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Rottnest Island Photos

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Rottnest Island is accessible by ferry from Fremantle or by air from Jandakot Airport to the south of Perth. There are very few cars on the island which means the predominant form of transport is by bicycle. Private and hire cars are not allowed on the island. It is possible to hire a bicycle for the day and have enough time to cycle around the entire island. Rottnest is one of the only places where the cute and cuddly Quokka can be found, and is the namesake for the island which originates from the Dutch for “Rat Island”.

Here are various photos of Rottnest Island, taken during December 2011.

These photos are copyright of LovePerth.com.au. If you choose to use them then please credit our website.

High resolution photos and prints will be available on request. Please contact us on admin@loveperth.com.au.

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Mandurah Christmas Lights

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Mandurah is a small city 72km south of Perth. It is a pleasant setting built around a network of dolphin-inhabited canals which make it ideal for boat lovers. During the Christmas season a number of houses along the canals go all out with extravagant decorations to light up the crystal clear waters, complimenting the starry skies with all manner of light and colour.

These photos were taken in December 2012.

These photos are copyright of LovePerth.com.au. If you choose to use them then please credit our website.

High resolution photos and prints will be available on request. Please contact us on admin@loveperth.com.au.

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Ballooning in the Northam Hemisphere

Ballooning in the Northam Hemisphere

Not many tourists to Western Australia venture out of Perth, and if they do they tend towards Margaret River. The same could be said for the majority of Perth residents who rarely venture out of the metropolitan area. It’s a great shame, as only an hour or so from Perth lies the beautiful Avon Valley. Reminiscent of the rolling vista of Dorset in England, with scattered farms of sheep and cows, a meandering river, and dotted hills, the Avon Valley is a hidden solace. The historic country town of York in the Avon Valley gives substance to the area and is a great place to stay or visit, with quaint little shops, pubs, restaurants, an old court house, and a vintage car museum.

Ballooning in the Northam Hemisphere

Ballooning in the Northam Hemisphere

Nearby to York is the larger town of Northam, and the home of Windward Balloon Adventures, run by nautical expert Damien. For a few hundred bucks a person, and a launch time to have early risers dragging themselves out of bed, it’s the perfect Avon Valley adventure. What better way could there be to see the scenery on offer?

Avon Valley Hot Air Ballooning with Windward Adventures

Avon Valley Hot Air Ballooning with Windward Adventures

The launch time varies throughout the season, and for us we were dragging ourselves out of bed for a 5.15am meeting. To make our lives easier we booked into Northam Caravan Park which is a few minutes drive from Windward Balloon Adventures, meaning we could get up at the last minute, scramble into the car, and drive groggily around the corner. It’s a quaint caravan park with a section devoted to all manner of birds, chickens, goats, and more.

On arrival at Windward Balloon Adventures we were greeted by the ground crew, who after welcoming us, importantly showed us the coffee. After the arrival of our fellow adventurers, amounting to 18 in total, we were given a run down of the day and a quick briefing. Before we left we were warned there would be no toilet facilities available for the next few hours. I suppose this is reasonable given it’s difficult to fit a portaloo into a hot air balloon, and too be honest it’s only the hour up in the air that you really need to worry about.

Sunrise over the Avon Valley, from a Hot Air Balloon

Sunrise over the Avon Valley, from a Hot Air Balloon

The weather isn’t always predictable in the Avon Valley which makes it necessary for the team to locate the best possible launch site within the Northam area. We headed off in a bus, venturing out into the dark countryside. After stopping a couple of times while the ground crew assessed the wind with a helium balloon, we found our launch site about 15 minutes out of Northam. This is where we met Damien, the pilot and owner of Windward.

After another short briefing and health and safety we were guided by Damien and tasked to help prepare the balloon ready for flight. It was fairly chilly at 8 degrees, and it’s worth wearing shoes that don’t soak up the morning dew, but other than that the atmosphere is buzzing with excitement. The roar of the flames as they begin to fill the balloon adds an air of anticipation. It wasn’t long before the balloon was floating above us, and the sheer size is impressive. We took our turn to climb into the basket, and shortly later we were hovering only inches over the ground before rising up past the trees.

Avon Valley

Avon Valley from a Hot Air Balloon

I won’t speak too much of the actual flight other than it’s an experience you will never forget. The tranquility of the valley is very therapeutic, intermixed with the excitement of drifting along in the hands of the wind and roar of the burners above. Our flight lasted over an hour as we soared over the landscape. The view is astounding, and surprisingly interesting. The sunrise is spectacular.

We landed in a field close to Northam, and Damien’s jaw-dropping landing skills are something to behold – he managed a perfect landing on the trailer which the ground crew had brought for our arrival. That must take some skill?

We all clubbed together to take down the balloon and package it up back onto the trailer, and were rewarded for our hard work with a hearty champagne breakfast in Northam’s Fitzgerald’s Hotel. The breakfast was an end to a perfect morning, and we raised our glasses to Damien and his team for a sterling adventure.

Windward Balloon Adventures can be contacted via their website.

Photographs

For more photos of Perth and Western Australia, see our Perth in Pictures gallery.

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Aruluen Botanic Park

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Aruluen Botanic Park is 35km south-east of Perth in the Darling Range, with breathtaking gardens and scenery as well as a cafe, coffee shop, and free to use barbecues. Aruluen is well known for the multitude of flowers in bloom in the Spring season.

These photos were taken in September 2012.

These photos are copyright of LovePerth.com.au. If you choose to use them then please credit our website.

High resolution photos and prints will be available on request. Please contact us on admin@loveperth.com.au.

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Hot Air Ballooning over Avon Valley

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Various photos of the Hot Air Ballooning over Avon Valley in September 2012.

These photos were taken during a trip with Windward Balloon Adventures in Northam, Western Australia. The owner of the company (and pilot extraordinaire) Damien and his crew add finesse to hot air balloon adventures, and it was a pleasure to visit them.

These photos are copyright of LovePerth.com.au. If you choose to use them then please credit our website.

High resolution photos and prints will be available on request. Please contact us on admin@loveperth.com.au.

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Alkimos

Alkimos Shipwreck, near Perth

50km north of Perth, and only a few hundred metres off shore, lies the ghost ship Alkimos. Once part of the United States’ Liberty ship program at the tail end of World War II, it was re-assigned to the Norwegian Shipping & Trade Mission under the name Viggo Hansteen. It served as a troop and cargo ship within convoys often attacked by German aircraft and U-boats.

Only a year after birth, the ship became the stage of it’s first real trauma – a murder-suicide. It is said that the radio operator, Canadian born Maude Steane, was heard being shot by another crew member. The shooter then committed suicide.

Alkimos Shipwreck, near Perth

Alkimos Shipwreck, near Perth

After the war the ship was sold on to a Greek shipping company who re-christened her to the name we refer to now. Alkimos, in reference to the Greek God Álkimos, a God of Strength. For nigh on twenty years the ship plied the world’s oceans.

In March 1963, the Alkimos was on voyage to Bunbury, Western Australia, when she collided with a reef. The damage was extensive requiring a tow to nearby Perth for repairs. Two months later, after a dispute about the cost of repairs, the ship left port on-tow to Hong Kong. Only hours after departure the tow line snapped leaving the ship to drift. Unable to re-secure the tow-line, the ship was weighed down with water and left with an on-board caretaker until another tow could be arranged.

In January 1964, the Alkimos once more left it’s resting place on tow to Manila, but was immediately seized by authorities. The ship was left anchored once more only to break her bindings and collide once more with the reef. The damage was even more extensive than before, and any hope of salvaging her intact was fruitless. This became the final resting place of the troubled ship Alkimos.

Ghosts

Stories of ghosts on-board the Alkimos started date back to the ships first construction in 1943. During her hasty construction, which was usual for Liberty Ships, it is said a number of welders were sealed between the hulls. Their ghosts were said to have haunted the ship ever since.

During the ship’s service there were numerous reports during the ships service of a ghostly dog being sighted in the ship’s engine room, and it is said a female caretaker suffered a serious fall resulting in the premature birth of her stillborn baby.

The stories of hauntings have continued since the wreck. In 1969, during salvage work for scrap metal, a number of welders were aboard the ship when it caught fire. A number of salvage workers have reported hearing eerie noises on the ship, wholeheartedly believing it to be haunted. The welders claimed to have heard footsteps on the ship, following them around at night, as well as strange cooking odours emanating from the galley.

Various onlookers to the wreck have claimed to see a ghostly man in rubber boots and oilskins walking along the wreck. Caretaker’s who worked on the wreck nick-named the apparition “Harry”, which has stuck with local cray fisherman who work near the Alkimos.

Bad Luck

The Alkimos has had eight different owners since being abandoned. It is believed that all eight suffered trauma during their ownership, from bankruptcy to severe illness. The skull of long-distance swimmer Herbert Voight was found near the wreck after he went missing on an attempt to swim from Cottesloe Beach to the island of Rottnest. The bad luck doesn’t end there; the US submariner Ted Snider was killed in a plane crash shortly after assessing the wreck, and researcher Jack Wong Sue was struck by an unknown respiratory disease and taken to intensive care shortly after writing the book Ghost of the Alkimos.

Number of other rumours have been relayed about the Alkimos. It is said that horses won’t pass the wreck along the beach, and dogs have become erratic and distressed in the area. A number of reports of near drownings and engine failures have been reported by people attempting to get close to the wreck by ship.

Visiting the Alkimos

Finding the Alkimos

Finding the Alkimos

In previous years it has been possible to see the wreck of the Alkimos by venturing over the dunes in a four-wheel drive. Unfortunately, since the start of development of the suburb of Alkimos, it is now difficult to gain entry. The land between the developed houses of Alkimos and the beach are being prepared for further development and as such have been fenced off. It may be possible to access the beach from Pipidinny Road a few kilometres further north, but this may prove difficult.

For more information on the Alkimos, try and get hold of a copy of Jack Wong Sue’s Ghost of the Alkimos or Dana Rasmussen’s Sunken Ships in the World’s Waters, Vol 6: Shipwrecks in Australia.

 

 

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Preston Beach Kangaroos

Western Grey Kangaroo at Preston Beach, Western Australia
Western Grey Kangaroo at Preston Beach, Western Australia

Western Grey Kangaroo at Preston Beach, Western Australia

Preston Beach is a small town just over an hours drive south of Perth, a minute south of where the Forrest Highway merges with the Old Coast Road. The town is situated in the Peel Region of WA between Mandurah to the north and Bunbury to the south, in the Yalgorup National Park. It is a delightful town with basic amenities, and the recently developed Footprints Resort of beach shacks and townhouses is a wonderful place to stay with a pool, cafe, and games room – great for children. A convenience store and service station can be found in the town, and the beach has toilets, showers, BBQ facilities, and a children’s play park.

There are a couple of walking paths in Preston Beach that meander through the national park and around Lake Preston, as well as along the white sandy beach and other nearby lakes.

Western Grey Kangaroos on Preston Beach Golf Course, Western Australia

Western Grey Kangaroos on Preston Beach Golf Course, Western Australia

Preston Beach is known for the town’s abundance of Western Grey Kangaroos, which is something to delight nature lovers. During the evening hours they can be seen all around, from the verges of the roadside to the sprawling golf course. There aren’t too many places around Perth where you can see so many of the creatures.

Other marsupials that can be found in the Preston Beach area include the Common Brushtail Possum and Bandicoot. Kangaroo Ticks can also be found in abundance, so be careful if you venture into the bush.

 

 

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Photos of Oyu Tolgoi (Оюу Толгой) Mine and Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia.

Oyu Tolgoi Mine Sunset - Gobi Desert - Mongolia

Australia is involved in a great deal of mining. Not only in Australia (Western Australia), but worldwide. I recently visited the Oyu Tolgoi mine in the Gobi Desert region of Mongolia. Oyu Tolgoi, or Оюу Толгой in Cyrillic, is a mine largely owned by Rio Tinto.

Read the article on Australian Mining Giants to Deprive Mongolians of Way of Life for more information on Oyu Tolgoi.

Here are a few photos I took of the Oyu Tolgoi mine in the Gobi desert:

Oyu Tolgoi Mine - Gobi Desert - Mongolia

Oyu Tolgoi Mine Sunset - Gobi Desert - Mongolia

Oyu Tolgoi Mine - Gobi Desert - Mongolia

Oyu Tolgoi Mine - Gobi Desert - Mongolia

 

Ulaanbaatar, or UB for short, is the capital city of Mongolia. During the winter months it becomes one of the worlds most polluted cities, predominantly because coal and oil is burnt to generate heat to combat the harsh climate of up to -45 degrees Celsius.

Here are a few photos taken in and around Ulaanbaatar. The scenery outside of the city is stunning, as you can see:

Ulaanbaatar Region

Ulaanbaatar Region

Ulaanbaatar Region - Frozen Lake

Ulaanbaatar Region

Ulaanbaatar Region - Genghis Kahn

 

 

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