I love Australia. At one point, El Jefe and I discussed emigrating there when we retire. I have worked with the Australian Navy, wonderful people, every single one. Truly, Australia is the friendliest country I have visited. And there's lots of other reasons why I like it, too.
Today, we'll visit the Perth/Fremantle area. Perth is the capital and largest city of the Australian state of Western Australia, and the fourth-largest city in Australia, with a population of 1,554,769 (2007 estimate). One of its LGAs, the City of Perth, is currently the fastest growing area in Australia in percentage terms (10% per year).
Perth was founded on 11 June 1829 by Captain James Stirling as the political centre of the free settler Swan River Colony. It has continued to serve as the seat of Government for Western Australia to the present day.
The metropolitan area is located in the south west of the continent between the Indian Ocean and a low coastal escarpment known as the Darling Range. The central business district and suburbs of Perth are situated on the Swan River.
Fremantle is a port city in Western Australia, located 19 kilometres (12 mi) southwest of Perth, the state capital, at the mouth of the Swan River on Australia's western coast. It was the first settlement of the Swan River Colonists in 1829. It was declared a city in 1929, and has a population of approximately 26,000.
The city is named after Charles Fremantle, the English naval officer who had pronounced possession of Western Australia and who established the camp at the site. The city contains well preserved buildings and other heritage sites. The Western Australian vernacular diminutive for Fremantle is "Freo".
Pulling in to Fremantle (we stay there because it's a smaller port and easier for us to deal with all of the customs requirements and just easier for us to make a home base) we really get the best of WA. There is fabulous public transport from Fremantle up to Perth along the coast, and a bunch of lovely seaside hotels to stay in and enjoy the beautiful weather. San Diegans - Love your weather? Visit Perth/Fremantle! It's just like San Diego, but with a different accent and lots of friendly new people. (And great shopping!)
Perth has wonderful museums. The Western Australian Maritime Museum was being built when I was there, but we got a few sneak peeks (we were right by it) and it is fabulous! The building itself is great, and it houses galleries that detail Western Australia's rich maritime history in pictures and displays. Along with lots of pictures of Australian Navy men. Those uniforms are HOT. (And there's a tourable RAN submarine, too. Way cool.)
While in Fremantle, I was intorduced to one of my now favorite bands, The Waifs. They're a trio from Western Australia and their latest album 'sun, dirt, water' came out on September of '07. I fell in love with this song.
Besides the amazing culture in Perth, there's a little of the gritty stuff there, too. ( I spent quite a bit of time at The Amplifier Bar, one of Perth's premier live venues and a kickin' bar . . . although anywhere is kickin' when the fleet's in. ) I was also lucky enough to get a tattoo from Marc Pinto. Marc is a world renowned hand tattoo artist who studied at Johnny Two Thumbs. My tattoo was done totally by hand, with just a single needle lashed to bamboo, then the ink was applied by Marc. Ink freaks, if you have the opportunity to have a traditional tattoo done by an amazing artist like Marc, do it! Here's my tattoo, a couple of years later.
I know, it's way cropped, but nobody really wants to see my foot that huge. I hope you've liked my tour of WA, I really do love it there. And I can't stress the friendliness enough. Cheers!