As you may have realized, I love traveling and meeting new people. When I met new people on my adventures, a question I love to ask them is “If you could do anything right now, and money doesn’t matter, and you have all the technical advancements you need, what would you do?” Hearing peoples responses is always fascinating. Some people would take a trip to the moon, some would pursue their artistic dreams and others dream of their toes in the water, ass in the sand not worry in the world and a cold beer in their hand.
My answer to this question is ( drum roll, please): If I could do anything in the world, I would take a nice, long trip to the glorious “Down Under.” Australia is my all-time favourite country. I have driven all over Queensland, down the east coast and visited a few cities in Western Australia. White, sandy beaches, crystal-clear blue waters, green, lush rain forests and the red rocky landscape of the Outback make Australia one of the most beautiful places i’ve ever explored. The laid-back attitude is another component that draws me; they are so easygoing that you don’t even have to wear shoes while shopping at the grocery store. YOU DON’T HAVE TO WEAR SHOES! Australia also has my favourite ice cream snack, The Golden Gaytime. I love Australia so much and will visit every chance I get.
Back in 2013, I was traveling the world with a small group of photographers. When I found out that one of our destinations was Jakarta, Indonesia, I immediately got super excited that I would be so close to the land of Oz. Once I started thinking about Australia, I started to get really emotional, missing everything I love so much about it. I could not handle it. I knew that I would regret it greatly if I didn’t pop by Australia. I looked up plane tickets and found that Perth was only a four hour plane ride from Jakarta! So, I quickly convinced one of my travelling companions that we needed to visit Perth and we booked tickets.
When the time came for us to go to Perth, I was like a kid in a candy store. Folks, close your eyes and think back to a time in your life where you were so incredibly excited about something. Maybe think back to that one Christmas you got the gift you wanted, or when you got your first car, or the day your first child was born. Now multiply that excitement by eight, and that should give you an idea of my excitement level for going to Perth. We got to the airport, went through security, waited at our gate for what felt like four years and then finally boarded our flight. (Quick sidebar, while at the Jakarta airport I saw the hottest surfer I had ever seen in my entire life. He was tall, tan, muscular, had long blonde hair, and I assumed he was Australian. I know this has nothing to do with this story, but he was Brad Pitt beautiful and I just had to mention it.)
We were almost to Perth when the pilot came on and informed us of some troubling news. Perth was experiencing some fog and due to some of the airport policies we had to wait to the fog clear up. This news upset every passenger on the flight except for yours truly. We were still technically in Australia and that’s all that mattered. We flew around the Perth airport for an hour, but the fog did not clear. The pilot came on the speaker again and informed us that the fog would not be clear and the plane would soon be out of fuel. So, he had to land the plane at a smaller airport that was in Kalgoorlie-Boulder. If that wasn’t bad enough, the Kalgoorlie-Boulder Airport is a domestic airport and does not have any customs officers. Because we were flying in from Indonesia, we were an international flight, and needed to clear customs before entering the country. No passenger was allowed off the plane. The pilot assured us that as soon as planes could fly out of Perth, they would send over customs officers and we could get out and get everyone back to Perth. We literally sat on the airplane for 11 hours without food or water, beside a smelly Aussie before customs officers from Perth arrived. (I found a news article that talks about it) Once they arrived, we went into the airport and they just smiled and gave us a Vegemite sandwich. And while everyone else was stressed out and upset that all this happened to us, I was as pumped up as the energizer bunny. Sure, I was dehydrated beyond belief, but I was in Australia, and nothing could get me down. While I was waiting in the Kalgoorlie-Boulder Airport, I discovered that their little snack shop sold my favourite ice cream treat, Golden Gaytime. I was overtired, dirty and had my contacts in for over 30 hours, but none of that seemed to matter because I was in my favourite country, eating my favourite ice cream ever. We waited another 8 hours in the airport and then we finally caught a flight to Perth.
Let me tell you, the wild adventure was worth it. Perth was fabulous. I recommend everyone take a trip. Like, pack a bag and book a flight right now. Perth is a vibrant, artistic city with a bustling downtown that’s mixed with a laid-back beach town. I spent every day exploring unique cafes, shops and bars in the city and soaked in the sun while watching surfers ride waves on white sandy beaches. It has all the excitement of a city while at the same time, it’s a paradise on the Indian Ocean.
One of the top ten best days I’ve ever lived was while I was in Perth. I was there in Australia’s winter, which feels likes Ontario’s Fall, which is my favourite weather, so waking up to the fresh, crisp, cool air started the day on a great note. I started off the day with a coffee from Gloria Jean’s Coffees.
Then my traveling buddy and I visited The Hay Street Mall, which is a outdoor mall with heaps of great stores. This mall trip was great for three reasons. Number 1) we visited my favourite Australia clothing store, City Beach Australia. Number 2) I bought a pair of UGG boots which pleased my basic white girl soul. And number 3) the streets that make up the mall are filled with street performers and buskers. While we walked from store to store, we were either being serenaded by talented musicians or we were breaking out into laughter from the entertaining street performers.
After shopping, we hopped on the bus and made our way to the beach. We walked along the white sand and watched huge waves crash into the shore. Being photographers, we took out our cameras and explored the area while creating art. I was capturing the beautiful turquoise colour of the Indian ocean while it’s waves mesmerized me. I could not handle how beautiful Australia was, I started crying which soon turn into laughter. I was standing on a beach in Perth in my new UGG boots, crying and laughing like a crazy person. Suddenly, I had this strong desire to be in the ocean. I knew that the water would be freezing, but I did not care, the ocean is my one, true love. It was almost as if there was a Siren trying to lure me in the sea. I took off my UGGs, sweater and pants and walked into the waves. The water was freezing! I decided that doing the polar dip probably wasn’t a good idea, so I sat on the beach, close enough for the waves to crash onto my legs. Every time the water touched my skin I would feel goosebumps and shivers take over my body, but the cold water made me feel alive. I sat and just breathed in the salty air. It was just me and the ocean in Australia and it was perfect.
After the beach I dried off and we went to The Greenhouse Perth for dinner. This is my favourite restaurant in the city, and definitely makes the list of top ten restaurants I have ever been to. It is an eco-friendly restaurant whose goal is to design better spaces for people and serve fresh food, straight from the garden. The exterior of their building is covered with strawberry and ivy plants in tiny pots, which are super cute. The interior is has an even more unique design and features a bar that hangs it’s liquor bottles from the ceiling. The food and cocktails are made from the freshest ingredients and were absolutely delicious.
The remainder of the night was spent having great conversations with some locals and other tourist we had met. It was the perfect day in Perth.
Perth is a destination that should be at the top of your Australian bucket list. With it’s combination of wonderful weather, laid-back character, cosmopolitan city and beautiful beaches Perth is a treasure from down under. Do yourself a favour and don’t just explore the east coast of Australia. Adventure around the whole island and take in all that Western Australia has to offer.