Australia

Weeks 11 & 12 – Perth and Melbourne

Perth

Perth is often cited as one of the most isolated cities in the world, and it feels like it. It’s the capital of Western Australia, though everyone just calls it W.A.

Little Britain

It took nearly five hours to fly to Perth from Sydney, about the same flying time as London to Dubai! Perth and the surrounding suburbs are as British as they come. It’s like stepping into Little Britain. I am not really sure why so many Brits have moved here, but it’s kind of weird – in some places you hardly hear an Australian accent at all!

Perth skyline
Perth skyline

Kings Park

One of the highlights of Perth is Kings Park. It is huge and I am told is one of the largest urban parks in the world. It has some great views of the city, a botanic garden, a outdoor theatre, a war memorial, and art gallery and lots more. I spent a great afternoon there sheltering from the intense sun. And the flies.

Perth as seen from Kings Park
Perth as seen from Kings Park

Northern Perth

I spent a lot of time up in the northern suburbs of Perth. There is a huge building boom going on, with huge new estates being built all over the place. You really get a sense of how W.A. is booming. There are some beautiful beaches, including a natural lagoon called Yahchep Lagoon.

Me at Yanchep Lagoon
Me at Yanchep Lagoon

Melbourne

I love Melbourne! I lived there for six months in 2005 on my working holiday visa and this was my first time back in 11 years. Not much has really changed. It is still very friendly, still has great architecture, and is still a great city to stroll around taking in the sights, which I did for four days.

Luna Park
Luna Park
Melbourne cycles
Melbourne cycles

I stayed on St Kilda Road in the Prahan area, a great location to go south to St Kilda, north to the city and east to Prahan and South Yarra. Christmas preparations were in full swing, Melbourne sure does love Christmas. I saw a great illuminated Christmas light show projected onto the old post office, a clip of which is in the video above.

Christmas illuminations
Christmas illuminations

Melbourne art

I also visited a fantastic museum and art gallery in the city. The National Gallery of Victoria is wonderful and has a great permanent collection of 19th and 20th century Australian art. The collection is split into two galleries, one international, one Australian. These are some of my favourite painting from the collection. Similar to most galleries in Australia, it is all free too!

Julian Ashton, The Corner of the Paddock, 1888
Julian Ashton, The Corner of the Paddock, 1888
Sydney Long, Farm Landscape, 1905
Sydney Long, Farm Landscape, 1905
Charles Blackman, Lovers, 1960
Charles Blackman, Lovers, 1960

Tennis, tennis, tennis

Anyone who knows me knows I love tennis. I therefore had to do a guided tour of Melbourne Park, home of the Australian Open. I went into the men’s top 100 changing room, saw Andy Murray’s locker too! We got to go onto Rod Laver Arena, Margaret Court Arena and saw the men’s and women’s champions trophies. It’s a great tournament and I only wish I was there in January to see it.

Rod Laver Arena
Rod Laver Arena
The ladies trophy
The ladies trophy
Australia

Week 11 – Sydney

One of the things I love about travelling is visiting all of the amazing museums and art galleries around the world. One of the best I have visited is the Art Gallery of New South Wales. The history of Austarlian art is more varied than you might think, with Aboriginal art only really coming into its own in the 1970s, and white Australian art finding its voice in the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s. Here are a few of my favourite pieces from the gallery.

Untitled (Jupiter Well to Tjukula) by Uta Uta Tjangala
Angry young girl by Charles Blackman (1958)
Angry young girl by Charles Blackman (1958)
First-class marksman by Sidney Nolan (1946)
First-class marksman by Sidney Nolan (1946)
Shopping day by Russell Drysdale (1953)
Shopping day by Russell Drysdale (1953)`
Australian beach pattern by Charles Meere (1940)
Australian beach pattern by Charles Meere (1940)
The spirit of Darwulmu at Guruwana, a scared place by Mungunu (1959)
The spirit of Darwulmu at Guruwana, a scared place by Mungunu (1959)

Sydney skyline

The skyline of Sydney must be one of the iconic skylines in the world. I have been here three times over the course of 16 years and have never failed to be awed by it. The opera house was very controversial when it was built, it was over time and over budget built it is now firmly one of the iconic buildings of the world. And what a view!

Here’s my videologue of the few days I spent in Sydney.

The sails of the opera house
The sails of the opera house
Sydney Harbour Bridge
Sydney Harbour Bridge
Sydney skyline
Sydney skyline
Sydney Opera House
Sydney Opera House

Friends reunited

I’ve also had the great joy of meeting up again with two friends, who I met in very different ways! I met my friend Amy on New Years Eve in Sydney in 2004, both being rather the worse for wear with alcohol! But we hit it off & stayed in touch ever since. I’m greyer and Amy is married with two kids but we haven’t changed really.

Amy & I in 2005
Amy & I in 2016

Louisa used to be my manager when I worked in Lewes in Sussex! But a professional relationship became a friendship and when she moved back to Sydney we stayed in touch. It’s been great to see both again.

Louisa, Phil and me