Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Perth Darul Awesome Trip - Day 6

We woke up early for our next agenda. The plan was to go back to Perth while making two stops on the way. The first destination would be a cave visit. Read in a blog that this is a must visit if you just happen to be in Margaret River, so there we go.

Margaret River got a string of nice caves that can be visited. There are 3 among them that were the most famous, the Lake Cave, the Jewel Cave and the Mammoth Cave. Gonna cost us AUD50 per head if we were to go ahead with all the three caves. We thought 50 dollars is just to expensive for a cave visit plus we were on a tight schedule, so we thought one cave is enough. Lake Cave it is, and it cost us AUD22 per person.

Situated around 20km away from our stay, we arrived early at around 9:30am. Nobody was around, except us. The entrance to the cave is already opened, and we wasted no time and entered. Paid the entrance fee, waited for an hour as the tour will start at 10:30 am. Browsed through the gallery to kill the time, took some pictures as usual.

The entrance. 

In the gallery. Happy to see some stalactites, which I couldn't brain what is she happy about. 

10:30am, the tour started. A couple of Chinese girls in their 20s joined us for the tour. Found out they were Malaysians, students from Melbourne whose were on a holiday. I asked them if they felt the tremors last night but they told us they missed it by a whisker. Oh just so you know, Melbourne was hit by a major earthquake the night before, 5.3 on Richter scale, no huge damage were done, no biggies.

Our tourist guide for the morning was... heck I couldn't remember her name. But she was nice. The tour started with a climbing some 300+ stair steps down. It was a little bit scary for me, plus it was slippery and wet.

Yup. The cave is down there. 

Finally arrived at the base ground. The part in this picture was actually part of the caves, but the roof collapsed around 1000 years ago. They claimed this according to the age of that big tree, which they estimated to be around 750 years old. 

A small gap with more stairs, entrance into the cave. 

The cave is dark and quiet. Surprisingly you can hardly find an animal in that cave. No bats, snakes or whatsoever. Not even a tiny fish.

They put some lighting on, and it was breathtakingly beautiful. 

That stalactites hanging from the ceiling weight almost 1 tonne! 

Ok now came the hardest part, climbing back up!

Pheww! Made it to the top.

After an agonizing 20 minutes of climbing up, the tour ended. We then got ready for our next stop, Busselton Jetty.

It is about 70 km away from Lake Cave. Drove for an hour before we reached the spot.

Claimed to be the longest wooden jetty in the southern hemisphere, it stretched out about 2 km out to the sea from the town. It was meant to be destroyed but somehow the local people felt attached to it because of some historic event, so they issued a petition to preserve it as a historic place, and they did it and this is what it is by now. A very long wooden jetty with a tourist train on and an underwater observatory at the end of it.

The entrance to the jetty.

The entrance to the jetty is pretty cheap. Cost us AUD2.50 per person. But here is the catch. You have 2 choices to get to the underwater observatory at the end of the jetty. You can go by walk, will cost you the entrance, but you have to walk for about 4 km back and forth. Or you can have a ride on the train, but it will cost you AUD11 per head. So we decided to walk.

Yes, it was that long.

Some local people who passed away and had their ashes scattered to the sea, will have the privilege to put a memorial plate on the handrail.

Train is coming!

At last we arrived at the end of the jetty. There is a small souvenir shop, and also the main attraction, the underwater observatory. Unfortunately the observatory is closed for schedule maintenance. Will not be opened until the next couple of months. No problemo, we chilled for a while before decided to walk back.

At last. The end of the journey. Have you heard the idiom "It wasn't the destination, it's the journey that matters"? Well they lied. Of course the destination is matters. 

The screen shows in real live what does the underwater observatory looks like. As you can see the water was kinda murky.

By this time I felt a little bit worried. It seems like gonna be raining soon. The sky was already dark, and the winds blew so strong we had a hard time to walk. Plus, its gonna take more than 30 minutes of walk, so we'd better be hurry.

Shit. The sky is already dark and we still have another 2 km of walk.

Nevertheless, we made it to the end.

Tourist mode. 

Hey have you seen in our country some tourists wearing singlet, short pants and slippers and don't even bother what other people around might think of them or what they are wearing? We called this tourist mode. And we are definitely on tourist mode by then. Look at her shoes. Oh it might be too small. Here let me zoom in for you.

Travelling boots

It is a pair of house slippers. Which you use it regularly in a house, hence its name. But we were totally on tourist mode, so we don't give a damn what other people might think. Most importantly it is comfy. The jacket that I wore? Been wearing it since arrived.

Me on the tourist mode

After that, we continued our journey to back to Perth. Had to drive for another 2 and a half hours. For the next 2 nights we will be staying at Sullivans Hotel. Did a lot of researches and this hotel is the best within our budget. Cost us AUD135 per night.

How was the hotel? Well, not that good. We did not get the good view of the Swan River, got wifi but it sucks, and it only allow one connection at one time, which made it even sucks more. The room was just so so, I think the Fremantle B&B is way better than this hotel. Anyway, what matter most to us was to get a good night sleep. That all is matter.

The room

We were thinking to have a walk in Perth City that night, and maybe have some dinner, but it was raining cats and dogs. So we decided to drive for another 20 km to the nearest Nando's. Oh just so you know Nando's is Halal in Aussie. It is certified by Australia Muslim Halal Authority, so got another good choices for food besides fish and chips. By this time around I am sicked of fish and chips already.

After dinner we headed straight back to the hotel. Need to get a good rest because tomorrow will be another long journey to the north.

End of Day 6

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Perth Darul Awesome Trip - Day 5

Today we gonna drive another 50 km down south. 2 main activities were already in the schedule, whale watching in Augusta and a visit to Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse.

I was pretty excited actually, you know, gonna watch a real life whale in their habitat with your own eyes. My wife on the other hand was not really into it, she was a little bit afraid of open water. Now it baffled me how the hell she can fall in love with beaches?

So woke up early so that we can be at the pick up site at 10:00 am. It was raining drizzly the whole journey. The weather has been like this for the past 2 days, which was not good especially when you are a tourist and on a visit to a certain place.

For the whale watching, my wife had already pre booked the tour and they charged us AUD79 per head. The whole tour will take up approximately around 2 to 3 hours. Pretty expensive, I do really it worth every penny.

When we arrived at the pickup zone, we were greeted by a young man in his 20s. He informed us since there were not so many customer that day and the sea was a little bit roughs due to the weather and they got a small boat, they decided to gather every customer to their competitor, which just happened to have a bigger boat. Nice. Amazing how they can actually work together although they were competing in the same business and the margin of course is small. Back in our country this is most unlikely to happen especially among us Malays. I have seen it with my own eyes, but that gonna be another story.

And yes, about the payment. We have to pay another AUD80 per person to the new operator. The recent one told us they will push back the payment that we have made, and somehow we trust them. In our own country? That is not gonna happen!

View from the jetty.

We were brought to the big boat using a smaller boat. 

The big boat. Not as big as what you think. Well if it is bigger, wouldn't we call it a ship, would we?

On the boat there are already 3 couples who were waiting for the tour to start. A couple from Singapore, and the other 2 were Australian. We had a small briefing regarding the safety measures, but my wife is pretty advance in this. She already put on the life jacket. And then the guy in charge told us we might want to go to the upper deck because it got a better view and pretty safe up there, you don't have to even wear the life jacket. 

So, I went upstairs, we all did except for my wife. She decided to stay at the lower deck since she had a little sea sick. And that guy was right, it got a better view up here and it was pretty safe so none of us wore any life jacket. 

A few minutes later my wife decided to join us. When she went upstairs, the guy who drove the boat suddenly like, "You must be kidding me," and he was referring to the life jacket my wife was wearing. We all busted in laughter, including me! Hehe sorry baby. That was a really funny moment and I had to share it with others.

After that, pretty much there were nothing, except for the bumpy ride and scanning the ocean to look for some whales. Everybody was like, "Hey! Hey! I saw them just now! There!" or "Where are you God damn it." the whole journey.

My wife talking to the boat driver. Nice guy. Got a degree in Marine Biology, ended up with family business. He literally knew and recognized every single whale around that area, he was like,"Hmm I haven't saw that one since last year." and "That one is the mother of the other one we saw just now." Yes he said that. Either he is genius or he just lied to us, we sucked it up in amaze. 

Some of the tourists went to the front deck hoping for a better view.

You see the whale?



Please tell us you see it. We spent AUD160 for this. 

The journey ended around 1:30 pm. Caught a few pictures of the whales in action, and that was it. So for those of you who are on a tight budget and time, you might want to consider to skip this activity. But we got some time to kill so I guess yeah it's kinda worth it.

Then we headed back to the Augusta town for lunch. Augusta is a small town, very small town if you ask me. Even Balik Pulau town in Penang is bigger than it. Not so many people, and not so many cars you can see around. But one thing for sure, this town is clean. It was hard to find even a cigarette butt on the floor. This is amazing and something that we can learn, how do they actually do it?

Augusta Town. Very clean and quiet. Even though there is a roadwork ahead but they still maintain it clean. 

We had a lunch in a fish and chips in a restaurant nearby, couldn't remember its name. The taste, hmm what can I say it is a fish and chips, they all taste the same to me, but I think this one might taste better than the one in Fremantle. 

We then headed to our next stop, Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse.

The lighthouse.

It is about 5km away from the pickup zone of the whale watching in Davies Road. The lighthouse is historic maritime landmark, watching over what they called as "The place where the two oceans meet."

The site visit will cost you just a AUD5 but the guided tour into the lighthouse will cost you a whopping AUD17. I said fuck it we are going in. So we paid the entry and enter. And then we regretted it because it was bloody nothing there. Except for a few signboards and a scary tour up to the top of the lighthouse. I am afraid of height I tell you, and why the bloody hell I agreed to my wife's suggestion to go for this tour, I don't know. It was not because I afraid of her. She wasn't afraid of me.

The museum and souvenir shop.

Entry to the lighthouse.

A long way uphill to the lighthouse. First regret.

The entrance to the top. Some 500 steps to be climbed. Second regret.

The ultimate of regretion. WTF?? It was so high I'm going to dieeeee!!!

But nice view though. Although the wind is a bit strong, when you were up there you should enjoy the moment while it last. But definitely not me. I was nagging "when are we going to get down?" the whole time.

After the tour ended, it was already almost 5pm. We went back to our stay in Margaret River for a dinner and prepared for tomorrow's journey.

End of Day 5.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Perth Darul Awesome Trip - Day 4

Today plan gonna be a long ride to the south. We intended to go to Margaret River, some 300km away from Perth. Read it in some blogs that Margaret River is a very good tourist attraction.

Woke up early in the morning, had some breakfast and moved on around 10:00 am. We decided to take the Kwinana Freeway since it is the easiest. Not so many cars on the road, but we couldn't go faster due to the speed limit. Not to worry there is no toll, in fact there is no toll at all wherever in Perth.

Scenic, and lovely weather in the morning.

Stopping by RnR. It is just a small cabin with a few toilets. No food stall or whatsoever.

But the lovely weather did not last. Half way through the journey, it started to rain, cats and dogs, all the way to our destination.

Our stay for the day and tomorrow. 

We arrived at our accommodation at around 1 pm. For the next 2 nights we will be staying at Adamsons Riverside Accommodation. Walking distance from Margaret River town, it cost us AUD140 per night. 

Upon arrival, we were greeted by a man in his 40s. He introduced himself as Bruce, and showed us our unit.

Our unit. Got a lovely small table with 2 chairs outside the room, but I guess nobody gonna use it in this cold weather.

Bruce chipped in the breakfast although we did not do the prelim order when we booked this unit. How generous!

The room - quite comfy, but without a heater unit. However the bed is equipped with an electric blanket to keep us warm all the time. Great. Now we got a reason not to get off our bed. 

So our first destination for today is Margaret River Chocolate Factory. Read somewhere that it produces good chocolates in various form. My wife who is a chocolate freak herself insisted this place is a must go. I have to obey or else, you know, nothing happen tonight!

Situated 20km away from our stay, we figured the journey might take around 30 minutes considering the light traffic and easy route to the destination.

The entrance. 

Chocolates. So many chocolates. In many forms and colors.

If you are lucky enough you might get the chance to witness the process to make chocolates. But I guess luck was not on our side, or maybe the timing wasn't just right. All we managed to see was some machines rolling some chocolates. 

Then we had a chocolate drink in the garden by the side of the factory. It was lovely.

Nice view.

The drink and a cupcake. Too sweet. I can barely drink and eat them.

A beautiful dog playing chase with some kids in the park.

We bought some chocolates as a souvenir before leaving the place. Mind telling you the chocolates were a little bit expensive. 

Now our second destination. Well we actually didn't had any plan for the second destination, but we still got some time to kill. So my wife suggested how about we go and visit around?

So then we headed for the silk factory and the lavender farm. Not worth mentioning though. Nothing interesting there except for you know, silk and lavender. 

We then headed back to our hostel, and had our dinner at a Thai restaurant. But the interesting thing that we found on our way there was this.

Goodfellas cafe. One of my favourite movie. 

They even have a WiseGuys sign for the loo. 

We then headed for our dinner, got back to the hostel and had a nice sleep in the comfort of an electric blanket. Tomorrow gonna be a busy day.

End of Day 4.