I made my way to my home for the next 3 nights, The Witches Hat hostel [or budget hotel] – a small but nice place with just 40 beds. It’s in Northbridge, a suburb of Perth where the nightlife is good, or so they say. But it’s a good 20-minute walk to the edge of the city – lugging my bags there was NOT fun at all. Upon arriving, I had to wait a few minutes for the manager to finish booking a tour for someone else. Oddly enough, this person happened to be my roommate in a 3-bed dormroom, booking the same tour that I was about to embark on but starting a week later. And the hostel manager was a former guide for this tour, so he showed me photos from past trips and assured me that it would be an incredible experience. Hopper’s really friendly and helpful, and he runs a really great hostel, as I came to see over these 3 days.
For most of my time in Perth, it was unusually cloudy with occasional rain. Perth is supposed to be ridiculously sunny all the time! Figures. So therefore, I scrapped my plans to see the beaches, which is quite unfortunate. Instead I was a complete bum and spent 3 days walking up and down the same streets, overdosing on cappuccinos and browsing shops. The actual city is pretty small, so I saw most of it in one afternoon. It got a bit boring, but I enjoyed my downtime anyway. Perth has a lot of tall, cool-looking bank buildings that I kept staring up at while frolicking through the CBD amidst heaps of well-dressed business people on their lunch breaks. CBD was fast-paced compared to the rest of Perth.
And Perth is clean! So clean. It was rather nice to stroll down the streets and not be bothered by trash, graffiti, and other eyesores all around.
On each day, I somehow ended up at Swans Bells, a cool-looking structure and evidently the world’s tallest instrument. You can go inside and play the bells. I didn’t because I’m lazy. The Swan River runs behind on one side, and on the other side is the city skyline. Very pretty, even if it was really cloudy all the time.
I spent my evenings at the hostel, reading, trip planning, writing, and watching tv. I actually bought food like cereal and soup and stored it in my designated cubby in the hostel kitchen just because I was there for 3 days and wouldn’t have to carry the leftovers with me afterwards… not to mention it’s better than dropping $10/meal eating out. I really liked the hostel because it felt so homey. There were always people around, but not too many. The building itself felt like a house and had nice furnishings. The living room was cozy and had couches, tables, and a tv. It’s really pointless to try to explain its homeiness without you seeing it… but basically it didn’t feel like a hostel at all, but more like a travellers house.
My roommate was Sam, a guy from England who had just arrived in Australia and would likely remain for a year or so. I think he was a couple years older than me, but he was really cool. We spent 2 nights talking for a few hours, about our lives and the tour we were each about to take… he was one of those rare few who I felt super comfortable around right away, very chill and really nice. We really didn’t hang out much outside of our room because I’m lame and I wanted to see the city before I left, but ended up chugging coffees all day long instead… which meant I could have and should have hung out more at the hostel. But alas. Sam was cool, and I regret not exchanging email addresses with him.
Another thing I really wanted to do in Perth was check out King’s Park, which happens to be on a hill overlooking the city. The road leading into the park was lined with very tall, majestic-looking trees. Very park-esque. The view of the skyline was fabulous, with the city on the water, and then South Perth on the other side of the river. I found it interesting that after sunset, the park suddenly became populated with people frantically doing crunches. It was really strange. Running after sunset at least makes a little more sense… but crunches? You could do those in your bedroom, or at any other time of day. So weird!
King’s Park is massive, so I came back another day from the back end and walked up to the main part, which took awhile. Rather than a colorful botanical garden, there were a few green plants and lots of brown. Apparently 60-degree winters do not provide sufficient warmth for plant-growing. I heard the gardens are gorgeous when in bloom, so it’s too bad I couldn’t witness this myself.
On my last day, I walked all the way to the suburb of Subiaco. It was far. The walk was not very aesthetically pleasing. I found the main street with all the shops on it, supposedly the place to get trendy clothing and such. But it was all expensive, and there were other non-boutique cheapo normal stores too so it was nothing special. I didn’t even feel like browsing the shops. Not sure why I felt so lame my entire time in Perth, but it’s not like me to be in a new place and not feel compelled to look around thoroughly. But I did have a cappuccino at least. Well, several, during these 3 days.
Other “highlights” include checking out the Perth Mint, where they process the gold found in Western Australia and make it into stuff. You had to pay for a tour so I didn’t bother with that. Far more exciting was the pancake dinner I had one night. It was glorious. I love pancakes.
And that’s it. Perth is nice. Perth is clean. But Perth is much better when the sun’s shining. And it’s kind of boring.