|Fremantle City Center|
Flying across the Australian continent from Cairns to Melbourne is 1440 miles, and then it's an additional 1697 miles to Perth. Our journey took a full day. Funny that prior to this trip, we never realized how large this continent is. Once arriving in Perth, we focused on the community of Fremantle just south of the city. Locating an apartment in downtown, we were within easy walking distance to the center of activity and close to the harbor.
Founded in 1829, the founding fathers transported ten thousand prisoners to the island to build community buildings, churches and their own prison. The prison was closed in 1991, and is now a tourist attraction offering day tours and evening ghost tours. Spending a few days exploring this seaport and fishing town, our favorite outing was a trip to the Fremantle Maritime Museum. The museum houses the sailboat of five time circumnavigator, Jon Sanders with 14 world records, and the Australian American Cup winning sailboat from 1983. The Welcome Wall, outside the museum, lists the names of families that have immigrated to Australia. (A similar Welcome Wall is located in Sydney.)
One of the most popular day trips from town is a trip out to nearby Rottnest Island. It’s name
came from the presence of quokkas, an animal that looks suspiciously like
a rat but is actually a marsupial (like the kangaroo and wallaby) Planning another snorkeling trip, we took
the morning ferry out, and then hopped on an island wide hop on and off bus to
travel to a snorkeling destination, Parkers Point. This beautiful bay was supposed to be home to
a pink coral, and one of the best snorkeling spots on the island. Spending about an hour in the water, we
enjoyed the snorkel, but never saw the pink coral (in fact, almost no coral). Quokkas
seemed to be fairly common, and a family of them joined us for lunch, hoping
for a handout. Kayaking, swimming and
sailing are available around the island and biking is the favored mode of
transportation. No private vehicles are
allowed on the islands limited roadways.
Another side trip took us down to Rockingham to take a ferry out to Penguin Island to see the Little Penguins (the smallest of the species). On the highway heading south, the influence of mining is evident in the heavy industrialization of the area. Along the waterfront is a different world. Arriving at the ferry, Alan realized, after a thorough search of our vehicle, that his wallet was back in Fremantle. Obviously, there would be no ferry trip for that day. Since we were in Western Australia, we wanted to take advantage of our proximity to the Margaret River wine region. So, the next day we started the drive south.
|Fremantle commercial port|