For our last day in Perth and of our whole trip we decided to take a cruise on the Swan River.
Previously we had checked the departure times and cost of a boat ride and as we only had to be at the Quay at 10:45 we did a bit more sight-seeing of downtown Perth on our way there. We stopped at the new Perth Stadium or Optus stadium, recognising the name to the sponsor, which is used mainly for Rugby League and cricket. The tennis stadium, where the Australian Open is played, was across the road. The Optus Stadium was very impressive in size and looks. There was a set of arches made up of hoops with seats hanging from it and a beautiful bridge linking the stadium with both a rail and a bus station as it was hoped that the majority of visitors would use public transport.
Optus Stadium with arches of chairs
Bridge from Perth Transport Hub
As we drove through town we passed a red-brick arch with a tower which seemed out of place. Chris told us that it was the remnant of the former army barracks which were built over 100 years ago. In the 1960s much of building to the sides of the Arch was demolished and then it was proposed to remove this last piece for the building of a freeway but the public protested so vehemently that the proposal was dropped. It is now considered to be an iconic Perth building.
The Barracks Arch
The Tower of the Arch
We continued driving towards the Quay and came to the Western Australia Cricket Association (WACA) ground and, as we had seen it many times when watching cricket matches on TV we decided to take a quick, close-up look. As the saying goes, “It’s good to put a face to a name” was just how we felt about this. Unfortunately we couldn’t get in but it was special to be close to it. The road which took us back to the main road passed a very pretty park so we got a few pics of that too.
Entrance to the WACA Stadium
Part of the park near the WACA
We arrived at the Quay in plenty of time and the boat left on time. As we left Perth we went under the Narrow Bridge, so called as it goes over the narrowest part of the Swan River. As we sailed down the river the guide described the areas we were passing and it was amazing to see how many wealthy people with very large homes there were. Some were worth millions of Aus$ and many of the owners were not Australians.
One of the very affluent suburbs along the river bank
There were 2 particularly interesting things that we saw. The first was a long sandbank which protruded into the river and along which people could walk about a half km into the river.
The long sandbank
The other was a small boathouse which belonged to one of the houses. When the owner of the house died he left it to his 2 sons who renovated the boat house and planned to use it when they were told that all land along the river bank was public and that they could not have private use. Their lawyer found a loophole in the law that a registered club could own a part of the beach but it did not say that it had to be a public club. The 2 sons created a club with 2 members and so got permission for the boathouse. The law has since been altered.
The private club house
From the boat we had excellent views of King’s Park War Memorial and the Glass Bridge which we had visited 2 days earlier. Below the Park is the Old Swan Brewery which has been there since 1877 but was closed in the 1960s. It has since be developed into a commercial building which was considered by the Aboriginal people as sacred ground but their protests were not accepted. The Old Brewery is directly below the Glass Bridge and there is a steep path which people can use to access King’s Park.
The Swan Brewery and Glass Bridge
On one river bank there was a large restaurant which has become very popular as it offers such beautiful views. On a road above this was an archway made of artificial shipping containers indicating the entrance to the port of Fremantle. I thought it quite a novel idea.
Arch of containers
We entered the port going beneath the Fremantle Traffic Bridge which is in the process of being replaced due to its age and heavy use. There is only one other bridge crossing the river at the harbour and it cannot carry all the traffic needing to cross the river.
Current Fremantle Traffic Bridge
We stopped at the Fremantle Wharf where most people disembarked and others joined the boat. For the return journey there were a number of children on board and most were impeccably behaved but 2 young girls and a boy, all aged between 7 & 10, saw the boat as a playground and spent the whole hour running up and down from one level to the next and generally being a nuisance. It was a real pity as it made it difficult for the tour guide to be heard.
As we approached Perth we had a beautiful view of the skyscrapers along the city limits and noticed that they all belonged to large international companies such as BHP Billiton, PWC, Rio Tinto etc.
Perth Skyline from the boat
Chris and Carol met us at the boat and we went another part of the CBD where we parked the car and walked to Yagan Square, a newly created area for all ages from a playground for little ones to many restaurants for adults. On our way we passed a large advertising sign facility and the old Post Office which is now a commercial building.
Former Post Office
Large advertising screen
The Square is easy to walk around and there are both stairs and lifts to other levels. There is a statue of Yagan at the Square. He was a well-known Aboriginal Resistance Hero who was killed by British settlers and taken to England where it was eventually buried after being on display. His tribe finally had it exhumed and returned for burial in Australia. This Square had definitely honoured him.
Statue of Yagan
Square Christmas Train
Restaurants in the Square
We returned for a light supper and then Chris and Carol took us to the airport for the final leg of our trip to South Africa where we arrived tired but safe.
Thank you to all who have journed through our 97 days round the world trip. I have really enjoyed writing the blogs. There will be 1 more on interesting happenings and quirky things one meets when travelling.