At the Pinnacles
After four fabulous months in Australia, it’s official: this country has stolen my heart. I’ve enjoyed every second of living in Perth and exploring the city, but there are so many places nearby that are just as breathtaking, with a different kind of beauty. I strongly recommend taking a trip to the North and South of Western Australia, but I’ve also had the supreme pleasure of going to several places that can be easy day trips. Below, in no particular order, are the top four places and things I’ve done on a weekend nearby Perth.
1. The Pinnacles
The Pinnacles are these really interesting natural limestone formations in Nambung National Park. I went here on a tour that also visited the old missionary town New Norcia along the way, but if you just drive straight there it’s around three hours north of the city. As an added bonus, you can go sand boarding nearby and see kangaroos in their natural habitat.
2. Rottnest and Penguin Islands
Ok this is technically two places, but they’re both islands so I’m putting them together. However, they are very different in terms of what they offer and how long you can stay.
Rottnest Island – I really loved Rottnest Island because I was able to take the coveted quokka selfie, and the island is extremely beautiful if you want to bike around or stay for a night.
Penguin Island – This is more of a nature reserve and has restricted hours since it is a sanctuary for the penguins that call the island home. Just off of Rockingham, I took a short ferry ride to the island which was special in itself because we saw dolphins and sea lions along the way. Contrary to what you might think due to the name of the island, the only place you can see the Little Penguins (that’s literally their name) is in the Discovery Centre where certain penguins that need special care live, but that doesn’t mean they’re any less adorable.
3. Caversham Wildlife Park
I went to Caversham Wildlife Park my first week in Australia. It’s pretty popular, which is expected when you have the chance to pet kangaroos and koalas. I would recommend this over the zoo since you get a more hands-on experience, and if you do a guided tour they’ll tell you more about the animals. If you’re so inclined, you can even go see a sheep shearing presentation while you’re there.
4. ANZAC Day
To see the ANZAC Day ceremony on April 25, a couple of friends and I caught a train at 4 a.m. to get to King’s Park for the ceremony at 5:30. Even though I could live a happy life never getting up that early again, it was definitely worth it. Thousands of people filled the park while the Governor, Kerry Sanderson, and Premier, Colin Barnett, spoke about the remarkable sacrifice made by Australian and New Zealand soldiers at Gallipoli a century ago. ANZAC Day, which stands for Australian and New Zealand Army Corps, originally commemorated just the soldiers who fought at Gallipoli, but now recognizes all Australians and New Zealanders “who served and died in all wars, conflicts, and peacekeeping operations.” Seeing this ceremony really made me feel the unity and depth of pride Australians have for the contributions, accomplishments and sacrifices of their country.
I’m going to miss my temporary home, but I know in my heart I’ll always be a little bit Aussie.