artists in this exhibition include: Rhys Cooper, Pat Fox, Daymon Greulich, Chris Grosz, Vance Kelly (USA), Ian McCausland, Craig Phillips, Graeme Webber, Joe Whyte and mine and Seans favourite, Ken Taylor.

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We took as many photos as we could take to show everyone what great work these guys created over the years for some iconic bands. Ken Taylor has a great design style and his imagination is on fire. I especially liked the Eagles of Death Metal, The Black Keys and Kings of Leon posters.

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Some great work and a great day for me and Sean. If you want to check them out and buy yourself some great prints click this link–> Beyond The Pale and why not check out more exhibitions at Fremantle Arts Centre

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Also at the Fremantle Arts Centre that day was a collaboration from Black Cat/Gato Negro, artists, anarchists and activists from 1978. There work very aggressive and definitely makes a statement for example one of the posters against abortion depicted a stick drawing of a lady with a coat hanger between her legs and the words ‘This is the enemy’.

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That was about all we could handle and so on we went to Little Creatures for a pint.

Out and about in Perth

Been a while since we last posted but me and Ash are both well and still having plenty of fun. Only 1 month to go until we leave Perth and head for Melbourne. Before we leave Perth there are still a few places we want to visit such as Rottnest island, Margaret river and Exmouth to name a few.

So what have we been up to since our last post?
Been out and about enjoying the sun although it has been a bit wet the past few days. It is winter here!
We’ve been to Fremantle yet again. Fremantle is probably my favourite place in Perth. We went to a few art exhibitions which Ash is currently writing about so watch this space.
We jumped on the train to Rockingham for the first time with a stroll along the foreshore. Nothing beats eating fish and chips looking out to sea.
When the sun came out me and Ash had a beautiful picnic in Kings Park enjoying the views. I also got a chance to try out my new camera lens and got a couple of cool close up shots which I will upload in a post soon.
On the weekend we went to Perth upmarket at Winthrop Hall. A great little market that happens every 3 months with plenty of quirky handmade goods and food stalls – tasty mini pies!

We have a few posts currently in the pipe line:

  • Ash’s Art post
  • Australian Tattoo Exhibition
  • Camera and close-up picture post
  • New Recipe post
  • Graffiti around Perth

So stay tuned! I’m going to stuff my face with brownies now and catch up with Dexter and Breaking Bad as it’s raining very heavily outside. Tonight we are off out into Northbridge with our housemates to eat WAFFLES!  It’s a hard life 🙂

 

Cottesloe Beach and suburb fun in Northbridge and Subiaco

Oh the joys of WiFi. Being able to write this whilst sitting outside enjoying the sun.
More fun has been had traveling around Perth’s suburbs. We went to Northbridge again for a little wonder. Ate at Nandos and visited the WA museum (free entry). Enjoyed looking at the dinosaur exhibit and seeing various animals some stuffed, some in resin and some in jars.
Subiaco is another suburb we paid a visit. It was coffee central full of little coffee shops.
It wasn’t the warmest of days so we went to ace cinema which on a Tuesday is $10 (in Australia Tuesday is the cheap day to go cinema). We saw Brad Pitts World War Z. Overall it was an enjoyable film with some great zombie moments. the end however was a little disappointing. Glad we didn’t watch it in 3D. That evening we ate at Grill’d chain restaurant specialising in burgers. Which was great. I had a wild West burger whilst Ash had a bean burger. Very tasty and would go to again.
Cottesloe beach!!!
We had great weather on the weekend it was about 23°C the beach was a short walk from Cottesloe station. Blue skies, golden sands and clear blue sea. We took our shoes off straight away and walked along the beach. Ash picked a few shells up on the way and we spotted a jellyfish and the sand that the sea stole back with its tide. Nobody was in the sea apart from a small group of surfers that looked like they were having a lesson.
As our stomachs started grunting we went in search for food. We found a quaint little restaurant called Barchetta. We were given a great table outside overlooking the beach. Our meals cost us about $30 each but the food was really nice and felt we deserved a treat. I had the kangaroo Bolognese and Ash had seafood pizza washed down with a bottle of western Australia red wine.
After filling up we walked further up the coast and cuddled up on a bench just in time to watch the sunset.

Week 1: Perth-Freo-Golden Coast

Perth
The first place we visited was the city of Perth. We caught the train, which was easy enough although it did seem expensive. Getting off the train we walked through the city towards the bell tower which I read earlier that morning was worth a look at. As much as I liked the buildings unique look, it was nothing to shout home about. It is said that the bells are the only royal bells to have left England. You can pay $14 to enter the tower which we decided against and thought a short walk to kings park would result in a better view of the city without the price tag.
Kings park was a great little walk, we just wished we had brought a picnic to enjoy. Considering it’s now meant to be winter with highs of 19°C we were both pleasantly warm.
When we returned into the city we looked for a bite to eat and couldn’t believe the price of things such as the average price of a baguette was $8 (£5). With little knowledge of good places to eat we ended up having our first lunch at McDonald’s purely because for the same price of one baguette we were able to buy two cheeseburgers fries and a drink to satisfy us until later that evening.

Fremantle (Freo)
First thoughts of Freo were positive. We walked down the cappuccino strip full of old hip looking buildings with balcony’s. Freo seems to be the city of show offs. Car wise at least. I kept noticing a lot of people cruising around in hot rods, American muscle, and classic cars. Our first stop was breakfast at San Churros. Heaven for any chocolate lover. With so much to choose from such as a chocolate platter I decided to go for Spanish hot chocolate with churros and chocolate dip. Would highly recommend but next time I wouldn’t have both at the same time, so early in the morning. Talk about chocolate overload!!!
There is always something happening in Freo – so I have heard. The day we went there was a bike show on the streets. With plenty of classic motorbikes to look at Harley Davidson, Norton, BSA, Triumph to name a few even an old Morgan 3-wheeled car.
We carried on walking through the streets seeing plenty of street performers, and had nose at the markets. We found a British sweet shop selling all sorts of sugared wonderment. Including Terry’s chocolate orange $9 (£6) a pop. I should have just filled my suitcase full of chocolate to sell over here!
Lunchtime we went to the famous Cicerellos by the harbour. I had some amazing fresh battered scallops that set me back $12 (£8) for five. I winced at the price but my taste buds were having a rave.
We arrived at the round prison just in time to see and be deafened by the canon that fires at 1pm everyday. It was only a small prison but interesting seeing how prisoners lived. Ash was going to stand in the stocks but was advised not to by a member of staff who said you might get poked by a few unfriendly spirits.
Before leaving Freo we got to take our first steps on Aussie sand and walked along the beach taking in the sea air.

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My cousin took us to Aquarium of Western Australia AQWA up in Hillarys. On the way me and Ash saw our first Black Swan through the window of the car. Admission to AQWA was $29 (£18) similar in price to Sea Life centres back in the UK. Although I felt you got more for your money here. There was plenty to see and managed to take some good shots. They also do a dive with the sharks experience which we are very tempted by.

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My fave photo of the day

On the way home we stopped of at Scarborough beach for a great view of the sun setting into the Ocean. It was a great photo opportunity.

WA bank holiday
Monday was a bank holiday and what better way to spend a bank holiday than having our first Aussie BBQ. We went to Sir James Mitchell park just south of the Swan river with family. It was a lovely day with great company with a nice view of Perth cityscape. The park had brick gas-powered BBQs that were free to use. We had to wait a short while for one to become vacant but it was worth it. We’d brought sausages and chicken and within a few minutes were all happily chewing away. It’s a shame there’s nothing like this back at home in England for those days when the weather is actually nice. But if there was they’d probably be all dirty or broke and you’d probably have to pay for the privilege of using them. I also got to kick my first Australian football (not very well) and showed my lack of skill playing cricket.

Australian films we watched this week:

Kenny – 6/10 a mockumentary film about an Australian who maintains and provides portaloos. Love the way he called toilet paper “poo tickets”  [ASH tip: don’t watch Kenny while eating, totally off-putting!]

The Sapphires – 7/10 based on a true story about three Aboriginal girls leaving behind family and friends to start a music career in Vietnam during the war. A feel good comedy starring Chris O’Dowd from the IT Crowd.

Still no sight of any spiders, snakes or kangaroos. [Ash “yay!”]

LINKS:

Fremantle roundhouse http://www.fremantleroundhouse.com.au/index.html

San Churro http://www.sanchurro.com.au/

Cicerellos http://www.cicerellos.com.au/