Travel // Western Australia {Part One}

February 15, 2018

Hello! We're home from our Australia trip and today the sun is actually shining {unlike the freezing cold and rain we came home to which was a shock to the system}. Anyway, we loved Australia so so much {as in, if the visa system was easier I could have totally imagined us moving out there}. It really was such an incredible three weeks away that flew by so fast and for me, even topped California is a new favourite {which is a strong accolade}. I would go back in a flash, and I kind of don't know why it took us so long to visit properly? Just everything was so perfect out there, the weather, of course, but also the lifestyle, the fitness culture, the breakfast culture, the beach culture for that matter, the scenery, the lack of traffic, the ease of travel, the ease of just about everything, no language barriers, amazing food, that outdoor living feel. It was such a dream trip and kind of felt like the best of both between American and England but with a few unique Aussie additions. As usual, I have a million photos to share so I'll split it into the different areas that we stayed. First up; WA - Dunsborough and Fremantle/Perth.

// In short; 
  • - The long flight and jet lag was SO much easier that we'd imagined. We slept for one of the flights so it just felt like a normal trip with the second flight and somehow the jet lag was almost non-existent. I think with the time of day that we arrived, it worked really well.
  • - We flew into Perth and drove 3 hours south to Dunsborough for 5 nights to visit Ben’s uncle but it was such an amazing base for the whole region and we fell in love with the town. 
  • - There are so many beaches to discover. Our favourite was Eagle Bay followed by Bunkey Bay, Meelup, Yallingup & Smith's.   
  • Likewise so many great places to eat. I was amazed by how, even in a relatively small town fairly remote in Western Australia there were so many on trend coffee shops/boutiques. 
  • - Albert & Nikolas was a cool coffee shop with the best breakfast bowls.
  • - The General Store, Empire Home Store, One Palm were beautiful boutiques. 
  • - Wild & Woods cafe for smoothies and light lunches to take away 
  • - Cycling/walking along the beach path was so beautiful. I used to run along it most mornings and you'd see people walking with their towels for a morning swim. 
  • - Eagle Bay Brewery is a must visit for lunch.  
  • - Wise Winery was recommended a lot but we ran out of time.  
  • - The Mexican in Dunsborough was great for an evening
  • - Don't miss Simmo’s ice cream 
  • - Busselton Pier 
  • - Further afield we had a day driving down through Margaret river to Hamelin bay where the stingrays come in to visit and stopping at wineries en route. 
  • - We then had 2 nights in Fremantle. {in this beautiful Airbnb, ps if you'd like a £25 off your first stay code then you can use this link}  
  • - Bread in Common  
  • - Little Creatures Brewery  
  • - Bathers beach for sunset 
  • - Rottnest Island trip 
  • - Cottosloe beach in Perth 
  • - The Boat Shed 
  • - Kings Park in Perth for views.

On the first morning we woke up, we were hit with the bluest skies and such a loud chorus of birds. So different the ones we're used to hearing back home. The sky was a really deep dark shade of blue too, I just remember feeling so happy that we were there, we'd escaped winter, the sun was so bright and we had a whole three weeks ahead of us. 

We spent our first day with Laurence {Ben's uncle who moved out to Australia around 15 years ago now}, catching up and showing us their favourite local spots. 

It was just before Australia Day so whilst it seemed fairly quiet to us, to the locals the town was heaving! 

We were amazed by just how beautiful the area was. I don't think we'd have visited Western Australia if it wasn't for Laurence & Anne living there but how much we would have missed out upon. We fell in love with the region within the very first day. 

And it felt so good to step into summer and beautiful gardens at vineyards with hydrangeas that we haven't seen for months. Likewise, cycling in the sun in the evening, or cooking a BBQ outside.

There's a huge plethora of beautiful beaches and coastline around the Dunsborough area. Some around the peninsula being more exposed and better for drama, others sheltered pretty bays. The water was incredible.

We quickly learned that coffee is a priority for almost every Australian. It's such a huge culture, from airstream mobile pull up vans in the beach car parks in the mornings to a crazy amount of cafes in the small town. 

I loved the cycle track so much that runs for a few miles along the beach in town. I used to run along it in the mornings having to stop every few minutes for photos because it was just so beautiful. The bay was so still early on and there were so many people out for a morning walk/cycle/swim. 

There were outdoor parks with fitness stations in and I just kept thinking 'why do we live in England again'?! 

We cooked a couple of BBQs by the beach, there were lots of grill stations around - I guess because again BBQing is such a huge part of the Australian lifestyle.

One particularly gorgeous evening we cycled home and spotted some kangaroos on the golf course! With the sunsetting behind them.

We spent a lot of time around Dunsborough itself, with all the healthy coffee shops with their smoothies and breakfast bowls, the main supermarket Coles, bakeries and shops.

Our first few days were pretty beachy, stopping off in town for breakfast or for supplies from the supermarket, or maybe driving out to see somewhere new but we were more than happy to spend time on the sand.

Eagle Bay is where Laurence & Anne live which also ended up being our favourite beach. It's nicknamed legal bay because of all the properties and some of the famous people & lawyers that mainly live there. 

On Australia Day we borrowed Laurence & Anne's kayaks for a paddle. All the while I was looking out for sharks {beaches around us kept getting closed during the time we were there with shark sightings close to the shore. They have helicopters flying over every couple of hours looking for sharks too! I found it quite exciting to follow on the official Shark App whilst we were there but in reality it's no joke, especially when we were out in the sea! Western Australia is known as the shark attack capital of Australia & whilst it's still very rare, they are out there}.

No sharks when we were there though, just flamingoes on the beach!

L & A's house by the beach.

There were some really pretty walks around the headland, one evening we went for a wander and found so many hidden bays. This one reminded me of Greece or somewhere!

Simmo's ice cream was a must stop.

One evening we took food to cook a BBQ {kangaroo burgers were our new favourite discovery} at Yallingup beach. Driving there reminded me so much of Watergate Bay in Cornwall. It's a huge beach and the perfect aspect to watch the sunset.

Another favourite was Eagle Bay Brewery, where lunch felt like we were on a ranch! The food was amazing and so was the setting.

The famous staircase to the beach at Smith's.

We were more than happy with the local beaches but Laurence suggested that we should drive with him down to the Margaret River area for half a day to stop off at some of the world famous vineyards. We don't drink alcohol so I originally thought it might be a waste of time but I was so wrong, the vineyards were all so beautiful with views for miles. All a bit different, some more modern & arty in style, some with amazing gardens, some more traditional, one even felt very James Bond/LA. 

On the way down we drove through the Boranup forest.

Roses & lavender. Just like an English summer's day!

The further South you go, the more notorious for cloudy weather it is compared to the sun we'd left behind in Dunsborough. Does Dunsborough/Perth ever have cloudy days?! We reached Hamelin Bay and although it was cloudy, the water was still more than clear enough to see the famed sting rays the area is known for.

And just like that, our five days were up and we were onto the next stop. We road-tripped 2 hours up north to Fremantle, stopping at Bussleton on the way.

Busselton is known for having the longest wooden pier in the world. It goes over 1.8km out to sea! It was also a lively little town with more to it than further South, and a really beautiful beach that we decided to have our early Valentine's picnic on. 

It was fun walking the pier but SO windy, especially right at the end.

That beach!

After our lunch stop we carried on up to Fremantle {or Freo as the locals call it!}

Fremantle is the working port area of Perth. The main reason that we booked a couple of nights here was to get the ferry over to Rottnest Island {more on that in the next post} but it was a cool area in it's own right.

We struck gold with our Airbnb, a white washed converted warehouse with a little courtyard right in the middle of everything. {linked at the top of the post}.

I loved the floor to ceiling windows going across the whole two storeys.

Always drawn to pretty bedsides. Our host had even left fresh flowers & some treats for us in the kitchen.

We cooked a BBQ both nights and loved the little open air courtyard.

Fremantle itself has Victorian roots and the buildings are all colonial in style. We found the main town to be mixed, some of it really trendy with amazing cafes {like Bread in Common} and the hugely popular Brewery Little Creatures. And there's the main Bathers Beach and ferry area. But the rest was a bit more backpackerish. And it felt strangely deserted in the day! But then we discovered South Fremantle which is more residential and the vibe we prefer with cafes/restaurants/cool shops for locals rather than tourists.

South Freo reminded me so much of LA with all the street art and a real trend led vibe.

Also the area had the most overflowing beautiful front-gardens we'd ever seen! The streets were insane.

This bouganvillea, pink & aloe vera combination particularly pleased me.

We spent an evening at Bather's Beach to watch the sunset.

Before getting up early for our Rottnest ferry, more on that to come. On our last day once we check out, we had a whole day to kill before flying late that evening from Perth to Sydney. Normally days like that are a bit annoying with waiting around, but we made full use of it and drove up to Cottosloe Beach, a well off Perth beach suburb with a pristine white beach and some really cute boutiques. We'd been recommended to stop at The Boatshed to pick up lunch to take to the beach & it was all SO delicious in there.

We spent the afternoon by the beach before driving up the coast stopping at some of the other beach areas like Scarborough & Trigg. That whole coastline is stunning & really reminded us of California.

I love this photo so much.

Er, but not this one! {luckily we didn't see a single snake or spider for our whole time on the West coast}

We killed a little time looking around a supermarket, I always love seeing what other countries sell, is that just me? Donna Hay, love her.

This made me laugh, I sent it to my Mum for Riley. In all seriousness though if you did have a dog in australia you would have to train them to avoid catching snakes!

We had dinner in Scarborough and then decided on a whim that it would be a shame not to see some of the city of Perth so drove into Kings Park to look over the skyline. We got there & parked early evening, but suddenly realised that there were lots of professional tripods & cameras all set up and lots of picnickers. The car park got busier & busier until we realised that it was the best viewing spot in the whole world that night for the super red moon eclipse! It had such a good atmosphere, like a summery evening festival with everybody ready to watch the moon rise.

We wished we could have stayed. Especially because the park was so landscaped and lush. Alas, we were on our way to the airport and we arrived just as the sunset & the moon began to rise! 

We checked in and then sat outside watching it, in awe of our solar system & the fact that we wouldn't get another chance in our lifetimes!

Onwards to Sydney! {although at that point we'd have been SO happy just to have had that incredible week in WA. But the next destination was calling}

R <3 xx 

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