Hillary Boat Harbour, Yanchep National Park, Perth
My 3rd day in Perth is kind of interesting. It is more of a trip into nature. I decided to drive up north from Perth, travelling along the coast as much as possible with my group. My final destination is Yanchep National Park. With my usual non-planning, flexible routine, I was not sure of getting there in time, but I managed in the nick of time.
My first stop up north is the City Beach. I had breakfast in one of the few cafes along the main road. Not great bacon and eggs but edible. I decided to visit City Beach as I wanted to see where the locals from Perth City go in their summer. It is a beautiful beach with a small light house at the end of the one lonely pier with waves crashing against the rocks at the light house. Waves up to a couple meters high. I can see how it can be dangerous if kids go too close to the end can be swept away. Hmmm.. Because I am here during the spring, the beach is deserted as the wind is just too cold for any beachgoers. Upon saying that I did see an older gentleman in his Speedos swimming against the waves. Either a brave soul or a stupid one.
Next beach to City Beach is the Scarborough Beach. Same picturesque view of the Indian Ocean and only seagulls visiting aside from the few of us at the beach. We went to check out a few real estate windows and quickly realised that real estate in Perth is kind of pricy, especially the houses facing the beach, all along the West Cost Highway. There goes my dream…
Next stop is the beautiful Hillarys Boat Harbour. Talk about real estate for houses? Well here in Hillarys Boat harbour, you have the “real estate” for boats! These boats are literally just parked here and there is signboard on every single boat here and they are for sale. Pretty amazing and beautiful sight. It is certainly an interesting tourist spot for young and old as they wander along the boardwalk and dream away which boat they like. Some just sit in an outside café, drinking their latte or cappuccino and pointing out to their love ones which boat they like. There are lots of cafes and restaurants and I can imagine this place coming alive in the evening. Those who are not into boats and the sun can browse through the many shops here. I bought a leather belt, a scarf and 2 sunglasses for a bargain here.
The Aquarium of Western Australia (AQWA) is located at Hillarys Harbour – built to accommodate the huge influx of people when the America’s Cup was held in Perth several years ago. Entrance fees for adults are $28 per person. Quite pricy so only a few of us went in. I don’t think I was actually prepared for the quality of the exhibitions that I saw. I thought it was going to be just another aquarium, you know some fish in tanks, and I’ve done a few by now. The creatures on display are very well presented and overall I felt that this was a superb experience. Everyone will be blown away when they walk amongst the sharks and rays I the shark tunnel. You see the sea dragons first,( in the hallway leading to the tunnel). Then you get on a moving beltway that slowly takes you through a HUGE tank that includes all kinds of sharks, HUGE sting rays, logger head turtles and schools & schools of fish. The touch tank is kind of small – but all kids like this. Don’t miss the outdoor tank of rays – which is kind of hard to find (past the touch tank, over a bridge and down a staircase). For a relatively small and Western Australia is pretty remote, this is an AWESOME aquarium
You can also eat at AQWA, we found the food tasty and reasonable (for Australia – where it all seems pretty expensive, but isn’t SO bad when you realize the sales tax is included AND you don’t have to tip).
AQWA is located north of Perth’s CBD – about 1/2 hour or so. The sandy beaches next to it are great for children. Fisherman can fish off the jetty. I saw a father and son enjoying the beautiful spring sun fishing at the jetty. There is also a mini-golf and waterslide play park. There are lots to do out this way if you want to make a day or more of it. I would have preferred more time but…….
I would consider the next stop at Joondalup to be a must for both the young and old. Bird ‘feeding’ at Neil Hawkins Park, Apparently these birds just flock to stand on your head or hand. There is a very small notice that says not to feed the birds. Well, somebody must have as these birds are here and there are literally about 50 or more. You don’t have to feed them (we didn’t bring any food with us, as we didn’t know about this park). I believe they must be well train or fed by the locals, to be attracted to outstretched hands. The minute you put out your hand, pretending that you have food in your hand, many will just literally fly towards you and sit on whatever parts of your body they can land. How lovely and enjoyable to be able to be so close to birds such as these. It is such a lovely feeling to be able to so this. This Neil Hawkins Park is home to many parrots including the Australian ringneck and cockatoos. Sadly I have to move on as time is catching up with me I need to drive to Yanchep National Park.
Yanchep National Park is just 45 minutes north of Perth. I had read that Yanchep National Park offers a choice of nine interesting walk trails ranging in length from 500 metres to 55 kilometres, where one can witness spectacular scenery and panoramic views from the sea
to the scarp. One can also see
collapsed cave systems, gorges, pristine coastal wetlands, beautiful lakes, or haunted historic remains. The collapsed cave system is the one that interest me the most. Crystal Cave in Yanchep National Park exhibits a multitude of incredible stalagmites which you can view as you wander amongst the picturesque lakes. With our tour guide, we explore the mystical underground world of Crystal Cave. The guide explained how the limestone cave was formed, what features exist within the cave environment and explain to us what the caves were like not too many years and where the water used to run and where the canoes used to glide but look at it now. The world climate ahnd changed and looke like it had affected the environment at Yanchep National Park drastically. Now they have to pump water into the caves and yet it does not even look like a lake, more a small puddle of water. Lots of rain water had been pumped in. I canot remember exactly how many litres but it is a HUGE quantity indeed. Very sad indeed. Even though, this cave is one of the smallest I have seen, it is still interesting.
I managed to get to the last Crystal Cave tour at 3pm. I had to miss out on all the other places of interest at this National Park. There are tours from 10.30 am, 11.30am, 1pm, 2pm and 3pm. Ticket prices are reasonable. Adults $10.00, Australian Senior concession $8.00, Children $5.00 (5-16 years), Mini group (2 adults, 2 children) $25.00.
I would have liked to discover the ways of the people that live in Western Australia’s south west and learn about the seasons used by the Nyoongar people and discover how their knowledge was shared and passed on, how Nyoongar people constructed their “Mia” shelters and how they utilised local plants and animals for food, medicine, clothing, shelter and tools, but I ran out of time. The place shuts at 5pm and alas I have to leave and travel back to Perth. The journey back seems a bit long as we were all tired. Dinner ended with just roast chicken back at the apartment. Too tired to be social in a restaurant.
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