8th Feb - 24rd Feb By Mark
08.02.2009 - 24.02.2009 35 °C
- *It's a long post, sorry!**
So here we are at our last stop on our Australian Adventure, Perth.
With two weeks planned here staying with some relatives and catching up with Mum as well as sorting our Australian lives out prior to heading over to New Zealand.
Mum kindly booked us into a motel for our first night in Perth which we headed straight to on arriving in the city. A rest and a shower later and it's over to Mum's for some home cooking.
One of our first objectives is to get Betsey ready for sale so the 9th is spent at the car wash (Betsey's first since we got her!) and also at Oz's equivalent to the DVLA to find out what's involved in selling a Queensland registered van in Western Australia. Each state has it's own rules and regulations and typically Western Australia's is the strictest. We'd put Betsey on Gumtree the night before and inquiries were already trickling in.
That afternoon we headed over to Mon and Mark's, our base for the next two weeks. Mon is Jacques' (my stepdads) neice and her and her husband Mark were kind enough to put us up in their spare room for the next 14 nights as well as feed and water us incredibly well! Once again, thank you both so much for being such great hosts... it's an open invitation for the next time you're over in the UK!
After an inital flood of interest (well three phone calls) all had gone quiet on the sale front. We'd had a couple of promising leads only for them to fall through for one reason or another. I then got a phone call from a couple about 4 hours north of Perth and a price was agreed over the phone without them even seeing the van! A time and date for them to send over a local friend who was a mechanic was set and to cut a long story short, all went well and a few days later they arrived with a bankers draft to pick up our little Betsey.
A few final shots of Betsey in all her shiny and clean glory
It was actually quite sad to say goodbye, she'd been such a reliable van/home to us over the past 9 months and 12,000 odd kilometres that we'd become rather attached to her.
Our encounter with R.O.U.S (aka Quokkas)
Rottnest is an island 30 mins off the coast of Perth. We were keen to have one last Aussie adventure so booked one night on the island for the middle of our stay in Perth.
After standing up from kissing the ground following one of the roughest sea crossing we've experienced we found ourselves in a picture postcard island with no cars, everyone cycling around, beautiful beaches and perfect weather. Our accommodation was not ready for a few hours so we set off to hire our bikes and some snorkling equipement and set off for a quick recce of the island.
Rottnest was so named by the original Dutch founders due to the seemingly large rodents found throughout the island (and nowhere else in the world) - the name literally meant Rats nest. It was later discovered that these little fellas were in fact Marsupials, but the maps had been printed and the signs made so the name stuck regardless. Quokkas, as they're called, are a mix of a very small kangaroo (they have a pouch, long tails and hop) and a possum, they're very cute and a little too tame from all the human interaction and obvious handouts they've gotten used to receiving - they're certainly not shy about entering restaurants or holiday flats to have a nosey round for a free handout.
I'd mistakenly thought that the island would be nice and flat, why else would they encourage everyone to cycle! Much to my displeasure, and after a three hour cycle, my butts too we'd learnt the hard way that it's far from flat. We had however covered off around half of the island and seen some beautiful scenery and beaches as well as stopped off for a great snorkel in the reefs close to shore. That kind of made up for spending the rest of our time on Rottnest walking like a cowboy who'd lost his horse ;o)
Of course one of the main reasons for coming to Perth was to spend time with Mum, Jacques and the extended family. Much of this catching up was done over vast quantities of food and drink
And now the end is near
It was Sunday 23rd Feb and we woke up with the plan of starting to get ourselves packed and then heading off to the town of Fremantle with Mum and Jacques for our last outing together. Kate woke up recalling a story Mark (the other Mark, I'm not talking about myself in the third person) had told the night before about his in-laws missing a midnight flight by turning up 24 hours late, we'd laughed and commented how silly that was...we then checked our flight details - flight leaving Perth Monday 23rd 00:15, wait a second, does that mean midnight after 23:59 on Sunday or midnight after 23:59 on Monday??? It seems so obvious now, but we'd had in our heads that we were leaving on the morning of Tuesday 24th and were therefore thinking we had two whole days left. After some moments panicking and 15 mins on hold to Qantas I got through, explained our flawed thinking and managed to move the flight to 00:15 on Tuesday 24th, the flight i thought we were already on. Sweaty lipped moment over, life lesson learnt and a handy free travelers tip for all of you...you're very welcome.