2001 - PERTH

The Big Move & Things To Do

2001 was a huge year for us.

Early in the year we had some very bad news.  My dear mum was diagnosed with bone cancer in the neck which was incurable.  It meant that a bone was going to grow and eventually construct her food tube and then her air tube.  It pains me greatly living this horrible memory.

Without going into detail this is exactly what happened.  Towards the end the nurses said that they do not know how I coped with it.

But that is what you do for your loved ones 💕

So in 2001, Jesse was born 4 weeks early, mum passed away and 9/11 happened.

And we moved to Perth.


I diligently searched for a place near the beach because I had heard that the beaches in Perth were stunning.  I wasn't disappointed.

The beaches here in the West have gorgeous aqua water unlike the powder blue water of the East Coast.  The sand is different too.  It's quite dense.  The sand on the East Cost is more powdery.
That is probably why it is easier to do the pipi dance on the East Coast.  Pipis are like small clams.  To find them you twist your feet in the sand until you feel one then dive you hand quickly in and grab it.  That's called the pipi dance. It's a bit difficult to do the dance here in the West due to the dense sand.  In fact that is probably why they don't have pippys here in Perth 🤭

Anyway, we moved to a place north of Perth called Ocean Reef.
Ocean Reef is a lovely suburb near the stunning northern Mullallo beach which was a 5 minute walk from home.  10 for me 😉


My first impression of Perth was Blue.
By blue I mean that Perth is like a big country town and blue skies and puffy white clouds.  Perth is very clean with hardly any smog.
No wonder why the locals love and protect their bit of the world.
We were glad we moved here 😁


Kelli our eldest daughter was not happy with the move.
Anyone that has teenagers can relate 😜

Kelli opposed every step of the way.
She was losing her friends.
She was NOT going to make new friends.
Perth was in the STICKS and she kissed the concrete of Sydney goodbye.

All ended well ..... eventually.
Kelli adapted by letting everyone know around her that she was a hard ass Sydney bitch and no one better mess with her!



Perth’s suburbs are divided by the lovely Swan River.  You either live north of the river or south, with a bit of friendly rivalry in between.  We live North.

The cost of living here is expensive due to Perth being the most isolated city in the world.  A couple of tips if you are visiting is to share your meal at pubs because they are huge.  Look for the restaurants that do BYO (bring your own booze).   You can buy that cheap from Liquorland next Woolworths groceries in Murray Street Mall. 

There are free Cat bus services around town to hop on and off at your leisure.  All buses within the city are free so if you want to go to Kings Park, look for the Bus 935 on St Georges Terrace and just jump on.  

Another tip is to go to the Information Centre and grab the latest Perth brochures as they contain lots of discounts at various outlets and Restaurants.
Perth is not real shopper friendly.  It has 2 main malls, Murray Street and Hay Street and a cute little English alleyway called London Court and that’s pretty much it.  So if you plan to come to Perth to shop till you drop, forget it.

We prefer outdoor activities like surfing, beach kites, National Parks, boating, beach activities, hiking, bike riding etc.

Monkey see, monkey do.  Perth has decided to copy other Cities and put a bunch of these copper characters around town. 
On well, at least it gives the tourists something to take their pictures by.

Hubby and I have seen some amazing and unique icons in Cities and towns overseas.  Us Perthians are embarrassed with ours.  A pathetic little Bell Tower and the relatively new Green Cactus which looks like excessive snot.



Perth used to be known as a sleepy town.  You could roll a big beach ball down the centre of town on a Sunday and not hit anyone.  Not any more.  Us Perthians love our food and wine and so there are new Restaurants and Pubs popping up everywhere and week nights and weekends are quite a hive of activity.

Festivals are really taking off here and you can pretty much find something going on every month now in Perth.  Click the link above to see what's happening when you come to visit.

Here are just a few to get you started.

January – Australia Day with fireworks over the Swan River.
February/March – International Arts Festival.
March – Sculpture by the Sea at Cottesloe Beach.
March – Perth Film Festival.
March – St Patricks Day Parade at Leederville.
April – Fremantle International Street Arts Festival.
April – Perth Easter Parade.
April – Perth Comedy Festival.
May – May Day March.
June – WA Day Festival.
June – Perth International Jazz Festival.
August – Avon River descent – A grueling river rapids race from the mountains to Perth over 2 days.
August – Perth Wine and Food Festival.
September – Spring in the Valley Festival in the Swan Valley.
September – Wildflower Festival at Kings Park.
September – Perth Show.
October – Light Festival.
October – October Fest.



Perth has a Casino but because the government here do not really like us to gamble (we don't have pokie machines in pubs and we don't have RSL clubs like over east) they made sure our only Casino was stuck as far away from town as possible.

To get to Burswood Casino you need to catch the Thornlie Train line to Burswood and then walk down hill a couple of minutes.



For night life, head over to Northbridge.  James Street is the main drag in Northbridge with a variety of restaurants and pubs.  The iconic pub to visit on the corner is the Brass Monkey.



The Lucky Shag is a Pub on the Swan River next to Elizabeth Quay.
It was my favourite venue for meeting with visitors from other States and International.  I used to be a member of a Travel Forum on the net called Virtual Tourist.  We met up with like minded travel addicts all around the world.  Virtual Tourist was my favourite site.  That is until Trip Advisor bought them out and then axed them.  That was a very sad for all of us VTérs.
Through my blogs you will meet some of my VT friends and see the sort of fun stuff we used to get up to. 
Anyway, the Shag holds some great memories for me.  BTW, this Pub is named after a bird and not what you are thinking.   😉



The most obvious place to check out is Kings Park with beautiful views over Perth.  Jump on bus 935 from St Georges Terrace for free.  Any bus you catch within the city is free.  So there’s no point in paying extra for the hop in hop off bus or fake tram.
Kings Park hosts the wildflower festival in September and you'll find a delightful array of colour.
There is a natural amphitheatre in which concerts and outdoor cinemas are hosted in summer.

It was here that I first learnt how to take night photos with my point and shoot.  A Virtual Tourist friend of mine Maurie from Japan taught me.  I didn't have a tripod which made it a little more difficult.  You always take tons of failures before finally getting a reasonable shot.

Years later I attended the festival of lights with my new DSLR and got a few keepers.



Not far from Perth on the Fremantle train line is the chic town of Subiaco.  It’s nice to pay a visit for some street photography.  I joined a group on meetup.com and we enjoyed a morning wandering around the park and streets here.
Subiaco used to be the ín’ place for restaurants.  These days Leederville is more popular.



Leederville is a short 1 stop from Perth on the train line to Whitfords from Platform 1.
Leederville is a great place for the lazy afternoon restaurant experience.  There are a few night clubs too for the young ones and young at heart ;)
Leederville also has a fresh seafood shop.
I joined another meetup group here with a street photography theme.  I wasn't confident enough to take random pix of people. I wish I had because some of the photos the others took were fantastic, especially the black and white ones.  Here are my efforts.



East Perth is easy to get to on the free yellow Cat Bus service.  It’s the place to go for a classy restaurant experience overlooking the Swan River.
The park and bridge over the Swan are great for photos.



Heading over the Swan River from Elizabeth Quay to South Perth on the ferry is a great place to go for a lazy all afternoon Sunday lunch. If you like hiking, you can go for a walk along the river bank.  South Perth is where the Perth Zoo is too if you are an animal lover.

We love to go to South Perth for night photography.  You can get some great shots overlooking the Perth skyline.

One time when I attended a meetup.com photo shoot at South Perth, there was another group playing with lights.

This was super fun and I think what made me really enjoy night photography 😁


They had what's called a pixel stick that is a stick of coloured lights that you can program to make a picture.  
As you walk along, the picture is revealed which if you have your camera shutter speed at slow, it'll capture the pic.

I wasn't sure what I was doing, just copying the instructions the others were giving eachother and when my photo came up on the camera - OMG!!  I was awe struck! 😍


Speaking of night photography, if you want to get some good car light trails, head on the train to Claysbrook Station.  There you'll find an overhead pedestrian bridge that is in a prime position for it. 



Here are a few great suggestions on nice places to visit just outside the city of Perth, all of which can be reached by public transport.  Purchase a family rider ticket from the vending machine which will allow up to 2 adults and 5 children for the whole day of travel on trains, buses and ferry's.



Once upon a time I used to suggest to go to Freo on the Captain Cook ferry from Perth.  Unfortunately it has now become too expensive.  Even if you did just the return journey you wouldn't recoup the money you outlay in the free wine tastings they offer on the 3.15pm ferry back to Perth.  So these days I recommend the train journey on the Fremantle line.  Fremantle is the end of the line.  Beware, it is a slow journey with a lot of stations. 

The Captain Cook cruise is best for the dinner cruise, if you can afford it, or the full day wine cruise – save your pennies but well worth it.

Fremantle has markets on the weekend.  It has lovely old colonial buildings with the verandas and wrought iron trimmings.  The old jail is cool to visit.  Little creatures Micro Brewery is a 'must do'. We had many a great virtual tourist meet at Little Creatures.










Scarborough is on the beach.  So if you feel like spending an afternoon in the sun and surf then Scarborough is worth a visit. There is also a selection of restaurants and a pub or two to quench your thirst.  
For those that choose to stay on the beach instead of right in Perth, there is a high rise hotel called the Rendezvous, but you probably should read the reviews first as I hear that it is a little run down having not had renovations done for quite a few years.
To get to Scarborough take the Whitfords train line from platform 1 to Glendalough and bus 990.



If you would like to do some shopping then catch the Butler train line from platform 1 to Joondalup.  The shops are right at the station.  It also has some nice restaurants and pubs for lunch.
From here you can walk down to Joondalup Lake (just ask anyone for directions).  Maybe buy a picnic lunch from Woolworths and drinks from Liquorland next door.  Photos are of Joondalup Lake.
Do look out for Paddy Malones pub also as that is a nice experience.  Hubby’s favourite Restaurant in Joondalup and just outside the shopping centre is Kulcha which has nice authentic Asian food and quick service.  Not too expensive either.  Best to get in early though, and no need to book.  My favourite restaurant in the shopping centre in Joondalup is Brotzeit, a German Restaurant with big food servings that you can share and great beer.
Joondalup also has a free Cat Bus service if you want to jump on and off at your leisure.  The gardens at the University are nice to walk through.



This is nice to visit for a morning of mini golf around the lush botanical gardens. I don't do proper golf as I consider that a ‘snob’ sport.  They charge through the roof, you have to wear flash clothes and you have to have proper clubs.  And on top of that, you have to walk huge distances in between holes and ot to mention that your balls are easily lost haha.  What sort of sport is that?!!  Nah – not for me.
Mini golf is much better.  Here at the Wanneroo Botanical Golf Gardens, after a fun round of hilarious laughter and making a fool of ourselves, we can take a leisurely lunch at Leap Frog Cafe amongst the nice greenery. Now that is my idea of fun.
Our daughter Kelli married Tom here.  Weddings here are popular and not too expensive.
To get to the Botanic Golf Gardens, catch bus 468 from Joondalup train station.  Just ask the bus driver to stop at the bus stop just across the road from the gardens.
A photo shoot with some friends from meetup.com with daughter Kelli as our model.



Hillarys Boat Harbour is a great family day out.  There are water slides and a mini theme park in summer and many gift shops, cafes and restaurants to choose from.  Aqua is also located here, an underwater world with sea animal petting zoo.
To get here catch the Whitfords train from Platform 1 to Warwick and get on Bus 423.  This bus goes between Warwick and Stirling stations so you can catch it from either and to either station to get back to Perth.

My best friend Glenys came to visit us in Perth.  
We reminisced over the good old days where we skinny dipped and sun baked in our G-Stings at Hastings Point.  The good old times when we made shell chimes with the kids, danced to 90's dance hits, won free movie tickets regularly on the local radio station.  

Who needs to spend lots of money having fun?!  They were the good old days.  😍😁
Again, the simple things in life are the best!  

Isn't she gorgeous.

 iWe launched our new boat at Hillarys Boat Harbour.

Hubby and son Dylan got their Skippers Ticket together and were ready to go.  Their teacher came along to make sure we lauched it safely.

All went well.  No problem.  

Hubby looked good driving the boat out of the harbour.  I sat out the front with my wine. 😊  

I have had some night photography fun over the years at Hillarys.  Daughter Janine and Son Jessie worked there and so at times we would pick them up and that was the perfect oppportunity for me to get the DSLR and Tripod out and have some fun. 😄

Small world Photoshopped 
rendition of Hillarys Boat Habour.  😉



Living north of the river we don’t go down to Mandurah much.  We could catch the train from our station in the north, Clarkson which goes direct to Mandurah.  But that is a long way, so we don’t bother.
But if you are visiting Perth, then you may choose to catch the train to Mandurah for the day. I have noticed that Mandurah holds festivals and activities throughout the year just like we do North of the river. 
Anyway here is pix of our family day in Mandurah.



The Swan Valley is just 3/4hr east from Perth and is Wine country.
Public transport here is pretty much non-existent so the best way to enjoy our local wines and beers is to take a tour.  There are many to choose from so do your research on the wineries and breweries and select according to your taste and budget.
My favourite Winery is Lancaster so I always choose a tour that includes that Winery.  Not only do I love most of their wines, but their chili cheese is to die for.
My favourite Brewery is the Duckstein.  The best Brewery that serves lunch is the Ironbark with its wood fired pizzas.  I am not a pizza fan, however a good thin crust gourmet wood fired pizza will get my attention and that is where the Ironbark Brewery excels.
I cannot say that there is a Winery that I recommend for lunch.  Well, the best lunch that I have had was at Sandalford Winery but that is expensive. 
I would rather have a cheese and wine snack at the Cheese Barrel.  In fact, next door is Olive Farm Wines and they are pretty darned good. 



Rotto is the home of the cute little Quokka which is only found on this island.  Quokkas are like an overgrown rat, but much cuter.
Rotto is best visited in summer and even then the trip out and back on the ferry can make you feel a little green.  The fast ferry from Hillarys Boat Harbour is probably the best way to get there but it is more expensive than going from Freo.  If you book through your hotel the price will include pick up and drop off at your hotel.
Most of us locals view Rotto as overrated and expensive.  But if you are visiting Perth then I guess you have to do Rottnest Island.
The beaches surrounding Rotto are very pretty.  The restaurant on the water front is a must do, but expensive.  We usually get a bus pass to hop on and off around the island at the different bays.  You can also hire a push bike and bike around.  Our kids liked the kids park compete with trampolines.



If you want to go to a nice beach and mix with the locals, I would suggest Mullaloo Beach and lunch at the Mullaloo beach hotel.  To get there take the Whitfords train from platform 1 to Whitfords and then bus 460.  Bus 460 does not run on the weekends though so if you are going on the weekend, then you would have to catch bus 461 and ask the bus driver where to get off to walk down the hill to Mullaloo beach.
The hotel is popular so if you want to do lunch there, plan to arrive early.



Next Beach up from Mullolloo is Ocean Reef, or Beaumaris as the locals refer to it.  We lived in Ocean Reef near the beach.  Once thing I miss about that house was the outdoor spa.  I’m a big lover of spas.
Anyway, the easiest way to get here is to catch the Burns Beach Bus 470 from Joondalup Train Station.  Burns Beach is the next beach up.  It has a fabulous little café there.  And there is a path that runs south along the beach front towards Ocean Reef that is popular with families, walking pets and bike riding.



Currently we are living in Mindarie.  This area is a little more upper class than we are used to,  but hey, we are enjoying it.
We are 2 minutes from the shops at Ocean Keys shopping centre and 5 minutes from the lovely Mindarie Marina with the Indie Ocean Micro Brewery, the Boat Pub and Cabana which has a pool that you can use to cool off in between drinks.  On the weekends there is plenty of family fun down at the marina.
So if you want to join us locals, then catch the Butler train from Platform 1 and get off Clarkson and catch Bus 481.  Sunday afternoon is the best time to visit.
Oh, and if you like fishing, then you can bring your gear and try your like at the pier across the lagoon from the pub action.
Excuse my pathetic photos, but hey, we have too much fun here to bring down my serious DSLR ;)
Last couple of photos are when I got in a creative mood and walked up the hill from home to try my luck at night shots.


Some fun night photography close to home at the Marmion Avenue, Ocean Keys Road intersection.



Below are short trips from Perth no more than 4hrs driving.  These can be done in 1 day, but to enjoy fully you should plan to spend at least 2 days at your chosen destination.
I always suggest that when hiring a car, you choose a reputable car hire company like Avis or Hertz.  Like anything else in life, you always get what you pay for.  Suggested that you pay with your credit card.  That way if there is any transaction on your statement that you disagree with or did not authorise, you can then rely on the credit card dispute/chargeback team to recoup your money. 




This is an easy 1 1/2 hrs north of Perth.  There is a National Park fee.  You can either bring picnic or bbq food or have lunch or dinner at the Café or Inn.  There is accommodation here overlooking the lake.  You can walk around the lake which is nice for pictures. The wildflowers in spring are lovely.
Yanchep has plenty of wildlife - birds, ducks, koalas and resident kangaroos to name a few.  They have guided cave tours and aboriginal shows.  The gift shop has a variety of interesting stuff to buy.  The cafe specialises in homemade chocolates.  There is also a golf course.  The inn has live bands on the weekend and a snooker room.
As you can see there's lots to do here.




About another 45 minutes further north along the coast road is Guilderton or Moore River as the locals call it.  This is a nice spot to go camping.  Buying a 2 man tent and blow up mattress from K-mart will cost you less than the price to stay in a hotel.  The caravan and camping park is located right at the mouth of the Moore River so you have the best of the river and the beach. great spot for fishing and boating.
We often take our boat out for a run here with the sea biscuit for the kids to be towed on half way up the river are huge sand dunes which are a hit with the kids.  Quite often you will see the locals with big tarp slides from the top of the dunes into the river. Looks like heaps of fun.
You can buy your liquor supplies from the shop at the service station on top of the hill and the shop at the caravan park does good fish and chips. Of course if you catch your own fish then there are bbqs to cook it on.  They have cabin accommodation if camping is not your style.  You can rent a boat, paddle boat or canoe.  Booking is essential as this place is very popular.  Most school holidays are booked a year in advance. 



Going North again 1 1/4hrs you’ll arrive at Cervantes, the home of the Pinnicales and Stromatolites.  If you are into photography, the Pinnicles is a good place for sunset and astro photography.
The Tavern on the hill is a nice place to chill and there is a good fish and chip shop in town with a booze shop next door.  Perfect to grab picnic essentials.




Toodyay is 1 1/2 hrs north/east of Perth. 

 Toodyay is an interesting little town with great pubs, cafes, restaurants and gift shops.  There seems to be a big vintage car following so don't be surprised to see quite a few in town.  On the weekend it is common to see bikers coming through from Perth.  Perth seems to have quite a big motor bike croud that enjoy getting away for weekends.  

O'Connors flower mill is nice to visit too.  The Information Centre is next to O'Connors and a good place to start your visit.

In spring the surrounding canola fields come alive with a sea of yellow and do stop along the side of the road and go for a wander to spot the various wildflowers.

Just outside of Toodyay we have stayed in two types of accommodation, cabins with outside spas (great in autumn and winter) and glamping beside a nice lake with dead trees in (great in spring and excellent for photo opportunities).

TOODYAY  2020 - With Jesse

 Jesse and I had a go at astro photography.
We both got some good shots.
Next time we may try to get a little creative with light painting.








Everyone knows that Margaret River is wine country, however there is much more to see and do here.  The caves are interesting, Berry Farm is worth a visit and Prevelly Beach is pretty cool too.
It is not surprising that hubby's favourite winery here is Howard Park Wines.  I am not sure about mine.  Maybe Cheeky Monkey Brewery?   Hey!   No!  That's not a winery?  Probably Hay Shed Hill then.
We have stayed at two difference apartments in Margaret River.  Forte Leeuwin Apartments are a short walk from town and a 2 minute walk from Knights Inn Pub.  This is ideal for families or a few couples, splitting the cost.
If you want to stay near the beach, then Seascape Holiday Homes are idea.  These can accommodate quite a few people and are a 2 minute walk to the beautify Prevelly Beach.










2018 - Our good friends Ann and Charlie from Tampa Florida came to visit.  We wanted to do something special for them so we booked Yelverton Brook Eco-Spa Retreat which is not far from Margaret River.

We had a wonderful long weekend enjoying the best of Margaret River and what better way to chill every night but in our gorgeous cabin here complete with an outdoor spa.

This is a true eco retreat with local wildlife that come to visit every day.  We were greeted with kangaroos, possums and a cute woylie which is like a small brush-tailed possum and extremely rare.




Arlewood Winery & Plan B

They don't seem to have the Plan B wines now.  What a shame ☹

My very first awesome sunset photo



Bunbury is a small fishing village on the coast half way from Perth to Margaret River.

I spent a weekend away with daughter Kelli and family and young daughter Janine and Jesse.  We had a wonderful holiday. 

The best thing was catching blue spanner crabs off the jetty and cooking them up fresh.  

Tom, Kelli and Gabe were already there as Tom was working down south.  The rest of us caught the train to Bunbury and they picked us up from there. 

Impressions?  Bunbury is small, quaint and a cheap place for a quick long weekend getaway.




Wave Rock in Hyden is an unusual rock formation in the middle of nowhere.  Most Perthians say this is overrated, and it may be for a day trip.  Let's face it, who wants to spend 4hrs there and back in a tour bus just to see a rock, and that's it.

However if you make it part of a multi-day holiday south from Perth and stay here, then it is most definitely worth it.  
Check out my 2013 blog.


2017 - Perth VT Meet

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