My first stop in Australia was in the city of Perth! After two days of ferrying, bussing, and two flights, I finally arrived in Australia with my backpack, tangled hair, and two blue toenails (not by choice). My friend Gemma was waiting for me at the airport with a beautiful homemade welcome banner – how lucky am I?!
Gemma and I met in Italy back in 2012/2013.
We were both live in au-pairs for Italian families and frequently met to vent our frustrations and victories throughout the experience! We also traveled to Venice and welcomed in the New Year in St Mark’s Square with some other friends. I popped Gemma a message last year in May letting her know I was “probably definitely” coming to explore Australia this year. Within an hour I had a reply with an invite to stay with her and a plan to do a roadtrip. SORTED!
Gemma and I had heaps of fun over the +-2 weeks we spent together! We stayed in Perth for about 5 days and she and her boyfriend played tour guide. I got to see kangaroos, Freemantle (Freo – is anything not abbreviated in this country?!), the beautiful Kings Park, Cottesloe beach , and saw the band The Rubens live in concert who subsequently topped a nationwide chart on Australia Day!
After exploring Perth, Gemma and I headed “down south” to do a camping trip.
This seems to be what Australians call a coastal region about an hour or two’s drive down from Perth, and many have holiday houses down here to which they escape whenever possible. This region consists of, amongst others, Dunsborough (a great surfing spot), Cowaramup (“the place of cows” – everything here is cow-themed), and the famous Margaret River, home to countless wineries, breweries, cheese and chocolate factories… you get the picture!
We packed our bags into Gemma’s little black Hyundai and set up camp in two places over 10 days. Each day brought a new adventure – we spent a lot of time along the popular Caves Road sampling wine and beer. We visited many of the breathtaking beaches dotted along the coast, including Hamelin Bay which is home to giant sting rays that swim up and down the shore! Yes I touched one and no I didn’t get stung 😉 We celebrated Australia day in true Aussie fashion with a visit to the beach, the pub, a house party, and we listened to Triple J’s “hottest 100” too.
Overall my time with Gemma was the best introduction to Australia. I had ignorantly thought that Perth was it’s own little town surrounded by nothing, but what I found was quite the opposite. I’d recommend anyone visit WA if they plan on seeing the country!