2008: Goodbye, Perth (Western Australia)

The Honeyeaters' Tree

A little further on from Subiaco is Bold Park and the western headquarters of Birds Australia. I had fancied paying them a call but it was Saturday and they weren’t home. I ambled a few of the trails past banksias and eucalypts without seeing much more than another brown goshawk and a striated pardalote for the trip list.

That looked to be that but from the car rental office I mooched back to Perth’s CBD via the Botanic Gardens. In blazing midday sun one Australian hobby did become lifer number 894. The day was hot though and shaded bars around the harbour beckoned me for a couple of drinks and more fish’n’chips.

Then it was back to the central station and battle with the buses, none of which headed in my hotel’s direction. The same direction as the airport, there had to be buses. They did run that way from somewhere: I’d seen them. It was a matter of finding the right bus stop on the most likely outbound roads.

This would have worked, had the stops displayed route information and timetables. They did but some clown had plastered over labels saying that services would be suspended for the next day’s Christmas parade. No paint-spraying vandal could have done a better job of rendering the system unusable. More was the pity trains didn’t penetrate that easterly bit of Perth. Car city, I figured. I did get back to the hotel though by flagging down every bus that passed.

My concept of being near the airport to reduce the taxi fare on Sunday didn’t work out either. The amount I paid the driver would have financed a bus. It was to be the day of the rip-off cabbies.

No matter: I forgot all this as the early morning Virgin Blue jet climbed out of Perth and the Stirling Range broke the distant southern horizon. That was it for landmarks, except for curious circular, multi-coloured shapes on the terrain. They must have been about a kilometre across to be visible and some of the colours were as startling as pop-art. Were they dried up lakes? Too regular, surely. Weeks later, visits to opencast mines gave me the answer – mankind again, stripping the surface of the planet.

The flight left Western Australia for the Great Australian Bight and made my next state’s landfall over the Eyre Peninsula. Spencer Gulf, the Yorke Peninsula and Gulf St Vincent followed until the capital of South Australia hove into view.

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