When it comes to places to stay, some people can overlook the less conventional options. Besides saving a ton of money, opting for free digs also opens opportunities for new friendships, fascinating encounters and hilarious stories. When we visited Perth, Australia, we found these things in abundance. Here we present a guide to three of our favourite alternatives to hostels, hotels and Airbnb. House sitting House sitting can seem like quite a strange concept. Also known as pet sitting (most “assignments” include animals to take care of), the deal is that homeowners find trustworthy strangers to come and take care of their property (and pets) while they go on vacation. Fido/Felix aren’t sent to expensive, stressful kennels, the owners get peace of mind knowing everything is well-cared for and and you get a free place to stay! There are numerous websites that allow hosts and sitters alike to sign up, log in and search for a good match. We used https://www.aussiehousesitters.com.au/ to find gigs in Western Australia, but there are global ones too, such as https://www.trustedhousesitters.com and https://www.nomador.com/. Sites usually charge a reasonable yearly membership fee, giving you access to potential house-sits all over Australia (and with the latter two, the rest of the world). It’s also important to get some reliable, sterling references, so that homeowners can see you’re the ideal candidates to look after their pets. We recommend starting with a few from friends whose animals you’ve cared for, then after a couple of actual assignments you should have the ideal pet-sitter’s resume; it won’t be long before homeowners are contacting you to come and sit for them! It’s worth noting that this exchange relies of faith in humanity rather than any sort of monetary transaction. We’ve heard of sites that charge both homeowners and sitters, but in our experience, it’s better to avoid accepting payment as it changes the dynamics of the relationship. This deal is all about trust and mutual generosity, not a service just to gain free digs. A word of advice: Try organising Skype conversations with your potential sits too, as it gives you a better idea of what to expect. We speak from experience when we say that not all house-sitting assignments are a walk in the park… But generally speaking, pet sitting has been a wonderful, fruitful experience for the two of us and in our blog post “Why pet sitting is perfect for travelling animal lovers”, we go into greater detail about why we still look after animals all over the world. Couch surfing Another way to make new friends and have a more soulful travelling experience is to try couch surfing. Some people claim that the website and its concept plateaued in the mid-2000s, but we recently did it in Perth and can vouch for the community’s size and popularity both there and the rest of the world. Travellers can sign up to http://www.couchsurfing.com and create a profile, then search the database for thousands of like-minded people who are offering a place to stay, free of charge. The accommodation isn’t always a couch, either; most hosts offer a private room to sleep in, and have had so many guests stay in their home that they are very well prepared when it comes to hospitality for their sofa-surfers. To bag a decent place to crash, it’s crucial to have an honest, interesting profile and the intention of genuinely wanting to engage with the host. Members want to feel that they’re inviting someone fun, interesting and considerate into their home, so a blank or vague profile is bound to be unappealing. Another thing to remember is to engage with them in online conversation before you show up, asking questions related to their own profile and travel experiences, to see if you would get along in person. It’s important to read their profiles carefully, as some hosts have certain stipulations, such as individual guests only, or a specific gender preference. If all this sounds a little bit kinky, you’re right to be apprehensive. There are a few couch surfer hosts who besmirch the concept with a hint of seediness, although it will be fairly obvious from their profiles if they are looking for more than just a conversation about travel. Look out for “naked sleepers” or “share a bed” in the tags, and stay well clear if sexual adventures aren’t a part of your agenda. Site moderation also helps surfers to stay safe, and there’s a whole section on the website devoted to it, so it’s simple to find the right kind of social experience for you. We stayed with a friendly, fascinating German couple who lived in downtown Perth. They had hosted hundreds of surfers and provided us with a very comfortable private room and even our own bathroom, which goes to prove how well-equipped and generous some hosts can be. We learned about their work in Alice Springs, their conservation efforts all over the globe and got to know Perth a little better thanks to their guidance as locals, which is what couch surfing is truly all about. WWOOFing/WorkAway If you don’t mind getting your hands dirty and chipping in to help with physical tasks, this third method of finding free accommodation in Western Australia will certainly suit you. Whether you want to help an eco-tourism company in Broome or try landscape gardening next to the Margaret River, there’s a variety of work to be found in Western Australia. With websites like http://www.wwoof.com.au/ (Willing Workers On Organic Farms) and https://www.workaway.info/ travellers can find ideal hosts to live with in exchange for a few hours of work per day. Like couch surfing and house sitting, registration with the websites allows you to search a database of ideal locations, accommodation, hosts and employment. From large organic farms to private smallholdings, you can help people who don’t have enough workers, or those who can’t do the work themselves, such as the disabled or the elderly – it’s a very positive, productive way of travelling. Our note of caution with working in exchange for accommodation is to be sure you understand the work involved. This isn’t just so that you are sure of fulfilling your requested duties, but also to safeguard against employers who might take advantage of their free workers! Fortunately, the websites we’ve listed in this post list vetted hosts and offer plenty of advice and support, which should protect you from any unscrupulous farmers. With a great profile, excellent communication and the right attitude, “WWOOFers” and “Workawayers” can find meaningful encounters with the locals of an area. If walking someone else’s dogs on the beach, going on graffiti trails with couch surfer hosts or picking oranges near Perth sounds like a unique way to spend a vacation, take a look at the links in this post and give it a go. You’ll be rewarded with more than just a free roof over your head. Byline: This post was written by Mark J Newton, one half of the artistic duo the Escape Artists 11:11. He and his partner Nate Evans have been living a nomadic lifestyle since 2014 but have only recently begun to document their travels. To learn more about life and work while being location-independent (and what 11:11 means to them!), head to their site www.escapeartists1111.co.uk.
It’s impossible to go through a Western Australian summer and to find any dull bits happening in the state. Particularly in the Southern end, where you have got the busy Cottesloe Beach in Perth, the lively Fremantle precinct and the ever-increasing popular South West Region which includes the Margaret River town and the surrounding wineries.
Sometimes it’s not what you know that needs to be discovered when visiting Western Australia, but those hidden gems that are waiting to be explored and fully utilised in the sizzling heat. The kind of extreme weather that can’t be avoided, only embraced. And if embrace it you will, it will be a hectic adventure for you this summer time, as you take a scenic road trip to these hidden gems that are waiting just for you
3 Hidden Gems to Visit in a Western Australian Summer
It would be easy to pile off a hundred different places to visit in this great state, all the way from Esperance to The Kimberly and anything in-between. Let’s narrow it down for now and while all these locations are far and wide from each other, they do sit in the southern end of the state, where the weather is clear skies and perfect for an enjoyable Western Australian summer.
The breathtaking view of the Moore River and Indian Ocean meeting on a clear day is a sight to behold, with a gorgeous sunset in the evening that is simply unforgettable. Guilderton is the perfect place to make a splash in Summer with sandy beaches and the soothing river the ideal attraction on any hot day.
- Where is it: Situated only an hour North of Perth off Wanneroo road, Guilderton is a convenient drive for those living in a Perth, with it being so close to the city and a hassle free drive.
- The best bit: Take the trail up the stairways to the vantage and don’t forget your camera, it is the main vantage point in Guilderton and the best location to view the gorgeous sunset.
- What to do: For the outdoor adventurist, there a plethora of activities on offer in Guilderton, with the likes of kayaking, beach walking, fishing, swimming, hiking and camping the popular choices. Nearby the hustle bustle of the river area, there is the Guilderton Country Club that has a restaurant, golf and tennis for those who need to escape the water and have a decent meal.
- Where to stay: There are a host of holiday houses in Guilderton that can be found through various of searches through Airbnb and Stayz. The popular spot to stay is at the Guilderton Caravan Park where you can pitch a tent or rent a cabin with the river and ocean within an earshot.
Heading to Guilderton? Check Out TripAdvisor for reviews.
The stingrays will quickly grab your attention in this quiet little beach by the bay, that is quite simply a hidden gem. Popular for day trips, a quick pit stop or camping in the nearby park, Hamelin Bay is a secluded part of the South West that will get you excited at first glance.
- Where is it: Hamelin Bay is situated in the South West region and a good three-hour drive Perth. Smack bang in the middle of the popular tourist towns in Margaret River and Augusta, The Bay is a popular place to set up camp and explore the surrounding area.
- Best Bit: When the stingrays come to shore, it’s the best time to hit water, as these unique creatures of the sea brush by your ankles. The Rays are usually out in Summer and there is a good chance they will be out and about to mingle with you.
- What to do: Hamelin Bay is for those who seek a laidback experience with camping, hiking, swimming and fishing the major choices. It doesn’t mean you can’t get into the car and visit tourist town of Margaret River, a few wineries and the Leeuwin Lighthouse in the south, near Augusta, the South West is a region calling out to you.
- Where to stay: Hamelin Bay Holiday Park is situated right near the bay and is the main choice of accommodation in the area. You can pitch a tent, book a chalet or stay in style in a beachside cottage, from there the rest is up to you.
Heading to Hamelin Bay? Check out TripAdvisor for reviews.
Denmark is not a secret to those who live in Western Australia, although sometimes the locals wish it to be. Too bad, because this beauty is too good to ignore because this vibrant town is booming with outdoor attractions, wineries and breweries, a gorgeous coastline along the Southern Ocean and a lively town centre you will simply adore.
- Where is it: Quite a drive from Perth, five hours South to be exact, it is a windy and bendy road that will take you to the Southern end of Western Australia. The exhausting trip to Denmark will be worth it upon arrival because it is quite beautiful.
- Best Bit: Take a small drive out to Lights Beach, off Lights road, and see a stunning part of the Southern Ocean, with boutique beaches, walking trails and large rocks to climb aboard for that special picture. Please tread carefully in this area and make sure the conditions are calm. When in doubt, just admire from above.
- What to do: With a bustling town centre and number outdoor activities on hand, you have the best of both worlds in Denmark. You can shop for antiques in town or enjoy a coffee at a café. But the lure of the outdoors will be the winner with a range of activities on hand. Great for families is the Denmark Thrills, where you can test out your fear of heights amongst other family-fun adventures.
- Where to stay: There are a range of options to stay in Denmark, with a pick of motels, retreats, cottages and holiday parks to suit any budget. The pick of the lot is The Big 4 Ocean Beach Holiday Park, a ten-minute drive from town and a short walk from the Inlet and Ocean.
Heading to Denmark? Check out TripAdvisor for reviews.
The City of Perth in Western Australia is an unheralded travel destination for many travellers, who seem to get lured to eastern seaboard of Australia with the popular destinations in Melbourne, Sydney and Gold Coast the obvious choice.
The West should never be neglected. Especially when in close proximity to the city of Perth, is the gorgeous Southwest region with lush wineries, stunning beaches of the West Coast and array of outdoor adventure that calls out to you upon arrival in the state.
The Perth CBD is adventure all to itself, and it needs to be explored to its fullest to be completely appreciated. It is an iconic city with a mixture of multicultural diversity, modern infrastructure, historic buildings, lively street atmosphere and the scenic Swan River, which is suitably located on the city’s doorstep.
A quick and Easy Travel Guide to the City of Perth
The Swan River
The Swan River may be 72-kilometres in length, but it’s the picturesque stretch that surrounds the Perth region that will truly mesmerise with its dazzling views, riverside dining and nature walks along the banks of the Swan.
If you prefer to be amongst the action in the middle of the Swan River, the river is flowing with plenty of activities such as river cruises that stretch all the way to Fremantle and kayaking over the shallow depths of the water for those in need a solid work-out. If all else fails, there is always the costly option of hiring a motor boat and exploring the sights of the Swan River at your own leisure.
CHECK IT OUT: Ku De Ta restaurant has made its way from Bali, to the “On the Point” location off the Swan River. Dine in Style with quality cuisines or have a drink or two with your lover or friends and make it a great night out.
The Ku De Ta is only a ten-minute walk east of the city.
Elizabeth Quay is the most scenic location in the city of Perth with astonishing 360 degree views. Standing in the middle of the Elizabeth Quay bridge you have the luxury at gazing at the towering city that overshadows the Quay, then you turn around and watch the ferry’s coast by on the stunning Swan River, with the popular Kings Park and Botanical Gardens in close range towards the west.
The Quay is the social hub of Perth, with various amounts café’s, restaurant, ferry shuttes and kid’s attractions to keep the little ones occupied. Perhaps the only desire will be to take a relaxing stroll along the river in the refreshing nature with big city in the background and enjoying the most of Western Australia’s pleasant weather.
CHECK IT OUT: The Transperth Ferry’s depart from Elizabeth Quay and it travels across the river to South Perth terminal, where Perth Zoo can be found for another exciting day out. Even if the world’s best wildlife doesn’t take the fancy, you can always check out the city views from a different angle and catch the return ferry back to Elizabeth Quay at a later time.
Cathedral and Churches
Not quite Adelaide’s city of churches, but not to be out done, Perth is still splashed with Cathedrals and churches in various locations within the city boundaries. Neatly tucked in next to Perth’s skyscrapers, the churches are often found by stumbling upon the fine structures by accident.
CHECK IT OUT: Built in 1865, The St Mary’s Cathedral is situated on the eastern part of the city on Victoria Square. Even if churches are not your style, you will love the presence of this Roman Catholic Cathedral and its beautiful articulate design.
Shopping the CBD
If you love to shop, then you will love what the city of Perth offers for any shopaholic that is desperate to spend their dollars. There are a range of street malls and arcades within the walking streets of the CBD that will have you occupied for hours, and perhaps the men looking at their watches.
The action for all the shopping happens between the Hay St Mall and Murray Street Mall, there you’ll find a number of novelty stores and major retail outlets of Myer and David Jones. When you are done on the streets, check out the range of shopping arcades that are hidden within the city buildings, another excuse to spend your hard earned dollars.
CHECK IT OUT: London Court is located off Hay Street and is appropriately named with its old London style design. Come inside gates at either end, marvel at the lavish infrastructure, enjoy a fine coffee at the London Court café and buy a souvenir for your own memory of your time spent in Western Australia.
Cross to the other side of Perth Station and enjoy another vibrant part of the city, Northbridge. This lively spot is popular either day or night and is famous for its restaurants, cafés and nightclubs. Northbridge is also home to the State Library of Western Australia, which is situated along the laidback walking strip of James Street Mall, near Perth Station.
CHECK IT OUT: Old Shanghai is retro style food court that is ideal for those who love affordable Asian cuisines and drinks. Old Shanghai and its selection of food outlets can be found along James Street.
Garden and Parks
Isn’t wonderful to be able to walk through a major city and come across parklands and gardens at random and escape the madness on the streets. Perth has parks of all sizes within the city region, whether it is at Lang Park that is spread out far and wide along the Swan River, or the boutique Supreme Court gardens that is close to the CBD, you’ll have no problem whatsoever in finding a fresh patch of lawn to eat your cut lunch.
CHECK IT OUT: Kings Park and Botanical Gardens is a magic touch that is situated on the outskirts of Perth. It is 4-square-kilomtres of blissful nature walks, open park areas and bushlands, that comes with the best views of the city. If you are coming to Perth, then Kings Park needs to be number 1 on the to do list.
Eating out and Cafes
Fast food, restaurants or food courts, the city of Perth has many dining options that covers any budget including everyone’s favourite franchises in McDonalds, KFC and Hungry Jacks. Whether you choose to dine in style at the city’s top hotels or enter the Arcades food courts, you are not without option within the confines of the city.
CHECK IT OUT: The C restaurant in the Sky, Perth’s only rotating restaurant that sits 33-stories high of St Martins Tower on St Georges Terrace. It doesn’t come cheap but you won’t find a better view in the city to have a simply delicious meal.
Perth mixes the old and the new with several Heritage buildings blended perfectly with the modern high-rises around them. From the Government House built in 1864 to the Supreme Court (1903) there are number of iconic buildings that is deep in history and tradition to marvel upon.
CHECK IT OUT: The Perth Town Hall built in 1870, is the only town hall in Australia to be built by convicts who were shipped over to the West for such purpose. The Town Hall is situated on the corner of Barrack and Hay street and is close to the central hub of the city.
Street art is often found spread for your adventures in the city. It is art in a variety of odd shapes and sizes and somewhat very clever. Every art in the city its own meaning and story behind it and its recommended that you collect the Art map at the information Centre on Murray street for all details and locations of the street art.
CHECK IT OUT: Percy the Mirror sculpture on Hay Street Mall, dedicated to Percy Button who entertained the public of Perth during the 1930’s and 40’s and became a legendary figure of the city.
Take a walk
The best way to feel every beating heart of Perth, or any city around the world for that matter, is by your own two feet. Find every alley, hidden shop and each nook and cranny by taking your time and having a stroll through the city.
You’ll never know what you will find by taking things slow, amazing street art, heritage buildings, a fine restaurant, a Cathedral or the perfect shop that has your favourite clothing items at a bargain price.
Go on, take a walk and explore this great city.
CHECK IT OUT: Maps of various walking tours can be found at the Perth Information Centre on Murray Street. Either take a free guided tour at different times of the day, or collect a map and explore at your own free time.
Heading to Perth, Western Australia? Check out TripAdvisor for affordable hotels.
Elizabeth Quay is the new exciting hub for city of Perth, Western Australia. It’s where people come together with families or friends, and participate in mini golf, have lunch amongst stylish city views, or take in a stroll along the magnificent Swan River.
It is Elizabeth Quay, it is new and it is the social vibe of the city.
Where is it
Elizabeth Quay is in the southern end of Perth CBD and situated along the banks of the Swan River. Parking is insufficient around the Quay but paid parking is available a good kilometre away along Riverside Drive.
If all else fails and you are not in the vicinity of the city, catch a train into the city and get off at Elizabeth Quay train station on the Mandurah and Joondalup lines.
There are a couple of dining options inside The Quay, well outside the city centre that is. You can dine in style at the Isle of Voyage or The Reverley restaurants. Or you can take the laid-back approach and grab a burger and coffee at the V Burger Bar and watch the ferry’s come in.
Cruises and Ferries
Elizabeth Quay is the home of the Transperth Ferry terminal, where you can get aboard the ferry and head to South Perth on the other side of the Swan River and check out the attractions available on the south side, the Perth Zoo is always popular.
The Little Ferry Co. terminal is also situated at The Quay. A boutique ferry shuttle that takes you to stunning river front restaurants at the “On The Point” location and Claisebrook. Once you have done dining out The Little Ferry Co. will be ready to bring you right back again.
The kids aren’t forgotten at The Quay either, with a challenging mini-golf course that will bring kids and parents together or perhaps create a family rivalry. There is also a playground and carousel for the younger ones and if all else fails hire a bike and take a ride along the Swan River.
In summertime the kids can have a real splash at the BHP Biliton Water Park. At various times of the day the fountains spurt out water and the kids or bigger kids get drenched in their everyday clothing. Who doesn’t love running under the sprinklers on a scorching summers day.
Elizabeth Quay is still on the rise
Elizabeth Quay is still on the build with the luxury Carlton- Ritz Hotel and Towers making good process. It is bound to add an even great appeal and to the glamour of The Quay.
Swan River Walk
It is the finest walk in the city, the Swan River on one side and towering buildings on the other side. On a perfect summer’s day, you will nothing more therapeutic than taking a stroll over the unique Elizabeth Quay Bridge, where you can capture the greatest images with your camera and breathe in the fresh air that you normally can’t get at a major city.
The Mighty Swan River is an alluring attraction for gatherers to the Perth CBD of Western Australia, bringing locals and tourists alike to converge to the stunning water’s edge and take in the majestic views of the river and the towering city in the background.
Now there is another way to take in the sights and the surrounds of the swan river and it comes courtesy of The Little Ferry Co. A luxury little ferry shuttle that guides you around the Perth area and drops you off for dinner.
Any more relaxed, you would be in paradise.
The Little Ferry Co.
The Ferry Service offers a boutique experience along the Swan River where small groups can mingle and socialise in the quiet tone of the solar powered ferry.
Passengers can then disembark off the ferry at a couple of select locations and enjoy quality dining at a variety restaurant in Claisebrook, or the popular “On the Point” location, which is home to some of Perth’s finest restaurants.
The ferry itself is small in structure, but big at heart. Completely run on solar, the ferry travels at speeds of approximately 4-5 knots and flows smoothly through the water without little fuss.
The Little Ferry occupies 13 passengers who can enjoy a quality ride, with the only sounds coming from the chatter of the passengers or the captain giving a detailed narrative of the surrounding attractions.
For details on services with The Little Ferry Co. checkout the website for further Information and costs.
Embark at Elizabeth Quay
Elizabeth Quay is the vibrant hub of Perth City with an array of city art, walking paths, kids’ festivities, cafés and restaurants. It is also the home for all major Ferry shuttles and Cruises coming out of Perth.
The Little Ferry Co. shuttles can be found tucked in behind the Trans Perth Ferry service. Just keep an eye out for the pretty little boats that are waiting for you to board off the jetty, situated near the V Burger Bar.
Dine in Style
As mentioned previously, the services run throughout the day and stops at three separate locations, Elizabeth Quay, On the Point and Claisebrook.
Upon disembarking, you can choose from a number of top quality restaurants with riverfront views.
From there the choice is completely yours, you can dine in style, take in a few drinks, enjoy a coffee and later embark on the returning ferry without any added fees.
Sightseeing from the Swan
With the ferry running at relatively low speeds, sightseeing is easy to appreciate with the wonderful scenery and attractions that are around you.
On one side, you are faced with the city views, towering apartments and luxury town houses that you can only dream of occupying. On the other side, there is the popular Perth crown casino and hotels, gorgeous parklands and the new Football stadium, which is to open in 2018.
It would be a shame to leave your camera at home.
Are you heading to Perth, Western Australia? Be sure to give the team at The Little Ferry Co. a visit and check out the services provided for yourself. You can get more information at their website by clicking on the link.
Need accommodation in Perth? Look for hotels on TripAdvisor.
Visiting Australia? Just Know Our Politicians Are Fools
This may not be a travel piece but heck I just must say it, because in Australia we have the luxury of freedom of speech that not everyone around the world is afforded. Therefore, it is my right to bag, in good nature, our useless politicians who can’t make up their own minds at what they were elected to do by the people. Which is to basically make decisions, however basic they may seem.
First of all, I love my country, I am proud to call it home, I am passionate with any national sports team, I proud of the attractions that us travellers get to visit and beautiful beaches along our vast coast line. I would defend this great country with my life. But there is one thing you must know about this great country if you are visiting Australia, our politicians are completely useless.
Now where do I start, oh yeah, our Prime Ministers? We have had five Prime Ministers in the space of ten years and to think one of them (Kevin Rudd) served twice in a matter of a three years, only to be voted out a couple months into his second term, by another idiot, Tony Abbott, who was replaced a year later by Malcom Turnbull, who somehow still holds the job today.
Oddly of those five Prime Ministers, three of them, Kevin Rudd, Julia Gillard and Tony Abbott were thrown out by their own party. Great stuff Aussie politicians, although I must admit they are great at stabbing their own in the back, but I guess that is no different in a lot of other countries, where most pollies are only interested in their very own space.
Now my biggest bug bare that inspired this opinion piece. Marriage Equality. Our pollies in the Liberal Party cannot decide a simple outcome, at least it is simple in my opinion. To pass a simple legislation to allow gay people to get married. What is the hold up? if they want to get married then let them get married, I promise you the world will still rotate and proceed as normal.
Since the pollies can’t decide, instead they want to spend 120-million-dollars on a non-compulsory voting plebiscite. That’s right, a vote where not even all eligible Australians are forced to vote, that worked out well with Brexit and good old Donald Trump didn’t it? Even after the vote, the Australian government, still may or may not let the legislation pass. What a crock of shit and a useless waste of time and dollars, where the money could be better spent of fixing roads and infrastructure.
The fact that it is even going to a vote is pathetic, to pass Marriage Equality should really be a simple solution, just pass it through and move on. At the end of the day, whether you like it, lump it, get your head around it, it is inevitable that one-day gay people will be allowed to get married in this country without having to fly to New Zealand to tie the knot. In the meantime, we could save a heap of tax payers money, if only our pollies would only have some guts to make a decision.
There you go visitors to Australia. Enjoy our land, the attractions, the scenery, the great beaches and all the great stuff that this great country has to offer, but please, ignore our foolish politicians and try and not make sense of them or you will only do your head in. Happy Travels.