We have finally travelled to Perth, Western Australia to visit our family and grandchildren. The state has been completely closed until recently because of Covid-19 and has just recently reopened.
Our flight across the breadth of the country was very frustrating. With a combination of more people starting to travel, along with Easter coming on, Qantas are suffering from a lack of staff, the airports were extremely crowded and delays were common. At one time, check in was delayed because the baggage area was so congested that it couldn’t cope. Our departure was delayed for two hours and then after we landed in Perth, it took over an hour and a half to get our bags. Around thirty people on our flight didn’t receive their baggage at all. If any of our friends are about to travel, we urge you to get to the airport two, or even three hours, ahead of your departure time.
It was very nice of David and his boys (Orin and Koa) to meet us at the airport but we were so distracted by searching for our bags that we didn’t have a lot of time together. We were greeted with big hugs and a card that both boys had made to welcome us. Even though we haven’t seen them for nearly 2 1/2 years, we had seen them at least weekly on FaceTime and WhatsApp. We were so late in arriving that the boys were getting tired and they left to go home for dinner before our bags finally arrived.
Eventually, we picked up our rental car and drive to our hotel. The elapsed time from door to door was twelve hours. We could normally have flown to Tokyo in that time!
The boys were busy with school holiday activities this morning so we spent a few hours in Kings Park before meeting them in the afternoon. Kings Park is a 900 acre park overlooking Perth’s central business district. It has a mixture of grassed parkland, botanical gardens and natural bushland with two-thirds of the grounds conserved as native bushland.
From the War Memorial, there are superb panoramic views over the Swan River and the CBD. The park is the most popular visitor destination in Western Australia, with over five million visitors each year.
The roadsides through Kings Park have been planted with eucalyptus trees, and in front of each one is a plaque honouring Western Australian servicemen who died in action, or as a result of wounds, received in WW1. There are over 1600 of these trees and plaques.
The Botanic Garden itself is an 18 hectares (44 acres) site within the park. It has a collection of 2000 species of Western Australian flora on display and operates as part of a worldwide network of botanic gardens committed to plant conservation. It was established to showcase the flora of Western Australia to those visiting Perth for the 1962 British Empire and Commonwealth Games, although the official opening did not take place until October 1965.
Whilst Spring is the best time to visit, as most of the plants are then flowering, there were still enough flowers to capture our interest. Among them were a patch of Sturt Desert Pea, flowering Eucalypts and numerous Banksias.
We had lunch in the Botanic Gardens cafe and then parked the car back at our hotel. We then walked about 2 kilometres back into the city to meet David and the boys at Elizabeth Quay. This is a newly developed area on the Swan River with a ferry terminal, new hotels and high rise buildings.
We walked together around the quay area and found a rather neat pub on the little island where we could have a beer and a good chat while the boys played in the playground. We caught up with a lot of David’s news.
By late afternoon, we left them to head home on the train while we walked back along the river to our hotel in East Perth.