Australia is a hostile environment for many things including cycle touring. We arrived in Perth in early autumn with temperatures hitting 41 degrees Celsius. It feels like a mirror world to the UK, with many similarities, but hotter, cleaner and more affluent.
We un-boxed the bikes at the airport and headed to meet our warm showers hosts in South Perth. Bill and Rosemary had a self contained flat at the back of their house that turned out to be huge and very well appointed. They were the most generous of hosts. We stayed with them for a few days before moving on to stay with my daughter. They showed us some of the excellent cycle routes around Perth. Most were on purpose built cycle tracks or quiet roads and were well sign posted.
Any plans we had of cycle touring were thwarted by the heat and towards the south, bush fires. So we enjoyed Perth and the beaches, Rottnest island, King’s Park ,getting back into western food and acclimatising ourselves to Australian prices!
We borrowed a four wheel drive and headed north through the outback and mining towns to Newman then we visited the Karajini national park before heading on towards the coast and Exmouth. The countryside around Perth was beautiful, with rolling hills cut through by rivers. As we headed north into flatter plains of mainly wheat before turning into scrub and desert. The towns were small, some with populations of a few hundred only, the only sources of income coming from mining.
Unfortunately the recent storms had blown the flies in and soon as you got out of the car you had your very own cloud. They disappeared at nightfall to be replaced by mosquitoes.The outback had it’s own beauty with red earth and green shrubs and a slowly changing landscape of rocks and hills.
We were looking forward to getting to the coast and exploring the Ningaloo reef, hopefully with fewer flies. The beaches looked amazing but the flies were even worse, getting into the water to escape the flies was only short lived as it was full of jellyfish!
We did find some beaches that were free of jellyfish and the reef was amazing. We swam with all sorts of fish and saw turtles, sting rays, and beautiful hard and soft corals. We joined a tour and went swimming with whale sharks which was the highlight of our trip north. In the afternoon the Kangaroos and wallabies came out so you had to be careful on the roads.
We loved our stay in Perth and I can see why my daughter loves it here. We have been traveling for nearly two years and were missing seeing the rest of our family and friends. We needed some down time to assimilate all we had experienced and seen so we decided to head back to Europe.