Tag Archives: Western Australia

Wandering the Western Australian capital

Perth General Post Office

Perth General Post Office

After a long six hour flight across the continent, I arrived in Perth well after midnight last night. This morning when I woke the sun was shining, the sky was blue, and the air was as dry as crackling autumn leaves. It was just perfect to be out exploring Perth (well, taking some photos between business meetings).

Crazy Irish pubs

Crazy Irish pubs

Kangaroos outside Perth Council House

Kangaroos outside Perth Council House

Alleyway art

Alleyway art

I love the crazy creative side of Perth. For a city that’s built on the back of heavy haulage, shipping and mining, it’s refreshing to see creativity at almost every turn. And for me, it always starts immediately I walk out of my hotel with the crazy Irish pub sign. Then there’s the countless statues and sculptures that adorn the city’s streets. There’s everything from people of historical significance and the kangaroos outside Council House to the whimsical paper airplanes down at the East Perth end of The Terrace. But for me, the thing I actually like the most is the alleyway art that has been placed in some strategic locations. It’s actually one of my favourite forms of art. While I don’t condone graffiti, I do enjoy a well painted wall mural; it can transform a scary alleyway into a bright, accessible space (that’s the criminologist in me talking).

The new Perth Arena

The new Perth Arena

I also love Perth’s eclectic mix of old and new buildings. This is a city where solid, almost imperialistic sandstone buildings sit comfortably side-by-side with defiant and angular modern designs, such as the Perth Arena. While many cities combine these modern and traditional structures, I think Perth’s relative youth and spacious layout allow them to be combined on a far grander scale than in some more cramped cities.

Two of my favourite things: tea and a good book

Two of my favourite things: tea and a good book

Another thing I love about Perth is the food and beverage scene. Sure, it’s hideously expensive compared with the other Australian capitals (except perhaps Hobart, which is also overpriced) but it’s still fabulous. I found a great spot to stop for lunch today. It was a brilliant tea shop in Subiaco. Tea is one of the great luxuries in my life. I love it all: herbal, green, white, black and fruit. There is nothing better than finding a tea house that actually had loose leaf tea and a menu from which to select them. Today I chose a black tea with mango and ginger infusions. It was the perfect refreshment for the 32’C (90’F) heat in which I was walking around in trousers, shirt, tie and jacket.

Where's Wally?

Where’s Wally?

Second only to my love of wall art is my love of all things quirky. Again, I don’t condone graffiti but you’ve got to admit this addition to the sign is pretty funny.

Perth Bell Tower

Perth Bell Tower

Walking along the Swan River

Walking along the Swan River

A walk along the Swan River past the Bell Tower completed my day. Sure, I had spent most of my time rushing from one meeting to the next but I’m fortunate to see the beauty in the world around me. So I could make the most of my day in the Western Australian capital, Perth.

Total: I walked 5km over the course of the day

Margaret River geotrail run

Weir on Margaret River

I woke on our final day in Western Australia feeling the need to go running and geocaching one last time here on the west coast. The air was cool and rain was threatening but still I desperately wanted to head out. I checked my geocaching phone app, selected a route that took me past a range of caches and set off.

I started by running through Margaret River township looking for a few urban caches. Of the five caches I attempted, I was only able to find two. It was a disappointing haul but I felt better after checking the logs to see that I was not alone in the list of ‘did not finds’ for each of them. But it was a good warm up for my run.

Trails along the river

Old footbridge across Margaret River

After running through town I was thrilled to hit the trails along the Margaret River. The soft brown soil felt wonderful under my feet and I quickly found a rhythm. I ducked and weaved my way down to an old footbridge across the river, on which a geocache was meant to be hidden. I say ‘meant’ because it’s quite clear both from my search and the logs that it is long gone. But that was okay – the run there was refreshing. Though the run across the bridge itself was slightly concerning … the bridge is certainly old.

The bright green moss was beautiful

The colours of my run were magnificent. Bright green mosses almost glowed against the brown logs and black rocks on which they grew. Purple flowers were striking against the bush. Bright yellow orchid flowers dotted the edges of the trail.

Wattles, Karris and Marris

I crossed the Bussell Hightway and ran along the 10 Mile track. Here, ancient Karri and Marri trees towered over an undergrowth of large blooming wattles. The air was filled with the mixed scent of moist soil and floral wattles. Even after it started to drizzle I kept enjoying the run.

Weir on Margaret River

Margaret River reflections

I found a geocache down near the Margaret River Weir and left a geocoin there for someone else to take on its onward journey. It was my third successful find for the morning. I enjoyed the sight of the reflections on the weir and on the river further upstream. The water rushing over the weir formed a rhythmic background to the melody sung by the many forest birds waking up for the day.

Total: 12.10km at unknown pace.

 

 

 

Holiday snaps from Western Australia

Elephant Cove

I’m still on holidays with my partner in Western Australia. We are having a fantastic time driving around, staying in fantastic chalets and B&Bs, eating good food and generally relaxing. We’ve been doing very little in the way of active pursuits this holiday, which has been a good break. I am feeling relaxed and rested. We fly home on the red-eye tomorrow night and will arrive back in Brisbane at 5am on Monday morning. I still have a week off work when I return home so I am hoping to catch up on some running and gardening when I return.

Relaxing at Tweed Valley Lodge

The Forest Retreat B&B, Margaret River

Guildford River Retreat where we spent the afternoon watching movies

The view from the Rainbow Trail Chalets

Examples of some of the amazing accommodation we’ve stayed in. It’s been really easy to unwind while staying in these places.

Making a giant jigsaw puzzle at Bridgetown

Chilling at an old mine in Pemberton

Hmmm …

We’ve had some fun doing simple things like playing table tennis on free tables in Fremantle, checking out the Jigsaw Puzzle Museum in Bridgetown, sightseeing historical places like the old mineral mines in Pemberton, and trying on costumes in shops and visitor centres.

One of the many delicious meals we’ve eaten

We’ve eaten cake every day

Self catering with fresh local produce

We haven’t gone hungry during our holiday. The south west of Australia is known for good food, wine and produce. And we’ve been making the most of the opportunity to indulge a little. But we’ve not over-indulged. We’ve restricted our cake eating to one selection a day, eating one dine-in meal a day, and self-caterinng dinners of cold meats, olives, chutneys and fresh local fruits and vegetables.

A beautiful tree-lined highway

The roads here have been beautiful for driving. There’s been a fantastic mix of bush and farmlands.

It’s been the perfect getaway for my partner and me. While I’ve not done much running or other exercise this week that doesn’t matter in the scheme of things. Life’s about balance so a week of indulgence is probably a good balance to the busy lives we usually lead.

Post marathon stuff

Holiday snap: Fremantle Markets

I thoroughly enjoyed my marathon on Sunday and am still on holidays in Western Australia with my partner. I’ve not been blogging because I’m spending quality time with my partner.

I’m feeling really good after my marathon. Immediately after the race I stood thigh-deep in the icy cold ocean and then I sat in a cold bath when I returned to my hotel. The cold water treatment seems to have helped a lot because I have none of the leg soreness that I had after my first 50km trail run. The next morning after the marathon my body felt great again.

The only exception is my right hamstring. I have a light strain in it so am resting this week to give it a chance to recover. I bought an ice brick so have been using that yesterday and today to try to speed the recovery of the strain. I’m keeping off the hamstring as much as I can but we’re driving around for a few days and I need my right leg to operate the car’s controls, so I can’t totally rest it.

Holiday snap: South Beach, Fremantle

If it weren’t for the hamstring strain I’d be back out running already today, just two days post marathon. But perhaps this is my body’s way of making sure I rest to fully recover from my effort before preparing for my next 12-in-12 Challenge event, which is just 17 days away. I’m not too concerned about the hamstring strain. It’s only light and there’s no swelling. Besides, my physio is a miracle worker so he’ll get me right as rain.

Holiday snap: Swan Valley

I’ll probably not post a lot until I return back home to Brisbane next week unless I go out running. But don’t fear, I’m still alive. I’m just enjoying my vacation with my partner. We’ve been eating lots of delicious food and finding a few geocaches while we’re out driving.

Holiday snap: Canola fields near Williams

Enjoy your weeks and I will be back blogging either when I am able to run again or when I am back in Brisbane on Monday, whichever comes sooner.

City to Surf Marathon, Perth

Today I ran my first marathon. And I’m proud to say that I completed it in just under 4:17. It’s also my second 12-in-12 Challenge event. I’m a little tired so I’m going to be lazy and just post some photos and videos, rather that typing a lot of words. I hope you don’t mind.

Pre-race breakfast salad

I started the day with a delicious breakfast of salad. I’m finding my body loves being fueled this way. Today’s salad was mesculin lettuce mix, spinach, carrots, beetroot, broccoli stems, slivered almonds and macadamias with a creamy garlic dressing.

I got to go into the ‘marathon’ room

The marshalling room at about 5:15am

I got the marshalling area 15 minutes early, which left me time to calm my nerves with some Qi Gong.

1,201 marathon runners walking to the start

One of the cool costumed runners

It was a long walk to the start line and everyone was chatting nervously to randoms.

Robert de Castella’s motivating and rousing speech at the start of the marathon. I also filmed myself crossing the start line. I was so nervous that I had to stop about 500m down the road at my hotel to use the bathroom in the lobby for a nervous wee.

The view back to Perth at the 12km mark

The run along the river with the sun coming up was amazing!

Somewhere around the 17km mark. I was loving life at this point and running at about 5:40 pace.

I ran through the halfway point (half marathon) at 2:00.53. That’s pretty good for me.

The top of The Terrace at 22km

The 5km from the river, through the half-way point and up to King’s Park were all uphill. But then we got to enjoy running along the boulevard of gum trees that I love so much.

The half marathon runners joined us as we ran through King’s Park. It was tough because they were still fresh and were running so quickly compared with us marathoners. To be honest, it was almost disheartening. Then, just before the 32km mark, as we left King’s Park, the 12km runners came heading up the hill. I felt so emotional when it happened because here I was, settling into my own little world of pleasure and pain when suddenly I became part of something so much bigger. The sound of the tens of thousands of foot steps was surreal.

I won’t lie: I struggled from about 32km onwards. I started needing to walk a lot more; largely because my right hamstring was tight and two toes on my left foot were stinging. But I made it a power walk and still maintained a fairly positive attitude. I didn’t want to get negative like some of the runners around me.

From 37km on I started counting down the kilometres by texting both my partner and a running club friend. It made it seem so real.

And then, at 40km, just when I thought I was almost there, the course had a nasty surprise of four big hills. You can tell the marathoners in this clip: we are the people walking or shuffling. The other runners are the half marathoners.

And then I finished! This was my first marathon. I almost feinted when I crossed the line and struggled to keep my feet. The recovery tent was a long way from the finish line and I couldn’t make it. I lay down and it was all I could do to keep from bursting into tears. I asked two medics for help getting water but they just told me to stand up and walk to the recovery tent. I don’t think they realised that I was in mild trouble. But perhaps they weren’t runners.

My post-race pile of mess

City Beach Perth after the race

After I spent some time in the recovery tent (I eventually got there but it was touch and go), my partner and I walked to nearby City Beach. She waited patiently while I went down to the water and stood thigh deep in the icy cold ocean as a pseudo ice bath.

We then caught the free shuttle bus back to Perth CBD. While waiting in the queue I needed to use a toilet to urinate urgently (for the millionth time since finishing). The bus monitor man got all angry with me telling me that the toilet I used was for staff only. I simply told him that had I not used the bathroom I would have urinated on his bus. He got angry with me so I walked off. I wish I’d taken the inappropriately behaved man’s name because I would have reported him to TransPerth for his behaviour. There were no other toilets anywhere and it really was a matter of use a toilet or wet my pants. And given that I do not have a penis, I can’t just find the nearest tree.

All in all, it was a brilliant event. I had a fantastic run and surprised myself with my time.

Total: Marathon run in 4:17 (gun time)

Running for geos in Freo

Pond in Booyeemburra Park

I wake up at 2:30am and then again at 3am. The time difference between Brisbane and Fremantle is only 2 hours but it’s playing havoc with my body. Not that it matters; I’m on holidays and I’m used to the East-West coast time zone shuffle. I manage to go back to sleep and wake again at a more reasonable 5am.

It’s still dark outside when I take off up the road. My ankles feel a bit sore as I run up the hill past the Fremantle Hospital. I’m sure it’s just the cold air and I know from experience that they will feel fine within a kilometre or two. I also know that they only hurt because they are too tight and that my physio is working on fixing that.

I navigate my way uphill to the Old Freo Steamer geocache (GC22YJ2). The old steamer’s silhouette is clearly visible in the distance as I run down the hill in the dark blue morning darkness that is shrouding the world in the quarter hour before the sun’s rays start to crack the horizon. Unfortunately, I don’t find the cache. It’s partly the darkness but more because all the workmen are arriving at the nearby factories and I’m concerned not to give the GeoGame away. So I simply set back off up the road.

By the time I reach the Fremantle Golf Course just a block away I can see a line of red sunlight breaking the horizon between the land and sky. It’s incredibly beautiful despite my urban industrial setting. I run along the road with the golf course on my left and industry on my right. A pathway leads into the Booyeemburra Park where the Freo Frolic (GCJQY1) geocache is hidden. The park is planted with native trees, shrubs and grasses, and contains a few ponds. I follow the pathway around a pond towards the GZ (coordinates where the geocache is hidden).

Squelch the Platypus Travel Bug

After a short hunt I find the cache, which contained a cute Squelch the Platypus Travel Bug (a TB is a tagged item that move from cache to cache around the world). Squelch’s was released in the US. His goal was to travel the rivers and lakes of the US before returning to Australia to explore lakes and rivers here. He’s ultimate goal is to travel to Darwin to be reunited with friends there. I will take Squelch on our holiday and hopefully will find a good cache to place him in.

Snugglepot and Cuddlepie in a front garden

I love grasses

Buoyed by my find at Freo Frolic I ran up to busy Carrington Street. This long major thoroughfare is undulating. It’s not terribly inspiring but I enjoyed the run through ‘everyday Fre-O’, rather than only sticking to the tourist areas. I took in the sights and scents of the well-established front gardens that many houses here have. They are different to our gardens in Brisbane because Fremantle gardeners are cursed with dry sandy soil I am cursed with heavy wet clay.

Hilton Green Park

Up in Hilton Park I failed to find Hilton Park Green (GC21CMQ) and the nearby Freo Wrestling Rocks (GC367WE). I had a good search for the former and only a perfunctory look for the latter. As frustrating as DNFs are, I still enjoyed the run to get here.

Another long hill coming up (Lefroy Road)

From Hilton Park I followed Lefroy Road all the way back down to South Terrace. When I say ‘down’, I mean that I traveled south. Like the rest of my run, Lefroy Road was undulating, with a long climb in the middle section. But the good thing was that the climb gave me a lovely view over Fremantle.

Cute chicken pen in Bookworm cache

I found the Bookworm geocache (GC28HGT) easily when I reached South Terrace. It was well hidden and would be impossible to find when it’s busy because you almost can’t be stealth. But I got lucky; a delivery van was parked in front of the cache so was blocking me from the people having coffee across the road. The cache had a cute chicken pen in it, which is the cutest cache pen I have found. I used it to sign the log and ran back to the B&B where we’re staying.

I felt comfortable during the entire run so was surprised to find that I had run 9.5km at 5:15 pace (excluding stopping to search for geocaches) on such a hilly course. It bodes well for the City to Surf Marathon, which I will be running the day after tomorrow.

Total: 9.5km @ 5:15 pace

Rest day on the West Coast

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War Memorial Fremantle

I’m over in Fremantle in Western Australia. My partner and I arrived at 1am WST, which was 3am in our regular time zone on the east coast.

We are staying at a brilliant B&B apartment where we can relax and unwind from normal life. While I had intended to run 6km today, I slept in, went on a tour of the tunnels under the historic Fremantle Prison and found a geocache at the War Memorial.

I skipped the run in favour of spending time with my partner and resting after what was a 22 hour day yesterday.

Tomorrow I will take a 6km morning run and geohunt, which I will share. But today is a rest day with my partner and I feel a bit lazy 🙂 .