Monday 12th December: Perth

We transferred to our hotel fairly close to the centre of Perth today and then set off to explore the city. It’s fair to say that we don’t entirely feel we’ve ‘got’ Perth yet.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s a clean, smart, modern city, but it feels a bit soulless. Coffee shops are closed by 3 or 4 and there don’t seem to be a great number of eateries for the more evening crowd.
Our theory is that, with Perth being such a hugely spread out city, people come in specifically for work or shopping and then do their evening socialising in the many suburban centres (or maybe, in some cases, just don’t come in to the city at all).
Positive highlights have been the pleasant (ongoing) developments around Elizabeth Quay, the amount of older architecture still intact (sometimes only a facade) and a huge amount of public art.
A word of appreciation too for the newish bus station, accessed only from above and organised like a train station with ‘platform’ sections for each bus stop. It all seems to work very efficiently (and yes, I know this last but is a bit ‘transport geeky’).

Tuesday 13th December: Wine cruise on the river

Today was a lovely day. We took “Perth’s Famous Wine Cruise” up the Swan River to the Swan Valley.
The trip up the river took about 2 ¾ hours, during which we not only got to enjoy the views – many open countryside parts interspersed with groups of housing (as well as a newly-built 70,000 seater stadium and a huge casino complex) – but were also introduced to wine tasting. This involved using the five Ss (stem, see, swirl, smell and sip) on four local wine samples.
On arriving at the Sandalford Winery, we were taken on a tour before more wine tasting (three white, two reds and a rosé) before a very pleasant two-course lunch and (unsurprisingly) some more wine tasting (a couple of dessert wines).
The journey back along the winding river was accompanied by free wine (Rob and I were fairly restrained!) and one of the crew singing (and encouraging us to join in) for the last part of the trip.
An absolute highlight was the dolphins swimming alongside us for past of the journey back.
It was a long, but fun day ☺

Wednesday 14th December: Kings Park, Perth

I started this morning with some clothes washing (I know, exciting) followed by a walk around John Oldham Park across the road from our hotel, while Rob had a lie in.

Photos: https://goo.gl/photos/nmL15BxfDE8cJw1E7

We spent a large part of today exploring Kings Park, which is technically behind the hotel, although as it is up Mount Eliza, which has few access points from near the hotel, it was a bit more of a trek round to it (in fact, we cheated and bussed round).

Kings Park is a huge area of land, which early in the settlement of Perth was set aside for the common good (with a brief period of being used for logging). It’s one of the biggest parks in the world, bigger even then Central Park in New York.

That said, it’s not directly comparable to somewhere like Central Park, because large areas of it are actually native bushland (with paths and roads through) and only a few (reasonably big) areas are cultivated as ‘regular’ park, plus the Botanical Gardens (featuring plants from around the world, plus lovely water gardens). Sometimes the change between bushland and park was very sudden!

Highlight photos: https://goo.gl/photos/QCR8TRGktfsPibvFA

One notable feature is that all the main road through the park are lined with trees dedicated to soldiers who have died in different wars. The First World War ones were, in some ways, the most heartbreaking, as there were frequent groups of two or three plaques, where brothers had all died, sometimes on the same day.

Photos: https://goo.gl/photos/kortEhzb7qBvAXCY9

We had a great (and tiring) time exploring the park, including taking the fantastic views across Pretty and the Swan River.

Photos of the view: https://goo.gl/photos/9JuADgtabCU3enAd8

Thursday 15th December: onward to Adelaide

But of a funny day today. A nearly 3 hour flight coupled with a change of time zone (a further 2.5 hours on) meant it was late-afternoon before we made it to our hotel in Adelaide.

It’s a very nice hotel! Photos: https://goo.gl/photos/S82B32K1snj5HgaWA

Rob was feeling a bit under the weather, so I went for a bit of a wander on my own. I explored along the riverside – it’s a lot smaller river than in Perth, but very pleasant. I also visited the Botanic Park that surrounds the Botanic Garden (I was too late to get into the garden itself).

After a while, it dawned on me why the riverside and park seemed odd and yet familiar – they are basically very British in their appearance.

Photos: https://goo.gl/photos/kb2ZTvCHobtHyDCTA

I circled back through part of the CBD (central business district), where there were signs of interesting buildings and so on. A few photos here: https://goo.gl/photos/5FpD1jRgkj5G2hGAA