When we landed in Perth what was the first thing we did? We went for a $12 pint. I could not believe my eyes, $12! People had told me Australia was expensive but apparently I wasn’t prepared. I pulled myself together, took into account the exchange rate, and realised that it was about £6.50. Don’t get me wrong that’s still a pricey pint, but I would pay that in some craft beer places back home so I didn’t cry about it. Our first drink in the land down under, life was good.
As expected, the first few days were spent sorting out all the boring adult stuff out like bank cards, tax file numbers, phone numbers etc. this was, of course as well as drinking lots of goon and mingling with the other backpackers in our hostel. I had been warned about this “goon” that the Australians speak of. For any of you that don’t know, it is basically extremely cheap box wine. Why is it called goon? I have no idea, but I am talking $8 for four litres of the stuff. Lethal. The jet lag was insane, my body clock didn’t adjust for days and I felt like I could sleep forever.
We made pals pretty quickly, and from then we took it on our ourselves to explore Perth and some of the surrounding areas before we started looking for work. I don’t know what I expected from Perth, but it was a lot more westernised than I thought. The city centre was like most others; branded clothes shops, banks, supermarkets etc. There are a variety of bars and restaurants scattered around Perth CBD, all within a walking distance of the Swan River.
The Swan River flows through the city and is the perfect place to visit for fishing, cycling, sailing or just taking in the scenery. One of our first days was spent walking along the riverbank to Heirisson Island where we were lucky enough to encounter six kangaroos. On approach, I was intimidated. I like animals, but I am a bit of wimp so seeing six wild animals that I’m not familiar with put me on edge. Being in Australia I felt the need to take a cup of ‘man up’ and walk over. I was amazed at how friendly they were regardless of all the tourists around them. In my opinion it came across as a little overwhelming but they seemed to enjoy the company. We met a nice man there who was sat in the grass reading a book to one of them. He told us that over the past few months he’d been coming here to read to them. He said he had got to know each of them and felt like he knew what they were feeling, which was nice.
Coincidentally, that night we cooked kangaroo burgers on the barbecue. A part of me felt bad as we had spent our day mingling with them, but this was our first kangaroo experience and I am sad to say, they tasted great! We had corn of the cobs, salad, beers, and of course, banter with our new pals.
Another highlight of our first week here in Perth has to be going to Kings Park and Botanic Garden. It is located not too far from the CBD and is apparently one of the largest inner city parks in the world. A group of us walked there one evening as we had been told the view was spectacular, and it didn’t disappoint. After about fifty minutes of walking we reached the top of the hill to the view point and the sight was unbelievable. We were overlooking the entire Perth skyline, the Swan River, and the thousands of lights illuminating the sky from all the buildings and cars. A definite must see.
We haven’t really been very far out of the centre as we don’t have a car yet but I feel like we have got to know Perth pretty well this week. The locals seem really friendly and our skin is starting to bronze quite nicely. We have found out that Aussies do in fact say ‘g’day’, and we have been eaten alive by mosquito’s, ants, and god only knows what else.