The past few months have been extraordinary – getting to know my home city of Perth all over again and basking in the things I love about it.
Carmen and I always harangue anyone we meet on our travels that they have to go to Perth, that in Australia “the west is the best”, and that a visit to The Big State – Western Australia – should be on their list of down under adventures.
But then I look at our blog’s archives and can find very few mentions of this wonderful place we come from!
And it’s not just me who’s noticed that…
Enjoying a drink with friends back in my hometown
I went to a barbeque early in the summer, just after Carmen and I had arrived home and met up with some old school friends, great blokes and their wives and girlfriends and even a few kids in tow.
We had a roast pig on a spit, a keg of beer, a pool to swim in and Test match cricket on the telly. It was a brilliant day and a rowdy night, and as I was driven away by my Dad, head rolling with beer and memories and classic rock, I remembered something that was said to me in passing.
“Not much for you to write about here probably.”
It stuck with me as the summer wore on and I lived it up Australia-style, going to the beach every morning for a quick dip, having barbeques outside, hiding inside with the air conditioning up full whack, going on bushwalks and drinking white wine in the sun.
For me, this is all standard stuff – the things I grew up with and grew accustomed to. When I went travelling, they were the things I compared my new experiences with and the differences made the new things more enjoyable.
And when I came back I just fell back into things.
But when my mate said that to me – “Not much for you to write about here probably” I set my travel writing radar to full.
Yes there is! I just have to do it.
Sailing the Swan River in Perth
So I’m going to do a series of blogs showing of snippets of Perth and all the things that make it a paradise – one I foolishly got used to!
For me it all starts with The Swan River, Perth, where I do a lot of sailing. In fact, I often fantasise about buying my very only sailing equipment. That is, of course, after I’ve won the lotto and bought my yacht.
In the meantime, here’s a video I shot of the action on what my yacht club calls a Wednesday Afternoon Keen Sail… on my skipper’s yacht.
Australia’s image starts and finishes with the beach. Rolling waves, white sand, zinc cream and crowds on a forty-degree Celsius day.
But rivers and harbours are more my speed, and though I recommend a trip to the beach to anyone visiting Perth, I reckon the best fun is to be had in and around the Swan River, Perth, the 60km long ribbon of water that connects the city to the sea.
Fun out on the water
Water is a big part of life in Western Australia, and in Perth the Swan River is where all life begins.
First of all there’s the sailing. If you’re keen to get out on the water and muck about in a boat there are heaps of options.
Most yacht clubs need people to sail on their boats and if you have some experience and are willing to muck in you should be able to find a boat to take you out – Saturday afternoons are best to rock up and volunteer.
Or you can just hire a catamaran – I’ve sailed with Funcats Watersports in South Perth many times and had a lot of fun.
More of a relaxing tour
If racing isn’t your thing, then you can just hop on the ferries that ply between South Perth and the city or between Perth and the port city of Fremantle. You can get magnificent views of the city and maybe even see some dolphins jumping behind in the wake or keeping up with the bow!
There are also loads of companies that do day trips on well-equipped boats, fishing expeditions and even jet ski hire so you can let it rip.
What to do out of the water
On dry land, there’s a cycle path that takes you on a big loop around the river that’s also good for running, and just about everywhere you go on the banks there are parks with public barbecues, toilets picnic tables and shelters.
For my money, Matilda Bay has the best views, but you can also drive up to Guildford and nestle on the banks of the river as they get tighter and head inland.
If you want to dine with a river view there’s The Old Swan Brewery, the Barrack Street Jetty entertainment precinct and the South Perth foreshore – this is where you’ll find the Boatshed Restaurant where Carmen and I had our wedding with this view:
There is little better in Perth than sitting on the banks of the Swan River with a picnic, a nice glass of wine in your hand as you look at the sun set reflecting off the polished skyscraper windows.
So if you come to Perth, go down to the river, get on the river, do whatever you can to explore this natural wonder that gives our city so much beauty.
The Swan River of course leads to the sea, and in our next instalment we’ll share some of our favourite beaches and coastal secrets with you…
This post was written in conjunction with Yachtmail Chadlery. As always, our opinions are our own.