Weekend West Travel

Explore backyard with fresh set of eyes


Midwest Times14 Nov 2018Gemma Nisbet
Picture: Gemma Nisbet
Elizabeth Quay.

You can see everything from the top of Monument Hill.

You can see the cranes and the containers stacked in Fremantle Port, and the white sails of the Maritime Museum. You can see the yachts and other vessels at the Fishing Boat Harbour, and Garden Island not so far off shore.

If you stand on the spot and slowly turn, you can see Rottnest, and the Norfolk pines at Cottesloe, and city skyline.

It’s an area in our backyard anyone who’s driven down to Perth would see but it has taken until today for me to park the car and walk up here.

I’m not sure why I’ve never done it before, especially when the rewards are so ample compared to the effort required.

Still, I think most of us do this to the places nearest where we live: treat them as a background to our day-to-day lives, while saving our most relaxed and curious selves for when we travel elsewhere.

But here’s my suggestion: to plan a short stay nearer home home that brings the spirit of discovery and sense of enquiry you’d apply to a new travel destination to your own region. It’s not difficult to get started. Just think of your own, personal Monument Hill — somewhere you’ve always meant to check out, but have never quite got around to — and plan a weekend around that.

It might be visiting the atmospheric WA Shipwrecks Gallery, home to the remains of the legendary Batavia, or it could be riding the ferry across the river to the zoo.

It might be going whale watching along the coast, or just spending some time exploring the new public spaces, restaurants and bars in and around Perth.

As I’m admiring the view, I start to plan out a few days. I’d finally visit the WA Maritime Museum, and browse the bookshops and boutiques of the historic West End.

I’d set aside time to explore using the free Invisible Cities Fremantle app, which unlocks stories and memories told by locals as you walk around. I’d stay somewhere like the Hougoumont Hotel, which combines the fabric of a historic building with modern sea container construction, and try somewhere new for dinner.

I might even ride the Ferris wheel at Esplanade Park, and watch the sunset at Bathers Beach. It’s all about the spirit of seeing the city with new eyes.