Not too long ago, this wouldn’t have been possible because of my Dad’s health. With a clean bill of health, he was able to pick up life from where he left off. He was able to join us for the trip though he and my mom probably suffered quite a bit from the chaos and madness created by their 4 grandchildren, all boys, packed under the same roof.
The last time I visited Western Australia was like 2 decades ago and I seriously don’t remember things being as expensive as now. I was shocked that 4 pieces of sushi cost 10 bucks at the airport. That was pretty much my first impression when we disembarked.
Part of the reason for this trip was for my sis and her husband to relish fond memories of their dating days. This time round they had their 2 boys to complete the experience.
It was their first time traveling with their teething 10 month old and an active 3 year old. Seeing them brought back memories of our trips when the boys were younger. Frankly, I don’t remember it being such an energy sapping task but then again, my memory for such things can be quite short lived.
I do recall packing lots of snack and books during those trips because they were about the only entertainment the kids would get during long car rides. Bumpy car rides and snacks make a potent mix to lull the kids into lala land.
Things then were a bit simpler without iPads and electronic games. These gadgets might seem a quick fix to boredom but often rob them the chance to use their imagination and learning how to deal with boredom.
Apart from playing with their little cousins, the boys spent much of their time poring over books we brought along. My elder boy finished more than half a dozen books he borrowed from the library during the 10 day trip and the younger one was in love with his Mr Men books and dinosaur drawing book.
We drove from Perth down to Albany before heading back to Margaret River and Perth again. The good thing about moving around was there were new things to keep the kids excited every few days.
We had a pool table in one of the houses we rented and a table soccer in another and the space we had was like the best thing for them. They could run and play and play and run.
It was summer but it was still too chilly for tropical inhabitants like us. We went to the beach and I couldn’t take the cold water. The boys wouldn’t mind though and would have headed for the water if we let them. They love the seaweed strewn shore and fine sandy beach and got all soaked playing with the crashing waves.
Because we went in a big group that needed at least 3 considerably big rooms to sleep comfortably, we decided to rent vacation homes instead of staying in hotel rooms. It worked out to be cheaper and it was so much more convenient and comfortable. It was one of the best decisions we had made for the trip.
The house that greeted us at Perth was a 2 storey house with 4 bedrooms. It could comfortably sleep 10 and came with a fully equipped kitchen that would have made any housewife drool. There was a small swimming pool in the backyard and a display of colourful surf boards for anyone who was brave enough to ride the surf at the nearby Scarborough beach.
It also came with an indoor pool table which everyone had fun playing with, including the littlest among us. With 3 mothers in our group, mealtimes were well taken care of. We had home cooked dinner everyday with fresh groceries from the local farmers’ market. It almost felt like we never left home.
Then at Albany, this gorgeous house greeted us. A single storey house that could accomodate 10.
A dreamy house that was perched on a cliff overlooking the ocean. It felt almost unreal. It was like one of those houses that you only see in Hollywood movies. Marcus called it the long house because it had a long corridor with the master bedroom at one end and the rest of the bedrooms in the other end.
It was built like a green house with full glass panels in the living room and kitchen area. I was initially worried that we might be baked by the summer heat trapped in the house. Thank goodness it was wet, windy and cold, so the heat was good for keeping us warm at night.
The fireplace was a good save and we spent evenings crowding near the fire and playing cards. Apart from warming the house up, the boys learned how to set up a wood fire. They even figured out how to cook some food in it and we had tasty sweet corn and sweet potatoes roasted for our drives and hikes in Albany.
Our last stop was Margaret River. The house at Albany was hard to beat and the 4 bedroom house at Margaret River paled in comparison. It was a decent house that reminded us of our place in the States. It was in a residential area just outside town center and a short drive to everything. But it looked so normal, so regular, and without character.
Apart from the farmers market, we did the touristy stuff when we were there, such as visit to a brewery, animal farm, cave, chocolate factory and an olive oil soap factory which was the best place to shop for anything made with olive oil.
My husband and I managed to go for a jog one evening while we were there. We were unfamiliar with the area but we had google map and runkeeper. We wandered off the paved road and onto a trail which led us into the forest. The sun was setting and the light was glaring right into our face. Thankfully the breeze was cool and the air was dry. We jogged for 45 minutes but it felt like a 5 minute jog in Singapore weather.
This was us, trying to balance on a fallen log to cross a huge puddle of water. It was a refreshing jog and we wouldn’t have had the experience if we hadn’t gone off the beaten track.
And I sort of like it this way. No matter how well planned a trip is, it’s always good to leave some room for spontaneity and impromptu- ness because that’s when you get surprises. And I love surprises. You never know what you’re gonna get … and that’s the fun of it.
Last but not least, I thought it is only right that I include this to make this post complete.
The house in Perth though big and spacious needed a thorough clean up to get rid of the sticky floor and canine stench. The house in Albany needed to have its water heaters replaced so that it could supply enough hot water for everyone to bathe. Lastly the house in Margaret River needed the pest control guy to come in urgently to get rid of creepy crawlies, especially the 8 legged kind.
Although it was good to go on a holiday with family and strengthen bonds, nothing beats coming back to the comfort of our own home.
I guess I am not much of a traveller afterall.
Our Accommodation in Perth
The Lookout Scarborough Beach
Our Accommodation in Albany
Our Accommodation in Margaret River