I have just updated the House Sitting Page after our recent sit in Perth. Here is the link House Sitting Experiences
You won’t get fined by the local council in Perth for beautifying your nature strip, in fact it’s encouraged. It’s a refreshing change from the ridiculous situation in most Melbourne shires who insist you must maintain the nature strip outside your house, but won’t let you build a garden there or even park your car. Here in the west you are encouraged to beautify your nature strips, and some councils will even pay for the plants to do it! As long as you don’t block any formed footpath or obstruct vision up the road, you can pretty much do what you want. Plant a garden, grow some veggies, or even pave it for your boat!
As 2018 comes to a close, it’s time to reflect on the past year and some of the highlights.
We started the year in Melbourne with some housesits while we caught up with family and I had some surgery on my ankle. Spending time with the family again was the greatest highlight of course, specially enjoying our first Christmas together for 3 years. We also enjoyed a lovely house sit in Geelong, exploring a part of Victoria we hadn’t really spent much time in previously. Gorgeous house in town and a lovely dog to care for.
We then headed west, a quicker trip this time but we still loved the Nullabor crossing. Free camping near the cliffs and in quiet, isolated bush sites was so enjoyable. We then enjoyed two really good house sits in Margaret River, great houses in lovely surrounds. It was great to see Margaret River in another season, experiencing some cold weather for the first time in a while.
After Margaret River we spent time house sitting in Yanchep then made a quick trip to Cairns for a friend’s wedding (Deb was in the bridal party) and enjoyed some lovely warm weather in the tropics. We then embarked on the touring phase of the year, a trip north to Kalbarri then east through the wheatbelt towns. It was so nice to be on the road again, just us in the caravan and the open road. There were so many highlights, but a few stood out. Camping at Sandy Cape was fantastic, right next to the beach. We absolutely loved Kalbarri with its spectacular river gorges and glorious sea cliffs. We saw so many wildflowers throughout the whole trip, but specially around Geraldton and the wheatbelt. It was a great wildflower season and we were stunned at some of the colourful displays we found. A highlight for me was visiting the amazing granite rocks in the wheatbelt, spectacular views from each one and amazing engineering in their water collection systems. Some great free camps throughout the wheatbelt too that gave us an appreciation of the beauty of this beautiful region.
Our house sit in Albany was definitely a highlight for both of us. Six weeks enjoying the spectacular scenery in a very comfortable house with fantastic views over the harbour and a very well behaved dog. One of our favourite sits. Deb wasn’t working during this sit so we had so much time to explore and enjoy all Albany has to offer. King George Sound, Oyster Harbour, Kalgan River and Torndirrup NP to name just a few. We were priveleged to be in Albany for the 100 year anniversary celebration of the end of WW1, and who can forget Albany’s strawberries!
We then returned to Margaret River and enjoyed three weeks living in the van at our house, getting the garden set up and preparing the house for our move. Our full time permanent nomad life is getting close to finishing, for a while at least. After 4 years travelling around, we will be settling into our home in Margaret River early February. We are excited to be settling down in such a beautiful area and looking forward to establishing our home and taking in family and friends who visit. We’ve loved every minute of our travels, well nearly every minute as there have inevitably been a few challenging minutes on the journey, and we are looking forward to joining the annual winter migrations up north again soon after we get settled.
The end of the year sees us back in Perth, enjoying our favourite beaches again in a typically hot and sunny Perth summer. We are so grateful that we have been able to expore this amazing country again this year, and meet many wonderful people during our travels.
We’d like to wish all our followers a very Happy and Successful New Year: enjoy your travels and stay in touch.
Every day in summer holiday season hundreds of boats plough up the Swan River and out the harbour and across Gage Roads, heading to Rottnest Island, just offshore from Fremantle. We see it every day we head to the beach. A trail of boats surging up the river and under our cars as we cross the Stirling Bridge. Looking out to Rottnest from Cottesloe Beach, all you can see is a long 19km long trail of white, foamy wakes from Fremantle Harbour right across to the Island. We call it the Rottnest Highway.
Western Australians have the highest ratio of boat ownership in the country, not surprising considering it has the longest coastline and much of the most spectacular coastal scenery in the country. And Rottnest Island is spectacular with its amazing beaches, crystal clear water and beautiful reefs. So there is a huge exodus every sunny holiday as boaties head to Rotto to moor in the seductive bays and beaches for a few hours or a few days, enjoying the delights on offer. Perth life can be pretty good!
It’s not just up north in WA that the landscape is tinted with red. There is plenty of it down in Perth too.
Perth’s summer is hot and dry. Our first summer here was almost bone dry for 4 months, just one thunderstorm for the whole summer! So trying to keep a lovely garden here is a challenge, even local native plants need a bit of water over summer. So anyone who wants a nice garden has a “retic” system, otherwise known as an irrigation system over east. “Retic” automatically sprays lawns and gardens to a set weekly program, using a computer controller. If you are using town water, then it can get expensive as a lot of water is needed over the heat of summer. Luckily for some, as Perth is built almost entirely on a sandy coastal plain, there is a lot of groudwater available to those who are prepared to dig for it. Many homes have a bore in the backyard, often shared between a few neighbours to reduce the initial set up cost.
But there is a downside. Much of the bore water is very rich in iron, both iron hydroxide and bacterial iron. Anywhere the bore water sprays, or lies around will get stained a bright rusty orange colour. So unless the “retic” system is very carefully set up, you’ll end up with rusty paths, walls and driveways. I guess if they are all rusty, it will look normal, but usually it ends up spraying in random patterns across the concrete and looks really messy.
Needless to say, there’s a big demand in Perth for contract cleaners to remove the rust stains, and also for water treatment systems to try to prevent the stains in the first place.
I havn’t seen these types of signs anywhere else in Australia. Most of Perth’s main roads have illuminated signs at major intersections. The smaller signs are street names, and there is always a larger sign with directions to a local business, usually a supermarket or chemist, whom ever is prepared to pay I guess. The signs are illuminated at night and are very handy when you don’t know the local area and need a shop. Not everyone likes them though, and digruntled residents often complain to their local council when a new one goes up outside their house!
Surprisingly for such a huge country, Australia’s cities are all pretty alike, apart from obvious climate and physical differences. But when you live in them for a while, you start to see some subtle differences that make them each unique. This series of blogs will show you some of the eccentricities of Perth that we have discovered.
You know you’re in Perth at Christmas time when you see all the vivid orange flowering trees around the city and nearby regions. Nuytsia Floribunda, known locally as the WA Christmas Tree, is a native shrub endemic this region. It is covered with vivid orange flowers over the Christmas season and stands out like a beacon as you drive around town. It’s actually hemi parasitic, meaning it lives off the roots of nearby host trees, often local eucalypts. Nothing represents a Perth Christmas more than a clump of Nuytsia, some grass trees, a tall gum and a brilliant blue Perth sky.