Having been in Perth for nearly two months I had done quite a lot in the city, and I had settled into college life and the monotony of lectures and tutorials, the latter of which are enlivened in the arts by the fact you can be interrupted at any moment by one of the resident peacocks.
This routine was broken by the arrival of my boyfriend, who came to visit for 12 days before he went back to university. This gave me the chance to explore some of the more touristy parts of Perth: watching gold bars being made in the Perth Mint, visiting the zoo (which was actually better than expected) and showing him around the university and the other sites and sounds of Perth.
In addition to this, we were able to explore some of the surrounding area in Western Australia. This included driving 200km north to visit the Pinnacles at Cervantes, a mass of limestone monoliths that felt like a landscape from an old Star Trek episode. While driving back from the Pinnacles we took in the thoroughly underwhelming Stromatolites at Lake Thetis and the sand dunes at Lancelin, which seemed to go on for miles! We also visited Rottnest Island, which is just a few miles out of Fremantle harbour, with beautiful beaches and, most importantly, Quokkas, a type of tiny, fat and incredibly dim Wallaby, but they are also incredibly inquisitive and entirely adorable – well worth the ferry ride!
After I’d had to actually do my degree for a couple days (a pesky inconvenience) we set off on a road trip proper, this time down South, through the Margaret River to the coastal town of Albany. After a short stop-off in Bunbury (a place of limited note, but it did have a weird bright pink church) we drove down to Augusta, the most South-Westerly point of Australia, where the Southern and Indian Oceans meet (well, that’s what the Aussies say). Whilst in Margaret River we also visited some of the most magnificent limestone caves I’ve been to, and took in the spectacular Karri tree forests.
We then drove down to Albany through the Southern Forest trails, with trees looming either side of the road the whole way down. Once we got to Albany we checked into one of the best backpacker hostels I’ve been in (shout out to 1849 Backpackers, especially for the all you can eat pancake breakfast!). The next day saw me indulge my history nerdiness and subject Frazer (yes, my boyfriend has the same name as me, yes it’s confusing sometimes, glad we could have this conversation) to the ANZAC museum, which was pretty excellent given it’s in a tiny town in Southern WA. Then came a long slog drive back up to Perth via a very blustery walk in Porongurup National Park before arriving back at the car rental place a minute before it closed!
After a very busy 12 days Frazer had to go back to the UK. Fortunately, I had something else to look forward to as study break was looming which meant one thing: UniGames. Now, keen readers of this blog (a category that likely only includes my mum) will remember I mentioned this in my last entry as being less about sport and more about the nights out.
I was kind of right, but the sport was also pretty competitive, as UWA came 5th out of the nine in the baseball; we could have done better had one of our pitchers not decided to have a high velocity introduction to a metal pole. I made some great friends on the team, and spent enough time getting abused for my accent to last me a while yet. It was thoroughly worth staying in Perth for rather than road-tripping like many of my friends, and was even worth some of the horrific hangovers during the week!
I’m back to normal uni routine now, with essays to write all month (joy) and organising an event for the Resident’s Club that is happening next Saturday, so expect the next post to be one of the less exciting procedural ones. Despite that, this month has been my best so far at UWA, so let’s hope that trend continues!
This article was cross posted with the University of Southampton Exchange and Study Abroad blog.