We started our travels at Heathrow after spending the morning with our loved ones. We’re both pretty social people and we’re very close to our families, so it was hard to say farewell for so long. There were lots of tears (mostly Peb) and several “Bon voyage” parties.
Our first flight was Perth via Doha, and thanks to a handy tip, we got upgraded to extra legroom seats as it’s our “honeymoon”. Peb was sat next to an Indian actor who provided commentary throughout the in-flight entertainment. At Doha, Peb realized he’d left his Gerber combi tool/knife in my rucksack (our hand luggage) so we were thankful to get on the next flight without being arrested!
We arrived at Perth late evening, and the 30 degree heat was a welcome change from the 3 degrees we’d left behind. Then we realized we’d (as usual) forgot to book airport transfers, so it took us about 5 hours to get to the hostel – we totally misjudged how big Australia is so after a long, sweaty walk and a bus journey where the driver told us to get off 4.5km from our hostel (for the same bus to drive past us just as we reached said hostel), we weren’t best impressed with our dorm’s noisy drunken residents.
So the hostel sucked, but the location was great – right by the beach in a lovely seaside town called Cottesloe where Peb enjoyed the free beach-front gym most days. We visited Fremantle (a pretty town but not much to do) and on Valentine’s Day, went into Perth city. I hadn’t really got any grasp of how big Perth is – from the plane, the skyscrapers rise dramatically out of the flat surroundings, but from the ground, the juxtaposition of glossy skyscrapers and old, intricate architecture side by side is stunning. All of the city comes out to see “The Giants”, a building-sized puppet of a little girl who is incredibly life-like, waving at the crowd, blinking. We watched some cricket (England vs. Australia, poor show England) on beanbags in Northbridge Piazza, a big screen that shows free films and sport. Then we saw sunset from the beautiful King’s Park, which looks out over Perth, and the couple next to us got engaged and everyone clapped. For our Valentine’s meal, Peb barters us a free fish from the local chippie. Such a romantic.
The journey really began when we picked up our deceptively big Britz Hitop campervan and hit the road, seeing The Pinnacles in Nambung National Park – thousands of limestone points rising up out of the desert like a Gormley exhibition. We camped at a rest stop near the Moore River, and a helpful English couple told us about Wikicamps.
We then visited Yanchep National Park, where kangaroos are chilling out under trees and there is a Koala sanctuary – both are amazing creatures! We camped at a beach car park where a local tell us that no one really cares unless you stay a week; handy to know.