Friday, August 30, 2019

Australia: Cycling In Perth Day 4 - Of Wildlife & Shopping!

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 Australia: Cycling Perth Day 4 - Of Wildlife & Shopping!
Perth, Australia Day 4: Tuesday, 6th August 2019
Duo Multi-mode Cycling Tour of Perth & Margaret RiverAustralia and the vicinity in Western Australia:

Non-cycling Day, it was a road-trip
Cycling Distance: N/A              |               Level: N/A 
Time : 11:00 am to 6:50 pm
Time Taken : 7 hrs. 50min (including stops to visit wildlife park, direct-factory outlet, re-orientation, lunch and lots of photo opps).

This is page 3 of a 7-page blog, Click Here To Go To Title Page.
Go to D3 Busselton          |         Go to Other Days       |       Go to D5 Swan River >

Route Recommendations:

1. Traffic Directions!
    Traffic in Australia is right-hand drive, so cycle on the left. Same thing applies when crossing the road, take note of the direction in which traffic is approaching from!
    Driving courtesy is very important in the country. So do not hog the road, stay within your lane and put on your indicators when turning or changing lanes, and give way at city-centre junctions to pedestrians and other slower traffic even if there's not pedestrian crossing.

2. Route & Traffic Conditions  
   Australia has fairly well developed cycling routes that run in the cities, town, villages, and country side. Some of the cycling trails are on dedicated cycling lanes, some on shared lanes with pedestrians or other traffic. Some are on paved tracks while others are on gravel or earth trails, and they go through fairly busy towns, green forests and bright blue lakeside.
    The Bicycle Network website provides cycling guides & maps for the various states & territories. The Road Rules & Laws Section gives the relevant laws and rules for cycling in the states & territories. DO NOTE that for the present wearing helmets is compulsory when cycling there. The following are some laws on cycling in Western Australia; covering wearing helmets & cycling safetycycling on shared roads & foot pathssafe passing distance, and safe bicycles for the state.
    The most important things to note are the compulsory wearing of approved helmets, no cycling at free ways & pedestrian malls, and riding single file on footpaths.
    Non-cycling day, so no cycling route advice for the day.

3. Places of Interest
We drove around Perth to visit several places such as (some of the places we just passed by, but is worth a visit, time permitting) :
Caversham Wildlife Park (GPS: -31.83385, 115.95045) in Whiteman Park.
- Motor Museum of Western Australia (GPS: -31.83581, 115.94846) in Whiteman Park.
Perth Direct Factory Outlet (GPS: -31.9384, 115.94855).
Coles Raine Square (GPS: -31.95138, 115.85734).

4. Food
a. Breakfast: Self cooked at apartment.
b. Lunch:  Pre-packed sandwiches.
c. Dinner: Self cooked at apartment.

5. Accommodations
    Our stay at Perth was at Durham House (GPS: -31.95255, 115.8544), a studio (king-bed) apartment with kitchen and laundry facilities at AUD952 for six nights inclusive of cleaning and guest fees.
Address: 12/838 Hay St, Perth WA 6000, Australia.
Phone: +61-481188875
Booking was made through GoLocca Homes.

6. Weather
    Morning temperatures at Perth averaged 13°C, afternoon was at 15°C, and evening temperatures averaged 12°C. It was a overcast day but without rain.
    A useful weather forecast site for the Australia is the AccuWeather. For more detailed weather, including cloud cover and wind speed, use Weatherspark and Ventusky.
7. Renting Cars In Perth
    As the region around Perth is quite large, we rented a car to get to the outlying towns such as Margaret RiverBusseltonBunbury, etc. Several car rental websites can be used to compare the prices of different cars from different car rental companies. We opted for
    A few points to note when renting cars:
   1. Try to rent the cars at least two weeks prior to the rental date. The rates for renting cars one week prior can be higher by as much as 30% more.
   2. A deposit ranging from AUD200 to AUD4,000 may be charged to one's card on picking up the car, this will be debited back once the car is returned safely. So be sure that your credit card limit & balance can cover this deposit.
   3. One may pick up the car from the airport and opt to drop it off at the city; this can be done on line for an additional fee (about AUD25 to AUD30). If this can't be done on line, then check with the counter clerk when picking up the car.
   4. Insurance excess. One can opt to buy additional insurance to reduce the excess.
   5. Additional driver. For longer drive, it will be good to have an additional driver; rates for this is on a per day basis. Do note that for some company, the spouse is automatically included as an additional driver.
   6. Petrol prices vary from day to day, but try to avoid pumping on Monday as it's the highest then. Useful petrol price checker/comparison apps are PetrolSpy and MotorMouth.
   7. We parked our car at the nearby City of Perth Public Carpark, entry is via 377 Murray Street and exit via 844-848 Murray Street. Parking Charges as follows:
       Hourly charges: AUD4-50
       Maximum Weekday Day charges (6:00am to 5:59pm): AUD21-00
       Maximum Weekend Day charges (6:00am to 5:59pm): AUD12-00
       Maximum Overnight charges (6:00pm to 5:59am): AUD11-00. 

8. Communicating with Each Other
    When travelling in a group it's important to be able to communicate with each other, especially if one got lost from the rest.
    We purchased Hello 1010 simcards online and got the 15-days/6GB prepaid simcards for Australia & New Zealand at MYR59 each. These were delivered within 3-5 working days but MUST ONLY be activated in Australia.
    Alternatively, one can purchase the OPTUS pre-paid simcards at the Perth International Arrival Hall.

9. Communicating with Locals
    Most locals speaks very good English and communicating with them should not be a problem.

10. Navigation
    We used Google Maps in Cycling Mode for navigation but there is a lag when starting off, so one would have to cycle a bit to get the orientation right. Google Maps is also useful as it shows various places of interests that were not shown on GPS units.
    Alternatively, download the MAPS.ME app together with the relevant country maps. This app can be used offline.
11. Service Your Bicycles & Carry Tools and Spares
    Before leaving on your tour, it will be good to service your bike and bring along some spares like tubes, puncture patches, brake pads and the relevant tools.

The previous day, after some good time at Margaret River & Prevelly, we had taken a road trip - actually a slow drive - back to Perth. It was along the coastal route that passed by several towns, where we stopped at some of these towns - to take a train ride along a jetty, cycled at a shore front, went marketing at a farmers' market and visited a beutiful marina at dusk. It was a long and satisfactory day, and by the time we reached Perth it was night time!
Since today is our last day with the rented car, our original plan was to drive up to Crevantes to have a good lobster lunch and then visit the Pinnacles for its unique surrealistic, Mars-like scenery. But it would mean a 430 km. round trip (The distance from Kuala Lumpur to Alor Setar). The previous day we had just drove close to 300km from Margaret River. Tired, we decided to scrap our plans for another long drive and instead go visit a wild-life park and then do some shopping at a direct factory outlet.

Drive Route: Perth>Caversham Wildlife Park>Perth Direct Factory Outlet>Coles Raine Square>Perth.
 It's an easy day of driving to nearby attractions near Perth; to a wildlife park and then going shopping.

We would had liked to sleep in longer on this wonderful cool morning. But it's time to get out and go explore Perth a bit. We decided to scrap our original plans for a long drive to the Pinnacles and instead will go visiting some other places nearer to the city.
We had arrive in town late yesterday evening, too dark to really notice where we were, but now as we drove out, we noticed this area of Hay Street is actually located in the heritage centre of old Perth. Many of the old buildings have been restored, some like the above looked like it came out from Perth dusty mining, cowboy past.

But just further out, the city has developed into a modern metropolis with new architecture like this jagged RAC Arena.

We are headed for the Caversham Wildlife Park, located just 30+ km. and less than an hours drive away. One can't really get lost here, direction signs are clear and as one nears the place signboard like the above announced that we were near. I have seen many unique signboards of animal crossing, kangaroo crossing signs were quite common. But signboard of caribous & Bobtail lizards crossing, now that's something else.

Caversham Wildlife Park (CWP) is quite a large park covering more than 20 acres, and it is recommended to spend at least three hours there. To help readers orientate, above is a plan of the park, click on the photo for an enlarge view; click here for a web view copy.
Caversham was founded by David & Pat as a modest 5-acre park originally located at Caversham, hence its name. It has now relocated to be within the larger Whiteman Park.

Entry price to the park is AUD30 per pax, and it's a price worth paying as there are more than 2,000 animals here covering at least 200 species of mostly Australian animals. On top of that they have sections where visitors can feed kangaroos, pet animals (like koalas, wombats, etc.). There's even a penguin show, and farm section where show one can view how sheep are herded and their wools sheared, etc.

Other than the animals, keep an eye out for unique local flora like the above "fern" which formed an unique arch. Don't ask me what's the name... my knowledge of flora isn't that good. But somewhere, there must be a tag.

The first section we visited was the aviary, displaying many of the local bird species. The above are Rainbow Lorikeets. I had always thought parrots lived int the trees, but this couple surprised me, they burrowed a hole into the soft ground just like rabbits. Perhaps that's where they mate.

This one is a Southern Cassowary, it's a flightless bird like it's cousin the much larger emu. What makes it attractive is its blue head with a large bony crest/crown, perhaps a throw back to birds linkage to the dinosaurs.

And of course, one must not miss the emu, Australia's national bird. Also a flightless bird, it stands up to almost two metres tall, and is the second largest bird in the world after the ostrich.

This fluffy little fellow is a Laughing Kookaburra.
I had always thought kookaburras were parrots (probably from our younger days of singing the Burong Kaka Tua, which I thought were about kookaburras but were actually about cockatoos. Click the following for the Kookaburra Song). But no, they of the kingfisher family - so the last laugh is on me... I can hear this fellow laughing Hahaha...
(Click here to listen to the kookaburra laugh, they do sound like laughing monkeys)

This is another strange fellow, its a Barking Owl. It does make sounds like a barking dog. It's also known as a Winking Owl - amorous fellow barking and winking to get the gals, perhaps I shall try that too!

Then they are the more regular birds, like this pelican. I had always thought they were clumsy ones, but when the swim they do look elegant..... almost like swans.
Somewhere nearby were the golden pheasants with there nice plume tails; these were quite active in their cages and I could not get a good photo of them. Golden pheasant originated from the forests of western China but now have spread to other parts of the world.

But I did "catch" this peacock which seemed to be freely roaming around the park. They are not native to Australia and originated from the Indian subcontinent and Southeast Asia; the one African species is the Congo peafowl, native only to the Congo Basin.

It's time to say goodbye to the birds and head to feed the kangaroos in a large open pen. 
The pen is quite a large area and within it were many kangaroos, some with joeys (baby kangaroos) in their pouches. I was also surprised to see white kangaroos, These white kangaroos a quite hard to find in the wild, but here there are a few of them.

Do note that one should not feed the kangaroos with food that one brings in (as these may not be suitable for them). At a corner are food pellets which are made from suitable leaves, use these to feed the roos.

There are even more kangaroos in the walk-through area and many can be seen hopping from one section to another. Yes, they are free to roam around and do whatever they feel like doing.....

..... including this. Wonder what it's doing, probably catching fleas?
In another smaller pen were the notorious Australian wild dogs, the dingoes. But those put in captivity here don't seem so wild and most were lieing down, dozing away.
(..... see more of Caversham's marsupials, mammals and reptiles)

It's time to go to the Farm Show, where we will see some sheep herding and sheep shearing; here I am standing next to a cowgirl. The cowboys and cowgirls doe not herd the sheep; on their horses they will shout instructions to their sheep dogs or herding dogs. In Australia the breed of dogs used is the Australian Shepherd, which is simply called an Aussie.

And out came their herding dogs, this one is a large red one, it's eyes already trained at the sheep outside in the lawn. With instructions from the cowgirl it agilely herded the sheep from the lawn into the pen where they will await shearing.

From the pen, the cowboy pull a sheep in by it's forelegs. It's the end of winter now, and the sheep's fleece is at it's thickest, the best time for shearing. Most sheep are shorn once a year; but there are some breeds, like the Cotswolds, Icelandics and Lincolns,  have wool that can grow up to an inch per month, and these can be shorn twice a year.

A skillful shearer can shear up to 200 sheep in a day. All this his hard work, and with a lot of bending over takes a toll on the back, and shearers use a sling to help support themselves to avoid back problems.

And this is the fleece from ONE sheep! Large and beautiful, it needs to be cleaned, graded and prepared for the market. Around the large fleece are tufts of loose wool. The large fleece will be used for making coats and sometimes rugs, while the loose wool will be used for making shoe inlays, socks or for weaving. Australia is the largest producer of wool, and their merino wool is well prized. Read here for the different types of wool sheep.
Part of this show include whip cracking and milking cows.

Next to the Farm Show arena is the petting section. In enclosures can be seen Alpacas, these cute animals are native to and are related to the larger llama (there's one here too, called Snowy), they are friendly enough to be petted on the head.

Further in were separate petting sections, this one is for Koala petting. The animals are fairly tame but still sensitive to human touch, so do listen to the trainers instructions on where to pet the animals. There were wombats to be petted here too (see topmost photo).

Next door is Molly's Farm, inside is a large pen where one can play with cow calves and goats. Do be careful though, the goats can get rather playful and nibbly.

Other animals that can be seen here were Possums, shy animals but those here did not play possum.

A Splendid Tree Frog, this one is a smaller one but it could climb the branch easily... and could even climb up the glass wall of the enclosure.

A mysterious looking owl.....

..... and a fierce looking kingfisher! Why so angry? Didn't catch any fish?

3:30pm - After a eye-opening visit to the wildlife park we drove away and noticed this full-sized car up on top a uni-pole indicating the direction to the Motor Museum. Would love to visit but the lady has a more important destination.....

..... shopping at the Perth Direct Factory OutletWe did find some good bargains here.
Back in town we went to Coles Raine Square to buy chocolates for friends back home; this was a mistake as this outlet was a small one (more like a supermarket and not a large hypermarket), with limited range of goods which were priced slightly higher. The interesting thing here was that one has to check out one's purchases by oneself, beep it into the bar code scanner, put it into the basket... and repeat. Sound easy, well for first-timers like us it wasn't!


(For more photos of the Day, Click Here)
This is page 3 of a 7-page blog, Click Here To Go To Title Page.

Go to D3 Busselton          |        Go to Other Days       |       Go to D5 Swan River > 

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