Sunday, August 18, 2019

Australia: Cycling In Perth Days 1 & 2 - From Kuala Lumpur To Perth To Margaret River

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 Australia: Cycling Perth Days 1 & 2 - From Kuala Lumpur To Perth To Margaret River
Perth, Australia Days 1 & 2: Saturday & Sunday, 3rd & 4th August 2019
Duo Multi-mode Cycling Tour of Perth & Margaret RiverAustralia and the vicinity in Western Australia, this two days' route covers the road trip from Perth to Margaret River & cycling at Gnarabup/Prevelly Beach:

Day 2 Cycling At Margaret River:
Cycling Distance: 8.0 km.              |               Level: Easy
Time : 9:00 am to 12:00 pm
Time Taken : 3 hrs. (including stops for breakfast, visiting parks, and viewpoints, re-orientationand lots of photo opps).

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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.
    The route along Gnarabup/Prevelly Beach goes along a coast line with a beautiful sea contrasted by white breakers crashing in. Although there is a cycling path there which is fairly flat, many stretches are often covered by a layer of sand, so do cycle safely.
    I had planned a 28 km. loop from Prevelly to Margaret River town; click here for this 28 km. loop route map link. We did not do that loop, the reason is stated in the blog below.
    The walking path at Cape Naturaliste is rather hard to cycle at. Many stretches obstructed by stones lying across the path. Do note that this path is along the Cape to Cape Track, and cycling is not allowed on most sections. The stretch that goes down to beach is steep, and cycling is made harder as it is an untarred road made of fine sandy laterite. We only managed to ride 4.0 km. here, click here for our Cape Naturaliste route link.

3. Places of Interest
We drove from Perth to Margaret River, and then onwards to Prevelly. On the following day we had a short cycling ride at Gnarabup/Prevelly Beach, and followed by a drive to explore the locality. Along our drive & cycle routes were several places of interests, some of which we visited and others we did not for lack of time:
Capel Vale Wines & Cellar Door (GPS: -33.54130, 115.54987) in Capel.
Eagle Bay Olives (GPS: -33.58642, 115.06707).
Wild White Lilies Viewpoint (GPS: -33.57950, 115.04664) near Eagle Bay, thousand of white wild lilies growing along the slopes of the locality.
Cape Naturaliste Lighthouse (GPS: -33.53738, 115.01871) at Cape Naturaliste.
Ngilgi Cave (GPS: -33.64204, 115.03431) at Yallingup.
Dunsborough Beach (GPS: -33.61346, 115.11114) in Dunsborough.
- Wave Rock (GPS: -32.44376, 118.89751) at Hyden.

At Margaret River
Riflebutts Reserve (GPS: -33.97775, 114.99032).
Eurybia Sculpture by Russell Sheridian (GPS: -33.97715, 114.98751).
Surfers Point (GPS: -33.97671, 114.98594).
Margaret River Mouth Viewpoint (GPS: -33.97029, 114.98787).
- Walking/Cycle track at Gnarabup/Prevelly Beach. (GPS: -33.98453, 114.99015).

4. Food
Day 1:
a. Breakfast: Continental breakfast at friends place.
b. Lunch - Sandwiches & roast chicken take-away from Woolworths Harvest Lakes (GPS: -32.15671, 115.86029), eaten as a picnic along the way.
c. Dinner - Tapas small plates at Morries (GPS: -33.95336, 115.07373) in Margaret River town.
Day 2:
a. Breakfast: wild mushrooms, ham & cheese croissant at the White Elephant (GPS: -33.99064, 114.99118) in Prevelly.
b. Lunch: Lamb rack, Scallops with Lemonade & Eagle Bay Kolsh lager at Amelia Park (GPS: -33.77945, 115.03573) in Wilyabrup.
c. Tea: Icecream at the Simmos (GPS: -33.64000, 115.11294) original outlet in Quindalup.
d. Dinner: Calamari salad, Wagyu rump steak, Pirate Life Pale ale at the Common Bistro (GPS: -33.99221, 114.99427) in Prevelly.

5. Accommodations
    Our stay at Margaret River was at:
Surfpt Resort-Prevelly (GPS: -33.99178, 114.99531); a queen-bed room at AUD103 per night.
Address: 12 Riedle Drive, Gnarabup Beach, Margaret River WA 6285, Australia.
Phone: +61 8 9757 1777

6. Weather
     Day time temperatures at Margaret River averaged 15°whilst in the evening it was 13°C. The sky was mostly cloudy with dark clouds, this coupled with a 25 kph wind made it feel even colder.
     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. Travelling By Plane And Bringing Bikes Onto Planes
    We did not bring our bicycles as a friend from GoLocca had kindly lent us his Bromptons. Just for note, most budget airlines charges for bringing bicycles on board; we flew from Kuala Lumpur to Perth by Air Asia; click here for AirAsia guideline and fee on sports equipment. The fee differs for short-haul and long-haul flights.
    Our Australian Tourist Visa - ETA Short Stay was applied on-line through EasyETA at AUD9-95. This Tourist Short Stay ETA (Electronic Travel Authority) allows one to stay in Australia for up to 3 months on each arrival within 12 months from the date the visa was granted.
8. 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.

9. 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.

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

11. 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.
12. 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.

Yup, we are going Down Under to another adventure to Australia. This will be my fourth trip to the country, having been to Sydney (where I did a half-day Sydney cycling tour and visited the Art Gallery of New South Wales), Melbourne and the Gold Coast. This time round I am getting excited again, all the more so as we will be doing some cycling there too!
But when I posted this photo of me leaving at KLIA2 the night before, friends asked me. "Hey! Where's your bikes? Aren't you all suppose to go cycling there?" Well that's the beauty of having fans turned friends. See, we (me & wifey) don't have to bring our bikes. Amran (a Brompton owner) of GoLocca will be lending us his bikes (GoLocca runs cycling tour in Perth and Fremantle).
So here I am, pretending to be dumb-founded like I had forgot to bring my bike! Haha!

5:30am - In the early morning our flight arrived at Perth Airport after a five and a half hour flight. To us it was a bit odd arriving in the wee hours of the morning; but to the locals it was normal, the sun rises early here and so do the people. Looks like sleepy me have to get used to this healthier life-style.
We dropped by the Avis counter, to pick up our rented car. We had booked a Toyota Corolla but were given an equivalent Hyundai i30. There is a specific car-park for rented cars with each company having their own section, so it was quite easy to locate of car.
Our first destination was Amran's place in the Bedford suburbs. Wah.... breakfast was waiting for us when we arrived, what a wonderful host he is.

Cycling Route: Surfpt Resort Prevelly>White Elephant>Riflebutts Reserve>Surfers Point>Surfpt Resort.
(Zoom out to see places of interest enroute from Perth to Margaret River)
Cycling Distance: 8.0 km.              |               Level: Easy
This is a map of a ride along Gnarabup Beach in Prevelly. It's a route passing by several beaches with a beautiful sea with white waves breaking out, goes to a park and several scenic viewpoints. There is a proper path, but several stretches are covered by a thin layer of sand, so do cycle with care.

Finished with a hearty breakfast, we got the Bromptons, packed them into Ikea Dimpa bags and loaded them into the car and started our four hours (close to 400 km.) drive to Margaret River Just out of the city we saw this train, wouldn't it be great to just hop on and ride down to Margaret River? But it was just wishful thinking of our sleepy heads. The train services only reach up to Mandurah, on the outskirts of the city. Sorry no train to Margaret River
Well, we just took turns to drive, enjoyed the good weather and nice scenery along the way.

For most of the way we were on Western Australia State Highway 1 and at Bunbury we turned off onto State Route 10. The latter was a quieter road where we espied this cute mural on the wall of a culvert. It's of Batman, Robin and Batgirl riding a choo-choo train; the culvert drain holes had conveniently become the wheels of the train.

At Harvest Lakes in Atwell, we turned into a Woolworths outlet to take-away some roast-chicken as our time-saving en route lunch. Noticed these cute oranges with nipples at one end; they reminded us of the Hallabong Madarin Oranges that we saw during our Jeju South Korea Cycling Tour. But these are Sumo Mandarin Oranges which originated from Japan.

Our next destination - the Capel Vale Wines & Cellar Door. There is a restaurant at the first floor overlooking the vineyard, it's winter now and the vines branches were bare - so was the restaurant as this was off-peak season. There was an un-walled lower section also overlooking the vineyard. With such a view, we had thought of eating our take-away lunch there, but since we had not bought any wine it would not have been polite.
Anyway it was from here onwards that we saw the word Cellar Door .... foolish us thought that it was odd to keep on telling people where the door to the cellar was, until we found out that cellar doors are that part of the winery where wine can be sampled and purchased.

Instead we stopped a neighbourhood with nice yellow trees to have ourselves a picnic lunch of roast chicken and strawberries 😋.

3:00pm - We arrive at Surfpt Resort-Prevelly. The manageress, Robynna, a sprightly, cheerful young lady showed us around the place. It was more than a hotel, there was a common dining area were residents could do some basic micro-wave cooking, a living room, a small pool and even a coin-operated laundromat with washers & dryers.
At the dining area was this nice sculpture of a bicycle centaur hanging on the wall; but after a long flight and a long drive, we were just too tired to admire things and just dropped onto the bed for a quick nap.

Come evening, we drove into town where we had dinner at Morries. At this cosy place we had Duck Confit, South Australian mussels ... and this plate of honeyed baby carrots.
Hey! They eat their carrots with some roots still on.. made me feel like Bugs Bunny; jokes aside the food here was very good and I recommend eating here when at Margaret River town.
Other than the nice dinner, we met a nice Irish couple. They were on their Giant power-assist e-bicycles and let us had a short trial ride on them.

The following morning, with hands rubbing gleefully; we unloaded and unfolded the Brompton bikes. Both of the bikes were the models with built-in front wheel dynamo hubs. This is the first time that I am riding the dynamo models, so it's a first experience for me - I must say that they are quite convenient with the headlight and red taillight coming on automatically when one start pedalling. Cool!

Amran had also provided us with bags - a Brompton Basket Bag and the Brompton Commuter Bag by M. The latter was a limited edition bag that he had designed and manufactured in Malaysia. I like this bag, other than it's many versatile compartments; the each of the rear pockets were large enough to hold two water bottles!

We rolled off to a nice road that sloped down to the beach, it will be an easy ride down... but then the ride back???
I had plotted a 28km route from Prevelly to Margaret River town, going inland this locality can rather hilly. On our drive to Prevelly, Lynn saw the rolling dragon-backs and immediately scrapped that riding plan. No wonder the Irish couple from the previous night were using power-assist bicycles.
Anyway below here is the route map:

Okay, to cut a long story short, we rode down to the White Elephant for breakfast. It's a beach front location; so it was breakfast with a view for us!

This was no "white elephant", it turned out to be a very good foodie place that served nice eats like these wild mushrooms served on a toasties! 😋

The White Elephant is a precious place for breakfast, precious not is cost but in views.
While munching away, seagulls sat on the timber railing with the blue sea behind them. On the faraway white breakers, surfers were rolling in. And high above another gull squawked away his odd tune.
I managed to capture this gulf on my small compact camera... damn... I am getting good at this .... but hahah, nope... actually it's not me that's good but my high-speed Olympus Tough Sports Camera that's good.

Time to go cycling; it's along the Prevelly-Gnanarup path that runs parallel to the beach and forms part of the Cape to Cape Walking Track. This South-West Cape region is the traditional land of the Wardandi People, evidence showed that they had inhabited the salt-forest here since 50,000 ago.
This section of the track is actually concrete-paved, but the wind has blown sand onto the pathway, so it looked like we were cycling on the beach itself.

At one of the beaches we met Rolf, a free-spirited local who had just come up from a swim in the cold waters! We chatted a while and casually mentioned that we were from Malaya.
The above photo is posted not to show a cool-looking Rolf, but more to show his cool bike. It's a power-assist mountain bike with fat-tires and rugged looked rattan-weave front baskets and rear leather panniers. The fat tires made it very suitable to ride on this sandy beach. Cool!

A little while later Rolf came riding by again; this time he was more well presented, wearing clothes with a cool fedora that made him look like an local version of Johnny Depp.
Anyway I digress, Rolf was excited as he had gone to his nearby house and had grab a couple of brochures. The brochures were in Malayalam, thinking it had something to do with our country he quickly came to show them to us. Sorry Rolf, Malaya and Malayalam are two different things. Well at least he did make a sincere, friendly effort. Thanks Rolf!

Further ahead, the path veered away from the beach, went uphill and became less sandy. There are not much tall trees here, the vegetation is mainly bush land, and one had a perfect view of the sea.

It then went downhill to the Riflebutts Reserve. This place is listed as a suitable place for children, it did in fact bring out that little child in the both of us! Here's Lynne happily posing with dog statute sitting in front of a stick, a distance away was his master. He's patiently and obediently waiting for his master to shout out fetch.
This sculpture set is appropriately named "The Stick", a piece by Russell Sheridian crafted in 2013.

We went up another slope and down again to another place with a fantastic view, Surfers Point.
Surfers Point is a haven for surfers and had regularly held the annual Margaret River Surf Classic event since 1978. It's a premier all ages pro-amateur event
Another kilometer ahead was another viewpoint, the Margaret River Mouth Viewpoint.

A the top of the road leading to Surfers Point was another statue, it's not of a surfer but one of a blind-folded roller coasting teenager. It's called Eurybia, a 2013 art piece by Russell Sheridian who stated "Eurybia sits as the mascot of the headland, representing mastery over the seas. She also personifies human vulnerability and exhibits the excitement/fear of the challenge out there in the sea".
This place has several nice artwork. Up on the path leading down here is another sculpture of a stylized bird with a flowery tail; it's called "Rejuvenation" by Simon James.

Happy that we had scratched our itchy cycling legs, we headed back. The last stretch was pretty steep and Lynn came down to push, now one can understand why she was reluctant to the the 28 km Margaret River Loop!

Well time to explore more of the locality ..... but this time by car on a 28 km. drive to Amelia Park. As we entered their ground we saw a kangaroo bent down to sip water from a pond. Hey! It's a steel kangaroo... I was half-expecting it to transform into something like one of the Transformers ... my imagination can sometimes run wild... Heh.. heh!

Other than having a good cellar door; Amelia Park is a very good restaurant. Not wanting to miss good New Zealand lamb, I had this rack of lamb that sat on a sea of rippling mashed potato.

Lynne had this scallops served in their beautiful shells. Curios she asked me what type of nuts that the shells were sitting on. I took one to try.... ugh... these were not nuts put small smooth pebbles... country bumpkins we were!

Finished with that nice lunch, it was time for desserts and we drove 25km for it. Why not have it at Amelia Park and drive that far just for desserts. Well, 25km away was one of Perth best kept secret Simmos Icecream in Quindalup.
This shop is not a very large one but it sits on a large garden grounds, one buys the ice-cream and go eat it at on of the many picnic tables tucked at various corners of the garden. In the garden was a poster warning that "Children left unattended will be sold to the circus"; it's tongue-in-cheek statement to parents to take care of their children.

Here are our ice-cream in medium-sized cups, each scoop filling the entire cup. We had wanted to order two scoops each, after seeing how large their scoop was (it's almost that of two scoops in other ice-cream joints) we cut it down to one each. But do note that these large scoops are available only to their original Simmos outlet in Quindalup.
We were to later try the ice-cream at a Mandurah outlet, sadly a scoop there was only half these.

Okay, time for more cycling. We drove over to the Cape Naturaliste Lighthouse and started riding from the car park, but as we rode further onwards the path became narrower and narrower. Further ahead there were even small rocks laid across the path.

From somewhere along the brushy path, a view of the lighthouse. Yes, these paths were part of the Cape to Cape Walking Track. It stretches 123 km. from Cape Naturliste to Cape Leeuwin.

As we rod on, we saw a sign that stated no cycling on the path. We strayed away from the path and went onto a wide laterite road that led down to the beach. On this path, we tried riding down to the beach. But this laterite road was not made of hard laterite but from sandy laterite, this made them almost impossible to cycle on with the small wheeled Bromptons. which kept on getting stuck in the soft sand. So we had to humbly come down and push our way back up!
Our little cycling mis-adventure at this cape only lasted four kilometres 😵🤯.

On our way back, near Eagle Bay, we passed by stretches of farmland that had beautiful white lilies growing on them.

The next destination was a disappointment. At Eagle Bay Olives, their entrance gate was closed with a sign stating that their olive oil was sold out! So no trying and buying of premium olive and olive oil.

5:00 pm - We were back at our hotel for a short rest and in the evening went over to the Common Bistro next door for dinner that included a tasty Wagyu rump steak, and this Calamari salad. Back home we usually don't like to eat fried calamari as they turn out rather rubbery after frying. But here the pan-fried calamari were perfect, soft and tender to chew into.


(For more photos of the Day 1, Click Here)
(For more photos of the Day 2, Click Here)

This is page 1 of a 7-page blog, Click Here To Go To Title Page.
                                             |           Go to Other Days           |           Go to D3 Busselton > 

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