Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Perth and Wave Rock, and Perth Again

After a quick 12-hour flight, we found ourselves in Perth at 5:30 PM on Thursday--or at least I think it was Thursday.  Perth is as far as you can get from the east coast of the United States and still be on land.  When we landed at the airport they issues us those clamps that keep you from falling off the earth when you are Australia, and we got used to them pretty quickly.

Perth from the air (upside down)

The next morning (Friday, I think), Brenda began feeling the symptoms of a cold she picked up somewhere, so she stayed in bed and gave me the morning off.  So, I used the opportunity to walk as much of the city as I could.  Our hotel was at the east end of downtown, so I walked towards the center of town.  Downtown Perth, like other Australian cities, is a mixture of modern skyscrapers and colonial (late 1800's-early 1900's) buildings.  As like other Australian cities, it's very clean, walkable, and the central city is busy.  Here are a few views:

The Perth Mint, built in 1899

Mixture of the old an new downtown.  Yes, those are Christmas decorations.

Hay Street pedestrian mall

London Court, a shopping arcade off Hay Street

A plaza across from Perth Train Station

Murray Street, another pedestrian mall
After exploring the center of town, I walked a couple blocks to the waterfront, to the Swan Bells.  The tower contains a number of historic bells from around the world.

Swan Bell Tower

View of central Perth from the bell tower

View across the Swan River from the bell tower

Perth Convention Center, viewed from the bell tower
From the river, I walked back to our hotel, passing by a few historical sites.

Supreme Court Building

The Old Court House, the oldest building in Perth, built in 1836.

Inside the Old Court House

Government House, the official residence of the Government of Western Australia

Back to the Comfort Hotel, our home in Perth

Our plan called for us to spend the first (Thursday) night in Perth, then drive to Wave Rock, which is about 250 miles east of Perth and spend Friday night there, and then return to Perth on Saturday.  So, I dragged Brenda out of bed, checked out of hotel, picked up our rental car and headed to Wave Rock.

In Australia, they drive on the left.  After a while this became pretty natural, except for the fact that the turn signals and windshield (windscreen) wiper controls are on opposite sides of what I am used to, so I turned on the wipers every time I made a turn.  We had the cleanest windshield/screen in Australia.

Once we left Perth, I expected the scenery to be what you would associate with the Outback, but it was mostly wheatfields--sort of like driving through Kansas if Kansas had rolling hills.

After a stop for gas at Stumpy's Roadhouse, we arrived at Wave Rock.  See if you can tell how Wave Rock got its name....

Stumpy's Roadhouse: Eat Here, Get Gas

Next to Wave Rock is Hippo's Yawn, a rock formation that is supposed to look like, well, you know what.

We then checked in to the Wave Rock Motel, and after dinner we did some stargazing.  The sky was amazing--if I had been able to take a picture of the sky, it would look like the picture below, which I stole off the web.

I did not take this picture

The next morning we got up and revisited Wave Rock before heading back to Perth.

At the Wave Rock Motel

The other side of Wave Rock

Wave Rock in the morning

The drive back to Perth was uneventful, except for being pulled over for speeding (which I got off with a warning), and going through a DUI roadblock (at 1:00 on a Saturday afternoon!).  After getting back to Perth, we checked into our hotel and did some sightseeing of areas we (I) hadn't covered the previous day.   We spent most of our time in King's Park, which has grass that's lusher than most fairways, and spectacular views over Perth.

House near Kings Park--traditional Australian architecture

View of downtown from the park

Kings Park

View across the river from the park

Another view of downtown

The east end of central Perth, where we stayed.  The Swan Bells are at left.

The area around Kings Park has a lot of Art Deco architecture.  Here are a few examples:

After our tour of the park, we had dinner and returned to the hotel to prepare for our train trip across the Outback.

Next: The Indian Pacific

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