Back to civilisation - well, Australia anyway ;)

Trip Start Nov 07, 2009
Trip End Jun 17, 2010

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Where I stayed
with Craig Stronach in Fremantle

Flag of Australia  , Western Australia,
Saturday, March 6, 2010

On our arrival in Perth from Bali we got greeted by very strong wind gusts, caused by the Fremantle Doctor. In fact, the gusts were so strong, that the moment our plane was to touch-down, we had to take off again and give it another go. As we had our seats in the first row we could hear the auto-pilot correcting non-stop on both landing attempts. Once the plane finally landed the release of tension of the passengers was considerably noticeable. 
With the wind a heat wave came along so we experienced the few days by over 40 degrees Celsius. And we thought it was hot in Asia... But thankfully it was dry and not Asian humidity.

Our friend Craig sacrificed some of his much needed sleep and came to pick us up from the airport to bring us to his crib in Fremantle where we based ourselves during our time in Western Australia. Olivia, Craig's oldest daughter, was the flower girl at our wedding and she and her little sister Catalina couldn't await to greet us after a short night of sleep. 
The first few days we took our time to catch up with Craig and to discover Perth and Fremantle. Perth is a very clean, airy and modern city with a very big park, built at the sea and nice beaches. There are only good attributes which can be connected to this town, but still it didn't do the trick for us, it seemed to be a bit sterile or lacking of soul. Reason might be that Perth is regarded as the most isolated city in the world... 
Craig organised a trip out to Rottnest Island for three days with him and the girls. Imagine Centre Park on an tropical island and you'll get Rottnest. It's a small island just about 30min off Fremantle on a catamaran, surrounded by beautiful turquoise waters and some nice white sandy beaches on one side and a rugged coast on the other. After seeing the waters we were keen to go for a swim, but after dipping our toes on the first beach we realised that Gili Air had spoilt us. Gone was the luke warm water and we were braving the cold of the Antarctic. Actually, it wasn't that bad - once in the water we got used it and spent half-an-hour in it before we warmed ourselves up on the hot beach. We also hired bikes with trailers (for the girls and Matt) and cycled around the island, which turned out to be harder than imagined as the wind seem constantly to change it's direction, mainly against us. Even downhill turned out to be a proper workout, which we actually quite enjoyed. We hadn't been moving too hard for a while, so exercise was rather welcoming. The most exciting for me and the girls was probably the inhabitants of Rottnest, the Quokkas. Quokkas look on a first glance like a big rat but then, all of a sudden they bounce away and you realise that they are actually just a really small species of kangaroos, even smaller than wallabies. And obviously very used to the tourists as they are very bold and hang-out at the local pub.
After Rottnest we hired a car for a few days and threw ourselves into driving as we wanted to see as much as possible of Western Australia in a rather short time. Western Australia is the biggest state of the country and there are many sights and they lie quite far apart from each other. We left Perth and went up North to see the Pinnacles, thousands of limestone pillars which rise mysteriously from the sand dunes. To be fair, we got actually more excited about seeing our first two wild (alive and not two dimensional on the side of the road!) kangaroos than about the pillars. But once the sun was setting the shadows and light was quite cool and Matt got a bit overexcited with his camera. Many photos went past the harsh eye of editor Gaby and I'm pleased to announce that we still can bore you with loads of photos of our trip but the Pinnacles aren't taking over 50% of it. 
One night camping near the Pinnacles and we were off through the bushland towards Wave Rock - which is what is says on the label: a rock which looks like a wave. But it's a rather impressing long (100m) and high (15m) rock. Obviously we had to throw ourselves into the best possible surfer position for the photo. Driving through Australia's bushland is an experience in itself, especially after such a dry summer. The bushes growing are knee hight and so dense that walking through them seems impossible as they are very course. Towards the Wave Rock we came past Australia's Wheat Belt and many big farms, whose water reservoirs were nearly exhausted. Every now and then we were pleasantly surprised by crossing an old Victorian town, like Toodyay, which kept it's pioneer charm and most of it's original old buildings from late 1800. 
Since we were meeting up with Craig and the girls again in Denmark, we were heading to the South coast and passed a lot of wineries, which are very tempting but since we were driving we couldn't really indulge in the wine too much. We had a lovely lunch though with an even lovelier glass of wine at The Wine & Truffle Co. and Matt was in cheesecake heaven after the dessert. Before Denmark we stayed a night in Pemberton and attempted to climb the Gloucester Tree, which is with its 61m the worlds highest treetop- and fire-lookout tree. 153 rungs were hammered into the tree and these days tourists can climb it unsupervised. Well, some climb it and some don't. Some guys chicken out after 5 rungs although they aren't scared of heights but their rational mind can't get over the fact that chicken wire around the tree won't protect them of falling between the rungs. So I had to master it all by myself to take some photos in all four direction to show that certain chicken the view you get on top of the tree...
In Denmark we enjoyed a couple more relaxing days, going to a cheese farm, a chocolate factory (which pretended to be Swiss) and a pet farm. I think Matt enjoyed it at least as much or even more than Olivia and Catalina to pet all animals there. From a koala to kangaroos and alpacas, chickens, guinea pigs and rabbits, goats and scottish highland cows and calfs. Our wish list of future pets just got bigger - and with it the size of the property needed (oh noooooo!).
By the time we gave back our car in Perth we had 2,500km under the belt in 5 days only, and we were happily heading to Kings Park to a Massive Attack (a Trip-Hop group from Bristol for those who don't know them) concert. Its just great experiencing an outdoor concert when it's 25 degrees Celsius at 10pm and rain doesn't even cross your mind once! We had a brilliant time at the concert, although it seemed a bit weird that this was classified and enforced as a seated event as this music just makes you want to dance!!! 
On our last day in Fremantle the town had one of the world's biggest cruise ships arriving, the Queen Mary 2 from Cunard. She is 2/3 of Sydney's Harbour Bridge lengths, longer then the Eiffel Tower and can have around 3,000 people on board. With a few hundred other spectators we arrived at 6:30am in the harbour to see her arriving. What an impressive moment! A ship, the size of a small town, glides soundless past the harbour entrance within minutes and she just towers over everything
For our last night in Western Australia we went with Craig to wave QM2 good-bye with another, this time 1000 or so, excited visitors, before we headed off to Fremantle's brewery "Little Creatures" for a few beers. 
We had a good taster of Western Australia, but know that there is much more to see. We didn't make it to Mia Monkey nor to Broome (sorry Georgina, but we'll definitely keep all your recommendations). Also, there is so much wine to taste around Margaret River, so we are sure we'll come back one day!
More exciting blog news from the East cost! G'day!
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Schmid Vreni und Max on

Hallo ihr beiden Weltenbummler
Einmal mehr vielen Dank für den interessanten Bericht aus Down Under mit den bombastischen Bildern. Deutlich festzustellen, dass die beiden herzigen girls seit eurem wedding recht gewachsen sind. ...Und was sehen wir da bei Gaby, sogar die legendäre "Simibrille" hat es ans Ende der Welt geschafft;-o) Habt ihr am Ende sie für diese horrende Summe ersteigert?
Lasst es euch weiterhin gutgehen und bleibt immer schon wachsam!
Alles Liebe aus dem (zurzeit)frühlingshaften Buochs.
Vreni & Max

colin eddolls on

really great blog enjoyed imensly while sunbathing/working in tenerife
ive got away from the asylam seekers / cats for a week
enjoy love dad x

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