This year, we decided to spend our holiday season and ring in the New Year in Australia. It’s only a quick, and very cheap flight from Bali and we had to duck out for a visa run anyway. Our original plan was to do RV relocations for a month, but as the flight date got closer and it was looking like we didn’t have a suitable first relocation lined up, we decided to just settle in Perth for the month.
Settling in Perth
We finally settled on an apartment in Subiaco, just on the Western edge of the city. It was nice, but wow, Perth rentals are expensive! We complain about rental prices back home as if we’re the most hard done by in the world, but the cheapest one bedroom we could find in a decent location in Perth, was almost much as we charge for our 3 bedroom house back home!
Still it was nice to have a place to call home. We were able to shop for familiar groceries, drink fresh milk, cook our favorite meals, and even find familiar snacks like salt and vinegar chips.
One thing, as a Canadian, I can’t help but mention is the phone plans. The excuse we get in Canada for such high prices is the large, spread out area. I expected the same in Australia, because if anyone’s more spread out than us in Canada it’s got to be Australia, right? Yet we were able to get a prepaid SIM card with 22GB of high speed data, free unlimited spotify streaming, unlimited anytime calls for anywhere in Australia and a list of other countries like China, plus 20$ credit to call places like Canada at dirt cheap rates… for $55! We get so ripped off in Canada.
Australia Then and Now
I did a year long backpacking trip in Australia 15 years ago, although never made it to Perth. I always said I’d like to move to Australia permanently one day, and was reminded why during this trip. It’s such an perfect country in so many ways. The weather is great… nice and hot but not too humid. They have the best fresh and salt water swimming. Free public BBQs everywhere. And other than the accent, the day-to-day life feels just like home on a nice summer day.
It’s funny though how it seems to have not changed one bit since last time I was here. When I turned on the TV, the first 3 channels were playing Cricket, some news story about Kylie Minogue, and the Season Premier of Home and Away. On the radio and walking around town you hear songs like “Hero” by Enrique Iglesias and “Don’t want to miss a thing” by Aerosmith. There are hippie buskers playing digeridoo techno, and everywhere you look there is the biggest somethingorother in the Southern Hemiphere. I sometimes almost forgot which trip I was on.
Christmas in Perth
I was really worried about Christmas this year. I was feeling guilty about having Rae out on the road for 2 Christmas’ in a row. So we kind of went all out when the real Christmas came.
We got a tree decorated, stockings hung by the fireplace, and Rae did the milk and cookies and carrots thing. Christmas eve was the typical LONG day of anticipation. We went to see the Nightmare Before Christmas at a rooftop outdoor cinema, and Rae watched the sky for Rudolf on the walk home. We made sure that there was a tonne of unwrapping to do when the morning finally came. The traditional breakfast was prepared, and we even had a Christmas dinner. Of course, we also did the “Santa Hats on the Beach” thing, but all in all it was a familiar and happy Christmas day.
New Years in Aus
New Years eve was jam packed. We spent the day out at the waterfalls, swimming and picnicking (and crashing our rental car, but we try not to talk much about that part). Then we had a great evening relaxing on the grass in Mandura (just south of Perth) where we caught the 8pm fireworks display over the bay. Then we headed back up to Perth and caught the midnight fireworks over the Swan River from Kings Park. Kings Park is up on a hill with breathtaking views of the city and river. It was a great display with an unbeatable backdrop… something that I wont soon forget.
One thing we did left too late was try the public BBQs. Most parks come standard with them, and they are always sparkling clean and ready to use for anyone how knows how to press and hold a button for a few seconds. I remembered them from my last visit, and kept meaning to go do one but somehow we didn’t get to it until our last week. Once we did though, we were addicted. I think we did 4 BBQs and 4 different parks in 6 days, including the final hot dog BBQ we were determined to squeeze in only hours before our flight, carrying all our bags with us.
Touring Western Australia
Outside of the actual holidays, we managed to pack in quite a bit of touring. We rented a car for a week, and used it pretty much every day to venture out of the city to various parks and beaches. We went up and saw the Pinnacles Desert, swam at about 5 or 6 different beaches with the bluest water I’ve ever seen, and 3 different fresh water swimming holes. We trekked through 4 different national parks, walked to the end of the “Southern Hemisphere’s longest jetty,” visited an Australian wildlife reserve, and swam with a pod of friendly stingrays. I would have liked to make it up to the Northern part of Western Australia, but it was a bit too far.
Without the car, we were still able to keep things interesting. The downtown area was only a short (free) bus ride away, and was generally where we found ourselves hanging out. I’d usually head to the library to work for until around 2pm, then we’d meet up and explore the various city parks and walking up and down the pedestrian streets. We took the train down to Fremantle a couple times, tried out a few of the little amusement parks like the “biggest bouncy castle adventure playground in the Southern Hemisphere” and the a pop-up waterpark in with the “steepest inflatable waterslide in the southern hemisphere” and the Perth zoo. One of the highlights for Rae was the outdoor cinema showing of Trolls.
Goodbye Perth, We’ll Miss You!
On the day before leaving Perth, we caught ourselves complaining that we had to go back to Bali. What a spoiled life we lead.