Saturday, June 30, 2018

June 30: QUOKKAS!!!...Oh, and Some Amazing Scenery Too

I’ve done it! I’ve checked my last Australian animal off my list! Yes, I have now seen many many adorable quokkas. 


How did I get to see so many of these cute marsupials? By taking the Rottnest Express to Rottnest Island!

Woo Hoo! Going to Rotto!

Cathie and I took the train into Perth to catch the ferry this morning (this was also my first time taking the train). We had also hired bikes when we booked our tickets.

Look at all those bikes!

We arrived about 10:15 on the island. We got our bikes, and Cathie grabbed a helmet from the crate (helmets are mandatory in Australia). I brought my helmet with me.

The bikes were 3 speed with belts (like Tilmann). You wouldn’t want to load them up with panniers or anything, but they are serviceable transportation.

We picked up a map at the Visitor Center, and planned our circumnavigation of Rottnest. The wind was blowing pretty good, but it was sunny. Our first quokka sighting was just after we started riding.

Cathie gave the quokka the leaf to eat.

We stopped at Pinky Beach. The scenery was quite spectacular.

If it was summer, the swimming would be nice.

We also got this cute little quokka to smile!

Okay, they naturally look like they are reason they are so popular.

We continued on to Geordie Bay. There is a general store and a cafe at Geordie Bay. We hadn’t been riding long, but we were ready for a snack (it had been awhile since breakfast). At the store and cafe there was this gate.

No quokkas

In the cafe...apparently, quokkas can’t read.

We had apple crumbles that were delicious. The quokkas kept waiting for a little nibble to drop. The shop workers kept shooing them out.

See the quokka NOT going out the door?

Back on the bikes, we continued on to Catherine Bay. Of course this was a must stop photo op since it’s Cathie’s Bay and all.

Come on Cathie! You are almost at the top!

The road was fairly hilly. The bikes could have had one easier gear (especially for those who don’t do much riding...Cathie). It was okay though. If it was too steep, Cathie just hopped off and walked. 

We pulled off at Stark Bay. Flat Will wanted to have a beach photo. 

Flat Will at Stark Bay

The road we were on came to an intersection. Turning right would take us out to Cathedral Rocks and Cape Vlamingh, but it was 7.4kms return. I asked Cathie if she wanted to go. She said we should go because I was only here once. I told her I didn’t want to kill her! Well, we went out, and it was so worth it!

We saw fur seals at Cathedral Rocks

And Flat Will got his photo taken with a quokka!

I call this...”Pig Rock”

Cape Vlamingh

How’s that for a gull photo?

Also saw this King Skink

We rode the ups and downs back to where we had turned, and continued on around the island. 

The Wadjemup Lighthouse

As we were thinking we might be running short on time, we took the shorter (but still hilly) way back to Thompson Bay (where we got off the ferry).

Come on, Cathie! We don’t want to miss the boat! (Not really, we had plenty of time)

Still going strong after almost 22kms (but getting a wee bit tired)!

Back at the Settlement (Thompson Bay) we had enough time to get something to eat. Believe it or not, there is a Subway on Rotto!

The local Subway quokka

I did get cookies at Subway, but mostly I got food at the bakery.

This is, apparently, a very well known bakery. Cathie said people come to Rotto just to go to the bakery.

Of course, there were numerous quokkas looking for nibbles.

They do tend to get underfoot...

When it was time, we made our way back over to the ferry dock. We met up with the couple, Frank and Gail, who we had met on the boat going over. They, too, had hired bikes and ridden around the island. 

Heading to the dock.

We gave our bikes to the ferry people, and boarded our boat. As we returned to Perth, the sun did it’s magic and gave us this amazing show.

It was a fabulous day on Rottnest! Cathie is so lucky to live in a place where you can take a boat and go take hundreds of photos of beautiful scenery, and...QUOKKAS!!!

Aren’t I just the cutest!!!

Friday, June 29, 2018

June 29: A Tower, a Bridge, and My Weight in Gold

We may have gotten a little bit of a late start, but it worked out beautifully. We started out by heading back to King’s Park where I had ridden the other day. I had wanted to go to the DNA Tower, but I couldn’t find it (there was a sign on the footpath, but not on the road...well, not on the road I went on). I don’t feel too bad because it still took us awhile to find it in the car. But find it we did!

Can you guess why it’s called the DNA Tower?

Marlene joined us today. Even though she is afraid of heights, she climbed the tower! 

Marlene making her way down.

We still had some time before our next stop, so we made our way over to the Treetop bridge. I took a photo of this bridge from the river when I rode into the city before.

See the bridge above the building?

Up on the bridge

From the bridge

The building below is the old Swan River Brewery

The Pioneer Women’s Memorial (on the way to/from the bridge)

Our next stop was the Perth Mint. 

They don’t mint currency there. They mint commemorative coins, and also did the medals for the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games.

The tour guide, Jared, talked about the discovery of gold in Kalgoolie.

Jared made sure to tell us this wasn’t the real gold.

Inside they had a 1ton gold coin that they had made. It’s the heaviest coin in the world.

The 1 ton gold coin.

Lucky us, we got to find out our weight in gold (I’m sure I’m worth mine). I came out to $4,217,045.00! I got a sticker that says so (so it must be true).

The final part of the tour was watching the tour guide make a gold bar. 

The Melting Room

They’ve been making and reselling the same bar of gold since 1993 (they make it 49 times a week)!

Olympic medals

I thought the Mint was very interesting. We found out the actual currency is made in Canberra.

After the Mint, we went to Claisebrook Cove. There are great views of the Optus Stadium where they play Footie. There is also a very cool pedestrian bridge (still under construction).

The stadium and the bridge

We walked around to a bar and had hot chocolate and coffee (it was getting pretty chilly out). The sun set and the lights came on.

My hot chocolate 

The triangles are a pedestrian bridge. The red is the stadium. The water is the cove which is part of the Swan River.

When we got back to the car, we decided to go back up to King’s Park to see the city all lit up.

The city from King’s Park

The War Memorial and the moon (notice how the shadows make the Memorial look like a face?)

Our last stop was to head over to the South side of the river for a view of the city from there.

City from across the river

Once again, we had a fun-filled day of sightseeing more than we planned! 

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

(Backup) June 27: “Do You Want to go for a Little Ride...”

...”I’m just taking Jared to Fremantle for his painting class.” Sure, I’ll go for a ride. So begins another unplanned, but full, day of sightseeing. 

After dropping Jared at his painting class, Cathie says we could just have a little tour around to things we haven’t seen in Freo yet. We tried to get up to this tower thing, but we decided maybe the public isn’t allowed up there. Okay...moving on. We drove by Arthur’s grandparents house in North Fremantle. One of the houses is still there.

Then Cathie decided we would go up to the Fremantle War Memorial. On the way up the driveway, I saw a flock of Rainbow Lorikeets. I got out and tried to sneak up on them for some photos. I came up behind a tree. This one poked his head around the tree.


We continued up to the Memorial. Arthur’s uncles are on the plaques of the Memorial.

The War Memorial

As we were walking back to the car, I could see an even larger flock of Rainbow Lorikeets. Again, I snuck up on them. Here’s more photos.

Aren’t they the coolest!!!

We left the Memorial, and Cathie says, “ Oh, we’ll just go have a look around at the prison.” As we are walking up to the entrance, I notice a tour about to commence. I say, “We could just catch up to that tour.” But, you have to have a ticket. The guy at the entrance asks if we would like to do the “Behind Bars” tour. Cathie and I look at each other, and decide we might as well, since we’re here. Cathie has a BOGO voucher, so we only have to pay for one ticket. The guy takes us to catch up to the tour. 

Entrance to the Fremantle Prison.

The prison was built by the convicts in the 1800s. It eventually became a regular prison for all criminals. It was in operation until as late as 1991. In 1992, it opened for tours.

Original cell block building (the sections were called Divisions) As you can see, it was a rainy gloomy day...perfect for a prison tour.

The red building was the women’s building. Most of the women were imprisoned for things such as drunkenness, prostitution, and loitering.

The Division 1 prison yard

Aboriginal art on the wall of the yard. It was a crime to write or paint or deface the walls in any manner, but when the prison was going to be shut down, they let the prisoners paint on the walls.

The gallows. Those on Death Row were hanged for their crimes.

A convict cell from the 1800s

A cell from the 1960s to 1991

The prisoner who did these paintings behaved much better when he was allowed to paint.

Aboriginal art

The New Division (this was where Death Row inmates were housed)

One of the gun towers (there were 6)

After the prison tour, we went to pick up Jared. We went past Clancy’s, a fish and chips restaurant. Cathie said they have great gluten free options, so we decided we would go there for dinner (as I’m finishing eating a spinach and cheese pie and an almond croissant I had bought worries, I can always eat). After getting Jared, we decided to give the food I had eaten some time to settle by going to the National Hotel (a Historical landmark) for some cider (plus, it was too early for dinner anyway). The hotel had burned many years ago. It has been refurbished, salvaging as much of the original building as possible.

The fish and chips were quite good (okay, I wasn’t terribly hungry, but like I said, I can always eat). So, our little ride to drop off Jared turned into 7 hours of sightseeing in Freo. This unplanned, fly by the seat of our pants, method of sightseeing works out pretty good!