We arrived in Perth after a solid twenty four hours of flying. It sounds weird, but there’s a particular smell that I associate with landing in Australia and it’s not just eucalyptus. Actually, it probably is just heat and eucalyptus, and the notable feature of this scent is not the scent itself but how identifiable it is to me. I feel like I know what Australia smells like. It feels like coming home to somewhere brand new.
I get so mushy about my Aussie family and visiting them. I just love being in Australia. The warmth and the ocean and the plentiful supply of milkshakes just suits me, you know?
We often start our trips in Perth and there is a well-trodden itinerary of beaches that we revisit time and time again. This trip was no exception, though it was made extra special by getting to show Jake random spots in the world that mean a lot to me. There’s a particular kind of pressure that comes with showing someone one of your favourite places, when you want them to love it as much as you do.
“Do you love it?”
“We just landed.”
“Are you saying you don’t love it?”
“I don’t have strong feelings about the runway, no.”
Repeat again at each beach, Rottnest Island, Goollelal Lake or any other place we happened to visit.
“Isn’t this so beautiful?”
“Yes. But we have only been here eight seconds.”
“I know, but isn’t it already one of your favourite places ever?”
“You need to settle down.”
Some of my favourite Perth beaches are Trigg, Mullaloo and Scarborough. A handful of my best childhood memories are from these shores: getting brutally dumped by a choppy ocean, learning to deal with riptides and realising that you should never wear a string bikini when you’re planning to play in the enormous waves, lest your nipples become a temporary tourist attraction. We’ll head to the beach every day when we’re in Perth. Except when the sharks rudely get in the way.
We spent most of our week in Perth hanging out with my family at their place (which I can’t recommend that you visit as it might scare them a bit) and enjoying the aforementioned well-loved beaches, though our trip to Rottnest Island and driving up the West Coast to the Pinnacles and white sand dunes were also a highlight. We also ate at Cold Rock, an ice creamery where they mash toppings into your ice cream on cold slabs, practically everyday which obviously wasn’t often enough.
I also tried to take cute bikini pictures with middling results. I feel it is probably better that I stay behind the camera.
There was much joy to be had in introducing Jake to Australia, not least for the kiddies. It was always going to be a disappointment to Phoebe and Hamish that my brother wasn’t there, with his endless patience for wrestling and pranks being legendary at this point. I promised them that Jake was a worthy substitute, a claim that was tested repeatedly with frequent incidents of fake worms and insects. His patience and enjoyment of childhood games was a hit. My heart melted.
There was also a lot of interest in Jake’s lack of experience with Australian animals. On our first day, we set out to find Jake’s first kangaroo. Despite the fact that kangaroos literally only live in Australia, and we explained that Jake had never been to Australia before, it was still mind-blowing to my little cousins that he had never seen a kangaroo. This is fair enough when you consider that kangaroos are basically like sheep in Australia. We walked for five minutes into a local park and there was a whole herd of kangaroos just chilling. First kangaroo – check.
The shock of Jake’s relative innocence regarding Australian wildlife continued. There is a sweet little animal called a quokka – a name only Australia could have come up with – that is only found on Rottnest Island, a small island off the coast of Perth. Hamish could not believe that Jake had never seen one.
“You’ve never seen a quokka?” He asked for the third time.
“Nope. There are no quokkas in the UK.”
Hamish looked stricken. “Have you ever seen a bird?!”
We all laughed. “Yes, there are birds in England.”
He relaxed a little. “So you have seen a chicken before?”
It seemed important that Jake had experienced this milestone.
A week is never long enough. It seemed like we were packing up to fly across the country only a minute after we had arrived. Fortunately, there were equally lovely beaches, cousins and ice cream over on Australia’s East Coast. We did manage to cram a decent amount into only a week, with plenty of chilled out family time alongside some proper exploration of the West Coast’s natural wonders. Up next is a day trip to Rottnest Island (known as Rotto because multiple syllables are hard for Australians) and a visit to the Pinnacles, with some stromatolites and sand dunes added in for good measure. Don’t worry, I only got a suspected concussion on that day, which is basically the same as not getting injured at all.
Next on the blog: Rottnest Island