What is is about that land down under the equator that appeals to the traveler so very much? The great accent, the furry marsupials, Uluru, the Great Barrier Reef- they all play a part in making Australia a bucket list moment of every traveler’s dreams. However, Australia is so much more than these icons.
The Perth-Freemantle area is surrounded toward the south by wine country and to the east and north by bush country. To the west is the Indian Ocean.
Our visit to Perth coincided with a port call by the USS George Washington. In fact, it was the GW that was the main catalyst for our trip. I had three kids that missed their dad terribly and a few Summer days off to take advantage of the opportunity. Our first stop was the town of Freemantle where the ship pulled in. Step one: get Dad! Check. Step two: enjoy the next five days! Operation Perth was underway!
One of our more delightful stops in Perth was our first dinner together at George’s Meze Cafe. The food was amazing! Seated with all of our friends, we enjoyed absolutely everything from dolmades (lamb and rice stuffed grape leaves) to spanikopita. Our host, George was thrilled to have a few customers who had been to the homeland! He took us all to the upper mezzanine and plied us with ouzo and stories from “back home”. Lovely!
We loved Elizabeth Quay! There was plenty of room to run around and use up some energy as well as tons to see and do. We particularly enjoyed the Island where we ate while enjoying views of the Swan River. Our last stop was the ferris wheel. When we were up and over the river a small group of dolphins put on a little show for us. When we went, the Tourist Wheel, or ferris wheel, was close to the quay. It’s now located down in Freemantle.
Question: What’s more fun on a rainy day? Being cooped up in a hotel room or GHOST SHIPS??? My kids totally agree that a spooky ghost ship museum is far more fun than any hotel experience. Check out the entrance gallery with all kinds of relics from the days of pirates and traders. Then make your way into the Batavia Gallery to check out the most amazing shipwreck and learn its spooky and storied past. This is that great activity to keep in your back pocket for when other things don’t work out as planned. Western Australia has plenty of other museums to explore. Check out their website.
To get our shop on, we headed for the super fun Freemantle Markets. With tons of fun stalls both inside and out, The Markets were a great stop to eat and collect those Aussie treasures. We, of course, put our hands on a didgeridoo after one of the buskers taught my kids how to beat box on it.
If you have wondered where hide and seek was invented? It was here. While other pinnacle phenomena exist in other parts of the world, the pinnacles down under seem to exude a magic unlike any other. With limestone pillars up to 13 feet tall, there are plenty of good hiding places. The adjoining dunes are home to a couple of very cool sports including sand surfing and going over the dunes in 4×4’s. You can wind up your day with a walk on the beach and dip your toes in the Indian Ocean.
The Australia Trifecta
If there is one thing we all think about when we dream of going to Australia, it has to be the unique wildlife. Between koalas, quokkas and kangaroos, you’d think there would be no room for more! Like most of the country, Western Australia has just the spot to interact with them. Caversham Wildlife Park takes its mission very seriously. All of the animals that are at the park are there because they need tlc and human care. Along with ‘roos and koalas, you can find other Aussie residents like Tasmanian devils, wombat, and wallabies.
Fishing On The Freemantle Jetty
Sometimes the simplest things bring the most joy. After four jam packed days, the kids just wanted to spend their last hours with their dad. So, we bought a few fishing poles and headed out to the jetty. With the ship in the distance, we fished and enjoyed each other before dad had to pull out again. What a lovely way to end our time down under.