Saturday: After having a gloriously perfect day yesterday (Friday), we were woken by thunder (and lightening) and heavy rain. I vaguely remembered seeing the weather forecast for storms today, but didn’t think it’d actually eventuate. I’ve since been told that weather forecast for Perth is eerily accurate, much more so than other places in Australia. I don’t know if that is propaganda, urban myth, or actual scientific fact (and if it is fact, I’d like to know why…).
It was election day today, but I’d already voted while I was in Albany – I was expecting to be in remote far northern South Australia today… On of our friends that we are staying with had to drive to the other side of Perth (Subiaco) to vote, so we joined him for a bit of a road trip. To be honest, I was excited about a sausage sizzle for lunch, which is tradition for most voting stations that I’ve been to in the past.
We visited AJ’s brother at work and sat for a coffee or two (or, hot chocolate in my case) then drove around some of the affluent areas and gawked at the (excessively) large houses. It feels like there are so many more mansions here than in Brisbane. I’m not envious of these houses, mostly curious at how people can afford them, and why they find them necessary…
We went and had a quick walk around University of Western Australia, which I’ve been interested in since motorsport (Formula SAE) days at uni. It really struck me as being quite similar to University of Queensland in Brisbane – the sandstone buildings, the arched walkways, the large grassy courtyards. Nothing like QUT, which is where I went to university, which was more like a condensed set of semi-modern mid-sized office blocks.
The buildings were interesting and all, but for me, the highlight was playing with the ducks. Yes, I know, horrible person. But it was so much fun getting close to the mother duck, who was instinctively herding the dozen-or-so ducklings behind her. When I got too close with my camera, she would come racing towards me with her mouth open making all sorts of noise. The first couple of times it was genuinely shocking! Oh, and the little ducklings trying to get out of the pool was too cute – like little penguins trying (and failing) to swim up with enough momentum to propel their little bodies up and over.
We had moderate aspirations about going out into town, but fell apart pretty rapidly as the evening went on (a combination of fatigue and laziness).
Sunday: A very slow start to the day, but I didn’t mind sitting by myself reading my book. We’d (briefly) joked yesterday about going to do mini-golf (brought on by us watching Happy Gilmore a few nights earlier). We’d also talked about jumping off some cliffs into the Swan River. In the end, that’s what we ended up doing (mostly because it was still sunny and moderately warm – 20˚C – and it was free!).
It took a while for us to find these cliffs, as our guide had only been there from a boat before. We were close, but ended up at this incredibly narrow peninsula of sand that stretched out to a very small island in the middle of the river. The peninsula would have been no more than 2-3m wide. The tide was coming in, so as we were walking, sections of the peninsula were starting to sink below the water level. We pushed on anyway, because, why not. Risa was wearing jeans, so I had to carry her across the waterways. Also, finally saw the famous swans up close! I prefer Natalie Portman…
The added bonus from that walk was being able to see further around the river to find the location of the cliffs. We were close, but would have to drive a little further to get there – Blackwall Reach Reserve, just west of the giant sandbar. The cliffs aren’t marked, and probably for good reason. There was an official trail that lead us there from the car park, so it probably wasn’t too dodgy…
We were surprised to see how many people were there, it was actually a concern that we wouldn’t be able to find a safe area to jump from, but we followed a group of British men – they weren’t killed or injured, so we were probably safe, too. In the description that we got from AJ yesterday, he initially made it out to be 20m high, so when we arrived saw how high it actually was, it was a little disappointing – it was more like 8m, which is still fun, but not oh-my-god-I’m-not-jumping-off-this high.
I had to go first, and had doubts that Matt or AJ would join me in the, not so warm, waters of the Swan River. But, in time they both jumped in, too. Getting out looked to be even more of a challenge, but we found a nice easy (and safe) way to one side. We jumped a few more times, just because we were already wet and cold, so might as well make the most of it! The water wasn’t that bad, either. I wouldn’t be keen to jump in to the Brisbane River, but this water was more like the brown water in a lake, stained from tannin (whereas Brisbane River looks muddy from the silt and sediment that is being stirred up).
Dinner ended up being another gyoza night. This time we invited AJ’s brother and his girlfriend along. It’s amazing how quickly you can make (and eat) 90 gyoza when there are a few people involved in the creation process.
All in all, another fun weekend in Perth, which I will be happy and sad if it is our last (mostly happy).