After a month running around in New Zealand, I switched gears flying to Perth, Western Australia to visit friends. Karina and her husband Craig are renovating the Chateau de Gudanes (pictured below), located in the South of France, where I visited in January 2016. I was fortunate enough to catch up with her in her hometown for a week of non-stop laughter, great conversation and a ton of new memories and experiences.
My first afternoon was spent watching Karina and her friends sweat it out on the tennis court in the heat, while I watched from a cool, shaded area eating appetizers and chatting away with her friends, as they took turns on the court. After, we spent the evening drinking wine, eating cheese and crackers and enjoying the incredible sunset and view of the Swan River.
The next day I joined her husband to check in on their property just outside the city. We decided to tour their land and ultimately wound up getting “bogged” in thick sand, which I learned is getting “stuck”. Partly my fault, as the last thing I said to Craig was, “it’s a Range Rover, they can go through anything, have fun with it”. Obviously I don’t understand the degree of how soft and deep the sand is in that area. Oops, my bad!
We wound up walking to the neighbors farm, passing by a highly interested emu and ostrich that looked like they wanted a serious piece of us. We were warmly welcomed by the neighbors and chatted at great length about Trump, my favorite subject (NOT), and then took a tractor ride back to the house get un-bogged.
It took a bit of doing, but the tractor made it happen and after a quick car wash, we made it back to their apartment to watch the Australian Open men’s finals match, where I spent more time analyzing Rafael Nadal for his OCD than actually watching the game, but I will admit to not being a huge tennis fan, especially when some players groan loudly every time they hit the ball, why???
As much fun as it was to get bogged, the next day we drove down south to their place on Molloy Island, which is situated on the Blackwood and Scott rivers near Augusta. Molloy Island was purchased in 1974 to be developed into a private resort boasting vacation homes, waterways, and beautiful, intimate beaches, however the idea never took off, and now the island is a private oasis, with no amenities and has part and full-time residents, but you can book a vacation rental there for some serious R & R. The only way you can get onto the island is by ferry, or if you have a boat. Outside of normal ferry business hours, the residents themselves are the ferry operators.
The first night Karina and I went out for a walk on a trail that goes around the island and I encountered my first close-up kangaroo! The roo was within ten feet from us, and I was beyond thrilled! Karina also mentioned there is a large sandbar that connects the island with the mainland and the kangaroos cross the river when the tide is low, which makes it look like they are hopping on water.
The next day we went for a drive to the nearby town of Augusta to see the town, beaches and southwestern-most lighthouse on Cape Leeuwin, where we practiced are non-yoga poses and got blown around by high winds. We also had fish and chips at the Colourpatch Café, which is truly the last restaurant in Western Australia until you get to Antarctica. Vinegar you say, sure… just spray it on with your typical cleaning spray bottle, which was a new one for me, but surprisingly it worked great. Although the meal was on the more expensive side, you are also paying for the great view of the water and being able to watch the colorful birds searching for worms in the ground.
On our drive back to the island, we happened to be crossing on the ferry as the sky was lit with bright colors, lighting up the water, and it was positively breathtaking! Once we got onto the island, we raced to the house, and then literally ran to the beach to chase the sunset and catch the last of the ever-changing colors before it fell into darkness.
We visited the Eucalypt Forest, also known as Gum trees, which smelled phenomenal, and we did the touristy, yet very cool Jewel Cave, which is well worth your time and around $20 for the 60-minute tour. Bonus if you get the hunky Aussie tour guide named Liam!
The next day followed more visits to the endless beautiful beaches on their coastlines and a real treat of seeing stingrays in Hamlin Bay. They will come up to you hoping for handouts of dried fish bits. They are beautiful and calm creatures that are not scared by human interaction.
Driving to and from the island, I became really good at spotting kangaroos in the fields. You can usually spot a mob of roos resting under trees during the day trying to beat the heat, but they are out and more easily seen at dusk and sunrise.
Besides the wonderful company, I found Western Australia’s bush naturally beautiful with various types of birds, including colorful parrots flying freely, and each night we were visited by a family of possums, which, even though they are known as pests for killing trees by eating the leaves, they are simply adorable! Well, at least they are super cute when you are inside the house looking out at them. I loved every minute of my visit from the beaches to wildlife and picture perfect sunsets. Next up is Melbourne to visit friends and celebrate turning 50!
Thank you to my amazing hosts, Karina and Craig!