Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Western Australia Part 2: From Black Swan to Kings Park of Perth

The Black Swan

"All journeys have secret destinations of which traveller is unaware..." Martin Buber.

I've learnt that sometimes by getting lost, you would discover the best spots which was originally out of the must-go list. Do not restrict yourself to the research you've done. Sometimes you just have to relax your mind and follow your heart.

Route to Bungaree Road, our home for one week in Perth

The House at the Bungaree Road
We were lucky that ayah has a friend, who owns a beautiful house in Perth. It was small but nevertheless, adequate for all of us. In fact, most of the houses in Perth has the similar feature - one storey, small, cute lawn, just to name a few. It somehow taught me that the sense of adequacy can be rewarding, if we know how to appreciate and maximise to the fullest, and something big does not necessarily promise the ultimate joy. 

It was 6 am in the morning. The morning sun was on its way up on the clear sky. The sky was so clear with no glimpse of clouds, a sight which is not available in my country. In fact, that was the first time I've seen the sky in its multiple shades of blue. But it was freezing and my biggest mistake was to underestimate the temperature. I thought I was able to handle it, but turned out, it was not as easy as I thought. 


The Bungaree Road | The Cute Roundabout | The Maple Tree Leaves

Trapped Outside in the Cold
The GPS didn't work well, so we had to depend on the google map. We arrived safely in front of the house, located in a peaceful neighbourhood, where friendly civilians went jogging and cycling around. We were so excited to begin the day, only to discover that we were given the wrong set of key for the house. Now the freezing cold became a challenge as we had to spend another hour outside of the house. Thanks to the neighbour with a spare key, we managed to escape from the cold temperature an hour after the struggling. 


The grocery shop | The halal meat shop | The goods purchased

Groceries Hunting
Four bedrooms, three shower rooms, a laundry room and a kitchen joint with the living room where you can cook and watch tv shows at the same time. But we need to fill the kitchen cupboard with groceries. Luckily nearby the area, there were grocery shops, selling halal food as well as halal meat. Before we kicked of the day with the first destination, we decided to shop at the nearby store. 

AUD vs MYR - Give it a Break Will Ya?
This is my bad habit - I could not control myself from comparing the local prices with Malaysian prices. To me, that would be the only way to ascertain whether a particular good is value for money or not. But my wife repeatedly reminded me that if I kept on comparing prices, I would end up not buying anything. So I bought the cheapest cereal for breakfast (5 AUD, which in Malaysia would be around RM 15, hoi Coco Crunch pun RM 6 lebih je) and a fresh low fat milk for breakfast. And yeah, later on I discovered that the cereal tasted like diabetic patient's breakfast in hospital. 


The Maple Tree | The Leaves | The Neighbourhood being Creative

The Maple Tree Outside of the Store
While the rest of my family members were indulging themselves in grocery shopping, I went outside to get some fresh air. I was not freezing as badly as I was earlier in the morning, but still it was cool. I approached the nearby tree, maple tree, so I was told. Different climate would definitely entails different types of creatures - animals and trees. So I think it was worthwhile to spend some moments taking a look at the trees, the white banks and also the unique leaves. Jakun kan?


The Happy Aboriginal Kids
While I was busy taking some photos outside, I heard two kids shouting and speaking in a language which was totally alien to me. I turned around. Two kids, with no slipper or sneakers were running around, ahead of their mother who was pushing the baby's stroller with no one in it. They are the aboriginal people of Australia. I guess these are among those aboriginal people who had decided to join into the modernisation of life and I really hope they benefited from it just like others did. 

The shopping mission was completed within an hour. We headed back to our one week home stay and prepared for our first destination in Perth - the Kings Park & Botanical Garden.



The Lost Prodigy... Which was Rewarding
After some quick bites at home, we went out to the Kings Park and Botanical Garden which is listed as number one must visit site in Perth. Ayah chartered Kia Carnival, which is able to accommodate all eight of us, and comfortable too. As we accelerated along the highway, I noticed that it was already in the mid afternoon. Day time during winter ends sooner than usual, I was told. My eyes caught a beautiful view of a blue lake on my right. There were white yachts sailing above the lake. This must be the famous Swan River, I said to myself. I was hoping for ayah to pull over, so that we could take a closer look of the lake, but it was almost impossible as we were in the middle of the highway.

The blue Swan River | Care Free

Then we arrived at a point where there were four divergences of highway exits. The confusing GPS caused us a wrong turn. A wrong turn that brought us to a close encounter with the Swan River! We asked ayah to pulled over and we immediately got out of the van to enjoy the magnificent scenery. That was our first close encounter with the blue majestic Swan River. The water was as blue as the sky. The grass was green. Some black swans spotted nearby, searching for food and some seagulls flying above in the sky. It was a refreshing sight, even when it was in the middle of the afternoon. 

Yang sebenarnya ini first time sampai negara omputih jadi haruslah jakun itu dan jakun ini. Lama-lama orang kata dah biasa. Layan je lah. 


The Green Grass at the Kings Park

What You Need to Know About Kings Park and Botanical Garden
Overlooking the majestic Swan River, Kings Park and Botanical Garden is one of the largest inner city parks in the world. No trip to Perth is complete without a visit to the Kings Park, as how much a visit to Ho Chi Minh City is completed with Ben Thanh and a visit to Siem Reap is completed with Angkor Wat. And the saying is true - the best things are free. While admission to Kings Park is free of charge, often, visitors will discover that they would get more than what they bargained for. 

The huge park is divided into six segments: Botanic Garden (displaying thousands species of Australian local floras), Fraser Avenue (the most visited sites in Kings Park, Lotterywest Family Area (with playground for younger children), Saw Avenue Picnic Area (informal picnic and recreation area with barbeque facilities), Synergy Parkland (an environmental playground with large scale replicas of extinct faunas), Rio Tinto Naturescape Kings Par (which is not a playground or picnic area, rather a place for children to connect with true nature). 

So which one would you like to go to?


Route to the Kings Park and Botanical Garden
Entrance and Parking
After about half an hour of narcissistic moments by the river, we headed to the Kings Park and Botanical Garden. Given it was the biggest inner city park in Perth, there were many entrances to any part of Kings Park, but we took the one that appeared first before our eyes, that brought us to the Fraser Avenue. 

Based on what I've read on Kings Park, parking, at times would be an issue, so you have to be patient. But lucky for us, we didn't take that long to safely park at the Wadjuk car park (Wadjuk is a name of an aboriginal tribe in Australia). 

The Writings on the Wall | Sign Boards | A Tree at the Park

The Ideal Park
Among the things that crossed my mind when I first saw the park, was that I wish to spend my old days here, in Perth. Taking a walk with my lovely wife, seeing our kids playing balls, goofing around or even cried when teased by another. This place truly promotes pure relaxation and spending quality time with your beloved ones. 

Australian Kids. So Cute. Damn Cute.

So what makes this park different? You can do all these activities, while facing the panoramic view of the Swan River on your right side and the city of Perth on your left side. This is the only place in Perth that somehow, summarised the whole view of the whole place from a higher ground. Awesome isn't it? 

Swan River on Your Right Side
The picturesque view of Swan River
When the sky is blue, the water is blue
The City of Perth on your left side

Memorial 
As we walked from one spot to another, we noticed that there were many memorials erected as remembrance for particular reasons for example the John Forrest Memorial (the first President of Kings Park Board), Bali Memorial (to remember the fallen ones during bombing incident in Bali) etc. But the one that really caught our eyes was the Cenotaph. 


Cenotaph - We Will Remember
From far, we could see a granite obelisk, about 18 metres tall, stood still. It was actually constructed to remember those who had given their life as services to the country. More than 7000 names of warriors were embedded on the wall in its internal wall, as remembrance to these fallen heros. 


Court of Contemplation
Nearby the Cenotaph, a small area was surrounded by walls, commemorating the names of battlefield that involved Western Australian warriors in it, such as Syria, Palestin and the one that caught our eyes was "Malay States". In the middle of the surrounding walls (called as Whispering Walls), there was a pool, they call it the Pool of Reflection whereby the flame of Remembrance burns continuously, as a sign "we will always remember". 

The Bushes

The Green Trees
The magnificent landscape of green field, gardens and lawns are perfect for wedding, family picnics, group binding, team building, outdoor activities with young children or resting under the sun while reading favorite book. Each and every part of it were neatly kept that I could not spot any rubbish lying around unpicked. Even dog owners here were responsible enough to ensure there are no dogs' poos lying around in the park. 


In here, there is no race, no competition and no obligation. It's a place that offer pure relaxation and enjoyment of life to the fullest. I was impressed with the local authority's effort in preserving the various species of signature floras and faunas here, not only for the viewing of the tourists, but also as a symbol of appreciation by the local people. 

But seeing is believing. Come see Kings Park by yourself and you'll understand why I said it is different. 

Hairi Tahir

"Indeed, the creation of the heaven and the earth, and the alternation of the night and the day, and the great ships which sail through the sea with that which benefit people, and what Allah has sent down from heavens of rain, giving life thereby to the earth after its lifelessness and dispersing therein every kind of moving creatures, and His direction of the wind and the clouds controlled between the heaven and the earth are signs for people who use reasoning." (Al-Baqarah: 164)


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