Perth to Geraldton - Geraldton to Perth - Perth to.....DUBLIN! 4 jam packed days on the west coast of Australia.
19.03.2015 - 23.03.2015 30 °C
With 15 hours of travel time in the bag, we finally landed back in Perth Australia just after midnight. It was the wee hours of Friday morning and this meant that we were walking into a pretty empty airport. Tired eyes scattered the airport all around us, which included ours and we only had one goal in mind - get to our hostel and find our beds as quickly as possible so we could grab some long overdue shut eye. We booked one nights accommodation at Perth City YHA. It only took us about 25 minutes to get there from the airport and the night guard had no problems checking us in. The building itself is pretty massive and it looks like it could have been some sort of university residence way back when. There would be no lake front/mountain views waiting for us when we rolled out of bed in the morning but that was alright by us, as sleep was the only item that topped our list of things to do at YHA. The late night hostel entry routine was becoming just that for Sherry and I, routine. We went our separate ways to find washrooms and then regrouped, trying to make as quiet of an entry as possible. We had a shared room for four people and, as was expected, the top bunks were left for us. Well, there is really no quiet way to sneak into a top bunk when you are an adult. The bed is creaking, you're trying not to hit your head off of the roof and you just hope when you barrel role over the rail that the whole thing doesn't come crashing down on the unsuspecting person who has likely just nicely gotten to sleep on the bottom bunk. All went well on this "covert ops" entry and after finding some ear plugs to stifle the snoring of our new roommates, we both were counting sheep before long. Morning brought with it an open agenda until about 4:00 pm when we had to be back at the hostel to catch our ride to Geraldton with Damian. Damian is best friends with Angel and Joe and, we are now happy to call him a friend of ours as well. Damian used to teach at the same school as Joe, Angel, Jess and Nigel, but he had recently made the jump to Perth to continue teaching and luckily for us, he was ready to go back to Geraldton to see all his old friends.
After checking our bags into storage at the hostel for the day, we headed out to find breakfast, which was followed by a walk along the Swan river and around the harbour before finally setting out some towels under a park tree where we both opened up our books and just chilled under the shade. The swan river waterfront near Bell Tower is a great place to tour around and it also has ferry transportation to Fremantle if anyone is interested in heading out that way. We just didn't have time in our day to take that all in and so we just chilled. I picked up a copy of Malcolm Gladwell's "David and Goliath" when were flying to Australia and I hadn't had too much time to get into it, so this down time was a welcome chance to dive into it. I won't get into the details of the book but I will go as far as recommending reading it to those that haven't - it is certainly worth looking up. I have enjoyed everyone of Gladwell's books that I have read and this one didn't disappoint. I am admittedly not a big reader, but when I happen to find a book I really like it doesn't usually take me too long to knock it off. The day was perfect for just chilling outdoors and the time passed accordingly. Before we knew it, we had to pack up to meet our ride. Since we got back to the hostel a bit early I had time to sit in the lobby area and watch the cricket match that was on, while Sherry kept watch for Damian (Damo) outside. Damo arrived in style as he popped his pickup truck up over the curb, skimmed past Sherry's feet and then brought it to a graceful resting place in a spot that absolutely in no way resembled a parking spot - that was classic Damo. With no parking on our side of the street he just did what he had to do and made it work. After piling into the truck, we all did our best to ignore the fact that we had a 4 hour drive ahead of us, and the best way to do that was to just start chatting. Damo is a top notch conversationalist, so there was no issue with getting things rolling. We covered a lot of ground in the 4 hours we had together and at no time did we ever enter into that awkward silence as the topics were free flowing from one to the next. There were plenty of laughs had which made the drive pass by even faster. Between funny text messages to our friends waiting in Geraldton, to ridiculous stories from Damo's teaching days, there was no end to the laughter. The part that made this drive even more interesting was that we had only met Damo for 30 minutes a few weeks earlier, prior to this drive, yet you would have thought we knew each other for years. That is a true testament to Damo as a person because he is one of those people that you just gravitate to because of this zest for life and endless knowledge of just about any topic. When we finally rolled back into Geraldton, it was after 9:30 at night but that didn't stop everyone from hanging out until after midnight carrying on with even more stories and even more laughs. Sherry did her best to try and sneak off to bed early, but that good old fear of missing out kept her hanging out on the patio with the rest of us well past the time she planned on staying up until.
Saturday, was a really laid back day as everyone just kind of chilled out and rested in preparation for Damian's night out planned at a local watering hole called the Provincial. Joe had a soccer game that evening and I decided I would head up and check that out before meeting up with everyone down at the bar. Li Fiamma soccer club is where Joe plays his soccer and I had been fortunate enough to meet a lot of the guys he played with when we went on the stag trip a few weeks back. They have a hell of a good bunch of guys on the team, who seemingly come from all over the world. I am happy to say the boys pulled off the preseason win, which they really needed after a couple of rough starts prior to that. The crowd for the game was not massive but, there were those few local fans who had been following the team for years and years and who could be heard doing their best sideline coaching from start to finish. A few quick beers to celebrate the win followed the game, then it was off to join the rest of the crew down at The Provincial. The night only got better from there and in typical fashion, we finished off with some good old MacDonald's burgers and fries. Taking a step back into our time at the provincial I would be remise if I didn't mention the live music we got treated to. A young man, who was tall and slightly awkward looking (no it wasn't me....), took the small stage out on the patio and then proceeded to absolutely blow our minds with his incredible talents. He had an infectious smile and perfectly timed mannerisms about him, along with talents on the guitar and the trumpet which he seamlessly juggled back and forth between as his audience was afraid to blink on the chance that they might miss something. Toss in some beatboxing and the fact that he worked his shy, younger brother into the show and he had us all eating out of the palm of his hand. What was supposed to be a slightly earlier night, did't stand a chance once this guy took the stage!
Our last day in Geraldton was filled with lots of laughs, some goodbye tears and then another conversation filled drive back to Perth with Damo. We made a brief stop to see the Pinnacles (http://www.visitpinnaclescountry.com.au) on our way back to Perth. The Pinnacles are limestone formations which are found in the Cervantes desert and which come with a few differing opinions as to what actually created them. If you are heading along the coast on the Northside of Perth, I would recommend making a stop here. It won't be a long one and you can drive right through instead of getting out to walk around - making stops for photos as you want to. Moving on to Perth we arrived at our hotel for a good nights sleep before catching our flight on over to Dublin. Our accommodations that night were a welcome surprise for Sherry as she thought we were staying in the YHA hostel again, but as an early birthday surprise I thought she might appreciate a tub to soak in and a comfy bed for a good nights rest in, rather then dipping and diving into a hostel for a questionable sleep. We stayed at a place called the Fraser Suits. The prices were reasonably with respect to what you could be paying in most places in Perth and the accommodations were just what the doctor ordered.
It was hard to believe that our time in Australia had come to a close. Western Australia has many great experiences to offer people and many which we didn't even get a chance to take in. If you choose to go North of Geraldton you will not be disappointed and I have tossed in a link to help people who want to look into it a little bit more (http://www.australia.com/en/itineraries/wa-indian-ocean-drive.html) as we certainly didn't get a chance to do everything that was available to us (guess we'll have to go back!). There is snorkelling that apparently tops that of the Great Barrier Reef in all ways at Ningaloo Reef Marine Park. WA often gets passed over for the heavily promoted Gold Coast (which is amazing as well) but if you have time in your travels I would definitely take a peak at what adventures you could find in the West. With old friendships caught up, news ones formed, and hundreds of great memories, it is impossible to look back on our time in Australia as anything but amazing. It was hard to leave it all behind us, but we had an exciting new chapter waiting for us in Ireland. This is where our planning had really come to a stand still as beyond getting to Dublin and staying at an AirBnB for the first week, we hadn't decided on much after that. This was somewhat by design as we wanted to leave some parts of our journey to chance as you never know what opportunities may come knocking once you get to a place. A blank slate was waiting for us and we both waited with nervous anticipation to see what we would start filling it up with!
Shayne and Sherry