Let me entertain you!

As we left the metro in downtown Perth we were greeted by a military band who was playing “Let me entertain you” with a really cool performance.

Military band: Let me entertain you!

But that was not the only good impression of the city. Another highlight is King’s Park, located on the river side and slightly elevated (242 steps lead to the park). The park is huge and full of trees and plants from all over Australia. There was even one tree, about 750 years old, that has travelled all the way from the north of Western Australia (more than 3000km). It doesn’t have any leaves, but it seems to be growing.

Travelling tree

For dinner we went to Annalakshmi, an Indian restaurant right at the river docks. It wasn’t only delicious, but also for free! Lunch and dinner are offered every day of the week, except Mondays. They do it based on donations – you can pay as much as you like when you leave the restaurant.

Perth from Kings Park

Once more we were lucky and there was a free music festival that day in Northbridge (a district of Perth), the “Saturday Spectacular” with young bands from Western Australia. There were quite a few spectators due to the great quality of music. Then we wanted to enjoy a cold beer with the music. However, it seems to be forbidden to drink in public as there were plenty of food stalls but none for drinks. Instead we had to invest in two scoops of Ben&Jerry’s ice cream.

Fremantle Street Festival

The next day we set off to explore Fremantle, or Freo as they call it here. We had a look at the Fremantle prison, a world heritage site, which was in operation until 1991. The Shipwreck Galleries were also interesting. They had several artifacts from sunken ships (also coins from Hamburg) and a piece of the famous merchant ship Batavia on display. The rest of the day we spent watching parades, street artists and people drawing on the streets.

On the woodway

We’ve been in the area around and south of Perth for the last few days. Now we’re heading north and finally have some spare time to recap the things we’ve seen and done so far. I’ll start with our tour to the south of Western Australia.

Our first stop south of Perth is
Busselton, where we visit the Busselton Jetty, the longest pier in the southern hemisphere: Almost 2 km of wood. It has been destroyed more than once by fires, storms and cyclones, but has always been rebuilt. There is even a small train on top of the pier and an underwater observatory at the end, but we just walk down the pier on our own and enjoy the beautiful scenery and the fresh breeze.

The longest pier of the southern hemisphere

While heading further south we encounter the first forest fire. It’s a controlled one but nonetheless there is a lot of smoke and fire right by the side of the road.

When we arrive at Pemberton, the sun has already gone down, but we still need a place to spend the night. So we decide to check out the nearest national park. The road into the national park starts quite wide and surfaced, but soon it transforms into a narrow, bumpy dirt track. We are quite sure that this is not covered by our rental car’s policy, but it is a one way road, so there is no possibility to go back. We even see a kangaroo jumping down the road in front of us and follow it for a while, before it leaves the road again.

Camp site at night

Finally we discover the camp site in the pitch black forest. There are even some people around. Who would have thought that?

After a very quiet night, we head to the Dave Evans Bicentennial Tree, the highest climbable tree in the world! The way up is made of reinforcement bars that are drilled into the tree. On the top, at a height of 75 m, is a viewing platform from where we have a stunning view of the forest.

Dave Evans Bicentennial Tree

The next sight – the Tree Top Walk – is almost a bit disappointing. It is only 40 meters high, expensive, quite short and doesn’t even have explanations of the trees and animals you see from up there. It just doesn’t feel so great after having climbed the enormous Bicentennial Tree before.

Tree Top Walk

The red continent or Welcome to America!

After flying 10.5 hours in seats that felt like flying first class (emergency exit row with lots of leg space and a half empty plane that allowed for sleeping in three seats at a time) we left the plane.

Lots of leg space.

But where were we? The destination was supposed to be Perth, but this could be somewhere in America… The two directions on the highway are separated by a large piece of grass, bushes or trees. However, all cars are going on the wrong side of the road (we’re trying to imitate them as much as possible). Then there are the shopping malls, a large complex with parking lots in the middle and the shops all around, which are very typical for the US. But if you go inside, everyone is greeting you with a muffled “G’day” that sounds almost like “Hello”. When it comes to houses you’ll find that they are the same type as in the states – large ground floor, no upper level, no basement, and walls and windows are as thin. Only the red dirt from front- and backyard could be seen as an indication for a foreign country.

Kangaroos ahead!

By the end of the second day we had found proof. First it was a sign. Then we saw lots of them – Kangaroos! It’s got to be America, I mean Australia. As we already found out, they’re cute animals but not very smart. They like to come out at dawn and graze in open fields (such as golf courts), but also like to stand really close by the roads. Luckily we haven’t hit one, but we’ve seen quite a few dead ones…

Bad day gone good

Yesterday didn’t start so good. My camera got stuck with a “lens error” the day before, so we spent the next day (Monday) looking for a Canon service center. After long trips in the Metro, walking around for hours, following various (mis)directions and telephone calls, we finally gave up at precisely 4:30pm (the time the service center was closing).

Still looking for the Canon repair centre

We were determined to turn the day around, but luck was still against us. We missed the sunset and were not able to go anywhere while being at the tip of the palm island. Even the beach was closed as it was made of huge rocks to form a giant breakwater.


Luckily we didn’t give up and went to the Dubai Mall for some internet, dinner and Tim Horton’s Iced Cappuccino. I also found a new compact camera that should be easy to sell back in Germany.

At Tim Horton's

After that we decided to do something a lot more enjoyable: Visiting the rooftop bar on top of the Four Points by Sheraton hotel, called Level 43. The view from up there was wonderful and well worth the 10€ per Cocktail – to match the view we got the ‘Skyscraper’ and the ‘Level 43’.

Dubai at night

People, prices and plenty of skyscrapers

The mix of people is multi-cultural as they come from all over the world to work here. Lots of Filipinos and Indians work e.g. in the gold souk (district) as ‘marketers’ – “Hey my friend. You want a copy watch? Rolex? Breitling?”

All in all they manage to lower the GDP (BIP) of the United Arab Emirates to about USD 56,400 per person per year, which is still one of the highest in the world.

But prices are of course negotiable. At one place I wanted to buy stamps. I was offered four stamps for AED 20 (4€), but when the guy wanted to give them to me he noticed that he didn’t have any left. So we continued.

At the next shop a marketer led me to a small room full of souvenirs. His friend was taking over the selling. First offer: “In Dirhams? Hmm, let’s say 150 (30€).” To send four postcards? You gotta be kidding me! His next offer was 100 and then 50, but I was already leaving the shop. I had seen that the original price on the stamps was AED 3 and I was not willing to pay more…


The numerous skyscrapers in the middle of the desert are quite amazing. The Burj Khalifa is the largest one. With its 828m it is currently the tallest building in the world. The observation deck “At the Top” is located in the 124th floor (452m), so not really at the top. Unfortunately the tickets for today and tomorrow (reservation required) are sold out and instant tickets (no reservation required) are AED 400 (80€). Instead we’ll go to the “Level 43 Rooftop & Lounge” (at 155m) tomorrow.