Saturday, June 9, 2012

Western Australia

Henry and I set out on a 2 week trip with Scott and Courtney. It was quite the adventure. It was their idea to go before they left Australia to head back to the states for a wedding. They invited us to come along and we couldn't pass up the opportunity, so we hopped on the band wagon. We took an almost 4 hour flight to Perth, the capital of Western Australia, where we rented an RV and drove up the coast for an adventure of a life time.

The first night of our trip we headed down to Fremantle to the Little Creatures Brewery and what better way to celebrate the beginning of our trip with good beer and good food. It was GREAT until our RV decided it didn't want to work. Long story short, we contacted roadside assistance and the guy who came helped us out and we were able to get it working again. We were supposed to stay the night at a caravan park, but decided to spend the night (for the low price of free) in the driveway of the RV rental place because we didn't want to get stuck and wanted to get a new RV early the next morning.


Our home for 2 weeks.

The first place we stopped at was the town of Cervantes, which is located near the famous Pinnacles rock formations. It started pouring rain, but we threw on our raincoats and headed out. There was no way the rain was going to stop us although we were soaked from head to toe. Was it worth it?...YES. The ground is covered with all these different rock formations.


Get it????...haha. It was Scott's idea.

Us in our dry clothes.

After a couple of days, we headed up to a beach side town called Kalbarri. Again it was a bit rainy at times, but it's nothing we couldn't handle. We drove to several coastal look-out points, and also headed out to the Kalbarri National Park to do some sight-seeing as well.

The boys having a little fun at the Kalbarri Tudor Holiday caravan park we stayed at.

Castle Cove outlook

 Runway models like you've never seen before.

 Hopscotch anyone?

View of the Murchison River.

A few days after that we headed further up the coast to a small town called Coral Bay, located right on the Ningaloo Reef. The first day we spent snorkeling right off the beach. There were lots of brightly colored fish and coral. Some of the coral was quite large.

Here we are enjoying the warm weather.

The next day we went on a whale shark and snorkel tour. The whale sharks migrate to the Ningaloo Reef from March to July, so were there just in time. Fun Fact: They are the largest fish in the world! Pretty cool, huh!?! As we set off they took us to do some snorkeling first to get us warmed up for the big day ahead. It was great. We hoped back in the boat and went on our way. There is a spotter plane that goes out looking for the whale sharks and when they are spotted they radio to the boat the location. Our tour guide reminded everyone that they are wild animals so it could take some time to spot one and sit, relax, and just be patient. We got extremely lucky because it only took about 30 minutes for the plane to locate a whale shark and we were on our way. We were placed in two groups, we were in the first, and scott and courtney were in the second one. As soon as we got close to the whale shark the first group jumped in. What an adrenaline rush!!! We both caught a glimpse of it and the whale shark was on its way. We all jumped back in the boat, and headed after it hoping it wouldn't dive down. We found the whale shark again, got back in the water, and this time was even more amazing. It was HUGE, and there we were swimming right by it for at least an hour (that is the maximum amount time allowed in the water with the shark)! This by far, was the highlight of the trip.

When we all got back in boat, the guides told us they usually spend the whole day chasing the whale shark, but we got extremely lucky because it just kept circling around the boat. We didn't have to move. It was really incredible. Even our guides were completely shocked that the shark stayed around.

Before heading back in, we were taken to one more snorkel spot. We saw a reef shark! Henry went chasing after to get a few pictures. I was a little too scared to follow...haha. As we headed off from there we saw dolphins, a manta ray, and even saw a humpback whale breach completely out of the water. That was a sight to see! Just an AWESOME day.

 Yup, that's a whale shark, no big deal.

Each person received a certificate for swimming with the whale sharks, so we have proof just in case you don't believe us.

After a few days in Coral Bay, we headed back down the coast. We stayed in Shark Bay for a couple of days and went to Shell Beach and Monkey Mia. Shark Bay is listed as a World Heritage Site and there is a driving tour to see some of the sites.

As we headed in to the Shark Bay area, we stopped at the Hamelin Pool stromatolites, which are the oldest and largest living fossils in the world. There was also a shell quarry, which are composed of cockle shells that have been compacted and glued together by rain water. They have been cut into blocks to build buildings. In fact, there is a really great seafood restaurant in Denham that we ate at that is built with these cockle shell blocks.

The next place we stopped at was Shell Beach. This beach is composed tons of cockle shells and other types of shells.

Early the next morning we headed to Monkey Mia to see the morning dolphin feeding. I was REALLY excited. I have always wanted to swim with dolphins and this is closest I have come. We lined up on the beach around 8am and after a little while a few dolphins made there way into shore. They are all wild dolphins and come and go as they please. Although none of us were selected to feed the dolphins, it was just exciting to be that close. The rest of the day we just hung around the beach and enjoyed the nice weather.

This spider was just out side the mens room. If I remember correctly, Scott or Henry almost ran into it. Yikes!

That evening we met up with a local Aboriginal guide named Cape. There was a small group of us that sat around a campfire and learned about his culture and history. Henry and Scott learned how to play the didgeridoo. They did a pretty good job, it's not easy to play. Fun Fact: The didgeridoo is oldest musical instrument in the world.

Henry is helping Cape prepare fresh fish for us to enjoy around the fire.

We saw lots of wildlife on our drive throughout Western Australia. I could not believe the size of this, I was too busy staring at it when I was taking a picture that part of his head is cut off. I'm glad he was on the side of the road and not in the middle of it.

We made it back into Perth and stopped by the Yanchep National Park. It was a beautiful park with lots to see. Henry and I even went on a cave tour.

The next day we headed into the city to do some exploring and decided to do a walking tour around the CBD (central business district). It started at the cultural center where we walked through the Western Australia Museum. We then headed to the other destinations to see older buildings from Perth's history.

This is an old courthouse facade which is used as the entrance to the new courthouse.

This is The Swan Bell Tower which contains "...the twelve bells of St Martin-in-the-Fields, which are recorded as being in existence from before the 14th century and recast in the 16th century by Queen Elizabeth I." (

Henry strikes a pose for the camera.

We climbed the millions of stairs (not really, but there were a lot!) called Jacob's Ladder. The view was beautiful once we got to the top. There were lots of people exercising by running up and down the stairs, some I didn't think were going to make it...haha. Once was enough.

View from the top of the stairs.

On our last night in Perth, we went out to dinner with Scott and Courtney before we parted ways with them. It was bitter sweet. We had a good time, but it was sad our time had come to an end. They were heading back to the states for a bit before heading off to France, and we were heading back to Melbourne. Henry and I had a wonderful time, and tons of great memories. Glad we were able to share this experience with them.

That were sad to see us go, but...

we were happy to see them go...jk...we were sad too.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Vist from Mother Dear

Henry's mom, Nancy, came out to visit for a few days and we all had a great time. She stayed with us a couple of nights, and spent a couple of nights at the Westin in the CBD (central business district). One of the days, Nancy, I, Scott, and Courtney met Henry for lunch at a place called Friends of Mine. It was delicious! Nancy wanted to get a dessert, but was really full so we decided to go back the next day. You didn't have to twist my arm. We ate a late brunch and Nancy made sure not fill her self up so she could get desert. It was wonderful!

While Henry was at work we went to the Ian Potter Centre which was the first gallery dedicated exclusively to Australian art. We took a 1 hour free tour around the gallery with a very knowledgeable tour guide. After that, she went to Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI), which showcases film, television, video games, video and digital media. They offer many things that are hands-on, such as playing video games, doing a voice over, and much more. That evening we all met for dinner at Oriental Teahouse for some yummy food, and great tasting tea whether it was hot or cold.

Henry and I took her down to Brighton Beach to hang out for a few hours since it was such a nice day. Brighton Beach is a popular beach town, and one of the main tourist attractions are the 82 brightly colored bathing boxes that run along the beach. They are all same size, scale, same building materials, and they have no service amenities such as water or electricity. Basically they are your own personal beach storage unit (if you have the money to afford one). It shelters you from the sun, you can store your surfboards, chairs, change in and out of your swimsuit, whatever you can think of, stored right at the beach. No more lugging things back and forth. Boy, wouldn't that be nice!

Here we are doing a video chat with Lisa.

On the train to Brighton Beach, picture time!

Here are some of the bathing boxes.

You can see the city skyline from the beach.

Although she was only here for a short time, it was nice to spend those days with her.