Jun 2, 2014

Perth, Australia

29th May (Thu) - 02 Jun (Mon) 2014

Lodging: University Hall, University of Western Australia

University Hall, UWA
3 months ago, back in March, when I was having my birthday lunch with Yumi at Cathay Cineleisure Orchard, I asked if I could visit her in Perth since she's now studying there in the University of Western Australia (UWA). "Sure!", with her firm reply, the straightforward me immediately had my calendar set for my first trip to Australia, the 4th continent which I'm gonna first step on.

Thanks to the identical time zone, I didn't have to change my camera time setting.

My acquaintance with Yumi dates back to when we're in high school, through the Chinese orchestra community, though we're from different high school with different orchestra conductor. Back then, I couldn't stress enough how pretty I think she is. :D

My flight details
29 May 2014 (Thu)
Changi Airport Terminal 2 - Perth Airport Terminal 1
Flight No: TZ 8 (Scoot)
12:30PM ­- 5:15PM

02 Jun 2014 (Mon)
Perth Airport Terminal 1 - Changi Airport Terminal 2
Flight No: TZ 7 (Scoot)
6:25PM ­- 11:45PM

Fare: S$426.22 (I added luggage check in a few days before my flight and S$90 was added to the original fare of S$336.22)

AUD20 was also spent on the Electronic Travel Authority (ETA) application.

Day 1

Thanks to Yumi, I was informed earlier that I needed to get to Terminal 2 or 3 via the airport shuttle bus to board bus 37 or 40 towards the city. The pickup point is right in front of the arrival exit, and I thought the airport terminals should be near to each other, so I totally didn't expect that shuttle bus ride took more than 10 minutes - so much further than I thought!

Bus ride without a bus pass in Perth is painful - A$4.20 to get to Esplanade Busport from Terminal 2 or 3. I prepared 5 one dollar coins so I still need an $0.80 change, and the Asian-looking bus driver is kind and friendly, "yes, I have plenty of change for you...".

Trà Vinh Vietnamese & Chinese Special Noodles House
Picked up by someone with a familiar face at the busport, I kind of wanted to ask, "Yumi, don't you feel cold wearing a skirt?"

We took a bus from there to Northbridge, and had our dinner in a Vietnamese restaurant along William Street.

I should have expected an average eating out in Perth to be more expensive, as a bowl of noodles costs around A$12. And random enough, that's when Yumi learnt that I don't eat celery due to it's awful tastes and smell - how can vegetable with such disgusting taste be used for culinary purpose?!

Well, soup and spring rolls were great, and there goes my 1st day in Perth.

Yumi's hostel room
My accommodation was settled in the very beginning - Yumi's studio apartment hostel room in University Hall of UWA along Winthrop Ave (it pretty much made me recall Leong Chye's former hostel room in Portsmouth, UK).

It was so thoughtful of her that she borrowed me an electrically powered air mattress from her friend so that I didn't have to sleep on the floor (which was her initial plan XD).

Claimed by Yumi, unfortunately, that the air mattress was deflated overnight due to my weight. Certainly there's a leakage somewhere in the mattress that we couldn't locate, and I have to say that I had a pretty bad sleep the 1st night.

She offered to sleep on the air mattress instead while I sleep on her own bed. But don't get fooled by her kindness (she just loves the air mattress and using my weight as an excuse).

Day 2

My first day with the warm sun in Perth, and thank God for the awesome weather, we're heading to Cottesloe Beach.

Before that, Yumi brought me to tour around the vicinity of UWA.

It's a Christian college, and according to their website they have worship, morning prayer, Evensong and Sunday Eucharist.

Crawley Edge Boatshed (Blue House)
THIS IS DAMN GORGEOUS CAN?! A boatshed at the end of the pier along the beautiful Swan River.
Often referred as Blue House, this is where thousands and thousands of wedding photo shoots took place.

Well, it just looks very dreamy to me, like a scene in some childhood fairy tales, thanks to the blue sky.
The door of the boatshed cannot be opened, if one day you managed to open, please take a step forward and enjoy falling into the river. XD

Winthrop Hall

This is where one of Yumi's video assignment titled "Window" was taken which I was involved in the background music composition. No wonder it looked so familiar at my first sight.

We climbed the clock tower, walking through the deep and dark steps (A LOT of steps), and ta-daa... the top of the tower was LOCKED. @.@

Lunch @ Ned's, 27 Broadway

Cottesloe Beach

We took bus 102 to Cottesloe from Winthrop Hall (Crawley) and I shall now shut up for a while and let the photos speak.

Nothing is better than sitting on a bench, chatting with a friend while enjoying the sunset view with chilling wind. The number of having these moments are so countable in everyone's entire life. And there's no way you can experience that in Southeast Asia due to the extreme warm weather all year round.

That's Cottesloe, with a beach with close to 180° horizon - simply gorgeous.

Ciao Italia, 273 Mill Point Road
Her Singaporean friend who's also studying in UWA came and drove us to South Perth for dinner at a famous Italian restaurant - Ciao Italia.

We ordered a huge bowl of Cozze Pescotora (chili mussels), a plate of meatball spaghetti recommended by the waiter, and tiramisu.

Chili mussels are something special if you're a fan of chili or spicy-related food, and OMG please you must try their tiramisu, the sensation is paradisiacal, to be a bit exaggerative.

Cozze Pescotora @ $33.50


Allow me to introduce, his name is Aaron.

Because of the good weather of the day, I wore only a hoodie and a pair of berms, which certainly couldn't keep me from stop shivering after the sun set (actually Yumi too, with her dress). So I had to go back to University Hall to change before we went to the CBD for some strolling and shopping.

Forrest Place

Apparently it was the last day of some food festival/carnival held at Forrest Place.

Macaron (we picked Caramel and Lavender)
We're having some argument over macaron as initially she said 'macaroon' and I told her it's 'macaron', the French stall keeper then told us the original French pronunciation, 'makaˈʁɔ̃' (you may listen to the pronunciation using Google Translate, basically the consonant 'r' sounds like 'h').
Well, at least in English those should be macarons instead of macaroons. Many people are still confused with these two completely different food names. If you're one of them, I hope you become a little smarter today. :)

Day 3

Winthrop Hall, UWA
It rained a bit, and sadly the sky wasn't going to be blue for the day.

Today we'll be visiting Fremantle, a city in the southwest of Perth, like Cottesloe, it is somewhere along the west coast.

Our main attractions of the day will be mainly Fremantle Markets and Little Creatures Brewery.

Fremantle Markets

Interestly, they have a community piano in the markets which everyone is allowed to play.

Little Creatures Brewery

Little Creatures Brewery
Signup for beer tour is done on the spot, though told by Yumi that passport is to be presented for age verification purpose, the guide didn't check our passports at all.

Besides, I don't know if we're considered lucky or unlucky, two of us were the only tourists for the beer tour. Lucky: We're given more attention; Unlucky: We had to pay attention...

Talking about yeast and those microorganism is really uninteresting to me although it's relatively scientific, so did showing us around the brewery with the huge tanks transporting the beer. Because we're only looking forward to one thing - beer tasting.

We've tasted around 8 kinds of beer within 5 minutes, that made us a little dizzy. I still love the first beer which we tasted, which is a lager.

With our tour guide

We had our lunch at a nearby restaurant, Cicerello's, a famous Fish 'n Chips place in Fremantle, sitting along the Fishing Boat Harbour.

Beware of the hungry seagulls there, they're there to steal your food and they dare to do so even when you're at your table, so don't keep your food tray too far away from you.

Seafood Tray @ $21.00

And then some snacks at Chocolateria San Churro, 91 Market Street.

Churros for Two @ $14.95

And it's time to say goodbye to Fremantle!

Kings Park
It took us getting lost by alighting at the wrong stop and wrong entrance for quite a while before we may escape from the forest before dusk really came (oh, and sun sets at 5:30pm in Perth during winter).

This 4km2 in size Kings Park is nothing like a civilized one, a big portion of it is wilderness. Our aim was to get to the balcony due east which is next to the Kings Park War Memorial so that we can see the night view of the Perth CBD.

Getting down from that hilly park and find the right bus stop to get back to UWA was another disaster.

We had dinner cooked in University Hall, with her Hong Kong, Chinese and Singaporean friends.

Day 4

Mount Brown, York
Day trip to York, 97km east of Perth.

Read more:
York, Australia

Belgian Beer Cafe, 347 Murray Street
We drove back to Perth at night for a dinner at Belgian Beer Cafe with my primary school classmate, Erene Tan. So nice of her that she handed me a box of Koko Black chocolates when I first met her in the cafe after so many years.

Let me count, 1, 2, 3...... 8 years! We haven't been seeing each other for 8 years after she left Penang for Australia. We used to be in the same class in Primary 1, 2 and 3. Also, we learnt piano and theory of music from the same teacher when we're in high school back in Penang.

Furthermore, my mum knows her mum, and this mummy-acquaintance scenario is widely seen among the primary school students. "You know, I hate to see you last time, because every time I see you, it means it's time for tuition", she added, as my mum fetched us to tuition last time, although I totally can't remember which year was that.

She's currently working as a software engineer in Perth, and in the midst of her permanent residence application. Good for her!

Three of us went back to Yumi's hostel room to continue with chit-chatting and some random video watching (that's the first time that I drank and drove because the Stella Artois tasted so well, apart from helping Yumi to clear some load as Erene was driving too...).

Day 5

My last day in Perth was gonna be all about Swan Valley, one big piece of region comprising a great number of vineyards.

You know what, one of Yumi's friends was also visiting her on the day I left, but she came in the morning. So we picked her up at the airport first before going to Swan Valley together. This is really like a hosting marathon isn't it?

Margaret River Chocolate Company, 5123 West Swan Road, West Swan

Cape Lavender, 6 Cranleigh Street, West Swan
I will never, ever want to try Lavender Ice Cream, ever again! Now I really think that anything associated with lavender is inedible. And Yumi scolded me that I wasted her $8 for the lavender ice cream which I found unpleasant to eat.

Lancaster Wines, 5228 West Swan Road, West Swan
The vineyard there is spectacular. We tasted plenty kinds of wine and cheese there and I bought a bottle of Wissanger 2013 @ $28.

Mondo Nougat, 640 Great Northern Highway, Herne Hill

House of Honey, 867 Great Northern Highway, Herne Hill

Kafarela's Vineyard, 706-712 Great Northern Highway, Herne Hill
I bought a bottle of 2L Patritti Dark Grape Juice @ only $10 and the old was so kind and keen on helping me to bubble wrap and package the bottle with cardboard cut to the suitable dimensions, I did stop her and telling her that bubble wrapping is enough but she insisted. So nice of her...

We've basically covered many of the famous attractions in Swan Valley. By random decision without a firm purpose, we were heading to Riverbank Estate in the Caversham district to take pictures and stroll around the vineyard.

It's the last thing I did in Perth before I drove myself to the airport (it's like sending myself) at 4:30pm which is around 2 hours before my flight.

Riverbank Estate, 126 Hamersley Road, Caversham

Our journey in Swan Valley be like:

Guess whom I met at the airport - it's Erene. She brought me some Freddo chocolate biscuits and macadamia nuts. Totally can feel her longing for a friend from far to visit Perth, and her sincerity.

Scoot delayed it's flight for an hour, and I ended up reaching Singapore at 12:30am the next day (supposed to reach at 11:45pm). Despite not having sufficient rest for work next day (I wake up at 5:45am everyday for work), still, thank God for the safe 5-hour-flight.

Javin Tham A master's degree graduate in engineering, a musician at heart, loves playing with soft toys.


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