Friday, August 23, 2019

Australia: Cycling In Perth Day 3 - Coastal Route From Margaret River To Perth

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 Australia: Cycling Perth Day 3 - Coastal Route From Margaret River To Perth
Perth, Australia Day 3: Monday, 5th August 2019
Duo Multi-mode Cycling Tour of Perth & Margaret RiverAustralia and the vicinity in Western Australia, today's route covers the road trip from Margaret River to Perth, & cycling at Busselton:

Day 3 Cycling At Busselton:
Cycling Distance: 5.68 km.              |               Level: Easy
Time : 1:00 pm to 2:10 pm
Time Taken : 3 hrs. (including stops for breakfast, visiting parks, and viewpoints, re-orientationand lots of photo opps).

This is page 2 of a 7-page blog, Click Here To Go To Title Page.
Go to D1&2 Perth           |            Go to Other Days       |       Go to D4 Caversham >

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.
    There's a good network of cycling paths radiating from the Busselton Jetty towards both sides of the jetty. Facing the jetty, the paths on the right would lead to the forest views, while those on the left will lead to the coastal views. These paths a very flat. Heading inwards to and beyond the town will be long stretches of ponds.

3. Places of Interest
We drove from Margaret River to Perth; enroute we stopped at BusseltonBunbury & Mandurah. Along our drive & cycle routes were several places of interests, some of which we visited and others we did not for lack of time:
- Busselton Jetty (GPS: -33.64392, 115.34461), at 1.841 kilometres long, it's the 2nd longest timber jetty in the world.
- Train ride on the Busselton Jetty. Click here for admission prices for day passes, observatory tours, etc..
- Busselton Underwater Observatory (GPS: -33.63003, 115.33857) entry tickets including return train ride, observatory guided tour and jetty day pass was AUD34 per adult. Without the guided tour the entry tickets was AUD14 per adult. Discounts are available for children and seniors (above 65 years)
- Blue Houses (GPS: -33.64392, 115.34461) on the Busselton Jetty.
- Busselton-Dunsborough Bike & Walk Path running at along the Busselton Shorefront coastline of Geographe Bay.
- Bunbury Farmers Market (GPS: -33.33649, 115.68039).
The Crooked Carrot (GPS: -33.09454, 115.72873at Myalup.
The Big Orange Tower (GPS: -33.06263, 115.89209) at Harvey.
Yalgorup National Park (GPS: -32.89779, 115.69022).
- Mandurah Marina (GPS: -32.52804, 115.71797).
- Mandurah Marina Art Trail (GPS: -32.52804, 115.71797).
- Mandurah Boardwalk (GPS: -32.52788, 115.71943).

4. Food
a. Breakfast: Prosciutto, cheese, and tomato Toastie; and salmon, cream cheese, sprouts, Bagels, with cappuccino at White Elephant (GPS: -33.99064, 114.99118) in Prevelly.
b. Lunch: Lamb pie, Beef mushroom pie, and potato salad with ginger ale at Bunbury Farmers Market (GPS: -33.33649, 115.68039).
c. Late Tea : Simmos ice-cream (GPS: -32.52815, 115.72000) at Simmo's Ice Creamery Mandurah.
d. Dinner: Fish n Chips at Cicerello's (GPS: -32.5287, 115.72033) in Cicerello's Mandurah.

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 Margaret River averaged 13°C with intermittent showers under dark skies. Noon temperatures at Busselton averaged 15°C with bright blue skies. Perth evening temperatures was 12°C.
     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.

19. 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.

A couple of days earlier we had arrived in Perth and had taken a road trip along the highway down to Margaret River. This was followed by a nice bike ride the following day which took us onto along the Gnarabup/Prevelly Beach running next to a dark blue sea beautifully broken by crashing white surf breakers.
Today we head back to Perth, but this time at a more leisurely pace along the coastal road that will take us pass several interesting coastal towns, each with their distinct attractiveness. Let's see what the towns have to show!

Cycling Route: 
Busselton Jetty>Ford Road>Willmott Park (Geographe)>High Street>Busselton Jetty.
(Zoom out to see the Busselton Underwater Observatory and other places of interest enroute from Margaret River to Perth)
A short route along the Busselton Shorefront which goes from the Busselton Jetty along the Forest Path to the residential area of Geographe and then looping back to ride along the Coastal Path leading from the jetty to High Street.
Cycling Distance: 5.68 km.              |               Level: Easy

Weather prediction can be a tricky thing; today's prediction one of a good weather of with sunny day. It had rained the whole of the previous night and we thought the prediction would be "choon!!" (that's Hokkien for accurate). But no.... the rain continued on, coming in intermittent spurts of a light shower to a pecking drizzle.
By the time we managed to check out it was nine - an hour and a half later than we planned. No point fussing, we drove down to the White Elephant for breakfast (Again? What can we say, we LUV the place). This time round we decided to sit indoors; after the blistering rain it was a chilly morning with an even chillier wind blowing outside.
We had a Prosciutto, Cheese Toastie and a Salmon, Cream Cheese Bagel together with coffee. They do have Lactose Free fresh milk for poor people like me who are lactose intolerant. It does work, but not perfectly for me, my tummy still get butterflies, but at least it did not go spinning like a washing machine!

With the coming of the rain, the birds went into hiding and outside was rather quiet. So it's time to admire the inside. On the walls of the White Elephantt were interesting artwork made from recycled material. This one is a deep sea fish made from old forks, a wine bottle opener, wires and discarded wood. It's chasing a poor little fish made from an old key!
It's a piece by Karen Lee Sibly and appropriately titled "It takes courage to swim alone! ...". More of her artwork can be seen at The Store @ gnarabup.

The previous two days, we did not have a proper look at Margaret River town. This time we took a slow drive as we passed the down. It's a nice town with several noticeable old unique buildings. The place seems rather serene... perhaps it's because of the rain today.

10:35 - An hour and 60 kilometers later we arrived at the Busselton Jetty; after using their rest rooms and perusing their ticket prices; we decided to go for the whole works that include a jetty day pass, a jetty train ride and a 45-minutes guided tour of the underwater observatory. Many of the jetties around here have this blue sheds, the ones here were a bit different as they were functional as a ticketing office, and a souvenir shop too. It's from here, at the Roy Morris Platform, that we took a train out to the underwater observatory.

It's a slow twenty minutes jetty train ride and we disembark at the Bovell Platform, almost at the other end of the jetty. At 1,841 metres long, the Busselton Jetty is the second longest timber jetty in the world. The longest timber jetty being the Southend Pier, which stretches 2,160 metres all the way from Southend-on-Sea into the Thames Estuary in Great Britain.

Here we gathered for the guided tour down intow the Busselton Underwater Observatory. Opened in December 2003, located 1.8 km from shore – almost at the end of the Busselton Jetty - it descends 8 metres below the sea. Wide stairs lead down from the jetty level down to three levels of underwater viewing platforms, each platform almost 3 metres high. It can accommodate up to 40 people at a time in its 9.5 m diameter observation chamber where visitors can view the corals and fish life through eleven viewing windows...... without even getting wet!

At the top-most level, one sees the waterline between the sea and the surface; the waves lapping onto the thick timber legs of the jetty. At this level there is not much active sea life but barnacles on the legs and the odd sponge sticking onto the viewing window.
But as one descends down further down, fishes abound. Shoals in hundreds swim by .....

.... and larger colourful coral fishes poke around equally colourful corals growing onto the legs of the jetty.
The guided tour starts from the top, with the guide elaborating on the development of marine life as we descended down each level. Right at the bottom, one can wear 3-D Goggles to have a virtual reality of the surrounding sea filmed by scuba divers.
The 45-minute guided tour cost AUD20 and a major part of the proceeds goes towards the operation and maintenance of the observatory.

Back on top-side we took a walk to the farthest end of the jetty; here a signboard indicates that we were 1.841 metres out to sea, and at the top were directions to other cities of the world. It may look like a wide expanse of sea in front, but sailing just due north and not that far away one will hit another part of the coast, Cervantes - a town renown for its lobsters!

On the floor of this end of the jetty are life size murals of whales by Dunsborough artist Ian Mutch, these were of a Blue Whale, a Humpback, and a Southern Right Whale.
Click here to see a video of the mural.

To appreciate the life-size scale of the murals, here's a Google Map screen capture showing how awesome the life-size whale murals look from high up. The top-most one is the Blue Whale and the black dot on its back is the enlarged shadow of a man. Spectacular!

Back at the jetty head, after the return train ride, the ticket-man is now a sexy "Madonna" in a hot pink wig. Thumbs up to you too, man ..... er... woman?

1:00pm - The dark moody skies have cleared up and made way for a bright beautiful blue one... what shall we do?
Cycle, of course!
Cycling is not allowed on the jetty, but there are cycling lanes at the Busselton Foreshore, facing the jetty we took the right path that leads to the "Forest Route". Along the way pine trees line the way and on the opposite side were the "forest" of several parks. On the seaward side, planting were being carried out along wide swathes of beaches. The trees are still young, but I can imagine in a few years time how lovely this "forest" will be when they grow tall!

A bit ahead we turned left into Ford Road to see how the residential area were like: very nice with a lot of old trees, willows and acacias lining the roads.
It's a short ride, Lynne cycled without any baggage but I was following behind using my favourite bag for the trip, a Brompton Commuter Bag by M with our raincoats inside just in case it rains.

We looped back, passed the Jetty again and ahead was a playground. Children playing here were like having an adventure in the sea. See, the equipment here were ingeniously designed; like this one of the Giant Squid from Captain's Nemo adventure Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea - its orange body half sunken in with the tentacles springing out to give children their rides!
Next to it sticking out from the floor was the huge tail of a blue whale; it's as if the whale had jumped up and plunged into the ground with it's tail remaining above ground to let children (including the child in both of us) have their fun.

At the far end was an old sailing ship, complete with a large crow's nest for the children to happily climb up.... Okay... okay... better stop playing around here and leave all of these to the kids!

We are now on the "Beach Route", on that takes us pass rocky coast with pockets of white sandy beaches. Getting water here is not a problem, there are water stations along the way.

This Busselton-Dunsborough Coastal Bike Path leads all the way to Dunsborough (26km away) and beyond that to lovely beaches like Castle Rock Bay and Meelup Beach, renown for it's Bombay Sapphire Gin blue waters. We would have loved to ride all the way there; but Perth was still more than 200 km. away and we still had several towns to visit along the way. 

We turned back and after a 6 km. ride, we had to say goodbye to Busselton with it's calm, friendly gulls and continue our road-trip.

3:00pm - Fifty-five km and an hour away we were at Bunbury; the place not to miss here is the Bunbury Farmers Market. This place is a huge air-conditioned indoor market; but unlike a supermarket where goods a displayed in one HUGE hall, here their wares are sold a separate large rooms connected by wide corridors. This makes for a cosy place to do one's marketing, at each section one can slowly browse without being overwhelmed by the sight of long aisles and the noisiness of a huge revebrating hall.
Okay... okay... in short, I fell in love with the place.

Being direct from the farms the produce here is much fresher. I was amazed by the range of vegetables sold: the leeks looked gigantic, and the eggplants were huge and a shiny dark purple.
At the meat section, cuts of beef and pork we well packed up into cooking portions. Here without the middle man, things were cheaper.

An here's an interesting section, the pies and soup section. Be bought some pies and soups, to eat in and take-away for following days eats.
So it was a late lunch at a table section next to this, just tell the counter clerk to heat up for eating in.

5:30pm - As we approached Mandurah, the sun was getting ready for bed. Took this photo focused on the sun which gave a dark surreal sky with a large twinkling sun.

5:45 - We scheduled ourselves to arrive at Mandurah Marina before 6pm, just before the Simmos Ice-creamery here closed. Being a Monday, things were a bit quite here and the Japanese girl manning the outlet was about to close it when we arrived. We wanted to take-away for our friends in Perth but quite surprisingly, they did not have any dry-ice take-away containers. So we had to be satisfied with eating there but was not that satisfied - for almost the same price the scoops at Simmos original outlet in Quindulap were double the sized of the ones here.
Anyway, nearby was a Cicerello's; having heard about it's renown fish n chips, we just had to try. Since we had an late lunch, we just ordered their Seniors Deal at AUD16-95 plus an extra piece of fish at AUD9-50. The Deal came with chips, coleslaw, a bowl of delicious thick seafood chowder, desserts cake and coffee.

Wow! The super fresh fish, deep-fried in a thin layer of batter. They do serve it pan-fried without batter, but then that's not how we like our fish n chips!

Sunset at Mandurah Marina - calm, idealistic and romantic; just what this AhPek old man needed.

It's great to be here on a Monday evening, hardly any people and almost had the whole Mandurah Boardwalk to ourselves... Hah!

Here too is the Mandurah Marina Art Trail, a trail that showcases 18 pieces of artwork by local artist. Short of time, we just saw a few including the above egg-shaped with quadrants showing marine life here.

Not sure whether this piece is on the Art Trail, but it was an attractive mural of lobster, crabs and.... PURPLE sponges!

9:00pm - After a long day, the warm, cosy bed at our stay in Durham House was a welcomed sight. It's been a long, tiring day but one that was very satisfactory; we did do much, yes?


(For more photos of the Day, Click Here)
This is page 2 of a 7-page blog, Click Here To Go To Title Page.
Go to D1&2 Perth          |            Go to Other Days       |       Go to D4 Caversham > 

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