Perth is where my Youth of the Year tour journey began. For those of you who didn't know, back in May last year I went to nationals for the quest and had a ball - and thus, I won a tour around Australia after I finished the HSC. Sorry for my absence - I've been travelling for the most part of two months and have a HUUUUGE backlog of posts for you all!
Perth at the end of December is incredibly hot and balmy, and was quite a shock to the system after a very mild Christmas back home. I think the heat was intensified on our first night especially as Ishaa hosted us all at her place to have a true Indian food experience- chilli galore! We indulged ourselves with samosas, curry and these little 'spicy water balls', pictured below. They were great fun, because they have to be put in your mouth immediately, whole, and thus you really can't escape the burning sensation! It was a lovely evening, fantastic to catch up with everyone (after all, we hadn't seen each other for more than six months!) and experience a whole new realm of cuisine!
We headed down to Mandurah, about an hour south of Perth, for our first full day in WA. We headed out on some boats down the estuary and all had a go at being skipper, which was good fun (although I definitely can't drive smoothly at full speed, we almost all ended up overboard!) until we reached the ocean. We anchored there and jumped off the boats for a very refreshing swim before heading back- but not without a detour through the canals lined by multi-million dollar mansions. Each of these had the accompanying multi-million dollar boat to go with it- a result of the mining boom, no doubt. Hard to believe though that an entire few suburbs were so filthy rich - puts the North Shore in Sydney to shame!
After dinner we headed back down the canals to see the majestic Christmas light displays- turns out not only do they have extravagant houses and boats, but also power bills!
We kick-started the New Year's Eve with a reception at NAB HQ in the Perth CBD, which was slightly eerie simply because it was the same place we'd had the interviews for the nationals! Afterwards we were let free to roam Hay St Mall- which features the unique 'Ye Olde England' arcade. I love it, the Tudor architecture and the feeling of being transported to another time in the middle of a bustling city!
We then headed up to Kings Park for a BBQ, to which Molly remarked "Will there be air-conditioning?", which all made us chuckle. We walked around, however, not for long, as the heat was stifling! The war memorial and the tree-top walk were lovely, with panoramic views of the city!
Ishaa and I then left the others to go and celebrate the new year Indian style - we dressed up traditionally, ate lots of fabulous Indian food, watched a Bollywood movie and danced. It was so fun - a completely different way for me to start 2013!
We had a really cruisy New Year's Day, heading off to Adventure World (a water park). The day was filled with lots of adrenalin rushes, and a bleeding nose for me (I knocked myself out down the big slide trying to beat Nick, which I did, however I paid the price!).
That evening we had a fish and chips picnic on Cottesloe Beach, with the intention of seeing the sun set over the ocean (something we east coasters never get the privilege of experiencing!). However, the day we decided to do it was the only day that it wasn't 40+ degrees and was overcast instead! Typical!
Our fifth and final day in Perth! We cruised along the Swan River and checked out all the super rich people's houses (think: Gina Rhinehart's dad's) and James Packer's yacht, which was meticulously being cleaned. I had the hide to yell out "You missed a spot!" which wasn't taken well by the cleaner, but it provided a few laughs. We then checked out the Perth Mint and saw a gold pouring demonstration and discovered the worth of our weight in gold- nearing $2.7 million!
After lunch, we visited the Lions' Eye Institute. The braver few of us dissected eyes (I was definitely not part of that cohort!), while Liz and I preferred to just look at stuff under the microscope. I accidentally touched an eye with my bare hand though, much to my disgust!
That evening we headed down to Fremantle to have a farewell dinner hosted by the Fremantle Lions, and we were joined by our nationals host families from the Claremont-Nedlands Club and Gill, 2011's YOTY national winner. Lovely to catch up with them all and a great way to end our stay in Perth! See you all again soon!
Stay tuned! Next up, Adelaide!