For all of our holidays, we never could, wake up early. Perth was no exception, even though we need to be at Mandurah by 11.30am to catch the boat out to see the dolphins we fly almost 4,000 km from Singapore to see.
You see, we woke up late. And then we were delayed when we realised the kind of beautiful landscape that is outside of our hotel room. you see, our hotel is called The Vines Resort & Country Club. It is a couple of nice things put together, One; the hotel, accommodation, Two; a vineyard theme, which means there are some grapes kind of hanging on some vineyard thing. Actually not a big deal to us, but it does adds to the ambiance. Three; the golf course, afterall, it is a country club!
I don’t think the concept is anything new, as we have such offerings in Singapore, The Orchid Country Club, is one. but the Vines is special, as there are some residents staying at the golf course green… KANGAROOS!!!!!
Lots of them!
So close we can almost touch them! (Of course we didn’t, these are wild Kangas and we don’t know how they would react. They instinctively kept their distance and we did our part to respect the gap.)
They were just minding their own business, lying there, without a care in the world, and we Singaporeans, going crazy over every single one of them like they were this week’s ToTo winning ticket. But hey, how often do we get to go so up close and personal with these Kangas?
Hit the road Jack!
After our gaga over the Kangas, we hit the road, mindful that we need to be at a certain place by a certain time. Again we relied on the GPS to take us from The Vines to Mandurah, some 100 kilometers away, a good one hour’s drive. Today is yet going to be another first, your dad driving the longest at any given time! I know to some this is no big deal, but for your dad, it is any and every reason to celebrate!
So off we go!
We are on high spirits, for many reasons, we felt really, really happy to be able to come to Australia together, drive in such a wonderful weather. Being in the small i20 is great as we can all bond over the road trip and us parents listen to you kiddos’ usual banter and occasional quarrels. And you kiddos listen to us parents talk about adults stuffs.
We don’t drive nor have a car in Singapore, so driving in Australia gives us a rare intimacy, putting a family in a car can give. It is nice knowing that we don’t own the car and will return it once our trip is over.
There are many things in Australia we can see that is not in Singapore. And one of them is…
These are HUGE trucks that has not only just pull one wagon, but up to 3 wagons! These are powerful trucks that ply the entire Australia, delivering vital supplies and goods. They are a part of the Australian traffic and every time we see one on the road, I’d scream out ROADTRAIN! You boys picked it up and soon the whole car is screaming ROADTRAIN! This did not please your mum.
And your mum, snapping tonnes of photographs, simply didn’t snap any decent roadtrain photographs. Well, that gives us a reason to head back to Perth in the near future to snap these pictures!
The Animal Farm
We see animals of all sorts, horses, cows, sheep, dogs, chickens and of course, Kangas…they are everywhere! That said, I know the probability of a road kill is real, so everyone is belted up for the just-in-case.
There is also a lot of greenery and wide and wild open plains. It is a very refreshing change from the usual brick and mortar landscape we have in Singapore.
The Open Plains
Well, the road condition in Perth is really good and we get good signal from the GPS all the way to Mandurah, Traffic was light and we really enjoyed the road. It was quite stress-free, the drivers there are generally more courteous, and possess better road ethics. Sure there are some speeders and some clowns who don’t signal when they lane change, but generally, I drive like I’m driving, and not in a defensive manner, half the time expecting something bad to happen or some crazy nut cutting into my lane. It was a pleasant drive I would not have enjoyed if I am in Singapore.
We reached Mandurah and for Ian, your mum and me, it was a revisit. We came here almost 10 years ago. Now we are back, looking back at some of the old photos, little has changed in Mandurah, other than a couple more condos up, and more developments and crowd, it is still a pleasant place to be.
The Han’s cafe was there in 2007, and it is still there. Reading Cinema was there and is still there. but I don’t really see a cinema crowd and I wonder how does it stay profitable? Mandurah seems too laid back for any business to stay profitable and given a competitive landscape in Singapore, they would have turned Reading Cinema into something more profitable and Han’s cafe might have been long gone, due to the changes in rental. But is is nice to be in Mandurah, knowing that somethings don’t change. That give a very familiar nostalgic feeling.
We are not really in a rush but we are kind of hungry, so we ate what tourists comes to Mandurah to eat. Cicerellos!
Honestly, eating in Australia is what eats up our money. One meal can be as much as AUD15 bucks, something equivalent in Singapore would have cost S$5. A single meal for the 4 of us can easily set us back at least AUD 50 plus dollars. Nonetheless we are there to enjoy as tourists and we are quite willing to spend.
We had our meals in a jiffy so that we can catch our boat to see the dolphins. For
the cruise, they also have meals included, Fish and Chips (what else?), but we already have our fill and politely declined.
There are 2 decks on the boat and the top deck can take only 11 people, an Indian family of 6 has already take the better part of the top deck, and with the 4 of us, we fill up the space nicely. It was a good decision to take the top deck.
We started the cruise easy, all excited about the potential marine mammals we flew so far over to Australia to meet. We were thankful our captain was very experienced with the waters around Mandurah, much more experienced compare to the 3 girls ( I called them Charlie’s Angels) who commandeered our boat trip back in 2007, our maiden trip to Mandurah.
It didn’t take us long to spot the Dolphins, swimming in the shallow waters hiding amongst the many boats parked along the Mandurah waterway. The Captain (who had more than 20 years of boating experience) skilfully maneuvered the large boat around, kicking up mud from the shallow water bed. It was our first sightings, and we almost certainly thought it was our last.
We head out to the waterways and cruise on in our bid to find more of these elusive dolphins. We went up as far as our 1 hour boat ride can take us, and we went under the Mandurah Estuary Bridge, before turning back, with an ominous feeling that that is all the dolphins we get to see.
We went back the same way we came and the Captain’s keen eye spotted some break in the water, hinting a pair of dolphins. We eagerly looked out and thanks to our vantage point and being just next to the Captain, we were able to get his views spontaneously. for the folks seated downstairs, they can only hear him if he used his microphone, and sometimes, he didn’t as he was basically thinking out loud.
The elusive pair disappeared again and we sailed on, going back to port. Then it all happened….
The family of four swam right next to our boat and everyone on board was ecstatic about the sightings and how close they came next to the boat. For whatever speed we did, the dolphins swam easy, without much effort, making a few jumps as well. It really made our day and we felt that our trip was very much completed.
This was certainly the highlights of our trip and we came to see dolphins, we get to see dolphins.
We went back to Cicerellos again to grab our lunch and this time spend anotherbomb, ordering their famous, but oily fish and chips, milk shake, and waffles. The chilly weather makes us burn up our energy real quickly and we were hungry, wolfing them down. Enjoying every bits of it.
After that we went exploring the vicinity of Mandurah, just walking and we came across this dog just lazing there, I think it’s a Labrador and friendly enough, I patted it and soon, both you boys followed the dad and started patting the dog. Bad move for Wayne.
The dog moved quickly and bit off one of your gloves, with no intention of giving it back to you, it will be its new play toy! The mutt’s owner was nowhere in sight and I had to half coax and half pull/drag the slob, wet mitten out of the dog’s mouth. thankfully, it decided to relent and let go. We all had a good laugh right there, and this certainly adds to the experience at Mandurah.
We ended our fruitful day with another long drive back to The Vines, by now, you boys are dead tired and we were thankful we had the car as the both of you konk off almost immediately when we drove off.
Dinner was fast food, we ordered drive through from Red Rooster, and went through the junk food without much fan fare.
With that quick meal to fill our stomach, we hit the sack quickly, knowing that the next day will be filled with much excitement!