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WESTERN AUSTRALIA

Day 11 - Perth: Mount Lawley & Back to Adelaide

My flight back to Adelaide didn’t leave Perth until 5:30pm, which was nice as I had the better part of the day to explore more of the city. That morning I went out for breakfast at a really nice cafe near where I was staying in Mount Lawley called Mary Street Bakery. Trendy interior, wide variety of food and good coffee, what more could you ask for? After breakfast I walked to the nearby Hyde Park where I saw a family of black swans. I made it back to my accommodation around 1pm - I packed up my things and then called for a taxi to take me to the airport. I arrived back in Adelaide around 9:30pm that night and I noticed the change in temperature as soon as I walked off the plane and entered the airport! I think I was spoiled with all of the hot weather I experienced while in Perth and the rest of Western Australia. I had a great time on my trip - I was able to see so many different things while on the WA tour, and I enjoyed my three days in Perth and exploring the stunning Rottnest Island. People have asked me which part of Australia I liked the most - the Northern Territory or Western Australia, and I don’t think I can really answer that question. I liked them both for different reasons - on my NT trip it was unique to be able to drive through Australia’s Outback, see the iconic Uluru and come so close to saltwater crocodiles in the wild. Western Australia has some stunning beaches that I don’t think you could top anywhere in the world, Perth is a really nice city, and Rottnest Island is every quokka lovers dream.

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WESTERN AUSTRALIA

Day 10 - Rottnest Island

The island is uninhabited except for the settlement near the jetty, which has some shops, places to eat, rental cabins and a hotel.  I arrived back to the settlement around 3:30pm and after a long day biking around an island in the scorching sun, I was ready to head back to the city! The jetty left around 4:30pm, allowing passengers to watch the sunset over the city, and I arrived back in Perth shortly after 6pm. I was absolutely starving at this point as I was away from the main settlement all day there were no places to stop to eat or drink. I decided to treat myself and I walked to Jamie’s Italian restaurant where I enjoyed a delicious meal cooked for me, which after a week of making sandwiches, this came as a welcome change! I took a bus back to Mount Lawley around 8:30pm and had another early night after an exhausting but amazing day.

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WESTERN AUSTRALIA

Day 10 - Rottnest Island

There are very few signs around the island, so you really have to use your map to try and decipher where you are and what way to go. A few times I came to an area that looked very familiar and there would be a group of people all asking each other what way to go! I went swimming and snorkeling once more, this time in ‘The Basin,’ and started making my way back toward the jetty where I started. I found that the closer I got to the settlement, the more quokkas I would see.

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WESTERN AUSTRALIA

Day 10 - Rottnest Island

I loved that there weren’t any cars on the island - this made biking very relaxing (although there were a few steep hills!), and everything seems so natural and untouched. It was a sunny 30 degrees that day, so whenever I’d come across a nice beach I would go in for a swim to cool off before getting back on my bike. Eventually I began crossing the interior of the island where there is a lighthouse and even lakes. I passed what I think was a stumpy tailed lizard (see above picture), a family of ducks and more quokkas. I even ran into some of the girls that were on my WA tour!

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WESTERN AUSTRALIA

Day 10 - Rottnest Island


For my final full day in Perth I planned a day trip to Rottnest Island. Rottnest is 18km from the Western Australia coast and it’s known to be one of the few places where the adorable Quokka live. Quokka are a small marsupial that are known to be extremely friendly, getting up close to strangers and they always seem to have a big smile on their faces. I’d seen them once before, at the Adelaide Zoo, and I fell in love with them there. So of course spending a day on a secluded island inhabited by these friendly animals was a must do for me. Rottnest is unique as you can’t drive on the island (other than the shuttle that can take you around the island), instead you bike it! It’s only 11 kilometers long and 4.5 kilometers wide, so it would take you around 5 hours to bike around the whole island without stopping.

I woke up bright and early that morning, taking a bus from Mount Lawley to the city centre then walking to the jetty where I would board the Rottnest Express. The ferry ride was really nice as it takes you down the Swan River, giving you some really good views of the city skyline. It then stops about an hour later at the port of Freemantle where it picks up more passengers and then continues about 25 minutes to the island. I hired a bike and started my tour around the island. Ben and Tanya, my hosts at the airbnb I was staying at, had lent me their snorkel gear and told me what beaches are the best for snorkeling.

The first beach I stopped at was called Salmon Bay, and like the rest of the island, it was picturesque with beautiful turquoise waters. I did some snorkeling here but I didn’t go out very far as I was traveling solo (there wasn’t one other person in sight) and the current was rather strong. I came across my first quokka during a stop at a lookout, and he was indeed as friendly and cute as the ones I met at the zoo!

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WESTERN AUSTRALIA

Day 9 - Perth

I walked around much of Perth’s city centre, shopping and admiring the jewelry in Tiffany’s & Co. I was craving a hot drink but couldn’t find any unique looking cafes so I decided to walk to the area of Northbridge as our guide on the Intrepid tour had mentioned it’s a good place to go for dinner. I ended up stopping for a drink at a neat place called Northbridge Brewing Company. After that I walked back into the city, did some more window browsing and then walked back to Mount Lawley which took me about 40 minutes from the city centre. After all of that walking it was an early night for me - I had to get my rest as I had a big day ahead exploring Rottnest Island.

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WESTERN AUSTRALIA

Day 9 - Perth: Kings Park

I walked all through King’s Park which is full of different types of flowers in its botanical gardens. There are different paths you can take and I think I did all of them! I couldn’t have asked for a better day as it was around 29 degrees and sunny out. After about three hours in Kings Park I stopped at the park cafe for lunch before walking into the city centre.

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WESTERN AUSTRALIA

Day 9 - Perth: Kings Park

On day nine it was nice to wakeup and not have an agenda - I took my time, made breakfast and headed out around 10:00am. I took a bus into the city and then walked to Kings Park. Kings Park is Perth’s main park, and it’s a big one (even bigger than New York’s Central Park!). The bus dropped me off and I could see Kings Park from where I was - only I couldn’t figure out how to get there. I had to cross a main highway and then there were no roads anywhere near me that went left which is where my GPS was telling me to go. I eventually figured out that I had to climb stairs to get up there - and not just a few stairs. These stairs are called “Jacob’s Ladder” and people use them to workout on. There are probably 500 steps in total! So I made my way up wearing totally inappropriate clothes and sandals for such a climb, passing by sweaty people fulfilling their day’s workout. It was all worth it when I got to the top and had a view of the beautiful Perth skyline.

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WESTERN AUSTRALIA

Day 8 - Greenough Wildlife Park & End of Tour

After an interesting time in Hutt River our next stop was to nearby Greenough Wildlife Park. An animal sanctuary that takes in abandoned or hurt wildlife. If you know me you know my love of animals so I was looking forward to this. They have lots of different kinds of wildlife: tons of kangaroos (even an albino one!), emus, dingos, a saltwater and a freshwater croc, lots of different kinds of birds, goats, sheep, horses, a camel, and even a pig! We were given a bag of food to hand feed the kangaroos, sheep and goats. As you can see from the pictures - the kangaroos loved it! The birds were so entertaining as many of them could talk and one even danced to a song by LMFAO. Too funny! The highlight was holding a baby joey - he was so sweet!

We arrived back in Perth around 5:30pm that afternoon. Once everyone was dropped off at their accommodations it was my turn (I was staying in an area called Mount Lawley so I had to take a bus from the city centre). Our guide dropped me off at a pub called The Lucky Shag and from there I made my way to the main bus/train station in Perth. I eventually found the appropriate bus stop (the station was HUGE), and began wondering why I had chosen to stay outside of the city centre. I booked my accommodation through airbnb, a website where people can put a room in their home up for for people to stay in while they travel. I made it safe and sound around 7:30pm and met my hosts Tanya and Ben. They have a lovely upstairs apartment where I had my own bedroom and bathroom, and access to the rest of the house. The location was lovely, the place was perfect and the hosts were super nice and helpful - all of my regrets soon faded away!

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WESTERN AUSTRALIA

Day 8 - Principality of Hutt River

On the final day of the tour we continued to make our way back down to Perth. Our first stop of the day was to the Principality of Hutt River. Hutt River is considered a “micronation” and claims to be an independent state. It was founded in 1970 by Leonard Casley who has since gone by “Prince Leonard,” it’s 75 square kilometers and has a population of around 23.

I’m sure you’re wondering how a person could claim part of Australia as their own? Apparently it all started over a dispute between the Casley family and the Western Australia government concerning wheat production quotas. I guess the new quotas were put in place after his wheat had been harvested, which allowed him to sell only a portion of his harvest. This caused Casley to take his case to the government, and this is what resulted:

"In correspondence with the Governor-General’s office, Casley was inadvertently addressed as the "Administrator of the Hutt River Province" which was claimed (via Royal Prerogative as the Queen’s representative) to be a legally binding recognition.[5][7] After Prime Minister William McMahon threatened him with prosecution for “infringement of territory,” Casley styled himself “His Majesty Prince Leonard I of Hutt” to take advantage of the British Treason Act 1495 in which a self-proclaimed monarch could not be guilty of any offence against the rightful ruler and that anyone who interfered with that monarch’s duties could be charged with treason.[1] The governments recognition of Casley as “Administrator of Hutt River” had inadvertently made the Treason Act applicable and Casley continued to sell his wheat in open defiance of the quota.[8] Although the law in this matter has since changed, the Australian Constitution prevented its retrospectivity and the Australian government has not taken any action against Hutt River since the declaration.[9] Under Australian law, the federal government had two years to respond to Casley’s declaration; Casley says that the failure to respond gave the province de facto autonomy on 21 April 1972.” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Principality_of_Hutt_River)

Many other strange happenings occurred, such as Hutt River declaring war on Australia in 1977, due to hostilities revolving around the taxation office and the fact that Hutt River’s mail had to be redirected through Canada as the Australian Post refused to handle it.

Some more interesting things to note: Hutt River residents can declare themselves as “non residents” of Australia for income tax purposes, exempting them from paying Australian tax. Hutt River has coins and banknotes depicting Casley - its currency is called the Hutt River Dollar.

When we arrived at Hutt River we were shown around by one of Prince Leonard’s son’s - the ‘town’ area has its own chapel, post office, statue of Prince Leonard, and museum. Prince Leonard then arrived and for $2 he looked at your passport using a blue light (while looking at mine he told me that Canada’s passport is the most colourful), and then he stamps your passport with entry and exit visas. They’ve been collecting bank notes from visitors around the world, and as you can see from the picture above I found a few Canadian ones. Prince Leonard sure is an interesting fellow - he describes himself as a mathemetician, he’s published books and papers relating to ‘Creation and Spiritual,’ and above is a picture of the ‘Mathematical Model of Nature’s Biological Clock.’ 

Both Prince Leonard and his son, who I believe was Prince Graeme, were extremely friendly and you could tell they absolutely loved being able to show visitors around their land. What an interesting place to say the least!