Here’s a test for you. How many days could you spend exploring your local area, say within a one hour radius of home, doing things that you haven’t done before? When you really think about it and start to list them, I think you’ll be surprised at the answer. I certainly was.
We are creatures of habit and most of us tend to gravitate towards the familiar. Whether it’s eating out, taking the kids to the park or beach or spending a day out with friends, we tend to choose a place that we’ve visited before. We feel comfortable with the familiar, yet when we are on holiday in an unfamiliar environment we will Google the place, find things to do and places to go. We will pick up brochures from hotels and we will head off into unknown territory to explore. Why don’t we do that at home?
But that is exactly what I did over this Easter weekend, I thought about doing something that I hadn’t done before and came up with quite a list. This list making began when my granddaughter asked if she could come and visit from interstate. Obviously the answer was yes, but then, what to do while she was here. A bored teenager is not a good thing and, although shopping is always a winner, she could do that at home and I needed something a little more touristy.
I live ten minutes from AQWA (the aquarium of Western Australia), one of the biggest tourist drawcards in Perth, and I have never been there. It’s at Hillary’s Boat Harbour, where I’ve been dozens of times for coffee, drinks, browsing the shops etc, but I’ve never ventured down to AQWA.
On Easter Saturday that’s where I headed with granddaughter in tow. It’s an amazing place and well worth the price of admission.
On Sunday we grabbed my daughter and her youngest, the eight year old, and had a girl’s day. We headed to Shoalwater, 45 minutes south of Perth, and caught the ferry to Penguin Island. Again something I had never done before, and what a brilliant place it is for family picnics. Situated in the calm waters of Shoalwater Bay, there is a shaded picnic area and sheltered little beaches that are very child friendly.
Home to Western Australia’s largest colony of Fairy Penguins, with around 1000 nesting pairs, this island is managed by the Department of Conservation and Land Management and has boardwalks throughout the island to protect the wildlife. Rockingham Wild Encounters, the company that provides tourism to the area, has been recognised for its dedication to ecotourism with several local and national awards.
Unfortunately, you rarely get to see the penguins in the wild, as they keep well hidden during the day, but make sure you attend one of the feeding sessions at the island’s Discovery Centre. You’ll be able to see these cute little things up close and learn a bit more about them from the island’s staff.
My list has many more activities on it, an eco tour on a catamaran, whale watching, a spa retreat weekend in the hills and a 4WD tour to the Pinnacles, are just a few. I’ll keep you updated if, or should I say when, I get to tick some of them off.