Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Perth to Albany: Via Busselton and Pemberton

Our first part of our journey was to travel from Perth to Pemberton, via Busselton and Augusta:



We stopped by Busselton for lunch and took some time to appreciate the view at the longest wooden jetty in the southern hemisphere. It also has a slow train that takes you from end to end.

Busselton Jetty
Train at the Busselton Jetty

We then headed off to Augusta to catch the last tour of Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse. I actually was hoping to see the line waves clashing when two oceans meet since I missed the one at Cape Reinga in north of New Zealand.

Visitor information
The lighthouse!
The tour took us up the lighthouse with a bit of history thrown in.

Just to inject some history, there were over 200 shipwrecks in the area, all but one happened prior to the building of the lighthouse. The one that happened to sink after the lighthouse was built happened in 1910, a luxury cruise liner whose captain thought he could navigate closer to the shores on a calm day. Ironically, the ship was built in the same shipyard as the Titanic and it was also it's maiden trip. No one died, thankfully.

Also, the lights from this lighthouse blinks every 7 seconds, it's thumbprint for captains to know which lighthouse they're looking at. And the custom made crystals which reflect the light is worth a LOT of money now.

See where to waves are clashing? It's not where the official line of where the two oceans meet though. And it doesn't form a continuous line. Darn.

From Augusta, we rushed to Pemberton, racing against the darkening sky. The ride was one of our more interesting rides because we were going through the southern forests with immensely tall Karri trees with their straight trunks hugging the side of the roads. 

At one point, the most beautiful sight of my entire holiday came as we were navigating out of darkened roads due to the tall trees when the left side of the road continued with a line of trees while the setting sun cast it's last rays from the right. It was like coming out of a tunnel with a golden light at the end. Aiyah, I don't know how to describe it but I wished we could have stopped in the middle of the main road to take that photo.

We also passed by several kangaroo families hanging out on the middle of the road. So, quite an eventful ride. We arrived at our place of stay Lavender & Berry Farm at 7pm, in time to start a roaring fire, cook dinner and get plenty of rest.

The Lavender & Berry Farm, Pemberton
Their famous pancakes. We ordered 2 servings for 5 of us but they were so huge we had to feed the birds around us.
A bright blue bird grabbing our offered pancakes
KS looking past the lake to our cottage
View from the cottage on the other side. The lake was steaming in the cool of the morning at a very bright 5am on our first morning.
Beautiful rose bushes at the farm apart from the lavender bushes.
They also had sheep and an Alpaca which we fed. Didn't manage to see the horses/ponies/miniature horses (?) on the other side.
Some chicks trying to get into the feeding action.

First thing we did in Pemberton was to climb the Dave Evans Bicentennial Tree. The pins that are stuck to the trunk carry you up to 76m high (that's over 200 ft). These are fire trees where folks climb up to see which direction a fire is coming from. There are three of such trees in this area and this is the tallest.

Looking down from the 25m station
Climbing the tree
video

I stopped on the way down to take this video. See the gaps between the pins? There's nothing to stop you from falling through, well, except the pins below. So far no one has died. But KS and I still only made it to the 25m station. My hands were starting to sweat from fear, which created more fear of slipping! A cheeky sign at the station said "That was the easy bit".

For lunch, Jarrah Jack's Brewery was highly recommended by Yen's boss so we headed there. The view was simply stunning! We ended up sitting there longer than we anticipated enjoying the atmosphere that we missed our plan to go for the tram ride. If I were to go back there, the tram ride will be in my next itinerary.


We then went back and were going to spend the rest of the evening sleeping when the farm's owner Pete bumped into us and encouraged us to visit the Big Brook Dam. Pushing aside any tiredness, we gamely got our snacks packed and headed off.

It was a beautiful serene place. We were the only ones there for about an hour taking in the setting sun, enjoying the breeze, gazing at the tall trees... I could have sat there for ages!

That's my mum-in-law at the bottom right in white.
I didn't want to leave!

The next day, we decided to head off early on the next part of our journey to Denmark as we had much more to cover. This will be covered in Part 2.

Family picture in front of our cottage.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Western Australia Family Holiday

Every time we go to Perth, KS and I try to plan to do something different each time. Since the last trip we took a tour up north, this time, we decided to explore the southern parts of Western Australia together with KS parents and sister, Yen.

Our trip started from Perth to Busselton, to Augusta to Pemberton on the first day. Thereafter, we covered Pemberton to Walpole to Denmark before we explored Albany for a day. I'll do separate posts for this trip otherwise this post will take forever!

This post is to just jot down what we did in Perth. Since Yen lives there and warmly welcomes us to stay whenever we're there, we usually settle down pretty quickly and make ourselves right at home, allowing us the taste of living in Perth. Thanks Yen!

This time, there was a new housemate. Say hello to Ah Ngiau! She was shy for the first few days but warmed up to us pretty quickly.



We went to restaurants with a vast variety of cuisines, Italian, Mexican, Northern Indian, Malaysian (when we started to miss our food!), fish and chips... I only took food photos on the first part of my trip before we went on our roadtrip so here's a sampling:

First order of the day, chilli mussels! Yum! These were really good!
Tiramisu
Port ribs for brunch
Pork belly also part of brunch
Fresh oysters for my birthday dinner. I discovered on this night that I really enjoy fresh oysters with mustard. Drool...
My birthday fish and chips! The serving was huge so I'm sad to say I couldn't finish my meal.
My birthday cake was a lovely chocolate passion fruit mousse cake from Utopia, which actually serves bubble tea.  I loved it!

The two big purchases of my trip went like this:

Purchase #1:
Every time we come to Perth, we always end up going to Harbour Town, which is where the factory outlet shops are located. I really wasn't expecting to buy anything since we normally look for sport shoes here so we set about an hour to meet up with my in-laws as we went shopping separately.

Then, I saw a Levi's store and decided to just check it out (I succumbed to the 4 letter word - SALE!). They stocked the type of cut I purchased a couple of years ago for RM250. Their price? AUD49 which works out to be about RM150. Cheaper than what I'd be able to buy back home! 

I went to make my payment after much selecting and to my delight, there was a further 50% discount off the price! I looked at KS and told him I needed more than the one hour to shop. What a bargain! So happy!

Purchase #2:
We went to a morning car park second hand market just to check it out. Walking around, I suddenly spotted this ergonomic chair I've been looking for for years! The price tag on it was a little vague as I read it as $40 while KS read it as $70. After much testing and deliberating (How do I ship it back to Malaysia? How much would I be willing to pay for this?), I finally asked the owner what the price really was, $40 or $70?

Her answer? "That's $10". My $10 was out before the next breath.

So, here's the chair and here's the box I engineered to check in:

My friend laughed at me for being so not practical for once. The sad part is, after using it for a long period of time like over an hour, my shins hurt and I do not sit straight like I'm supposed to on it. Oh well! It will force me not to sit too long in front of the computer! LOL!

All in all, I had a great time and was already planning/wishing that I'll be back next year!

The rest of my trip can be found here and here and KS post here.

Saturday, November 03, 2012

Tonsillitis

A few years ago, when I was hospitalized for prolonged fever, the ENT specialist examined my throat and said he saw scars on my tonsils. He recommended me removing them since I've had infections before and I didn't think too much of it.

(I'd insert a picture of infected tonsils here but I guess you could Google it on your own if you'd like to see the interesting patterns it makes on the tonsils.)

Now that I'm having yet another severe sore throat this year with tonsillitis (my third, but I really haven't been counting), I'm doing some quick Googling on it and find that apparently tonsils are only supposed to be the first line of defence from infections below the age of three.

So, in my own layman understanding, tonsils are like... appendix? A part of my body that isn't of any use?

It's also one of the most common surgeries done in USA. I'm tempted to explore this but I'm not completely convinced:
1. I really don't need my tonsils for the rest of my life
2. Will this mean I will stop having my blood-in-my-spit sore throats after that?

Hmm...

Friday, November 02, 2012

5 Loaves & 2 Fish

Just thought of jotting this down while it's still speaking to me. This post, of course, is in reference to when Jesus fed the 5,000. Had I been the one with five loaves and two fish, I would have kept quiet. How can my small quantity feed the thousands?

I don't think it's appropriate for me to share just yet about the project I've been urged to volunteer for. The pastor urging me quoted the loaves and fish and I thought of my reaction above.

Less than an hour later, Sidney Mohede, my church's guest speaker last weekend gave his sermon at church, his message hit me squarely:

Thank God for everything He has given - even before the miracle happens!

Sidney ALSO mentioned about the two fish and five loaves, how Jesus thanked God before breaking the bread and fish into pieces to be shared around. Interesting. Always had the habit of "God, show me the miracle first, only then I thank you".

Here, I must say I've noticed I've been complaining quite a fair bit when there's always the other side of the coin to be thankful for. Trying to change my tweets and what I say to others now. Slowly but surely!

Ah. So I'm just gonna do it. Small fish or not, it's still fish. Gulp!