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Down UnderBeer & Wine

On 18 April 2004 from Mandurah, WA | comments closed

Wednesday evening is the traditional 12.01 (our hostel) going out night. This Wednesday we were picked up by a bus from Black Betty’s and started to drink our bar tab (the free beers we got from the bar) there. However, we also had a bar tab at Mustang bar, so one by one some of us sneaked out and got to Mustang to finish the bar tab there. After all, an unfinished bar tab is obviously a waste of beer, and (almost) every backpacker considers that a shame. After finishing the bar tab at Mustang, we went back to Black Betty’s and partied till late. I remember walking home with Shelley and Mike, sitting down on the couch in our hostel and going to bed a bit later. However, Thursday afternoon (I slept through the morning) I managed to reconstruct the full story. Apparently I had falled asleep on the couch, people tried or did not try to wake me up (not sure), and I had still been there at about 5 AM. Too much free beer, I guess. I spent the rest of the day socialising, shopping, and watching Average Joe 2 (the reverse of “The Bachelor”, where a model has to choose between guys, just hilarious).

On Friday morning I had a meeting with the wife of a professor in Hong Kong I know. She is setting up a company south of Perth, and needed some help with her computer and website, as well as creating videos. Since sales, telemarketing and fruitpicking seemed to be the only backpacker work available around Perth, I figured it would be good to save some money doing fun computer stuff and decided to move to Mandurah.
In the afternoon Doug, Jo and I went on an information tour along some of the Swan Valley wineries, to check out the interest in the product and to taste some wine. The evening was once again about beer though, as we went to various bars with a group of people from the hostel, making the last night in 12.01 rather short.

On Saturday morning I took a shuttle bus to the international terminal, from where Jo picked me up to go to Dawesville, just south of Mandurah, and about 2 hours from the city centre of Perth. They built a large house here where I will be staying for a while (depends on the things to do). I have my own room and separate bathroom, so that is quite a step up from living in hostels. I have spent the weekend settling in, reading quite a bit, and helping Jo with some computer problems.

Down UnderSouth-West WA Road Trip

On 14 April 2004 from Perth, WA | comments closed

On Sunday Rebecca, Johanna, Steve and I left for a 3,5-day road trip to see the South-West of Western Australia (which is also the South-West of Australia). We started off by driving 350 km East to Wave Rock, a rock formation that looks like a giant frozen wave. From there we drove South towards the coast through the Stirling Ranges NP and Porongurup NP. After driving 700 km the first day we found a campsite in Mt Barker, where we spent the evening eating, playing cards (mainly ‘shithead’, the international backpackers card game) and drinking (mainly beer, the international students/backpackers drink).

On Monday we drove to Albany, and checked out The Gap and the Natural Bridge, two natural coastal phenomena. Next stop was Denmark (the town, not the country), where we did some shopping before heading to the beach. After swimming and lazing in the sun, we drove on to the Tree Top Walk, a boardwalk among the tops of the giant karri trees up to 40 metres high. We spent the evening and night at a campsite near Walpole, where we ate, played and drank.

Tuesday morning we drove to the Gloucester Tree, a former fire lookout tree, 61 metre high and looking out over the forest. But that is at the top, and to get there we basically had to climb all around the tree on pegs sticking out. Not for people with fear of heights (like Johanna). After enjoying the view from the top it was a beautiful drive through the karri forests to Cape Leeuwin (I am sure it is named by the Dutch, but do not ask me the story). Cape Leeuwin is the most Southwest point of Australia, and the border of the Southern and Indian Ocean. From there we drove back North to Margaret River, where we walked around town and got some ice-cream (Rebecca, Johanna and I managed to finish 2 litres). We camped overnight in Bunbury.

The plan was to see some dolphins at the beach in Bunbury in the morning, but they did not show up, so we drove back to Perth to drop off our rental car before noon. Altogether we saw most of the South-West of Australia, but had to drive 1650 km in 3,5 days. Road trip for sure.

Down UnderMore NZ Photos Online

On 10 April 2004 from Perth, WA | comments closed

This morning Rebecca and I went to pick up a rental car for a 4-day trip to the South-West of Australia together with Johanna and Steve. In the afternoon I made a backup of my photos and sorted out all the photos of the second half of my New Zealand trip. The best 80 are online now.

Down UnderSailing to Rottnest

On 9 April 2004 from Perth, WA | comments closed

Wednesday evening we once again went out to the regular bars in Northbridge (Perth’s bar area). The best thing about these evenings is the fact that the hostel I am staying at has a pretty good bar tab, so we get quite a few free beers before we have to start paying for beer. That did not even happen last Wednesday, because I went home relatively early. The reason for that was the sailing trip I went on on Thursday.

Together with Rebecca, Johanna (both from Germany), Marije (Dutch), Emma (Welsh), Steve (English) and Cormac (Irish), I went on a sailing trip to Carnac and Rottnest Island on Thursday. When we finally found the sailing yacht (a bit too late, but we made up 70% of the passengers anyway), we set sail for Carnac Island. There we saw some very lazy sea lions and went snorkelling at the reef (I also tried to swim with the sea lions, but they could not be bothered and did not show up). From there we sailed to Rottnest Island (named Rat’s Nest Island by the Dutch after all the quokas, kangaroos that look like big rats). Unfortunately I got fairly seasick on the way over there, so the sailing was not that pleasant. Everything was okay on the island though, where we went for a short walk to one of the postcard beaches. Rebecca and I also climbed a little hill for a better view, before joining the others back to the boat past the postcard lighthouse. Back on the sailing yacht we relaxed during the 2-hour trip back to Fremantle (Perth’s port). All in all a very nice day, albeit slightly too cloudy (I think I still managed to get sunburned though).

After midnight on Thursday (or actually Friday) we celebrated Judith’s birthday in the hostel, a good reason not to wake up before noon today. Because of Good Friday everything was closed anyway, so Judith, Esther (both from Germany), Shelley (from Canada) and I went to Fremantle, lazed on the beach and had some coffee and dinner in town. I also had two Tasmanian flashbacks: I met Jack (whom I spent New Year’s with) and I saw the same street artists as in Hobart. It is a small world after all.