Lake Claremont

The last thing I expected in the middle of suburban Perth was the beautiful conservation area that is Lake Claremont. The reserve covers 70ha and hosts a variety of flora and fauna, including over 87 species of birds. Prior to 1831, the wetland area provided food for the Mooro people. With pressure from European settlement and rising waters, the last of the Aborigines moved away in the 1940s. It is now a recognised site of Aboriginal heritage.

1.Lake Claremont

Although spring had not yet sprung, the birdlife was busy with family raising duties. The Eurasian coot, though attractive, is not particularly colourful. The bright, fluffy chicks are absolutely gorgeous.

2.Eurasian Coot

Both parents share the rearing responsibilities, including teaching them how to dive for food.

5.Eurasian Coot chicks

The Aborigines weren’t the only victims of the rising waters. The once majestic paperbarks that dominated the central area couldn’t survive the permanent submergence.

6.Lake Claremont

The remnants provide nesting grounds for the waterbirds

7.nesting Black Swan

and add another dimension to the landscape.

8.Lake Claremont

The black swan is the official bird emblem of Western Australia, this majestic mother comfortable on her nest mound.

9.nesting Black Swan

Another swan family were out with their youngsters while the Australian shelducks seemed to walk on water.

10.Black Swan with cygnets & shelducks

Pink-eared ducks were resting nearby, they feed by filtering water and soft mud with their specially shaped bills.

11.pink-eared duck

Purple swamphens build nesting mounds among the reeds at the lakes edge,

12.nesting Purple Swamphen

the chicks have feeding lessons in the shallows.

13.Purple Swamphen with chick

The swamphens are mostly vegetarian but will also eat eggs and very young birds.

14.Purple Swamphen

The Australian white ibis is one of two ibis species at the lake. They forage for aquatic animals and are known to eat snakes.

16.Australian white ibis

As we continued our circuit of the lake,

17.Lake Claremont

we found some paperbarks still thriving on the shore.

18.paperbark

This lone Pacific black duck was taking some time out.

19.Pacific black duck

Another family of purple swamphens were enjoying breakfast

24.Purple Swamphen & chick

as we returned to our starting point.

25.Lake Claremont

What a wonderful way to start the day, thank you Jude.

Elizabeth Quay

While in Perth, I spent a perfect pre-spring day with a very special friend. We first met thirty years ago when we worked together and hadn’t seen each other for seven years. The wonderful thing about lasting friendships is the years just slip away when you are together again. After a morning coffee and shopping in the city, we indulged in a superb lunch at Zafferano, overlooking the beautiful Swan River. http://zafferano.com.au  Replete and relaxed, we could have stayed all afternoon but some exercise was required to ease the conscience. We made our way to Elizabeth Quay, a waterfront precinct created between the city and the Swan River. Officially opened in January 2016, public opinion was divided on the $440 million development. Making our way from the car park, our first vision was the eight-story high sculpture, Spanda, designed by WA artist Christian de Vietri. Spanda is a Sanskrit word that means ‘divine vibration’ and the artwork represents ripples or orbits, connecting to the ripple design of the pavement. Some have unkindly named it the Big Paperclip.

1.Spanda

At the river end of the 2.7ha inlet, a 20m high suspension bridge connects the western promenade to an island, which then leads to the eastern promenade and back to ‘The Landing’ (and Spanda).

2.suspension bridge

The ferry terminal incorporates another interesting work of art. The Blue Waves depict the motion of the wind billowing around the sky coloured canopy.

3.Blue Waves

A little further on, at the end of the quay, a 5m tall cast aluminium bird in a boat glistened in the sun. ‘First Contact’ was created by indigenous artist Laurel Nannup and was inspired by the local Noongar When the first European settlers arrived in Perth, the local Noongar people’s first visions of the European settlers. From a distance, the sailing ships looked like floating birds bearing the spirits of their ancestors.

4.First Contact

The design of the suspension bridge is even more impressive close up.

5.suspension bridge

Crossing the 110m to the island, the views of the Swan River

6.Swan River

and the city of Perth were stunning.

7.Perth8.Elizabeth Quay

The glass spire of the Bell Tower was built in 1999, long before the conception of Elizabeth Quay. There are 18 bells altogether, the largest 12 are from the church of St Martins-in-the-Fields in Trafalgar Square, London. Quite an interesting story. In the early 1980s, St Martins planned to melt down and recast the ancient bells. A Perth businessman, who also happened to be a bell ringer, found out about the plan and campaigned to bring the bells to WA. After much negotiation, St Martins were given enough copper and tin to cast new bells in exchange for the old ones, which arrives in Perth in the late 1980s. After refurbishment and the creation of six new ones to complete the set, there was no tower big enough to house the nine tonnes of bells. After ten years in storage, the tower was built as part of Perth’s millennium project. Unfortunately, the 30m high copper sails enveloping the bell chamber are now dwarfed by new construction. With three levels of dining and a rooftop bar, The Reveley has prime position when those bells start ringing.

9.Belltower & The Reveley

We returned to our starting point

10.Spanda

with one more mission in mind. What better way to end the day than a handcrafted gelato? Using traditional techniques learned in the Italian town of Bologna, everything is made from scratch in small batches. It was the best gelato I have ever had.

11.Gusto Gelato

Thank you, Hilary, for a fabulous day and wonderful memories. I hope it isn’t another seven years before we meet again.

Watershed Winery

With lunch time approaching, we arrived at Watershed Winery, not far from the township of Margaret River. The expanse of regimented vines

1.Watershed vines

followed us down the driveway to the impressive cellar door edifice.

2.entrance

The light, airy café and restaurant are separated only by seating arrangement and menu.

3.restaurant

Head Chef, Dan Gedge, was trained in Cornwall by none other than Rick Stein. Sourcing the freshest seasonal produce, he creates a very tempting menu. I can’t remember what we ate and I have no photos but I do know it was delicious. On a warmer day it would have been perfect to sit outside. The extensive alfresco dining area

5.alfresco6.alfresco4.alfresco

delivers stunning views over the dam and rolling vineyards.

7.vineyard & dam

The architecture is exceptional, and with the beautiful setting, I can see why it is a popular venue for weddings.

8.rear entrance9.rear courtyard

We didn’t linger after lunch, there were more wineries to conquer.

Yallingup Reef

The coastline in the north of the Margaret River Region is spectacular. Our day trip began with a diversion to Yallingup Reef.

1.Yallingup Reef

We stood, mesmerized by the breaking surf and perfectly placed rainbow.

2.Yallingup Reef3.Yallingup Reef

A little further north, Yallingup Beach is famous for its legendary surf breaks. However, Yallingup Reef is well protected from the wind and the beach stays very shallow for a long way out.

4.Yallingup Reef

The granite rocks of the point surround it completely and the breaking waves are far from the beach.

5.Yallingup Reef6.Yallingup Reef7.Yallingup Reef8.Yallingup Reef

I can see why the Aboriginal name for this beautiful area means ‘place of love’.

9.Yallingup Reef