One of the things I love about Australia is its diversity. Adventures from the ocean to the desert, and from the ground up to the sky are to be had if one is sufficiently courageous. From nature to wildlife to produce, they are a continent isolated and yet has so much to offer and is steadfastly self-sufficient.
Perth was the first city I visited in Australia. I was eight. How I adored the koalas, kangaroos and wallabies, and fed them till they ran off. It was also where I lost my first blue scarf jumping around while Mom shopped in Tudor Court. My parents, avid travellers themselves, fell in love with Australia and made it a point to go back there almost every year. And so began our trysts with the cities along the east and west coasts, including Tasmania.
It was always the Southern half though. Even when I continued to wander around in Australia, I’ve never ventured to its Northern Territories. Maybe someday that will change, but it seemed like there was just more to do if you were South-bound.
One of our trips to Western Australia brought us to Walpole, a 4.5 hours drive south of Perth, to the Valley where Giant Red Tingle Trees rest. Famous for its 400 year old heritage, massive and gnarled trunks, the trees in this national park were quite a sight. Some of the trunks had holes and were roomy enough to build little houses, albeit for hobbits. It is a tranquil little place of green and brown, a restful walk amongst the world’s tallest trees.
South of Perth, in Karri Valley Resort, was also the one time I saw a kookaburra up close. It flew towards us and perched itself on the balcony railings to steal a share of the feed we were giving to visiting parrots. That bird was large; It was as long as a man’s forearm and as wide as Schwarzenegger’s biceps. When it flew in, you could feel a gust of wind swoosh by. And it had a nasty-looking long beak with which to stick into a feed-laden palm. Oh mighty bird!! We backed away so fast we left the box of feed outside. (On second thought, it was OUR breakfast cereal, not feed. Hah, we eat the same things afterall.) With the glass door quickly pulled shut lest it decides to come in and live with us, we huddled behind and watched it eat. Suffice to say, we were fascinated but a little freaked out by that very forward bird.
If you go to Margaret River, chances are that you would visit the cheese, wine, chocolate and olive oil factories. On the way there and back, you’d probably pass by lavender and animal farms; apple, pear, blueberry, strawberry orchards, and local markets selling items from freshly harvested vegetables to handicrafts to aromatherapy needs. A quick diversion would bring you up to Mount Barker to see wildflowers. If you went all the way south to Albany, you could go diving in the really choppy waters.
You couldn’t get more diverse than this. 🙂 Our last trip there was in 2008. Perhaps it is time to consider another, but North.