We are finally visiting the second country of our world travels: Australia!
We decided to start exploring this huge country from the western side and flew into Perth. This is the capital and largest city of the Australian state of Western Australia. It is also the fourth most populous city in the country.
When we explore a new place we like to be surprised so we don’t plan or look up everything about it, but rather discover it as we get there. As soon as we arrive at the airport we picked up free maps and flyers. It is interesting to see what each city offers to tourists. Western Australia has been really good to us, we have been able to get great little guides and maps of most of the places we went to.
Our arrival in Perth
We flew into Perth from Bali in the middle of the night. We had booked an Airbnb in Fremantle. This is a port city a bit out of the Perth metropolitan area. It is about a 40 minute drive from the airport. However the night we arrived, we were so tired and cold that it felt like it took forever to get there. Did I forget to mention that here in Australia now is winter?! Honestly Perth doesn’t really get that cold. But on the night we arrived it had just stopped raining and the humidity, the cooler temperature (compared to Bali) and the late night arrival made it feel like it was freezing.
We spent a little fortune to get the taxi to drive us to the house. Honestly we were a little worried when we got here, no car, freezing cold, and the taxi driver told us it had rained for days. Who knew what else to expect?
The next day we woke up to a beautiful sunny day! We walked around the neighborhood. We did some grocery shopping and played at a few playgrounds. Luckily you will find many all around! Life started smiling at us again. We also realized that in Perth they make the best cappuccinos anywhere you go (we tested many cafes during our stay). The food is delicious as well and everyone was extremely friendly and helpful. Specially in the first days, when we were trying to figure things out. What more could we ask?
Perth has an excellent public transportation service. We never saw a city where everything works so well. Buses are on time. They are clean and everything seems to work smoothly. We took buses, trains and a ferry as well, all included in the same ticket! We were lucky enough to be here during the 2 week school break. This means that we could buy a daily family ticket that would let you travel for the day for 2 adults and up to 5 kids for only Aud $12.80 on all types of transportation. How do you beat that?
Our kids loved this experience. We walked everywhere and caught a bus or train when necessary. It was great for once not to have to worry about traffic or parking. We simply had to figure out how to get to the place we wanted to visit.
During our stay here in Perth we were lucky to have a great house. We had a with a well-organized kitchen, so we made our breakfast and dinner at home. However in the daytime we were always out and about so we mainly stopped somewhere to eat. We noticed that many places offered free meals for kids with a paying adult. They were very rich kids meals not simply mac and cheese and chicken fingers!
The food was also extremely good! We had a feeling that any of the places we stopped used excellent ingredients to start with. We have been really impressed, also a simple sandwich had a great flavor to it!
Another great experience here was interacting with people. They were all extremely nice and friendly. Every time we asked what it was like living here, they were all proud of being from Perth. They were also very happy with what this city offered. We noticed that lots of kids didn’t have cell phone. They were all playing at playgrounds and enjoying the beautiful days. Parents were very laid back, although being present at the park, they were not always telling them what to not do, but enjoying theirselves as well.
Most of the time when our kids were doing something crazy like hanging upside down in the train, people weren’t staring thinking that we were terrible parents we were. They were remembering that their kids used to do the same thing too! Instead of judging they were sharing with us their experience, we had some great conversations on the train! Once we realized all this we relaxed and really enjoyed being at the playground and letting our kids be.
Coming from the US, where many stores are open till late or 24 hours, Perth was a big change! Stores close early, we saw some close as early as 5:30! Grocery stores stay open till 9 on weekdays but on weekends they close between 5 and 6! Many retail shops are closed on Sunday so you need to get all your shopping done before then! They all want to get home to their families! As a result we didn’t feel like we are always on the go because at one point things close. Your day stops and you can relax in the evening, what a liberating feeling!
We have fallen in love with this city for all these reasons. It has been a great first experience in a place so different from our hometown Florence in Italy and our last residence in Arizona. It has amazed us in so many ways and we have all felt really at home here. I’ll share more of the things we did here in the next posts so stay tuned!
Make sure to check out our next posts about Perth: Perth, a family size adventure – part 2 and Perth, a family size adventure – part 3
Click here to see more of our posts from our travel in Australia!!!