So on Friday 23rd October we started our year long stay in Australia. First stop was Perth to see Jordan's friend George who had been living there for the last two months. He went travelling the day before us (think he was trying to steal our thunder!) but only managed to do some of South East Asia before he had to get to Aus to earn some money. So he was nice a settled in a 5 bedroom house sharing with mainly Kiwis and one English guy he met on his travels in Cambodia.
We arrived into Perth airport at about 4:30pm and George kindly picked us up in his car. It was weird to be reunited with him in a different country. Although we hadn't been apart for long, it just didn't seem real because we were't back in England. We grabbed a Subway on the way back, met his friends he was living with over some drinks at the house, then headed out for dinner and drinks at Squires in Scarborough. This was not even a 5 minute car journey from where George was living in City Beach. Scarborough had a nice atmosphere with some cool bars and restaurants, and it was right on the beach so it was great to chill out at during the day. And it wasn't until later in the week that we realised just how amazing the location was of George's house - City Beach is just one stretch of white sand and turquoise sea - gorgeous. That night, after 7 weeks in the Bali heat, Jordan and I were freezing! We both went to bed in our only pair of long trousers (which were are jeans, so not that comfortable) and our hoodies.
The next morning we went to the gym with George and his friend Josh who we'd met the night before. They both went to Goodlife Gym and compared to some of the gyms in South East Asia, is was really nice to have all the modern and up-to-date equipment to use. George was keen to help us get our lives started in Aus, so we then went to the CommonWealth bank nearby to sort out Aussie bank accounts and then got new sim cards for our phones. George recommended CommonWealth as he had used them, and they actually have ATMs across South East Asia, so you don't get charged an additional fee to withdraw money which works well for us when we start travelling again. That afternoon, some of George's friends had organised to play zorbing (the thing when you're in a giant bubble running around and crashing into everyone). Some at 1pm we met everyone on a green area in front of the sea. and got stuck in. I (Natalie) get quite claustrophobic and I really didn't like to bubble coming up over my head, so I dipped in and out whilst everyone else went mental crashing into everyone, playing the various games. Later that evening we had dinner and drinks at the house and then went out to the Crown Casino in Burswood. I had never been to a casino before so it was a great experience. Sadly we didn't win anything, but we didn't lose too much either which is always a bonus!
Sunday was a chilled one. We had breakfast at The Local Shack in Scarborough then went to Fremantle for a walk around the town and drinks in Little Creatures. The weather was getting warmer but Jordan and I were still a bit chilly coming from the intense heat in South East Asia. That night was a simple dinner and chill at home.
Sadly on Monday, George had to go to work, so Jordan and I had the day to explore Perth a little on our own. We had a lazy morning then walked to Scarborough along the beach. It took about 45 minutes and was a lovely walk, squidging the fluffy white sand between our toes and trying not to get caught by the very beautiful, but freezing cold sea.
We had lunch at Health Freaks - which says it all. We noticed that Scarborough was full of very fit and toned people who always seemed to be outside being active, or carry yoga mats or other gym equipment to show that they were super fit and super healthy. All these gorgeous people were making us feel horrible and unfit as we hadn't done any real exercise since Ubud in Bali, and even that wasn't consistent. We needed to get back into the gym routine we both thought! So that afternoon we borrowed one of George's housemates cars so that we could drive to the Goodlife Gym that we went to with George before but they wouldn't let us do another free trial, and the weekly rate was ridiculous, so the journey was pointless. That night we had dinner all together (I'm pretty sure Jordan and George cooked for me!) and then watched a film.
On Tuesday we borrowed another housemates care and drove to Plus Fitness which was a small 24 hour gym nearby. We soon came to learn that most gyms in Aus are 24 hours. Anyway we managed to get a free week's pass there so that was great. After our workout we drove into Perth city to do some exploring. Jordan and I love big cities so we were a little disappointed when we saw how small Perth city actually is. The CBD (Central Business District) is so small with hardly any skyscrapers. That's why construction jobs are so populalr there - because everything is still getting built! And there was hardly any traffic going into the centre of the city to park. Nowhere near like London. The small city we come from called Chichester has more traffic that Perth CBD does! After a wander around we had some lunch at Jamie’s Italian then changed up our Indonesian rupiah money and activated our sim cards. We walked around the city and then to Bell Tower.
There's not an awful lot to do in Perth city centre so after a while we decided to wander back to the car and head back to the house. That night we had really good pizza at The Tavern in Scarborough with George, his housemate Charlie and Josh who they both met in Cambodia.
The next day we had breakfast at Health Freak in Scarborough then went to the gym. That afternoon we drove to Fremantle and walked around the town. Had lunch in Little Creatures, then drove to Cottesloe and sat on the beach there for the afternoon.
On Thursday we had an early breakfast at home then drove 3 and a half hours to Margaret River which is known for it's amazing wine and cheese. I (Natalie) drove and it was probably the longest journey I've ever driven before. Unfortunately it was a pretty boring drive as well - just one long stretch of road pretty much all of the way. No sign of any kangaroos either - sadly a few dead ones by the side of the road, obviously hit by the passing cars. We eventually got to Margaret River and stopped somewhere for lunch, then tried to find our hostel Margaret River Lodge. After the long drive we chilled there for a bit then drove to Prevelly to Surfer’s Point and sat on the sand watching the surfers. That night we had dinner at Swings - a tapas and wine bar that did an amazing cheese board. The best part was the real honeycomb - put with any cheese on the platter it made it even tastier. After delicious food and two glasses of wine each we were done. So back to the hostel it was.
The next turned out to be a rainy one. But we ventured out and had breakfast at The Urban Bean, then drove around to three wineries for some wine tasting. The whole reason we went to Margaret River was to do some wine tasting - it is very famous for having lots of different wineries - and also to try the cheese. So we tasted some wine at Leeuwin Estate, Voyager Estate and Xanadu and bought a bottle of wine each - being careful not to go over the limit as we were driving back to Perth that afternoon.
We then drove to the cheese factory and the chocolate factory for more free samples and filled our tummies.
Finally, we drove to Yallingup which is supposed to be beautiful but the weather was so bad there was no way we could sit on the beach. So we quickly got out and looked at the view before driving back to Perth.
It took so much longer on the way back as we were heading into Perth city at rush hour. That night we went to a house party at one of George’s friend’s houses.
On Saturday we were pretty hungover, so we went for some breakfast at Wild Fig in Scarborough then chilled in the sun for the rest of the day. Later we had drinks at the house and watched the rugby. Sunday morning we had a gym session with George and Josh then cooked up a big brunch of omelette with spinach, ham and mushroom and bacon - it was goood! After all the food, we went to the beach in Scarborough for a few hours where Jordan and George played football and Natalie read her book.
That afternoon we went to Matisse Beach Club for some drinks with some of the guys we had met. It had a great atmosphere in there as it was a new place for Sunday sessions with a DJ and a pool. Dinner was at Oceans One then chilled out at home watching a film.
The next few days we didn't get up to much - we were pretty much waiting for our new GoPro (long story) and Jordan's new Driving Licence (yes, he has been driving for 10 years now!) to get delivered to George's house before heading off to Melbourne. We finally booked out flights for the Wednesday as we were getting fed up of staying in quiet Perth with everyone else working and us not having a car to do anything. It was an emotional last night (for Jordan and George) having pizza back at The Tavern with Josh and Charlie as well. But it was a great last night and we were up bright and early the next day to get our flight to Melbourne.