Thursday, September 5, 2019

Australia: Cycling In Perth Day 5 - Cycling Swan River Valley & More

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 Australia: Cycling Perth Day 5 - Cycling Swan River Valley & More
Perth, Australia Day 5: Wednesday, 7th August 2019
Small Group/Duo Multi-mode Cycling Tour of Perth & Margaret RiverAustralia and the vicinity in Western Australia, today's routes covers cycling at the Swan River ValleyLake Monger & Kings Park:
Ride 1 - Swan River Valley (16.53km):

Ride 2 - Around Lake Monger (3.91km):

Ride 3 - Kings Park to Downtown Perth (3.61km:

Cycling Distance: 16.53+3.91+3.61=24.05 km       |               Level: Medium
Time : 10:00 am to 5:30 pm
Time Taken : 7 hrs. 30min (including stops at various places of interests, visits to cottage industries & parks, morning tea, lunch, tea, re-orientationand lots of photo opps).

This is page 4 of a 7-page blog, Click Here To Go To Title Page.
Go to D4 Caversham          |        Go to Other Days       |       Go to D6 Fremantle >

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 Swan River Valley & Lake Monger route are fairly flat with average shading and goes through a rustic and green areas. The route from Kings Park to Downtown Perth is downhill almost the whole way with some shading, going from a large, green park into the commercial heart of the city.

3. Places of Interest
We rode three cycling routes - along the Swan River Valley, at Lake Monger, & from King's Park to downtown PerthAlong our cycle routes were several places of interests, some of which we visited and others we did not for lack of time: :
a. At the Swan River Valley:
- Guildford Train Station (GPS: -31.8988, 115.9708).
- World War 1 German Krupps 105mm Field Gun at Stirling Square (GPS: -31.89847, 115.97147).
- W. Swan Road Bridge (Guildford Bridge(GPS: -31.89429, 115.97174) over the Swan River.
- Wine Tasting at Coward & Black Vineyard (GPS: -31.85211, 115.98622).
- Relish and preserve tasting at Providore (GPS: -31.85245, 115.98692).
- Chocolates tasting at Margaret River Chocolate Company (GPS: -31.85208, 115.98646).
- Open Fruit & Vegetable Market (GPS: -31.85121, 115.98686) next to the Swan Valley Wagon Tours.
- Honey tasting at Windarra Honey (GPS: -31.84238, 115.99057).
Bonsai Emporium (GPS: -31.85829, 115.98564).
- Guildford Post Office (GPS: -31.89964, 115.97081).
- Guildford Old Hotel (GPS: -31.8996, 115.96856).
- Antique shops at Guilford Old Village Markets (GPS: -31.89941, 115.96754).
b. At Lake Monger:
- Black swans & Cuckatoos at lakeside island (GPS: -31.93207, 115.8228) near Lake Monger Recreational Club.
- Panaromic view of Perth City from the lakeside (GPS: -31.92473, 115.82455) near the Lake Monger BBQ Area.
c. At Kings Park:
- Giant Boab Tree (Gija Jumulu) (GPS: -31.96214, 115.84108).
- Two Rivers Lookout Point (GPS: -31.96208, 115.84129).
- Western Australia State War Memorial (GPS: -31.96054, 115.84364).
- Kaarta Gar-Up Viewpoint (GPS: -31.95914, 115.84429).
- Barracks Arch (GPS: -31.95227, 115.84885).
- Conic Fugue Sculpture (GPS: -31.95261, 115.85106) by Charles Perry at QV1 Tower.

4. Food
a. Breakfast: Self cooked at apartment.
b. Brunch : Old faithful ham toasties, Cheese toasties and flat white coffee Yahava Koffeeeorks (GPS: -31.85465, 115.98775) at Swan River Valley.
c. Late Lunch:  Wagyu burger, lamb sliders at Jus Burger (GPS: -31.93755, 115.84157) in Leederville.
d Tea: Hazelnut Ice-cream at Gusto Gelato (GPS: -31.93759, 115.84158) in Leederville.
e. Dinner: Self cooked black pepper beef pies and sausage rolls 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
    Day temperatures at Perth averaged 15°C, and evening temperatures averaged 12°C. It was a moderately 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. 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.

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

9. 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.
10. 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.

should you proceed or not?
 Well better do, or else you wouldn't figure out how we managed to squeeze doing so much into one day! 😊
Yesterday was an easy day with visits to attractions nearby to the city. We visited a nice wildlife park and did some shopping. Today we are back to cycling and made up for it by cycling at three spots, each showing us a different aspect of Perth - a wine river valley, a lively lake and at one of the largest urban parks in the world. For ease of reading, the three rides are in different sections.

Cycling Route: Guildford Train Station>Guildford Bridge>Yahava Koffeeeorks>Coward & Black Vineyard>Windarra Honey>Guildford Train Station.
 Cycling Distance: 16.53 km.       |               Level: Medium
Time : 10:00 am to 1:45 pm
Time Taken : 3 hrs. 45 mins. (including stops at various places of interests, visiting cottage industries, morning tea, re-orientationand lots of photo opps).
The route took us into the rustic area of the Swan River Valley with its many vineyards, farms, cottage industries and excellent scenery. It's a relatively flat route with average shading.

Behind the rest rooms at Stirling Square is a bicycle maintenance station equipped with compressor pump and tools!
We were supposed to hop onto a train and go meet Amran at the Guildford Train Station. But Amran came to pick us up at Durham House. It's a good thing too as we were not yet familiar with the trains, and with my track record, would probably had gotten lost.
We stopped at the road-side parking along Stirling Street, got out our bikes and were ready to roll off! Conveniently, we parked next to the public rest rooms at Stirling Square - AND MORE CONVENIENTLY FOR CYCLISTS, right behind the rest rooms was a cycling station equipped with air-pumps and maintenance tools!

We rode off with gung-ho, with a train rushing by while at the same time a plane came flying low overhead (the airport is nearby) ... and then disaster struck .....
Okay... okay... I am being a bit dramatic... but after all the excitement, just as we rolled off, my bicycle chain dropped. It was not a normal drop, the chain had dropped and got stuck between the chain ring and the frame. This happens sometimes with the Brompton and it took some slight levering of the chain ring to get it unstuck.
Anyway, we took it in stride and Amran was proud to show that he got his hands dirtied!

We rode partly through Stirling Square; at one corner is the Guildford War Memorial dedicated to the local men who lost their lives during World War 1 and World War II. Next to the memorial were these World War 1 German Krupps 105mm Field Guns that were captured during World War 1.
"For Australia, the First World War remains the costliest conflict in terms of deaths and casualties. From a population of fewer than five million, 416,809 men enlisted, of whom more than 60,000 were killed and 156,000 wounded, gassed, or taken prisoner." (..... read more).
"During World War II, the Australian mainland came under direct enemy attack for the first time in history, with Japanese bombing attacks on Northern Australia and an attack on Sydney Harbour by Japanese midget submarines. At the time of German defeat and Japanese surrender, 39,000 Australians had lost their lives and another 30,000 had been taken prisoner." (..... read more).

We rode on the cycling paths that ran mainly parallel to the road, except for a section at the West Swan Road Bridge (affectionately called the Guildford Bridge by the locals) where it looped down to run for a short length away from the main road. (see the red line on map above for this section). This was an interesting detour as it took us down to the river level.

10:40am - We rode pass blanketed horses grazing fields and bare grape-vines (it's still winter here) and arrive at our first stop - brunch at the Yahava Koffeeeorks. Amran runs GoLocca cycling tours in Perth and was taking us on the GoLocca Brompton SwanValley Scenic Trail, one that will take us to vineyards, farms and rural cottage industries at the Swan River Valley.

One can have a coffee tasting session here for free! And they have wide range from the top coffee growing areas of the world to cater to different palates of their patrons.
There were single origins: like the La Montana from the Sierra de las Minas mountains of Mesoamerica; the Mokha (Mocha) grown in the highlands of Ethiopia and historically exported through the port of Mocha in Yemen, the Black Gold from the remote jungles of Papua New Guinea; etc.
And there were blends like the Zumo, "clever international alliance that blends the very best from three continents; Africa, Asia and America".

A trip to Yahava will not be complete without a coffee session at their outdoor tables; sipping coffee in the cool air, overlooking a large green lawn. The coffee were served in this old style mugs that's a throwback to frontier days, and went very well with the ham and cheese toasties.

While we gave a coffee toast and slowly sipped the strong and aromatic brew; all the coffee quotes came crowding to my mind: "All you need is love and more coffee", " Coffee with a friend is like capturing happiness in a cup".

Leaving the coffee behind, it was time to try what this agricultural region had to offer. Just a short ride away was Providore; it's a chain with it's own vineyards and organic farms. Here we tried different relishes and dressings. Hmmmm..... was the balsamic & wild onion OR the sweet ginger & lime nicer?

Other than these, there were also relishes: tomato & capsicum chutney, onion & thyme marmalade; my favourite was the roasted tomato mustard!

Conveniently cross over to another building and it's another wonderland at the Margaret River Chocolate Company, this time it's samples of chocolate in large bowls .....

Some of the chocolate are laid out bare to be selected, while others were packed in colourful pink and green. With all these wonderful offerings, I just wondered that somewhere here Santa's elves must be at work.

And before saying goodbye, not to be missed are the creamy ice-cream .... it's a double whopper for me & Lynne to share. !YummY!

As we rode on, there are so many temptations along the way. To her right Lynne saw fruits & vegetable in greenhouses ... should we turn in?

Amran made the decision and swung in and we just followed suit. It's part of his tour destination!
Here a wide assortment of fruits and vegetables, all freshly plucked/harvested, were laid out. And they were cheaper here than at the markets. So a morning cycling outing at the Swan River Valley is not just good exercising, one can save money too 😉.

At Windarra Honey a warm old lady welcomed us, she is Liz the wife of the beekeeper Phil. Windarra Honey is a family-run business offering a variety of natural, unprocessed bee products. The couple also offers free tastings and detailed advice on the use and storage of honey.

Other than the premium honey, on sale were also these bee-shaped honey pots, and candles made from bee wax.

12:30pm - Time to head back, and it's a beautiful return journey, riding pass fields of yellow flowers topped by a leafless tree. Somewhere along the way was the Bonsai Emporium; short of time we did not visit.

... But near some bare vines in a vineyard was an early wild bloomer... it was just too tempting a sight not to stop!

As we rode by Guildford Train Station, we half expected to stop at the car, but Amran just led us on ... our tour was not yet over. We continued into town, to the Guilford Old Village Markets, where there were many second hand shops .....

..... shops that sold ancient things that were much older than this old man Ah Pek. Things like this antiquarian rattan pram, a relic from pre-nylon days.
We had a wonderful time at the Swan River Valley, one of coffee, fruits, chocolate, honey and much, much more - it was indeed a fruitful ride.


Cycling Distance: 3.91 km.       |               Level: Easy
Time : 2:00 pm to 2:45 pm
Time Taken : 45 mins. (including stops for bird watching, panoramic views, re-orientationand lots of photo opps).
A short but interesting route around Lake Monger, a lake renown for its black swans and other birds with a bonus of a fantastic panoramic view of Perth city skyline.
The route is very flat and fairly shady

We drove over to the Leederville neighbourhood; Amran will be picking up his son at a nearby school. Before running this errand, he dropped us off and pointed us in the direction of Lake Monger to go for a quick spin.
The moment we entered the lake area, we were enchanted - right there was an unobstructed, clear 
panoramic view of Perth.

This place is not renown just for it's grand Perth view, and its scenic paths .....

..... but also for the many birds that live there, like the above Curlew ...... it's amazing right so near the city centre was a bird sanctuary with all sorts of birds: Pelicans, Musk Ducks, Hoary Headed Grebes, Purple Swamphens and many more.

But we missed the bird that had make this lake renown - the Black Swan., which is the official bird of Western Australia. Perhaps it's still winter and not the right season to see them. So I will just post photos of the posters of them from the lake. Apologies.

But the lake made up for the lack of swans. At a spot (GPS: -31.93207, 115.8228) near the Lake Monger Recreational Club flocks of White Cockatoos were resting up in the branches of the trees.

As we neared them, with a loud clap they launched themselves away from the trees, hundreds of them flew in a flurry round and round the trees. It was indeed a sight to behold; never before have I seen so many Cockatoos flying together!

Together with his son, Amran picked us and we drove over to another place not to be missed when in Leederville -  Jus Burger, which serves on of the juiciest burgers around. It's Amran son's birthday, and here we had a small party and sang a lovely birthday song for him.

Just one last thing before leaving, it's ice cream time again; this time it's at Gusto Gelato just next door!
Lake Monger may be a small lake, but it and Leederville will always hold a BIG place in our hearts.


Cycling Distance: 3.61 km.       |               Level: Easy
Time : 4:30 pm to 5:30 pm
Time Taken : 1 hr. (including stops at various viewpoint, re-orientationand lots of photo opps).
A very easy down-slope ride from Kings Park (starting near the Giant Boab Tree), through various lookout points, and ending in downtown PerthThe route is shady for most of the way.

From Leederville, Amran drove us to Kings Park, said his goodbyes, and dropped us at the  Two Rivers Lookout Point; it'll be an interesting "Last Mile" cycling back to the hotel for us!
Nearby was the Giant Boab Tree, this tree reminded me of the Old Baobab Tree in my hometown of Penang, a old tree with a century old tale. This tree has its tale to tell too; how it came to be at this park is itself a saga. It tells of a journey in July 2008, starting from Warmun in Western Australia's Kimberley region, and its journey over 3,200 kilometres to end up at Kings Park.

The old tree was planted at the Two Rivers Lookout Point, so name as it overlooks the point where the Swan River and Canning River meets.

At almost 1,000 acres in size, King's Park is the state's largest park and within it is the Western Australia Botanic Gardens.

The gardens has many sections, each with a theme of different plants, making it easy for flora lovers to see and experience what they love. Of the many plants there, this one with its bright orange fruit caught my eye. It's a Screw Pine (Pandanus Tectorius) a favourite food of the coconut crab. This brought back memories of our cycling tour of the Batanes in the Philippines where the screw pine grows rampantly and where the rare coconut crab can still be found.

Our day started with a war memorial, Guildford War Memorial and now towards the day's end it was to another memorial: Western Australia State War Memorial where an eternal flame is kept glowing in memory of the many Western Australians who were killed in the various wars - 7,000 in World War I; nearly 4000 in World War II; and in many other later conflicts - the Korea War (1950-1953), the Malayan Emergency (1950-1960), the Indonesian Confrontation in north Borneo (1962-1966) and the Vietnam War (1962-1973).
At both memorials, I said silent thankful prayers to the fallen for making the world a better place.

Amran was most thoughtful to have us start our ride from the Two Rivers Lookout Point, it wa an easy rolling downhill almost all the way; and en-route were many scenic spots.

One of the best view was at the Kaarta Gar-Up Viewpoint, beautiful isn't it?

We exited the park at Mount Street where there is a cycling bridge to cross the busy Mitchell Freeway. Unfortunately it was closed and we had to make a U-turn and detoured to a busy crossing at Malcom Street.

We were rather disappointed not to be able to use the cycling bridge, but it was a blessing in disguise; otherwise we wouldn't have got to see other sights along the detour: like the Barracks Arch. The barracks were originally built in the 1860s to house the Enrolled Pensioner Force that came to Australia as guards on convict ships. The barracks were to be demolished to facilitate the building of the Mitchell Freeway in the 1960s; however the Royal Western Australian Historical Society formed a Barracks Defence Council and managed to at least save the arch.

... and just before reaching "home" was also this Conic Fugue Sculpture by Charles Perry at QV1 Tower, its curves reminds me of a cycle path with twists and turns!

Tomorrow will be another exciting day as we will be heading for some cycling in Freo!

(For more photos of the Day, Click Here)

This is page 4 of a 7-page blog, Click Here To Go To Title Page.
Go to D4 Caversham         |        Go to Other Days       |       Go to D6 Fremantle > 

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