If there’s anything I love as much as Glasgow, it’s holidays. I love to explore and experience other places and their unique cultures, food & sights. I have been very fortunate to go on several holidays over the last few years – I am taking every opportunity before a mini me comes along.
Last year we travelled much further than we had before – we went to Australia. My brother in-law and sister in-law had moved to Perth at the beginning of the year so we planned a family trip in October with the in-laws.
My first impression of Perth was of how big and city-like it was. I don’t know why but in my head I expected something very spaced out and outdoorsy but inner Perth is full of tall buildings. We went for a wee drive on our first day to get our bearings & visited the impressive Kings Park. It is easily the biggest park that I have ever been in and is a mecca for runners, families, walkers & tourists.
View of part of Perth from Kings Park
We barbecued a rather impressive pink snapper on the first night to mark the start of the holiday and what a barbecue it was. The fish and seafood was amazing over there – such a wide selection and top quality picks.
The next day we had arranged to go on a wine tour of the Swan Valley region, which is only 30 minutes drive from Perth. We started at 11am but it didn’t seem at all strange or naughty drinking vino at this hour, it felt like that’s what we were supposed to do. If only I could do it forever!
The first vineyard (Lancaster) was a sight to behold with vines as far as you can see & a wee tin shed in the middle that they do the tastings from. We tried whites, roses, reds & dessert wines along with a cheese platter from a local cheesemaker. I realised then that Australia keep the good wine for themselves & export the mediocre bottles! The lady doing our tasting was so passionate about the wine and it was such a relaxed atmosphere that this was my favourite place of the day.
Lancaster wine tasting
Next we went to Houghton Wines, which was on a much grander scale with a big air conditioned tasting room, a gift shop, cafe & cellar. When we began the tasting we were given a bucket so we could spit the wine out afterwards if we wanted – obviously I never even entertained that idea. Again we enjoyed a few wines of each colour, bought a bottle & headed over to the cafe for lunch washed down with a bit more vino. The food here was gorgeous & I’d highly recommend it if you are ever in the area.
Changing tack, we went to a brewery next called The Feral Brewing Company & sampled a selection of local beers. I liked that you could buy tasting boards & I tried them all even although I don’t really like beer very much. It was mixed reviews on this place – I think you have to be an experienced ale drinker to appreciate it.
Feral Brewing Company tasting kit (read ‘the runt’ description)
We ended the day in Upper Reach winery. This was a dainty but beautiful place & makes the nicest tawny port that I’ve ever tasted. We brought a bottle home & have managed to get people to bring us another 4 bottles back in their suitcases since then because we love it so much.
After our busy day we headed back to base to rest and headed out to Modo Mio italian restaurant for dinner. The restaurant is housed inside the Crown Casino (formerly the Burswood) along with several other premium restaurants. The food was of a very high standard and I remember being particularly impressed with my risotto. I did not take any photos because it was quite fancy so it would have felt inappropriate.
The next morning was a very early start which was unfortunate for me because I was still jet-lagged & managed 4 hours sleep the night before. We were headed for Rottnest Island, which is a scenic, conservation island about an hour & a half ferry ride away from Perth. Part of the ferry route is called ‘humpback highway’ because there are so many humpback whale sightings so my eyes were on the water all the time but to no avail. I quite like boats so enjoyed the journey out and was looking forward to get on our hired bikes to explore the island. First on the agenda was to find the elusive Quokka – known as the happiest animal alive, Quokka’s are small marsupials that look like mini kangaroos minus the pouch.
We had a picnic lunch at Geordie Bay and then nipped to the loo where we met our first Quokka in one of the cubicles! They almost look like they’re smiling and they are very docile. We got quite overexcited and took lots of photos but we realised later on that this wasn’t going to be the only Quokka we’d meet on our trip.
As we cycled around the island and in & out of various bays, we took in the wonderful views out to sea. It really is picturesque and I found it relaxing with no cars and little noise.
We spent some time in the water cooling down – although I was on constant shark watch because my sister in-law had told me that they’re common around Rottnest. It reminded me of the Maldives because it was so quiet (you normally get a bit of beach to yourself), the sand was white and the water was so clear…paradise.
My Favourite Quokka (smiling)
On the way back on the boat it was a bit chilly but I was determined to stay outside to soak in the views. I heard someone shout and then realised that there was a humpback whale splashing about in the distance behind the boat. It took my breath away so much that I never even got my camera out to capture the moment. When the boat was too far away to see it any more I went inside to tell the family and the people next to us had some great photos of the whale so I cheekily asked if I could take a photo of his camera screen.
Humpback whale on ‘humpback highway’
We spent some time in Leederville as it has relaxed bohemian vibe and lots of shops, cafes & restaurants.
Greens & Co Leederville (I loved the lights)
The other Mrs S & I got up early one morning for some hot chocolate & churros from San Churro in Leederville. It was a new experience for me having never tried churros before but one that I’m eager to repeat. Why has no-one tapped into this market in Glasgow yet?
Another newbie to me that I tried on this trip was macaroons. I had heard about them but wanted to go someplace that I knew that would do really good macaroons for my first one. I found it in the award-winning Jean Pierre Sancho, where we shared a variety of macaroons in different flavours.
Before we left for Australia I had read about a place called The Little Creatures Brewery, which is along the coast at Fremantle. I was determined to visit, and we did, and I loved it as much as I thought I would. It was extremely busy with people at tables & the bar drinking and people enjoying lunch. Tables are over two levels in this industrial style place with brewing tanks and such dotted around the building. We tried the craft lager and homemade cider, along with some snacks to share like mussels and nachos. I would love to go back to spend a whole Sunday with a big group of friends chatting, eating & sampling the beer. Until I win the lottery to buy all the flight tickets, I will have to make do with heading down to West brewery in good old Glasgow where they sell Little Creatures lager by the bottle.
On the way back from Freo we stopped at the beach briefly to watch the kite-surfing. How they don’t all get tangled with each other is beyond me because there was so many close together. I imagine that it takes a lot of skill & practice before you get to busy beach stage. It was great to watch and something that I will remember.
We ended the Oz experience with a mega BBQ on the balcony of tiger prawns & steak that was immense.
Perth city centre has free and regular buses so it is easy to get around and there were much less cars on the road. I found it a terribly expensive place to holiday but this is to do with it being such an isolated city so importing goods is expensive. On the other hand, it is much cleaner than the cities over here, offers more activities and is a gorgeous place to visit.
I was sad to leave Perth but luckily we were going to Hong Kong on the way back to distract me. If I ever get the opportunity to go back then I’ll make sure that it is for longer because Western Australia offers a wealth of things to do.
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