A mirthful time in Perth |Being Lost On Greatness


Wednesday, 26 June 2013

A mirthful time in Perth

Looking at the many recent Air Asia X promotions to Australia, I’m reminded of my maiden trip to the Land of the Kangaroos few years ago. The trip was made possible through a contest organized by Tourism Western Australia together with Air Asia X. I hope this blog entry will give those planning a visit to Perth some itinerary ideas :)

Approximately 3 years ago, my friend Murali and I participated in a contest organized by Tourism Western Australia named “The Amazing Taxi Ride”. Little did we know that come July 16th, we would be flying in style to Perth thanks to Mr. Azran, the CEO of Air Asia X. Even though we did not win the contest, Mr. Azran was generous enough to present the losing finalist with an all-paid flight ticket to Perth each!!….and the best part is that we can choose our own travel dates and itinerary ;)

In addition to that, he also offered to upgrade our seats to the premium seats if we could collect 100 “likes” for a Facebook status message….The offer was too good to resist and 2 days later, the flatbeds were ours…hahaha….
The easiest seat upgrade ever!

The flatbed was definitely the best thing that has happened to me in any flight!! (I must admit that although I travel a lot, it’s always in the economy class but THIS beats any economy class I’ve flown so far)
I know i look different! 3 years ago laaa....
Since the best things in life should be shared, I will try to compress the best 7 days of 2010 into a single blog entry for your reading pleasure ;) Here goes…..

16th July 2010 (Day 1)

Our flight was at 11.50pm but the excitement has already got to my head 11.50pm the night before…Even whist at work, all I could think about was the 5 hour 30 minutes flight to Perth…My sister and her husband drove me to the airport while Murali took the LCCT transit bus…Thanks to the Australian Customs strict policy, our luggage was waaaay below the allowed 15kg because all the food stuff had to be left behind L

Checking-in was a breeze. The premium seats also came with premium check-in counters. We were allowed to skip the queue and that gave us extra time to wonder into the duty free shops at the waiting area. Even while boarding the flight, we were given priority to board first together with fellow premium seat passengers. (Didn’t I say travel in style?)

Travel in style baby!
I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw our seats…it looked so spacious and comfortable just like a massage chair!! I wouldn’t have minded paying for these seats but I’m sure they get sold off pretty quick as there are only 12 premium seats on each flight…In addition to on-board meals; we were also given pillows and blankets…As I was excitedly tapping away on the seat buttons to lower it into sleeping position, an elderly lady smiled at me and said. “okay now…stop showing off!”…After that incident, I waited until all the lights were turned off and the curtains between the premium class and economy class were closed before I continued exploring my seat and dozing off to a comfortable 5 hours of sleep…ZZzzzzzzzz……

 17th July 2010 (Day 2)
First photo on Australian soil..outside the airport la :)
“Welcome to Perth!” was the first signboard to greet us at the airport. Oh yea, I forgot to mention that it is currently winter in Perth. Murali kept telling me that he could already feel the chill. (**although I still think that it was the air-conditioning) We collected our luggage and proceeded to the customs clearance counter. To our surprise an Australian Immigration officer “interviewed” us in Malay… This is how the conversation went:


Officer: Halo..Saya pegawai imigresen Australia. Boleh saya tengok passport awak?

Us      : *hands over passport*

Officer: Kamu faham apa yang saya cakap?

Us      : Ya kami faham.

Officer: Kenapa kamu datang ke Australia?

Us      : Kami bercuti untuk seminggu.

Officer: *hand back our passports* Ok. Terima kasih kerana berkerjasama.

It was kinda weird seeing a foreigner speaking fluent Malay and all throughout our conversation, he didn’t even smile! I guess he was only trained for a few sentences to see if the passenger were really from the country which they claim to be from…Thank God he didn’t make us sing the “Negaraku”…hahahah….

Since it was early in the morning, we decided to take a taxi to our backpacker’s hostel. The taxi driver, Mr Terry, was indeed a friendly chap. He gave us a mind full of insights to the city during our 20 minutes drive. We checked into our 16 dorm hostel but that was no easy feat as 14 of the tenants were fast asleep! We left our luggage, grabbed our jackets and headed for breakfast. The first meal we had in Perth was breakfast at Hungry Jacks. Hungry Jacks is the exclusive Australian master fast food franchisee of Burger King.
Here we comeeee~~
We found out that the price of food in Australia is similar to Malaysia. A typical fast food breakfast set costs around AUS 5 but the killer is the exchange rate…Our first meal easily cost us RM 15 each but nonetheless, it was a very filling breakfast.

After breakfast we walked around the town area to check out some tour packages. After reviewing much of the tour flyers, we decided to do some of the tours by our own as it would be way cheaper! We grabbed a map of Perth each and started our very own “Perth Walking Tour” by following the landmarks on the map. Although it was quite a walk, the cold weather and the excitement of being in a new country helped us finish the tour, albeit being 2 hours longer than the recommended time on the tour leaflet!! Among the attraction that we managed to cover during our first day walking tour were:
  • Parliament House
  • Perth Convention Exhibition Centre
  • His Majesty’s Theatre
  • No.44 King Street
  • State Library of Western Australia
  • Esplanade
  • London Court
  • Perth General Post Office
  • Perth Town Hall
  • Barrack Square
  • Swan Bell Tower
Our last destination brought us to the Barrack Jetty. While at the jetty, we noticed a few more tour operators and opted to pay them a visit. Our decision paid off as we managed to get a very good deal for a round trip Swan River Cruise inclusive of wine tasting, dolphin watching and also a free boat trip to Freemantle the following day. While waiting for the tour to commence, we packed our lunch and visited a few souvenir shops nearby.
Our accomodation for the trip
The cruise was worth every single cent. The crew was friendly and the commentary from the captain was excellent. He even allowed us to drive the boat! That is an experience we will never forget! J During the cruise, we made friends with a family from Ireland and little did we know that they would become the people we crossed path the most in Perth…Hahaha…


The journey ended at 4.30pm and it was already getting dark. Since we were tired from all the walking done during the day, we decided to take the free CAT bus from the jetty back to the main bus station which is across our lodge. The CAT bus is a free service provided by Transperth for commuting around Perth Town. The bus itself can’t be missed as it has a huge painting of a cat on its body ;)
The CAT bus
Some of the architecture found in Perth
More unique architecture
No...its NOT a real person!

The Swan Bell Tower in the background
Before the climb up Jacob's Ladder

In a park with Perth's skyline at the back
18th July 2010 (Day 3)

Today we are visiting Freemantle. Just a 20-minute drive or a 1 hr river cruise from Perth’s city centre, Freo, as it’s known by locals, is a vibrant port city you can’t miss. Situated at the mouth of the Swan River, the multi-cultural city has a charm of its own, setting it apart from the rest of Perth. Essential stops on the history trail include Western Australia’s earliest convict jail, the Roundhouse, Fremantle Prison and WA Maritime Museum.
Murali and I infront of the Freemantle Prison
It’s also a shopaholic’s heaven. The prices of souvenir were extremely cheap...For example; An Australian themed sweatshirt which cost AUS 40 in Perth town can be bought for only AUS 10!!! Needless to mention that we grabbed the opportunity to buy t-shirts, magnets, key chains and many other gifts for our friends and family back home. An important point to note is that the markets in Freemantle are only open on Friday, Saturday and Sunday of each week. We had to find out the hard way when we wanted to do some last minute shopping before boarding our flight on Thursday L

We also managed to check out the Freemantle Prison. Fremantle Prison is the first built environment in Western Australia to be placed on the World Heritage List. Since we were running out of time, (**we were only given around 5 hours) we skipped the WA Maritime Museum to make extra time for lunch.

Outside Freemantle Market
The seafood in Freemantle is also a must-try…Even before we left Malaysia, we had already heard about its famous fish and chips. We ordered the most “wholesome” meal on the menu and it came with 2 fish of the day, mussels, bowl of salad, chips, oysters and also an assortment of other seafood like calamari and prawns.  I must add that it’s surely famous for the right reasons!! J

Inside Freemantle Market
Me enjoying the seafood
My seafood order...Yeap...one person :)

Seagulls' helping us finish the leftovers

Our seafood restautant choice of the day...KAILIS'
19th July 2010 (Day 4)

Rottnest!!!! This is the island that I mentioned on my facebook status message. To the locals, it is known as ‘Rotto’. The island is about 19km from Fremantle, is ringed by secluded tropical beaches and bays. Swimming, snorkelling, fishing, surfing and diving are just some of the activities that are popular here. Cycling round the 11km-long, 4.5km-wide island is a real highlight. Oh yea, Rottnest is also a car-free island so the best method to get around the island is by bicycle.
Inside the Rottness Island Visitor Centre
We managed to get a package that included our ferry ride to the island as well as rented bicycles. The last time I ever rode a bicycle was during my university days and those were at least 3 years ago!
The bicycle, it's rider and the beautiful scenery!
The cove on the background
We started off our 22km ride from the island jetty. We stopped at each bay to admire the view and rest our tired legs before finally reaching the West End 2 hours later. The sight that greeted us at Cape Vlamingh was magnificent! It was also the point where two great oceans meet- The Indian Ocean and Southern Ocean. We were awe-struck as we stood speechless for a few minutes taking in the beautiful scenery.

The view was magnificient!

Caught "The King" in action. A native to the Rottness Island

Love the last paragraph on the description :)


A beautiful lake on the island

It was calming to hear the waves hit the shore from here ;)
Admiring how far i have cycled!
Many photographs later, we were back on our bicycles. We stopped by the Wadjemup Lighthouse (The highest point on Rottnest) before continuing our journey back to the jetty. Completed in 1849, the original 20-metre (66 ft) Wadjemup Lighthouse (also known as Rottnest Island Light Station) was Western Australia's first stone lighthouse[1][2] and was built to provide a safer sailing passage for ships to Fremantle Port and the Swan River Colony.We also managed to spot a few Quokkas on the island. I’m still not sure if they are overgrown rats or miniature kangaroos…hahaha…

Hello Mr. Quokkas

Me and the little kangaroo...or over grown rat? hmmm...
20th July 2010 (Day 5)

You might know what a double-decker bus is...but have you been
in a "limo bus"? :)
During our first 4 days, we were yet to see any native Australian wildlife other than the Quokkas. We found out that the Caversham Wildlife Park showcases many of Australia's unique native animals, including koalas, wallabies, possums, Tasmanian devils, and wombats and also provides visitors with the opportunity for a close-up encounter with some of the Australian icons! We decided to take a 40minute bus ride to the park instead of a packaged tour as the calculated cost is way cheaper. We also planned to visit the wineries, chocolate and coffee factories in the Swan Valley area.
At the entrance to the wild life park
 Upon reaching the park, we were greeted by the friendly rangers and given a map of the park. The entry fee included a farm show; meet the wombat and friends show and also feeding of the kangaroos. We planned our route so that we will be able to catch all the shows as well as keep the best part for last---feeding the kangaroos!

Me likey the symbols.

If im not mistaken, one of the flas is Australia while the other is Perth.
At the farm show, we had the exclusive experience of whip-cracking and milking a cow. In addition to that, we were also given a lesson on how sheepskin is sheared by the shearer. We also met a couple of llamas at the farm.

Old McDonald sheared a goat...eieioooo

Nearly done :)

Melvin Jones in action

First time milk-feeding a  baby sheep

Fresh milk!! Fresh Milk!!!
 Meet the wombat and friends is a show where we got to touch and take pictures with different types of parakeet, a blue-tongued lizard, a wombat and also a masked owl. After the show, we proceeded to the koalas’ enclosure. A young lady explained the behavior and eating habits of the koalas before allowing us to take a few up-close pictures with the creatures.
An Albino Kangaroo

Some of the birds in the park

The blue tongue gecko

The attraction of the park! Mr Wombat

Murali and I with the owl trainer

Kookabura..First time seeing one

The lazy furry animals

When you have food, any kangaroo is ur mate :)

Murali feeding the hungry kangaroo
Our final stop was the kangaroo park. There was countless number of kangaroo’s lazing around in the sun. We also managed to spot a few albino kangaroos. Kangaroo feed was provided as Murali and I took turns feeding the kangaroos and taking pictures.
Melvin and the chocolate factory! weeee~~

White, brown, black....Just name it!

The interior of the shop in the factory

After that, one of the park rangers offered to send us to our next destination – The Chocolate Factory. We gladly obliged as the factory is actually quite a distance away. To our surprise, the chocolate factory was more like a big chocolate shop. Yes, they did produce the chocolates there but visitors are not allowed to see how the chocolates are made. To compensate that, there were 3 big bowls of free chocolates for tasting. Me and Murali ended up buying a few of their specialties and a big bottle of chocolate milk before walking across the road to the Lancaster winery.
One of the family-run winery

Free testers...and included cheese as well!

A bunch of grapes at the vineyard

Love this shot..The cloud look lovely
At the winery we were given various types of wines and also 3 different types of cheese to try. We made sure we didn’t get intoxicated as we needed to walk to the railway station which is about 4 km’s away. I must add the wines were of exceptional quality as they are produced from vineyards belonging to families and they are not widely sold.

One of the landmarks we passed on the way to the station

Clouds doing their thing again :)
21st July 2010 (Day 6)

Today is a loooooong day. We booked a tour to Margaret River which starts at 8am and ends at 9.30pm at night. Margaret River is situated 300km away from Perth.

Our tour guide

Passing some green field on our journey

Murali's "on-air" shot!

Always wanted to take a pic like this :)
We had deliberated over many days if a tour is necessary for those backpackers like us but we assure you it was worth every Aussie dollars and cents. We had chosen Pinnacle Tours (one of the leading tour companies around and best packaged tour). Our first stop was the Busselton Jetty, (longest wooden jetty (pier) in the southern hemisphere). We even had the opportunity to see a dolphin so close to the shore! Next on our itinerary was Lavender Farm where everyday item such as soap, perfume, jam and even wine had a little bit of lavender smell and taste in it. We had finally arrived at Margaret River town around noon for a quick view and do look out and visit the Tourist Information Center! We had a quick bite before heading out to RedGate winery within Margaret Region for some wine tasting session. Heading further south of WA,   the Karri trees (native to the Southern region of WA). As part of the package, we had the opportunity to visit some Mammoth Cave (where fossile over 35,000 years have been found) along Caves Road. There are many caves along this road which are open to public. Our final look out was at Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse located at the Soutern tip of Australia where both the Indian Ocean and Southern Oceans meet. We headed back to Busselton Jetty for dinner and it was amazing to check out the sunset at the beach side. Throughout our 3 hour journey back to Perth town, it we had a good sleep as the ride was extremely comfortable.
we had the opportunity to drive by one of world’s largest hardwood trees,

Busselton Jetty behind me

One of the renowed wineries - Redgate

The "Red Bull"

Me with a product of the winery and its vines at the background

Our tour guide laying out lunch

Definately an wholesome meal!

Guess what greeted us at the entrance of Mammoth Cave? Malaysia Boleh baby!

Us before the cave tour.

Inside the Mammoth Cave
Inside the Mammoth Cave

The lighthouse at Cape Leeuwin

Sunset at the jetty....Mesmerizing!!

Sunset on the jetty
22nd July 2010 (Day 7)

All my bags are packed...Im ready to gooo.....
Albeit being the last day in Perth City (our flight was at 630am, 23rd July), we decided today is the day we go onto overdrive mode. We headed out early to King’s Park (world’s largest inner city park, bigger than New York Central Park) and explored the many memorial grounds and floating glass walkway before rushing over to Freemantle once again to grab some last minute souvenirs. Despite being told on the way, that most shops will only be opened on Friday, Saturday & Sunday, we were disappointed to find out no souvenirs shops were opened.  However, since we had time to kill, we checked out the maritime museum and we are glad we did as we had the opportunity to embark on a real submarine tour with many of the original engines, fittings and signage all in place. We had our late lunch at Little Creatures where beers served was brewed right in the middle of the shop (amazing sight indeed). We finally headed back to Perth city to get some chocolates / snacks to be brought home. It was really a sad feeling knowing we only had a couple more hours in this wonderful Perth city. We had our late night walk, hanged out with our hostel buddies before bidding adios and heading out to the airport.

On the floating glass walkway

Me introducing the Maritime Museum :)

Murali giving the thumbs up for our Submarine Tour

Yeapz...Live missiles!

Inside the submarine. All the equipments are well preserved.

A photo before moving to a lower level inside the sub.

This are the "rooms" for the people working in the sub..Very small!

The control room. Usually see these in movies :p

Enjoying the view while waiting for our exoctic meals :)

Little Creatures....Our last lunch in Perth.

Inside Little Creatures...See those big "beer brewers".

Freemantle Railway Station

Heading back home on the premium seats on Air Asia X!
Perth is an amazing city and worth exploring on foot. With so many things to see and do, we did feel tempted to stay on for another week. However, we had to take a reality check and with responsibilities to be completed back home, we touched down at KLIA with a heavy heart knowing Perth beckons with AirAsia’s affordable low fair and attractive packages !


  1. Wow you are so lucky Melvin . Thanks for sharing with us your wonderful trip . Is time for me to revisit . Kekekeke
    I haven't been to Margaret River yet . Love the sunset pic of yours . Awesome .

    1. Hie Jenny!! Thanks for my fren Murali for asking me to join the contest actually :) Yea...you should visit la..i find the attractions outside Perth worth the visit! :)

  2. awesome... dammm hehe i wish i get it as welll
    by the way only 3 years its such a BIG diff from than n now =p

    1. Biasalah bro...i evolve very fast! Next year will look different again...hahaha! :)