Well, I am sitting in the Frankfurt airport looking at the snow and gray skies, already feeling a chill in my bones and my tan fading. Time to write about more awesome Australian adventures!! Long, random post- beware.
Races at Ascot
I went to the races with my new friend JD on a beautiful Saturday afternoon. We snagged some members tickets which enabled us to enter the posh member’s lounge and get discounts on drinks and food. Let me tell you something about the races at Ascot- do not show up here in your jeans and T shirt thinking you will pay $5 to get in, drink some Bud Lights, and hang out at some picnic tables. Tampa Bay Downs it is not. The dress code was fierce and they almost did not let me in because I was wearing (fancy-ish) flip flops and a dress. There were people in cocktail attire and giant hats all over the place.
What I really liked about this track was that you could see the horses warming up and getting ready, as well as cooled down and hosed after the races. We would go look at all of them in the cross ties before each race and make our picks from there. I always picked the one that was taking a pre race nap.
Caversham Wildlife Park
This privately run nature park is located just outside of Perth, in the Swan Valley. Australian native species are highlighted at this park, and the habitats are divided by geographic region. A key feature of this park is the opportunity to touch and take pictures with several species, including koalas, kangaroos, wallabys, and wombats. None of these experiences cost extra, which is a nice perk. A large swath of land in the middle of the park is the free roaming kangaroo area, where you can pet them and take selfies to your heart’s content. My favorite part besides the koalas were the quokkas, which are native to Rottnest Island off the coast of Perth, as well as the temporary penguin exhibit.
My first visit to the Indian Ocean was during this trip. I managed to squeeze in visits to several of the Perth area beaches. They are all beautiful white sand, clear blue water, bathrooms, lifeguards, usually some sort of food venue, and at least every time I went- very windy and wavy. One afternoon at City Beach the waves had to be almost 10 feet tall. The water was not that cold but those waves were a little too big to just have fun bouncing around in them without a little bit of anxiety.
The other super fun thing about the beaches in West Australia is the SharkSmart shark watch. You can check this site or the twitter feed for any info about either shark sightings/beach closings or if a tagged shark gets close enough to ping the tower. I missed a great white shark by 23 minutes at City Beach that one day.
Cottlesloe, Hillarys, Scarborough and Trigg are the other beaches that I checked out. Cottlesloe by far had the greatest number of youngish girls with fake boobs and guys with terrible tattooes. Apparenetly everyone in Aus goes to Bali to get their plastic surgery because it is so cheap. No thank you.
The sun is brutal in Australia. Because of the dry air the rays come through more directly. And something about a hole in the ozone? You cannot buy sunscreen less than SPF30. I would not recommend that anyway, but listen to a person who does not usually sunburn- it is serious business down there.
Freo is a town on the water south of the main Perth CBD. I was informed by a few people that if I moved here I should live in Freo. It has a fun feel with shops, bars, and restaurants, as well as a big open market. It felt slightly touristy to me but I am a tourist so who cares! I found a place with delish $3 tacos so basically- yes. It also has a triathlon club. You know, in case you are into that sort of thing.
The main attraction in Fremantle is the prison, which was built in 1859 by prisoners and was closed in 1991! Our tour guide said that some former inmates have come back and taken the tour to see their old digs… so weird. We saw the flogging post and the gallows. I felt nauseous at the gallows and did not really like that part.
These were some of my adventures. I will write more soon! Thanks for reading.