To celebrate my mom’s big 50th last month, I treated her to do one of the things she loves and does best: adventures. With me living in Brisbane and her in Jakarta, Western Australia seemed like a good idea (it’s equally half-way for us both), so I booked her a return ticket to go to Perth with my dad and brother to spend the long-Easter-weekend together. My sister couldn’t tag along but she was having the best time on a school trip to Japan, so I’m not exactly sad for her.
While I’ve actually explored a great deal of Perth with my mom back in 2015 – before I even moved to Australia, we’ve always wanted to explore the southern part of this state, particularly the famous Margaret River Region. Here’s the low-down on everything we did during our 5 days stay in WA, from chasing Quokkas to sipping one of Australia’s finest wines.
We kicked the weekend off straight with a day-trip to Rottnest Island, a 30-minute ferry ride off the coast of Perth city (learn from me and have some breakfast before you board – seasick with an empty stomach is no joke).
There’s frankly no other way to describe this island than absolute paradise. Rottnest is made for exploring on two wheels there are no cars on the island. We hopped on from one beach to another, picnicked by the waters, and expended any leftover energy we had left with leisurely bike rides around the island.
Lastly, you can’t mention Rotto without bringing up the island’s cheekiest locals – Quokkas. They’re practically everywhere – I saw one trying to sneak into the general store near the jetty, one napping peacefully, completely undisturbed by the holiday crowds. These little guys are definitely one of the highlights of the trip and it’s unlikely that you’ll leave without bumping into them.
The Margaret River Region
After a full day at the beach, I did not exactly look forward to a three-hour drive to the Margaret River – where we were staying for the next three days. But it was worth every minute of it. We stayed in the chalet-style Premalaya Wellness Resort in Yallingup and it was the pure sanctuary that we all needed. We fell asleep to the sound of frogs & crickets and woke up to the sound of native birds with a whispery breeze of the Indian Ocean. I easily switched off from the crazy world where uncomplicated living has somehow been forgotten. It was a place to just be.
You can probably tell from the photos that the weather had quickly changed from being freakish warm to cloudy and grey the very next day. Luckily, I remembered to check on the weather and made sure to pack everything from bathing suits and shorts to turtlenecks and heat-tech leggings. (I’m always one to learn from mistakes – one time I had packed a suitcase full of summer outfits and zero warm layers when I flew from 23 degrees Brisbane to an 8 degree Adelaide and no clue that a storm was going to hit.)
The Margaret River is already known as one of the most scenic regions in Australia and home to some of the best wines in the world. So it was only appropriate that we spent the next few days vineyard-hopping, sipping Rosés straight from the source, tasting fresh local produces, and exploring seaside cliffs all in the same day.
For my brother and his love of seafood, I knew I had to take him to the old town Fremantle. We went to the same fish market and sat at the exact same spot my mom and I sat down when we were visiting back in 2015 – and it kind of took a nostalgic toll on me.
My trip to Perth 3 years ago was quite a significant one as I was getting ready to move there to continue my final two years of university. But things didn’t work out. Just when I thought I was all set and ready to go (a few weeks before my departure to be exact), things took a different turn, and I found myself in the complete opposite end of the continent – Queensland.
As I walked by the pier, there was this funny feeling that comes when you look at places you thought you belong and realize how things don’t always work out the way you think they should; but sometimes plans fall apart so better things can fall together. Looking back, I couldn’t be more grateful that what happened, happened – because it led me to this life that I’m living now and I wouldn’t change one thing if I could.
We were back in Perth just in time to celebrate Easter and my mom’s birthday. It was our last full day together before we went our separate ways again, so all we wanted was some easy, laidback, quality time. We drove up to Kings Park and set up a little picnic on one of the hilly spots, got a mini chocolate cake for mom from a nearby café, and spent the rest of the afternoon overlooking the city and making the most of our time together. As I’m writing this, I’m already counting days to our next reunion and of course, more adventures.