Whilst Not Running in Australia (With Photos!)

In throwing up a few pictures of my trip down under in that previous running related post, I realised I hadn't really posted much else about that particular trip to the inter webs. I also realised that picking through those photos is a bit of a bad idea, because I'd forgotten just how much I enjoyed Perth.

I tend to say that I "spent about 10 weeks in Australia in 2010." I use this slightly odd wording because I actually had two trips out there with a short break in-between. That break was partly due to logistics and also because the customer decided to finally announce they wanted me on site a little under six weeks before the single date for the entire of 2010 for which I refused to be anywhere other than St Andrews, Scotland. This was the date of a good friend's wedding, at which I was to be a groomsman (among the biggest honours which has ever by extended to me) and thus it was not even on the negotiating table. "Don't worry," they said. "Our operations calendar is such that we won't need you for more than a couple of weeks." I'm sure you can see where this is going…

First of all let me assure you that travelling from Edinburgh to Perth in cattle class is no fun what so ever. Especially via what appears to be a budget carrier. Twenty seven hours in the metaphorical saddle left me staggering out of Perth airport and into a rental car at around 4am.

Side note: this was the first time I'd made use of a rental car whilst by myself. If you ever find yourself in this situation and you're given the option of a sat nav: take it.

I found my way to my beachside motel, stripped the bed down to check for spiders (yes, I was bloody paranoid), re-dressed it, and then fell asleep for something in the region of 12 hours. This was jet lag on an epic scale. Having prised myself out of bed and checked in with the customer the next day I had a bit of time at liberty. I was also quite close to King's Park, one of the things the internet had recommended. I figured it was worth half an hour of my time...

Three or four hours later I got back in the car. King's Park is, not to put too fine a point on it, utterly beautiful. Walking around it I found one delightful surprise after another.

It's perched on a hill close to the river and the central business district, giving you a a fantastic view of what's actually a very attractive city anyway.

This was also where I saw my first free roaming parrot. At the time I thought this was incredibly special. Later I would discover that Perth has parrots in the same way London has pigeons.

After this it was back to work for a week or so. I did, however, get to spend some time hanging out at a beautiful secluded beach with incredibly clear water…

…shame about the factory piers to either side, though. With the beach trials completed I was shipped out for the first of four trips to Karratha in the North of Western Australia, which is very hot, very red and has very beautiful sunsets.

It also has a gas refinery, which (believe it or not) is essentially the setting for a 2011 romantic comedy.

Back in Perth I found some time to do more touristing, this time with a cohort in tow. Caversham Wildlife Park is a good place to get up close and personal with some kangaroos:

You can also pet a koala here, though I remain firmly convinced it had no idea we were even there.

Case in point: this koala is almost certainly walking in the exact opposite direction to the one you would expect:

...and I'm going to split this in half here, and return with some attempts at more arty shots in a later post.