Monday, December 06, 2010

Perth (Day 2)

As it was a working day for Xin Wen, we were up early. Yes, I had to be up, too, as I said I would have brekkie with her. She did not fancy the buffet downstairs and I was not fuss, so we walked over to InterContinental to see what they had there. We decided to quickly grab some muffins from The Garden at Paddy's, just outside the casino.

Deciding not to heed the advice of my lovely friends, I opted to walk to the city. Haha, how typically me, eh? I mean, what could be a better way to really discover a place you have never been to?

Surrounding the entertainment complex is a park. Originally a rubbish tip, Burswood Park contains a Heritage Trail, which is flanked by various bronze sculptures of notable figures and activities, such as the hopscotch and Dame Mary Durack to symbolise story-telling.

The park gardens is made up of several sections. The Citizen of the Year Lake contains the Swan Fountain.

A salute to the Swan River, the stunning sculpture of Western Australian black swans majestically rising from their nest captures the spirit and life of the state's treasured Swan River.

Facing the fountain is the Swan Shell. Designed to reflect the movement of a swan in flight, the graceful structure of the Swan Shell soars above the surrounding parklands. It is a landmark for visitors and makes a popular venue for weddings, concerts and outdoor events.

It is freely available for public use but wedding bookings are essential.

Burswood Park Board
08 9361 4475 (Tel), 08 9470 3018 (Fax)

The view of the city across the riverbank spurred me to walk faster.

In between the hotel and the city was this place called Point Fraser.

Point Fraser is a relatively new recreational reserve located on the Swan River foreshore only a few steps away from the Perth CBD. These fabulous wetlands are made up of a series of lakes, boardwalks, children's playground and interpretive trails. The wetland treats stormwater run-off from the East Perth Catchment.

The interpretive trails provide stories about the area including historical, environmental and indigenous issues.

Since the Point Fraser Demonstration Wetlands have been introduced, migratory waders begun to return to the area.

Unfortunately, I did not spot any. I was, however, able to spot these in the water:

Yes, jellyfish!!! Wah, luckily I was walking alone. If there were someone else there with me, I would be my excitable self, jumping and squeeling with delight. Instead, I was very contained and just kept taking photos as I walked along.

So cute, right? They were all along the river! There was also a crab playing hide-and-seek with me. Very cheeky because as I squat down to focus my camera, it went back under the sand. When I stood up, it came back out!

There were schools of fish, as well. I mean, duh, it is a river.

I spotted one deformed fish... how pitiful...

Remember the structure from before? The one that changed colours at night? Well, in the day, this is what it looks like:

This is The Bell Tower. Inside, in the foyer, there is a set of tubular bells, the first set I have seen up close!

This historic ring of bells was given to the people of Western Australia as part of the National Bicentennial Celebrations in 1988. Among its many attributes includes the twelve bells of St Martin-in-the-Fields, which are recorded as being in existence from before the 14th century and recast in the 16th century by Queen Elizabeth I. The bells were again recast between 1725 and 1770 by three generations of the Rudhall family of bell founders from Gloucester in England, under the order of the Prince of Wales who was later crowned as King George II. They are one of the few sets of royal bells and are the only ones known to have left England.

I also got up close and personal with their new display, the oldest bell in Australia:

This giant bell weighs 459kg and dates back to 1550! The Bell Tower is the only place in the world where bellringers share their cultural heritage with visitors in an open and accessible way.

Visitors can also participate in the ringing and see the bells as they ring them through the state of the art audio visual system.

And of course, I had a go at it, too!

The bells are also rung on many other occasions, with 10-bell practices and Surprise Major practices being held monthly.

Ringing Times:
General ringing
Monday, Tuesdays and Thursdays 12:00pm-1:00pm
Saturday and Sunday 12:00pm-1:00pm

Interactive demos
Wednesday and Friday 11:30am-12:30pm

It has also become a highly popular venue for corporate functions and weddings that can enjoy the reverence of the bells, in a non-sectarian environment along with the beautiful views.

The Bell Tower
Barrack Square, Riverside Drive, Perth, WA 6000
08 6210 0444 (Tel), 08 6210 0499 (Fax)

Open daily from 10:00am (last entry 4:15pm)
Closed Good Friday and Christmas Day, Anzac Day open from noon

Monday to Friday, 10:00am - 4:00pm

Entry Fees
$13 - Adults, $8 - Concessions

With the midday sun high above my head, I continued my exploration of the city. I did not really stop at any particular place for long, but of course, to take photos is a must!

I walked past The Cloisters, which originally was a secondary school for boys. It is now occupied by Australia Post, Ticketmaster 7 and a small cafe called Schmears.

The Cloisters
200 St Georges Terrace, Perth, WA 6000

I walked through Shafto Lane...

... and then checked out King Street, where all the big brands were.

They preserved the historical shopfronts while refurbishing the interiors. Love it when this happens - you can never bring back old buildings. Rebuilds are just not the same.

Murray Street was my next stopover. It is a pedestrian mall, just like Pitt Street in Sydney and Rundle Mall in Adelaide. Actually, it felt a lot like Rundle Mall to me.

It was fun trying to figure out where the connecting bridge to the other side of the railway was. Past Perth Railway Station...

... is The Art Gallery of Western Australia.

Art Gallery of Western Australia
Perth Cultural Centre, Perth, WA 6000
08 9492 6622 (Tel)
Open Wednesday - Monday 10:00am - 5:00pm

Right outside the gallery is a garden of vegetables. Fancy that!

A few steps away from the gallery sits the State Library of Perth.

State Library of Western Australia
25 Francis Street, Perth Cultural Centre, Perth, WA 6000
08 9427 3111 (Tel), 08 9427 3256 (Fax)
Open Monday - Thursday 9:00am - 8:00pm, Friday 9:00am - 5:30pm, Saturday - Sunday 10:00am - 5:30pm
Closed on all Public Holidays

As I was already on that side of the city, I did a quick tour of Northbridge.

On my way back from the city, I made it a point to visit London Court.

Built in 1937 as a combination of residential and commercial premises for the wealthy gold miner and financier Claude de Bernales, London Court was designed using the architectural features present in Elizabethan times. It is said to be the only walk in the world outside Britain that has captured a setting and atmosphere extremely similar to that of Tudor England.

Peacefully nestled in between the busy Hay Street Mall and St Georges Terrace, copper coloured ships decorate the classically moulded ceilings at both entrances to the Court. Although the designers intended to create a structure that would be reminiscent of British taste, there is also a sense of France and Southern Spain, too. Best of all, this open-roofed Court is bathed in the glorious Western Australian sun under a vivid blue sky.

London Court
08 9261 6666 (Tel), 08 9261 6697 (Fax)

London Court was my longest stop, as I was attracted by the displays of a particular shop. Antika had lovely silver designs and more importantly, they were on sale. I was well-served by a lady who was friendly and very helpful. I found out that the silver comes from Italy and thought they were reasonably priced. I only intended to buy myself a bracelet but I ended up coming out of the shop with three more boxes! I am telling you, exceptional customer service is a pocket-burner!

Shop 31-32, Ground Level, London Court, Perth, WA 6000
Monday - Thursday 9:00am -5:30pm
Friday 9:00am - 9:00pm
Saturday 9:00am - 5:00pm
Sunday 11:00am - 5:00pm
08 9325 3352 (Tel), 08 9386 7317 (Fax)

I took a different route back to the hotel and opted to walk through Stirling Gardens.

Further down the road from here was the Government House, which was closed for public entry at the time. Built in 1863 and set in 3.2 hectares of beautiful gardens, both the buildings and gardens are listed on the State’s heritage register.

Government House
St. Georges Terrace, Perth, WA 6000
08 9429 9199 (Tel) (Weekdays 8:30am - 5:00pm), 08 9325 4476 (Fax)

Diagonally across the road stands St. Georges Cathedral.

It is the principal cathedral of the Anglican Province of Western Australia and the metropolitical Diocese of Perth. I liked the redness of the brickwork but due to hunger pangs and wanting to reach back before Xin Wen, I decided against entering the church and continued with my walk.

St. Georges Cathedral
38 St. Georges Terrace, Perth, WA 6000
08 9325 5766 (Tel), 08 9325 5242 (Fax)
Open daily 7:30am - 5:30pm

Coincidentally, Xin Wen and I arrived back at the hotel at the same time. Since we were both knackered, we cancelled dinner plans with Jane and Walton. Feeling lazy, we had dinner at the restaurant downstairs called Sirocco.

Xin Wen ordered an angel hair pasta with crab, chilli, cherry tomato, extra virgin olive oil, basil, lime & parmesan.

I also ordered pasta but it was the wild mushroom risotto, which I could not finish.

Sirocco Holiday Inn Burswood
Great Eastern Highway, Burswood, WA 6100
08 9362 7551 (Tel)
Open daily
Breakfast 6:30am - 10:30am
Lunch 12:00pm - 3:00pm
Dinner 6:00pm - 10:00pm

After the hearty meal and a relaxing shower, we both tucked under the covers and surfed movie channels. Out of the peaceful silence of the night, we heard sounds coming from the outside. My first reaction was to draw the curtains because...

Ah, was my day eventful or what?

No comments: