Whilst the majority of my time in Australia was spent falling in love with Melbourne, I also had the opportunity to stay with another friend, my dads friend’s daughter Claire, in Perth, where she lives and works. Perth is a four hour flight from Melbourne, and I had the bright idea to try and get to Perth for nine. I don’t want to discuss how early I had to get up for that flight.
Although a loyal native to Melbourne, Claire is really into her watersports, and is an avid kite surfer, and I was lucky enough to arrive on a day when she was taking part in a kite surfing competition / race. I was picked up from the airport by her boyfriend, given a mini tour by two of her friends (one of which is also British!), and then we went to the beach to watch Claire kite surf across from the island of Rottnest – or Rotto, damn Australians, shortening everything – to Perth’s coast.
Perth is notorious for being a really hot and windy part of Australia, but typically, when I visited it was rainy, and the kite surfing race was nearly called off because of how low the wind was. Everyone kept apologizing to me about the abnormal weather, and all I could do was reassure them that I was used to it, and not worried about rain in the slightest. Luckily, the race still went ahead after a slight delay, and I got to see the amazing view of hundreds of kites soaring like birds across the horizon. Claire, of course, landed on the beach looking glamorously windswept and not really that tired.
Anyway, despite the rain, Perth was still an amazing place to visit. It is one of the most isolated cities in the world, and boasts gorgeous beaches, the perfect place to get up to those weird and wonderful watersports. There is a lot to do, although most of it involves being outside as it’s usually sunny, and if the weather had been better I would have been able to go to Rotto and see the quokka’s – a teeny weeny marsupial with the most Australian sounding name which I’m still not quite sure is real. Claire described them to me as a cross between a rat and a kangaroo. Not buying it.
Yet it was raining, and so I didn’t get that chance. Instead, Claire took me to the markets that surround Perth, like Fremantle (or Freo. I know. Stop shortening things.), full of amazing food, fresh produce, and beautiful handmade items. Then, for lunch, Claire took me to a place called Little Creatures, where I tried kangaroo. It is honestly delicious, kind of like venison, although I felt bad about eating an animal that as a kid I was convinced were extinct. Turns out they aren’t. Lucky me.
The thing about my trip to Perth that I noticed most was the difference between the friends I had in Melbourne and the people I met there. The people I hung out with in Perth felt way more stereotypically Australian, and introduced me into their culture almost without trying. One of the main things we talked about was the social differences between the UK and Australia, and I learned way more about Australians and the way they talk, act and work than I did in Melbourne, I suppose because in Melbourne I spent time with friends who were originally from elsewhere. But whilst everyone I met in those three weeks gave me a different insight into how things worked, I think Claire and her friends just let me relax. Maybe if it had been sunnier, that experience would have been different?
I wouldn’t have experienced Western Australia in quite the same way though!
When I go back to Australia – and I will go back – I’d like to experience more of the life my friends in Perth lead, as well as more of WA in general. It didn’t feel like a city the way Melbourne feels like a city, but that was a nice contrast.
I do want to see the quokkas, though.