Just a three-hour plane ride south of Bali lies Perth, Australia, where almost 2 million people live in mostly suburban housing surrounded by a dry desert-like landscape that reminds me a lot of Salt Lake City where I grew up, except with beaches instead of mountains.
We needed a quick visa run this time, and chose to visit some friends in Perth, who we met when they first came to Bali almost two years ago. The Benders were the most amazing and generous hosts, and we had a great time hanging out with them and visiting the sites of Perth together. We also met up with our friends The Palmers, who we first met in Penang, Malaysia almost 3 years ago. We’ve met up with these friends several times throughout the years, and we so much enjoyed connecting with them again here in their home town.
The Benders even offered to watch the kids for us one night so Jen and I could have a date. We had some of most delicious Thai food ever, then enjoyed a night view of the city from King’s Park. Doesn’t Jen look radiant?
The town of Perth recently went through a mining boom, so most of the city is new, clean, and well laid out with wide roads and many roundabouts. Along with this boom also came very high prices, however. Perth is one of the most expensive cities in the world, where even a fast food meal might cost you around $10/plate, and dining out at a normal class restaurant could easily mean $25-45 plates. Even a kid-sized ice cream cone can cost over $5. Coming from meals where we could feed our family at a nice restaurant for $20 total ($2-8/plate), we did experience some sticker shock. So we had a few meals at home, and got to try Josh’s amazing chocolate mousse!
The kids enjoyed staying in a house in the suburbs and visiting pristine parks and elaborate playgrounds that are strangely lacking in Bali.
One evening, the Benders took us to an outdoor movie theater where we had a picnic and sat on bean bag chairs watching Mary Poppins! This was a fun new experience for us. We’d also recently seen Saving Mr. Banks, and found the show even more interesting because of it.
Another day, we drove around to some farms to sample fresh strawberries, honey, chocolate, and all sorts of sauces. Delicious!
Then we visited a nature park and learned the difference between a kangaroo, a wallaby, a wombat, and a dingo, and got to interact directly with dozens of kangaroos.
And of course we visited the koalas.
Jen and Erin got their hair cut one day.
And we spent some time at the beach, which has some of the softest white sand I’ve ever felt. The water was blue and clear, but quite cold.
Our time in Perth was short (just four days), but we fit a lot in and had a great time with our friends, whom we hope to see again soon. Our next trip will be in June, where we’ll visit the USA for a road trip up the California coast to Canada, visiting several other friends and family along the way.