Perth: Our Entry into Australia

Mark Stewart Cities 4 Comments

Looking at the bill, we were stunned. $25 for only a handful of groceries! While it was something we had anticipated, it still took some time to get used to. The often laughably cheap prices we’d become so used to over the past nearly half-year in Southeast Asia were no more. The time had come for our journey to continue, to the second round of this epic adventure. Flipping through yet another new currency, we laughed as Men At Work’s “Land Down Under” played over the store’s radio. A more than appropriate welcome to our arrival in Perth, Western Australia.

Distracted from our money woes by the beautiful downtown Perth, we spend the first several days just wandering the streets and just getting used to our new surroundings. One of our favourite parts about the city is that there doesn’t seem to be any significant location where the city centre begins. Each time we ventured downtown, we would suddenly just find ourselves in the middle of it. It just doesn’t have that big, loud, busy downtown vibe that many big cities have. It was wonderful!

Perth Cafe

Beautiful Street in Perth

Although we had enjoyed the free and easy life during our time in Asia, that train had ended. Southeast Asia might be one of the best budget destinations on earth, but upon our arrival in Perth, it soon became clear we’d need to earn an income. Several of our early days were spent organizing ourselves in a way that we hadn’t in some time. First it was buying a phone to contact employers, then a bank account so we could actually get paid. Of course, with earning an income the government wants their cut, so finally it was getting our tax numbers set up.

Upon finally landing our first job, we celebrate with a little goon (boxed wine), because we’re classy like that. With the job itself requiring us to supply our own sleeping arrangements, we track down a few bits of used camping gear to get us along at the beginning. It isn’t much, and the quality is questionable at best, but it should keep the spiders and snakes at bay.

Wine Tasting

Wine Tasting north of Perth

Before we head south to our new job, we spend our final day just north of Perth. Renting a couple of old, crusty bicycles, we head out of the city into the nearby wine region for some tastings. Hitting about six wineries during that first afternoon, memories flood back from our time living in the Okanagan back in Canada. It had been so long since we’d tasted proper wine, we had forgotten how much we enjoy it. It suddenly occurred to us that on our journey from Perth to Sydney, we’d passing through some of the greatest wine regions in Australia. Excitedly – and a little drunk – we rode home to begin packing.

Early the next morning after catching the 7 am bus towards Bunbury, we disembark at a vaguely marked crossroad. Standing there on the side of the highway in the hot morning sun, we wait patiently for our new employer to pick us up and bring us to our temporary new home.

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Kathryn
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I am Australian and I haven’t even been to Perth! Sounds like a fantastic trip! What did you do for work over there?

Nathan
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I’m actually planning to visit Australia soon, so this is quite a timely post for me. Yup, everything seems to be really costly down under! Nice to see you guys visiting the vinyards and enjoying those glasses of wine which look fabulous.