For our last morning in central Perth we had booked the Hotel Hot Buffet again. By 8.00am we were tucking into our hot scrambled eggs after making sure that most of our packing was done. After a quick return to the room to clean our teeth we went back down to Reception where I ordered an Uber to take us to pick up the rental car I had booked for the rest of our time here.
Karen is still fairly dubious about using Uber being convinced that the driver will take down a dark alley, rob us and leave us in the middle of nowhere. When she gets something like that in her mind it is difficult to get her to see reason. So it was really good when we got a normal chatty Aussie driver who put her at ease from the moment he pulled up outside the hotel. It would have taken us 30 minutes to walk to pick up the car according to Google maps but I didn’t want to risk Karen’s hip unnecessarily again and for the sake of a £5 decided to splash the cash.
We had booked the car through Europcar. I thought the girl serving us was quick and efficient. Karen was more concerned that apparently the girls shirt was un-ironed and that she had obviously let her hair dry on the way to work. We were probably both correct. She also tried her very best to upsell more insurance, road side assistance and any other means to extract more money from me. I just kept saying No to everything. The car was a little Red Kia which was actually very nice, of a high specification but somewhat underpowered.
After much swearing at the Sat Nav again (I initially couldn’t work out how to switch from the NZ to Australia map set), we managed to find our way back to the Hotel via the complicated Perth one way system.
It only took a couple of minutes to get the bags out of our room and check out and we were on our way. Our first destination was Caversham Wildlife Park which was not too far out of Perth itself. Today we were on a Koala hunt. There were 3 places in Perth where you can see Koalas. In Perth Zoo though they are behind glass. At Cohuna Park you can hold them, but that was 40 minutes in the wrong direction and seemed as though it might be in someone’s back garden. The one we had chosen allowed a close encounter where you could touch them and take as many of your own photos you wanted.
Caversham Wildlife Park turned out to be in the middle of a massive conservation area called Whiteman Park which also housed a Motor Museum, children’s play area and other small attractions. Not that the Sat Nav was any help finding it. To be fair we were driving on what seemed like brand new roads that the Sat Nav thought were just fields. After some swearing I chose to ignore the Sat Nav and follow the new road signs instead.
The heat hit us as we got out of the car as there was no breeze. Fortunately there were lots of trees giving us some dabbled shade. We walked to the entrance and paid our $30 admission each disappointed that they do not accept International Student cards which I thought was pretty mean spirited of them.
Our first animal encounter was the Kangaroo enclosure. Here there were over 100 Kangaroos that you could just walk through and feed. They were very friendly. There were many Joeys and some mothers still carrying even younger ones in their pouches. They were very used to humans and were friendly. You were allowed to stroke their backs as they gently ate from your hand. Mind you if they were startled they could certainly move very quickly. Karen wouldn’t feed or touch them and was satisfied with just posing with them. One of them rested his little front paws on my hand as he looked up at me.
On our agenda next was the 'Meet a Wombat and his friend’ opportunity. We joined a large crowd ready to be let into a shed like area for 11am. When it opened we headed straight for the wombat queue and were able to sit down with one, and stroke his back legs whilst having our picture taken.
Apparently the wombats love the physical contact sitting on their keepers lap so that they always doze off. Our one was called Natty but he was wide awake throughout. The other one fell asleep almost immediately.
We also posed with a golden possum. Neither of us were particularly bothered about handing a python and there was a large group of small children from a playgroup waiting in the queue which put us off.
The main attraction for us though was the Koalas and the next scheduled encounter was to be at 11.30am so we went to find that. On the way in, there was a large poster with all of the Koala’s and their names. Karen was tickled to find their was one called Karen and her son Eric (the one we never let out of the loft - its a long story - ask Barry). There were also ones named Alison & Stuart which also made Karen smile.
We watched the Koala’s that were to be brought out being got ready. Now whenever we have seen them before to say they are sedentary animals would be a vast understatement. The six being readied to come though were visibly excited. They were all on the floor of their enclosure running around and chasing each of their handlers wanting to be picked up just like a small child.
The queue in front of us moved quickly and we were soon guided into our little like cubby hole to meet with Frederick. He was gorgeous. We were allowed to take as many pictures as we wanted and also had several taken of the pair of us with him. We were allowed to gently stroke his back with the back of our hands. I asked if anyone would notice if I took him home on the plane with us, his handler said that wouldn’t be a problem although she wasn’t sure I could get all the Eucalyptus leaves on as hand luggage that he would need during the flight. All too soon though we had to leave Frederick to meet his next lot of admirers,
Then we went and saw the Quokkas they had in captivity. They were not nearly as cute or interesting when behind a fence though. On our way out we saw the little blue penguins being fed along with the two Australian pelicans which were enormous.
On the way back to the car we diverted to Whiteman Park Village cafe to get some refreshments. Karen had a coffee and a tea at the same time, anyone would think she is on holiday.
Then we got the long drive north underway. The roads got straighter and quieter the further we went. We went through vast areas that had been impacted by bush fires in the last year or so. The views were just that of scrub and bushland for miles upon miles. It was pretty dull and we got get the sense of being very remote.
There were signs reminding us that there were potential wild emus and kangaroos running across the road. We had been hoping that the Indian Ocean Drive would be pretty and at least near the sea but the vast majority of it wasn’t. After about 90 minutes I was ready for a break so we took a side road to a coastal town called Lancelin. There wasn’t much there and we couldn’t see why anyone would choose to live there. We found the picnic area and had our lunch before following the sign for Beach Access. Actually the bay want too bad, although the whole area had stench of seaweed about it.
We continued the journey up to Cervantes, and our room at The Pinnacles Edge Resort for the next 2 nights. The Sat Nav said we were less than 1km away and we had still not seen any buildings. We looked at each wondering what on earth we had booked. The resort was right on the edge of the town,
Well town is over stretching it. Bacton in Norfolk would be a metropolis in comparison. The Lonely Planet Guidebook to Perth that I received for Christmas, describes Cervantes as scruffy, scrawling and charmless. What they should have said was that they were just the good bits.
The ‘resort’ looked to me like the place we had visited on Robben Island where Nelson Mandela had been imprisoned. I got Karen to go and check us in whilst I checked how far it would be to drive back to Perth. Just in case. The studio apartment we had been allocated was actually quite nice, although Karen was disappointed that we didn’t have an outside seating area. There was no Wifi in the room but it was available in the cafe area and worked fine.
Our conclusion was to at least stay the night and then visit the The Pinnacles tomorrow and perhaps have sometime by one of the pools.
For dinner we decided not to go into the Resorts restaurant which looked too posh and expensive for us. Instead we went for a walk to the ‘centre’ of town with the aim of going to the Sports Bar, rated No1 in Cervantes on Trip Advisor (mind you there was only a choice of 3). We got distracted by looking in the window of the closed General Store and saw there was a take away Fish & Chip shop with a Liquor store next store. We thought we would have a take away with a bottle of wine instead of the Sports Bar. The fish was beautiful and fresh. The wine was good as well.
I made up a little back story for the young girl in the Chip shop who was taking orders, as well as all the cooking and waitressing for those who wanted to eat it. It was a terribly sad story and I wanted to go back and speak to her to make sure none of it was true.
We ate in our room whilst Karen made up our plans for what to visit for our last 2 days before going home.