One Year in Western Australia, by Member at Large, Susy Folmer – Part 1

by Patty Ryan posted on 16 September 2014

Susy Folmer, Member at Large, sends us posts from Australia.

For a whole year since we arrived in Perth, we have been enjoying this lovely city and its surroundings, wonderful beaches and the turquoise waters of the Indian Ocean. People are educated, they dress very casually, everything is organized and it’s a safe place. Be careful with sharks in the sea though… and with red spiders, poisonous snakes and other native predators!

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From our apartment we have a lovely view to the Swan River. One can take a boat to the port of Fremantle, at the mouth of the river, and enjoy the scenery, or upstream to the Swan Valley where wine lovers find paradise among the vineyards.

We visited several areas of this fascinating country. To go to another city or places means to cover huge distances… at outrageous prices! Yes, the cost of living is very high on this side of the world.

We went by car to the Pinnacles, the amazing limestone formations of capricious shapes. At sunset the features and colors are made more outstanding due to the play of light and shadows. Impressive!

The visit to Rottnest Island I kept postponing once and again. Why? The very name indicates it: Nest of Rats! I’m absolutely scared of these little beasts, a typical feminine phobia, as they say! The Dutch – my husband’s ancestors – that landed on the island by mid-17thC mistook the Quokkas for giant rats and they named the island ‘Rotte Nest’. We went in the end and we could see those sweet gentle animals that look like… giant rats!!! I approached one of them for a photo only to prove to my family how brave I am.

Geraldton is a small coastal city 400 km North of Perth. We meant to visit the Abrolhos Islands, 80 km offshore to view the place of the Batavia wreckage, the Dutch ship that struck the reefs and sank in 1629. Unfortunately we couldn’t make it because it was raining heavily. So we stayed in Geraldton and enjoyed the visit to the museum and its excellent display and information on the wreckage, the mutiny on the islands and the massacre that took place afterwards. The precarious fortification, the remains of which are still visble today, is considered to be the first European settlement on Australian soil.
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The flight to the pearl-fishing town of Broome allowed us to enjoy a bird’s eye view of the red landscape below, its great saline plains and water holes… an immensity with little dots and dashes in the middle of nowhere that, when getting closer revealed themselves as mining areas and their airstrips. Quite spectacular! Once in Broome we had our first encounter with the ferocious heat of NW Australia, a punch of fire on our minds and bodies!
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Stay tuned next week for part 2 of Susy’s post.