Sunday, and Andrew’s one day off of the week. Also my last full day in Perth, so we celebrated with a trip to Tai Chi in the morning and a visit to a park in the afternoon.
The Tai Chi group could not have been more welcoming. I think Andrew, Carmella and I lowered the average age a fair bit, but not the level of competency. Our guide, William, w apparently gives the money to charity, just generous with his time, and has travelled so we could swap notes. A bit different to talking to a 20something, an actual two-way conversation rather than him talking about his travels and ignoring anyone else’s. The tai chi itself was interesting. I was in the middle so as to always have someone to watch, even when we turned, but still occasionally had the ‘learning the dance move’ feeling where I’d finish 180 degrees opposed to everyone else. I enjoyed it and what with cycling there and back along the river in the sunshine and a ice cream afterwards, it was a treat.
Afterwards we headed North to the park. It’s about an hour away and offers a lake, koalas, kangaroos and kookaburras. There were five of us now, as Amelia and Luca joined in, chasing ducks round the park while we picnicked in a bid to mimic Andrew-he had caught and removed one that had got a bit too close to the food. We’d spotted kangaroos as soon as we’d got out of the car; it took me a month here before I saw one, which is a poor effort.
We reported the lake to the trades descriptions people before we left as it was half empty and a little disappointing. We picked up tickets to the crystal cave tour and left straight away-the lady at the ticket desk said it was a 5 minute drive, or 20-30 minute walk. 1.2km. We did it in 10, unsure as to how you could spin it out to 30. Perhaps other people are unluckier with spotting snakes and have to stop to scare them off.
The caves are a living environment, albeit a changing one as the water that used to pool there has disappeared since man started exploring them. The crystal rock formations are stunning though. Unless stalactite forming, they look opaque in dull light, but put a torch to them and you can see their translucence. The tiny shrimp things that used to live in the water are unusual, having evolved with no eyes-to Pegs, they looked the same as those 200 miles away at Margaret River, which is remarkable. As he put it, one of three reasons: either they’re super-adapted to the environment and that’s the natural evolution for creatures there, or those two cave areas were once joined and had the same population. Or they caught the bus.
Probably no charge for a prawn and its wider family. Speaking of which, many people in Australia have a wider family, just like the UK. I don’t feel like a midget here, but looking for underwear in Target I realised on doing the conversion that I needed their smallest size, 75-80, and they didn’t have any t-shirts my size since I needed an XS. XS!
I ask you. After our tour we spotted a koala talk at 3:15. More accurately, it was now 3.05, and we spotted that there was a koala talk at 3.15. The koala boardwalk is there to take us a little closer to their habitat up in the trees and we got the gen from their keeper. Something along the lines of ‘we had some old koalas from the zoo in 1938, then they died in 1940. We got some more in 1944, eventually they died. And now we have some more.
“Will they die, too?” we refrained from asking. Sharp claws, apparently-take your arms off. Pegs decided this was as near as he was going to get me to something deadly, letting me off having to swim out to sea in search of sharks or jellyfish, or stand quietly on bush paths waiting for a snake. The koalas were all asleep up in the trees, looking cute, furry and far away.
“Does anyone know why the Americans called them koala bears?”
“Ooh, something to do with Teddy Roosevelt?” one of our party asked, spotting the trick question.
“No, it’s because from behind when walking along they looked like little bears.”
A pretty straight up and down, no tricks kind of a man, our keeper.
On the walk we’d also seen Kooakburras, sitting patiently in a tree for a photo call. We had a final photo in front of a rusty red tree that was providing some of the park’s colour and headed back. At just an hour’s drive it was a lovely park with plenty to offer for a day trip.