ABC Saturday Breakfast Discovers Karrinyup and Gwelup

Last week for Hidden Treasure I explored Scarborough and promised something more about the area that make it a hidden treasure and perhaps the opportunity of a staycation to enjoy the sunset coast for longer than a day trip.

Earlier this year, Molly gave me some homework, made me read a book, and I think I met the challenge of studying about staycations and just how close they could be to home when we explored Innaloo as a Hidden Treasure.

I think she gave me a B+ on my assignment so I’m seeking permission to resubmit my assessment in the hope of attaining my first ever A.

Karrinyup and Gwelup.  Enjoy the audio link below, reading the story and looking at a few pics as well.

These are suburbs that many of us are familiar with.  Gwelup is a suburb you might travel through on the way to Karrinyup which has a shopping centre that was always big and has just emerged from a cocoon of scaffolding and is now even bigger and even has a mini golf course and bumper cars. 

The Only Lego Store in Western Australia

But while the shopping centre is Karrinyup’s known treasure there is hidden treasure in both Karrinyup and Gwelup.

There’s a place to stay in Karrinyup called Karrinyup Waters Resort that until a few weeks ago I’d never heard of and is where you go when you’re on L plates for camping and caravanning. There are very comfortable chalets if you don’t like the idea of reversing your caravan while every grown-up, child and resident duck watches you but that’s what staying here is all about. It’s like walking through an Anaconda catalogue. 

Karrinyup Waters Resort, a Camping World in our City

Wherever you look there’s sparkling off-road rigs and camper vans and 4WDs and tongs being flourished for bbqs that have the look and gleam of King Arthurs sword Excalibur.  This is where people come to learn how to reverse, set up and pack up all of this wonderful equipment before they venture into the world of regional Western Australia.

Plenty of Room for Every Size of Vehicle and Van

There are resort style pools that are as good as any of those we’re dreaming about when we can return to Bali and beyond and designed to be the reward for setting up camp successfully.  There’s a café that even locals sneak into for breakfast because the mushrooms they serve are as big as my hand and the range for pizzas is great for everyone in the family.

A Bit of Bali in Karrinyup

Careiniup Reserve runs alongside the Karrinyup Waters Resort and you can walk along the edge of the Reserve and there’s a little grassed area and gazebo on the western side that’s wonderful to sit and watch the bird life and because there’s a bit of water from a local brook, there are great photographic opportunities in a small reserve that is genuinely a little green oasis in the middle of suburbia.

Now Molly has been wanting to me to try and do a Hidden Treasure on flower vans and I haven’t quite got around to it but I did recently visit The Karrinyup Flower Shed is an operating vegetable and flower farm that is a reminder of what these suburbs once were, full of operating farms, many by migrant families, growing all sorts of produce. 

The Karrinyup Flower Shed is one of the few remaining small farms in the metropolitan area and as well as growing and selling more than 10,000 sunflowers every year they also sell the most bizarre multicolour flowers that are more like a kaleidoscope than a flower. 

A Sunflower Hours Away From Opening

Lake Gwelup has a boardwalk that winds its way over a mangrove style environment and you can spot tortoises and all sorts of birds, including perhaps the Rainbow Bee-Eater. 

Rainbow Bee-Eaters at Lake Gwelup

This migratory bird flies down from the highlands of Papua New Guinea just to breed at Lake Gwelup, although if there’s no room at the inn and all the sexy nests have the sign up that says ‘If This Nest Is Rockin’ Don’t Bother Knockin’ sign they will find another lake elsewhere in Perth to get down to business. 

Lake Gwelup also has a great trail around the lake that is about 2.5km and takes you past suburban cricket grounds with suburban champions at their best and through the wetlands.

Lake Gwelup Boardwalk

There’s also another trail that’s just a kilometre in length that makes its way through the native bushland in the north of the reserve and if driving to our regional areas to find wildflowers is all a bit hard then this patch of bushland always has a great range of wildflowers.

Jackson Wilding is a really good, simple park that is just full of logs and branches. I love this park because it’s a small and safe space with a very random feel to it. There’s no colourful slides or swings, just logs to climb and clamber over and branches to mount up into piles or make patterns in the dirt with.  It’s a park designed to let you get a bit dusty and maybe even a scratch or two if you’re a bit uncoordinated like me.

Now for sport, the Lake Karrinyup Country Club is on the other side of the road from the Karrinyup Waters Resort and if you are a member of an affiliated club or get special permission, you can relax on one of the great courses not just in Western Australia but in Australia. There’s even some resident and very judgemental big grey spectators!   

Karrinyup and Gwelup is a worthy Hidden Treasure of Perth because you can find yourself part of a camping community you might not have experienced before that is not far from home and get you thinking about familiar destinations as a traveller does, with fresh eyes for adventure.  

Always remember that what you spend on holidays, even a staycation, is outside your normal budget, it’s holiday spending. Karrinyup and Gwelup are also floral hidden treasures with a flower farm and natural bushland to explore. Do I get an A?

ABC Perth Saturday Breakfast: Snake pits to sunsets in Scarborough. There’s so much to see before you get to the sea.

Scarborough?  Why is Scarborough a Hidden Treasure?  It’s got one of the most famous beaches in WA and Australia stretching along our coastline.  For locals and tourists alike, Scarborough provides relief from the summer heat and for generations has been the place to go. 

Whether you’re a widgie or a bodgie, a skater or a surfer, a bruncher or a luncher, Scarborough is the beach precinct we pack out every summer.  So, I was set the challenge of finding Hidden Treasure in a known treasure and this is what he found. Enjoy the audio link below and enjoy a bit of reading as well:

Scarborough.  What I found was that you can enjoy Scarborough without getting the sand between your toes or anywhere else, or that pesky saltwater stinging your eyes.

There are buses, there is Aboriginal urban art, there are walking tours to clear the mind, lookouts to blow your mind and snake pits and whale skeletons to explore. 

There’s even a hill just for watching the dying of the days light. And there’s enough burgers or fish and chips or ice cream for before or after all that activity.

Let’s start with Saturday Morning on the foreshore promenade where you’ll find Perth’s newest market. 

You might be familiar with the iconic Sunset Markets but if you’re up and about early you can try the Scarborough Beach Farmers Markets full of healthy local fresh fruit and veges and breads and brightly coloured vans and stalls selling cookies and crème brulees and deep fried cheesecake!

Put some headphones on and listen to ABC Saturday Breakfast as you explore the Beach Farmers Markets on the Scarborough foreshore.

Before we come back to the foreshore, let’s walk off some of the mornings treats with Bush, Beach and Bubbles!

Fun Fact!  The sand dunes in the Trigg area (we’re calling it Scarborough today) are parabolic. Try a walking tour with the Hike Collective which is as much about mental health as it is about just a little bit of physical exercise.

So, back to the foreshore and still keeping our toes away from the sand and water and not giving the lifeguards anything to do, let’s have a walk through the giant Whale Playground which is great reminder of just how big whales are and just how much fun we can all have in a playground.

The Whale Skeleton Playground

The playground flows into the grassy Sunset Hill and some really cool Climbing Walls and of course the iconic, notorious and infamous Snake Pit where my mum use to trek to Scarborough from Midland to dance as a widgie and then cool off with a swim and a malt milkshake that hopefully some boy would buy her. 

These days the Snake Pit is for skaters, scooters and even little bikes if it’s not too busy.  Tip that beanie back on your head, put a scowl on your face and if I’ve got my skater lingo right, “fill your dives to 3.5 metres and hit the ramps, rails and banks.”

Ssssssssnake Pit!

Around the foreshore, take some time to follow the Tjunta Trail, an urban art trail that tells the story about how a spirit woman finds a group of children who go missing.  There are five locations around the foreshore that tell the story although when the markets are on you might find them hard to see.

Tjunta Trail

Is that enough walking about for a while?  Let’s hop on the newest tourist experience in Perth that ….. drumroll please …. is free!  It’s free!

It’s so free that queues are starting to form as word gets around of the double decker bus, the Sunset Coast Explorer, that makes its way from the Scarborough Pool and winds its away along the sunset coast. 

The Sunset Coast Explorer … wave at the locals and their lattes

The bus has a crew of conductors to answer questions and tell you to sit down if you’re clowning around up the top in the fresh air.  It’s a hop on hop off service and is running all summer every Saturday and Sunday.  Be a tourist, have some fun and wave at the locals at the all the cafes.

Watch the local wildlife in their natural habitat

One of Perth’s best hidden treasure museums has to be the Mount Flora Museum.  We’ve spoken previously about museums that only survive because of volunteers and Local Government support.  This is one of the best if you’re interested in the social history of the area.  Exhibitions feature ‘windows into the past’. Check online for when they’re open or call the City of Stirling.

On top of the museum is one of Perth’s best lookouts and we really are going to have to do a Hidden Treasure on views of Perth because it’s little wonder this lookout on top of the museum used to be an observation post during World War II.  The lookout also has a really vivid mural that encircles you in a complete 360 degree burst of colour and representation of Australian wildlife.

A brilliant and joyous, vibrant lookout with no smell of wee, old ciggy butts and beer cans

Scarborough is a hidden treasure because there’s a lot to do and see before you get to the sea.  Places to walk, places to sit, markets to explore, bus rides to whoop for joy and wave at the locals, local and ancient history, lookouts with views to forever all make Scarborough a staycation destination that I’ll tell you a more about next week.  But that’s a story for another day.

ABC Saturday Breakfast: Exploring and Reminiscing About North Fremantle

What a fantastic discussion with Ro and Molly! Crowded houses, Greek cliffs, dingoes, Frida Kahlo and stubborn cottages surrounded by an industrial tetris like world. Enjoy listening to the audio and reading a few words as well:

The dingo.  It’s a landmark.  The flour mill is heritage listed and the famous logo was first painted on the side in 1940 and famously repainted by a young Alan Bond. 

Do you ever think to yourself, I wish Perth had a giant Frida Kahlo mural?  Well now it does!  Once you’ve taken your pics of the big red dingo, step across the road and fill your camera lens with the joyous colours of the Plata Bonito mural of Mexican painter Frida Kahlo.  She doesn’t smile much but you will once you get inside the building. I came away with giant brightly coloured rosary beads that for a non-catholic I’m still wondering what I should do with them.

The Biggest Frida Kahlo Mural in the World

At Rocky Bay there is deep water which means you get a lot of party boats dropping anchor to let people jump off into the deep, protected waters of the bay.  There’s also a really interesting clifftop walk with beautiful views of the bay and river traffic coming and going and also a very cool tree that is perched on the cliff and grown sideways, making a great cubby spot for kids. There’s also an old tunnel from the days of the soap factory and an even older cave from the days of the wagyl.

Molly says the Rocky Bay Cliffs Remind Her of Greece

It doesn’t get much quieter than Gilbert Fraser Reserve on the banks of the Swan and where a little grandstand, in fact so small it has been referred to as a pavilion, but it’s spectator architecture at its best. Sit up in the stand and you can watch cricket and beyond the match just over the boundary rope are the lapping waters of the river with sometimes bigger lappings as the big boats chug past.

A Baby Grandstand

Mojos is famous in my family and will be famous for generations of music lovers to come.  Not only has it been a North Fremantle institution for live music for 50 years and modestly claims to be the best live music venue in the world, it is where Matilda first performed as lead singer of Dog Food, an all-girl band formed through a great music program called Girls Rock WA and that’s what sets Mojos feet firmly in their community.  It’s not just the biggest acts that attract an audience, it’s about new acts and opportunities.

Mojos

The North Fremantle war memorial reminds us of the contribution and sacrifice of our small communities.  North Fremantle had so many of its players killed and injured during World War I, including at Gallipoli, that they relinquished their WAFL licence.

North Fremantle had a WAFL Team, before World War I

“I wasn’t keen on letting my house go – I’d worked for it” is a wonderful quote from an ABC story a couple of years ago, by Carmel Mullally.

Here is a cottage that is more Castle than The Castle.

As they say in The Castle, “It’s not a house. It’s a home.”

There’s not a lot of serenity in a land dominated by a Tetris-like skyline of sea containers and rumbling trucks and bustling forklifts competing for who can be the loudest but it does feel quintessentially Australian that no only is life from another time hanging on in an industrial jungle but that it has also been allowed to survive and hasn’t just been squashed by dropping a sea container on it.

It’s not a house. It’s a home.

Over 800,000 sea containers were handled at Fremantle Harbour in the past year and if you’re not buying local for your Christmas presents I’d be getting those online orders in quickly.  I’m not into train spotting but I do like a bit of big industry spotting.  Here are logistics in action; shifting, lifting, scraping and storing. 

Fremantle Harbour is One Big Tetris Game

Why is the North Mole Lighthouse Red? It’s over 115 years old and is a great spot for some big rod fishing or quiet sitting at sunset.

Port Beach has reopened after the horrific shark attack last weekend.  I was down there and saw the incredible efforts of police and rescue agencies to use every resource they had.  If you’re not sure about getting back into the water, it’s a beautiful beach for sitting on the sand or in the waterfront café which looks out to a view that extends to South Africa.

North Fremantle offers you the opportunity to immerse yourself in an experience of sea, river, music and mooching.  It’s definitely worth an afternoon wander that perhaps turns into sitting on Port Beach or standing at the North Mole Lighthouse to watch the sun go down before watching the lights comes up at a live venue for an act that, if you’re lucky, might be my daughter!

Leopards and Lifesavers on ABC Saturday Breakfast

On ABC Saturday Breakfast we discovered Port Kennedy and Secret Harbour. There’s no port and there’s no harbour. But there’s still a lot to do and for us to talk about.

When I was a boy, the area was wild and the only inhabitants were an odd collective of shack owners and my girlfriends family had a holiday shack at what was then known as Long Point and the sandy track needed a real four drive to get out there.

I tried desperately to reach her in my Ford Escort and failed miserably.  Merrilee’s dad had to come and rescue the little Escort from a sandy grave.

These days there are boat ramps, golf courses and a golf pro shop that is unique in Australia as the only golf pro shop to sell pies and sausage rolls.  They’re not made by Titleist or Callaway, these are freshly delivered by the Pinjarra Bakery!  You can buy a few new tees for your golf bag and sneak a sausage roll into the side pocket. Just don’t drop your crumbs on the green.

Port Kennedy has a Leopard tank!  Nearly 10 metres long and 42 tonnes of steel tracks, turret and gun barrel.  A bunch of these steel behemoths were gifted to communities across WA and expect to see them on your travels through our towns, including Esperance, Geraldton and Bunbury but this is a great stop during your trip to Port Kennedy and Secret Harbour and I know it’s not quite a battleship but sitting on the barrel like Cher makes a great photo.

The tanks never left our shores, never fired a shot in anger and were used to train army personnel and feature in exciting tv recruitment advertisements.   

Scientific Park sits alongside the sea from Long Point and extends down to Secret Harbour.  From a science perspective the area provides a record of sea level and shoreline changes going back 7,000 years and from a visitor perspective the park is one of the Bush Forever sites that we last talked about when we discussed Mirrabooka so low impact recreation is allowed, like walking on paths and not running up and down the dunes.

Our good friend and activity, geocaching, is also on offer in the Scientific Park.  Download a geocaching app and see what you can find in Scientific Park and also in nearby Lagoon Park where you can also usually find some black swans hanging around.

Remember when playgrounds were just at the corner of ovals and featured a steel slide that even in winter had families using them as barbeques?

There are lots of good playgrounds around Perth but this summer, for a daytrip with your kids or the grandkids, the day can kick off with a bang at the Harbour Playground.  There are big things to climb up, jump off, scramble through and swing down and has an underwater theme with seaweed ropes, whirlpool nets and a giant octopus guarding its lair.

It’s a very accessible playground for kids with disability and the interpretive signage is also written in braille. It’s great to see councils investing in playgrounds that capture inclusiveness as well as imagination.

It is a great warm up act before walking through the dunes to the beach less than a minute’s walk away.

Would you like to meet the surf lifesaving crew with the biggest smiles in Perth?  The Secret Harbour Surf Life Saving Club.

Very smiley lifesavers

One of the reasons is that one of their members is 81-year-old Alan who joined as a young ‘un when he was 73.  Rebecca runs the Nippers down there and is famous for training her up and coming lifesavers to never stop smiling, even when people are doing the wrong thing on a beach that is famous for always having waves. Thanks for calling into the show Rebecca!

Secret Harbour is renowned for having the only beach in Perth that has waves all year round that is perfect for skim boarders, boogie boarders, beginner and professional surfers.  It’s a very popular beach on Boxing Day for debuting for all those Christmas present boogie boards.

It’s a wide beach that’s nearly 6 kilometres long so plenty of room for everyone to relax, paddle, splash and smash without getting in the way of other people.

Port Kennedy and Secret Harbour have Rockingham to the north and Mandurah to the south.  Both of those destinations are loved by Western Australians for the fishing and other aquatic activities from boats, jetties and beaches.

Utes, boats and jet ski’s are Port Kennedy institutions

Port Kennedy and Secret Harbour are a Hidden Treasure because  if you spend some time there this summer, between the two bordering tourist hot spots of Rockingham and Mandurah, you’ll find a quieter spot and you’ll find a car spot closer to the beach and playgrounds and you’ll also find a great pie from a golf pro shop, just don’t walk in there with sandy feet.

As published in Have A Go News newspaper and online … don’t let the players on the field have all the fun when you visit Optus Stadium

The Romans knew the value of a good stadium didn’t they?  Can you imagine doing a tour of the Colosseum when it was at its peak?  Game day at the Colosseum may have had more on the line for most of the participants but just to have walked through the service tunnels and holding cells and then maybe walking around the top, seeing up close the linen sails that extended outwards on elaborate rope and pulley systems to provide shade for the audience, would have been amazing.

Having zipped up my Ozone ‘Ghostbuster’ jumpsuit and climbed into my harness and adjusted my straps, I walk with the other members of our merry band through the bowels of Optus Stadium, past crates of plates and all sorts of things destined for what is above. There are no lions, gladiators, Roman centurions or terracotta amphorae filled with wine, but there’s still a lot going on.

But we’re going higher than those who are sitting in the seats and corporate boxes, we’re even going higher than the stadium’s halo roof, a continuous fabric cantilevered structure that circles the stadium, providing valuable shade and spectacular lighting displays.

Listen and lean

We’re heading more than 40 metres off the ground to a small row of seats where harnesses keep you safe but can’t restrain your excitement as you watch a match unfold from a perspective even Roman Emperors couldn’t dream about.

This is what amplifying your experience is all about when you come to Optus Stadium. Getting as much out of your experience as possible and being a part of the narrative of your adventure, not just relying on the teams playing on the field below you to provide all of the drama and excitement.

If the height and the view is not quite enough of a challenge then you can always do the lean out, relying on your tour leaders’ instructions and your harness to prevent your fall.  With your back to the field, you inch your way backwards, right to the very edge, and hold your harness line and then lean out and let go of your harness.

As good as I get at handballing

A few photos will be taken that show you holding your arms out or pretending to handball a footy.  I’ve already decided to do the tour again because I want to do the lean out and pretend I’ve gone up for a big mark of the footy. 

This experience is all about levels.  Literally and metaphorically.  You literally go up to the highest level of the stadium to reach your seat.  You ride a lift, climb 78 steps, emerge through hatches and at each level the view gets better and better. On a catwalk alongside the stadium lights, you walk around the stadium until you’re at the eastern end.

This is where you’ll find your seat, the highest seats in the house and if you think it can’t get any better that’s when you can take it to the next level and lean out over the edge. 

From a sporting perspective I enjoy my footy but have mates who love it more.  I couldn’t help thinking of my mates, not just for the excitement of the experience, but for the perspective you have with an aerial view. 

Every twitch of a player, the transfers of play, the switches and flow of the game is entrancing.  It’s like watching the coach’s magnet board come to life!

Don’t drop your chewy

As a precinct, get ready to do more than watch some great sport when you come to Optus Stadium. Get ready to participate.  Get ready to lean out off the edge of the most beautiful stadium in the world and let rip with a huge scream. 

With the HALO experience, Matagarup Bridge climb and soon to be launched 400m zipline, plus Aboriginal cultural tours and stadium behind the scenes tours, there’s so much you can do with your time when you visit Optus Stadium.

There doesn’t even need to be a game on.  Optus Stadium is more than a beautiful sporting arena, it’s already got history and atmosphere and even though it’s new, it has that rite of passage feeling about it that means you want visit it, whether you’re visiting Perth or looking for a day out if you live in Perth.

Want to Know More?

The Ozone booking office and merchandise store is located at the western end of Optus Stadium and their website is www.theozone.com.au.

Verdict

With only a moderate level of fitness you can do the game day rooftop experience all year long, or on a quiet weekday with no sport. The HALO experience will meet your need for an awesome view and level of excitement with great staff and great harnesses. And you get a free cap!

ABC Saturday Breakfast Discovers Hidden Treasure in Bassendean

Hidden Treasures is coming off an amazing exploration last weekend of jetties around Western Australia and this weekend we thought we might slow down the pace of things.

A bit like when you’re on the country highways and hit those little towns that require you to slow down from 110 to 60, our next Hidden Treasure is about swinging in off a busy road and slowing down to the pace of life in a suburb that might remind you of growing up, or perhaps just visiting, a favourite country town.

Like those big entry statements that our country towns love, let’s give you a big ‘Welcome to Bassendean’!

Let’s start at the outskirts of Bassendean where you’ll find more trains than a Thomas the Tank Engine book. And carriages as well!

The Railway Museum in Bassendean is on the north side of the tracks and is as much about restoration as it is exhibition and is open every Wednesday and Sunday afternoon.

There are steam engines like the beautiful Katie, that began her service in 1881 on the Fremantle to Guildford line and big old diesel engines and carriages in various states of restoration and all with dreams of hauling people and cargo once more.

Katie

This year has been very important to the museum as it marks 150 years of railways in Western Australia when the first track was built in 1871 down near Busselton.

Just like so many heritage museums and sites around Western Australia, the Railway Museum would just be a scrapyard without volunteers to light the place up with enthusiasm and skill and the work they put into making the museum interesting to kids is wonderful, particularly the birthday parties in an old 1947 dining carriage.

Crossing over to the south side of the tracks, it’s just a short drive along Guildford Road to the intersection with Old Perth Road which is where you will find the main street of Bassendean.

I’ve been told to move on from banging on about jetties so I’ve picked a new subject to get all misty eyed about … main streets.

Bassendean is like a country town for lots of reasons but right up there at the top is its main street.  While the old Bassendean Hotel is still finishing its renovation there are shops and urban art on this street that are really enjoyable to explore and mooch your way through. 

The main street of Bassendean is just like the main street of country towns.  Last week I spoke about jetties being the first opportunities for independence, being allowed to be on a jetty without my parents, armed with a tackle box and a couple of handlines.

Old Perth Road, the main street of Bassendean

Main streets are the same.  I was allowed to walk down my hometown main street, looking at the book exchange, newsagency and ask the butcher for a slice of polony. As Sue and I had an earlier chat about, her kids could walk into the shops of the main street in her town and they were known as her kids, just as she is known as her parents youngest daughter even now when she goes home.

Last weekend I walked down the Bassendean main street.  There were cafes that serve polite conversation.  Really.  The sign out the front advertises coffee, food and polite conversation. There was a butcher, a book exchange, gift shops selling gorgeous local products, including the weirdest candles I’ve ever seen and will not be drawn to describe them further!

Polite Conversation

There’s urban art that is turning those unattractive bits of our environment into something more as part of the Whimsical Art Project, adding life and colour to street poles, drains and broken paving.

For some great outdoor areas in Bassendean head down to the river and if the river isn’t enough for you to enjoy then here are three reserves on its banks. Beach Reserve has a couple of small beaches perfect for kids and are also popular launching spots for stand-up paddle boarders. Just up from Beach Reserve are the native bush expanses of Bindaring Park and around the corner, near the bridge that leads to Guildford is Swan Reserve which has some great mosaic sculptures in a bush setting, it also overlooks two rivers (Fun Fact: it’s called a confluence) and there’s a group of geese that will hiss and lower their heads at you but still take your bread crumbs.

Geese at Swan Reserve (alternative title ‘Old Ducks Surrounded by Geese’)

It is so good of me to find time to mention Bassendean Oval.  Although they are the home to an average footy club, the ground is well above average.

Like all good WAFL grounds, it’s open to run onto and enjoy a kick to kick with a mate or your kids or just to walk a few laps around and look at the beautifully maintained heritage of two of Perth’s greatest grandstands, the Bill Walker Stand and MacDonald Stand.

The Heritage Gates to Bassendean Oval

Bassendean is a Hidden Treasure because it’s a reminder to me of everything I love about regional Western Australia and ‘savouring familiar sights’

Little shops with staff who love to talk, people sitting on park benches watching the world go by, houses with verandas, streets with kids playing cricket, bush to explore and a footy oval close by, a main street close by and a community close by and not closed off.

ABC Saturday Breakfast discovers the wonderful world of jetties

We’ve discovered on Hidden Treasures that when I’m set a challenge there are familiar themes that come up. 

I try to please Ro by finding a sporting venue and I love a roadtrip and love a good fish burger.

There’s something else though that is regularly described in Hidden Treasures and we’ve put together a big Hidden Treasure program to talk about this one. 

To talk about walking on them, jumping off them, photographing them and catching things from them we brought in regular guest Ben Carlish from RecFish to help out, as we explore … jetties of Western Australia!

Below is the audio file from a great Hidden Treasure discussion…

Jetties! Where are they?  Why do we love them? Can we ever get me to stop talking about them?

Short or long, there’s more than 4300 of them in WA

Firstly, to my research and networks who have provided me with a number of how many jetties are in WA … approximately.  We could run this as a competition but I think I’m too excited about this number and just want to reveal it. 4300 jetties in WA!

For me, my school holidays in Rockingham are where my love of jetties began and it was two jetties in particular.  A jetty that is gone now but was just about one hundred metres west of the current jetty that serves the yacht club and dolphin cruise charters.  My brother Michael and I used to spend time throwing crab nets into the water and it was a well-lit jetty and we could look down and watch the crabs scuttle slowly across the bottom and into our nets.

The other jetty which was the original Palm Beach Jetty was as brilliant for fishing off as it was jumping off, sometimes not of your own choosing if the local bogans wouldn’t let you go past and there was only one way back to land.

Wherever I travel to if there’s a jetty I have to see what’s being caught and if I’m prepared, like I was on Wadjemup a few weeks ago, I’ll pack a squid line and see what’s in the depths off the end of the jetty.

I leave walking on a jetty when no one is on it and seeing the evidence of mighty fights with squid ink sprayed about the place.

The blue boatshed in Crawley is world famous for its insta worthiness and the Busselton jetty is also a very well-known tourism icon for Western Australia. 

I love the Point Walter jetty and I’m sure Ben knows more about this than me, but, in the river, how far out of the water our jetties sit depends on the tide and I’ve seen the Point Walter jetty barely visible and it’s great to walk on and feel like you’re walking on water.

What’s down there I wonder?

There is a great jetty at the Bicton baths that goes right around the swimming area.

Remember the main jetty and the nearby fueling jetty over on Wadjemup.  At night time on the island these are great places to bring in a giant kraken as it squirts ink on the luxury boats moored around you. 

Fueling Jetty at Wadjemup

A rite of passage for little kids is to swim out the few metres out to the Matilda Bay jetty and jump off the end, crowning the achievement if you land on a big brown jelly.

Coogee Jetty is brilliant for jumping off and because it’s t-shaped you’ve got a few different areas to jump off with less risk of landing on anyone.

The Penguin Island jetty is creating great memories as a great hangout for Tom and I to catch squid at night and it’s where we have manly chats and childish farts in the darkness. 

Jetties are hidden treasures because you can do so much from them. You can be as active as life gets by hurling yourself off them. You can sit quietly and cast a line. You can solve the problems of the world with a mate or you can just walk out to see what’s at the end. Hidden treasure doesn’t get much better than a jetty.

The surging, muddy tide under the Derby Jetty

ABC Saturday Breakfast Explores Perth’s Smallest Suburb

With just over 2000 residents and an area less than half a square kilometre, you might be forgiven for thinking there couldn’t be a lot to see in our next Hidden Treasure on ABC Saturday Breakfast.

Like some of our other Hidden Treasures, our next discovery sits quietly alongside some bigger neighbours but doesn’t rely on their crumbs to survive. 

With a strong community, an iconic park and exciting laneways behind cafes and bakeries bulging with donuts, let’s take a walk through what is very possibly Perth’s smallest suburb and find out what one of Perth’s most loved treasures likes about this hidden treasure

Highgate!

By absolute coincidence, our Hidden Treasure this weekend shares a lot in common with last week’s Hidden Treasure, where we discovered South Fremantle.

There is a backbone, or artery that is the focal point for activity for locals and visitors.  Where South Fremantle has South Tce, Highgate has Beaufort Street.  Where South Freo has South Beach, Highgate has Hyde Park.  And where South Fremantle has a big neighbour in Fremantle, Highgate has Perth City and Mount Lawley.

But when I visited South Fremantle I found iconic history with the Mills and Ware biscuits but in Highgate I found a living icon, a living treasure, who, more than just loving a quiet coffee in Highgate, loves the ABC and he loves Hidden Treasure … Dennis Cometti!

Mr Cometti loves the ABC and Highgate

For Mr Cometti, Dennis to me, Highgate cafes are just a bit quieter than the cafes up the road in Mount Lawley and he looks for one with lots of tables so he can sprawl out a newspaper.

Let’s take a walk around Hyde Park in glorious Kambarang sunshine.  Hyde Park is always filled with walkers, kids birthday parties, turtles and birds and is full of big Moreton Bay Fig Trees with massive buttress roots, perfect hiding spots during Hide and Seek.

As well as its current appeal for picnics and birdwatching and festivals and food trucks, Hyde Park is a significant historical site for Whajuk Noongar People who loved living by what was then more of a wetland area.

Facilities include benches, barbeques, water playgrounds, stages, fitness equipment and lots of grass and walking paths. 

Hyde Park

Across the road from Hyde Park heading east is Perth’s darkest street, Mary Street.  Completely enveloped by the canopies of huge trees, this street is more like a scene out of Harry Potter than a Perth suburb.  It’s gloriously dark and cool and leads straight through to Beaufort Street.

As you walk down Mary Street and just before you hit Beaufort Street, look for Mereny Lane which is completely muralised on both sides of the road.  Follow the laneway and enjoy the colours and opportunities for all those insta worthy pics. 

Highgate laneways are full of urban art

A bit further along Beaufort Street on the Highgate end, keep a look out for a little accessway that links Mereny Lane with Beaufort Street that has some tech urban art.  Little pictures on muralised walls that have QR codes that when opened on your phone play music and tell you more about the artwork and interact with it beyond just looking at it. 

Highgate high tech urban art

If you know Highgate or have just driven through, you’d probably be aware of the huge landmark on Lincoln Street, the ventilation stack.  Built in 1935 as a sewer vent it’s a 38-metre art deco vent and the second tallest poo chimney in Australia (biggest is 40 metres in Sydney). 

The big vent

Next to the big vent is the Police Museum is on Lincoln Street and only open a couple of days a week on Tuesdays and Fridays but the old Highgate Police Station has old uniforms, handcuffs and batons and tactical response armoured cars and old motorcycles and speed cameras and an interesting history as a secret wireless station during World War II.

Given the stereotype that police love donuts, it’s probably not a coincidence that the police museum has been set up in a suburb that is the donut capital of Australia with more bakeries and cafes selling donuts per resident than any other suburb in Australia.

Highgate is a hidden treasure because there are layers and spaces between your destinations in this suburb that need exploring.

Highgate proves that being small and having big neighbours doesn’t mean you only get the crumbs, you can bake the bread as well.

Have fun with a camera in arty laneways. Have fun with your phone by hovering it over techy urban art and see what happens.  There’s Perth’s darkest street and one of Perth’s most loved parks. 

In Highgate you can have your donut and eat it too, all in a space that’s more like a little country town than a suburb so close to the heart of the city.

Highgate urban art … walk the suburb and find your colours

ABC Saturday Breakfast Discovers Biscuits, Bulldogs, Bare Feet & Jam Tarts!

For ABC Perth Saturday Breakfast we discovered one of our smallest suburbs is walkable and adorable.

If I was to tell you that you could walk or drive down the main drag of this suburb and stop and chat to adults lying on the verge in hammocks and other variations of swing chairs, what suburb comes to mind?

No caption needed

Our next hidden treasure was once famous for its biscuits and its bulldogs but these days there’s a few other reasons to make your way to a suburb worth wandering about and taking it easy.  Maybe take a hammock.

South Fremantle. 

This is a suburb that I used to visit every Sunday to listen to the Jam Tarts back in the day at the Seaview Hotel.  Rockabilly pop was so cool and the Jam Tarts were the coolest. 

Exploring South Fremantle reminded me of those days because I have a daughter who is soon to be a world famous musician and I like sending her photos of things that would make great album covers and that’s another reason to enjoy a gentle suburban exploration of  South Fremantle because it is full of album cover worthy scenery.

South Fremantle by coincidence more than design has the layout of a fish skeleton.  There is a big backbone that has most of the weight and then the ribs coming off the backbone are smaller and lighter and filled with cottages with more geraniums than my nana’s concrete swans.  For South Fremantle the backbone is South Terrace which begins further north in Fremantle and then flows through the heart of South Fremantle.

Park your car somewhere along South Terrace and start looking around.  A bit like how the green cactus in Forrest Place is a meeting point in the CBD, the zebra mural is a good meeting point for South Fremantle locals or visitors to the area.  

The two zebras face each other with all the colours of a kaleidoscope and written above them is ‘Ootong and Lincoln’ which may be the names of the two zebra but also happens to be the name of the premises the mural is painted on and inside you’ll find everything to fill your retro heart; colourful 1980’s phones stuck on the wall, old trikes and my nana’s dining table and chairs; glorious Laminex in pale greens, blues and pinks and plenty of space to sit with your kids or a Zoom meeting on your laptop.

Hello! Chris speaking!

That’s what South Fremantle is all about, people who get out of their houses and meet up on South Terrace.

Outside Ootong and Lincoln, take a jump to the left or jump to right, avoiding fellas reclining in hammocks and swing chairs,  and you’ll find small boutiques with racks of vintage clothes and that’s another important feature of South Fremantle, lots of small shops.  Small shops doing big things for locals and visitors.

Small shops where there’s lots to be discovered

It used to be the opposite.  South Fremantle used to be about being a big employer with big factories, including the Mills and Ware Biscuit Factory – home of the little suitcase full of biscuits that you’d buy at your local show.

Mills and Ware was the biggest supplier of biscuits in Western Australia and the South Fremantle factory, barely off South Terrace, opened in 1899 and closed in 1992.

The biscuit factory are now apartments but there’s a park and there’s enough of the original factory structure to make it a pilgrimage for those that remember their favourite biscuit.  Biscuit.  Not cookie.

Big biscuits

To please the pilgrims there are large sculptures of biscuits in the park and you can try and remember the names of your favourite biscuit.  Unfortunately I couldn’t find a representation of a gingernut biscuit. The king of biscuits.

Back on South Terrace there are fresh seafood shops and seafood cafes with fresh prawn tacos that remind us of the fishing boat harbour not more than a fishing rods cast away.  These days the fishing boat fleet is smaller but any walk around boats and jetties is always interesting and watching hulls being scraped and masts being rigged in the shipyards is a day out any day of the week.

My next stop is probably the number one reason to come to South Fremantle, particularly as the sun starts to warm us all up.

The South Beach Recreation Reserve is the end of the line for the suburb and throws all of its eggs into a basket of summer fun for everyone.  It starts with a dog beach and playground at the northern end of this little precinct and then opens up into sprawling lawns with lots of shade and a perfect beach for all ages, looking out to Wadjemup, Carnac and Garden Islands.

There’s a café that your kids can walk into barefeet for a drumstick and in summer there are night time markets on Saturday nights that are described as being community based for young and old and lovers and friends and when you walk through South Fremantle, everyone won’t be a lover but everyone will be your friend.

South Fremantle is a hidden treasure because it’s completely walkable in thongs, down streets with sleepy men in hammocks to retro cafes and vintage shops with laughing barefoot kids.

There are nostalgic memories of old biscuits, old phones and old bands playing in old pubs and swimming and markets on balmy summer nights. 

The only thing it doesn’t have is a 2021 Premiership WAFL team, but there’s always next year.

Big biscuits

ABC Perth visits Kwinana … still a bit of industry but there’s a lot more to take a look at.

For ABC Saturday Breakfast, Hidden Treasures often finds itself in the job of discovering suburbs we normally just drive through on the way to somewhere else, or suburbs that just seem to be too suburban to be of interest.

Our next Hidden Treasure is a lot more.  Our next Hidden Treasure challenges a perception that’s been around since the 1970’s.  Our next Hidden Treasure challenges you to stop awhile in a part of Perth that’s far from suburbia but still part of the metropolitan area.

When I was a kid, I’d listen to the stories my dad and his mates would tell on the veranda of our little holiday house in Shoalwater Bay.  From Japanese Army Helmets found on the end of Garden Island to giant sharks off Woodman Point, these stories always seemed to be something they’d overheard on the boat ramp.

Fun Fact: Boat ramps were the internet of the day.

One of the stories I remember hearing, when I was dragging a Jatz cracker through the French Onion dip, was how fish caught in Cockburn Sound would arc when cooked in microwave ovens because of the metal content caused by industry pollutants.

Irrespective of the truth and accuracy of this story, it’s a bit metaphoric for how we felt about Cockburn Sound in the 1970’s, and the area we know as … Kwinana.

Well, most of the industry is still there but there’s also a lot more in Kwinana, including a strong sense of community that is proud of new facilities, old heritage and even older culture.

Let’s start with a remarkable wetland and bush walk experience that is ridiculously close to the Kwinana Freeway but you wouldn’t know it.

The Spectacles Wetlands is named for its aerial view which shows two circular lakes joined by a narrow drain, making it look like a pair of spectacles. 

The Spectacles are spectacular

The Spectacles is 360 hectares and part of the wider Beeliar Regional Park and has great Noongar interpretative signage along a 5km heritage walk trail and explains the perspective and special importance of the area to Noongar Elder Joe Walley.

As well as the Aboriginal Heritage Walk Trail, there’s a boardwalk over the wetlands which feature a paperbark forest and lead you to the Biara Lookout which is the perfect location to sit quietly and watch the lakes resident birdlife.

Aboriginal Heritage Walk Trail signage

This is the reason why I’d do a day out in Kwinana.  Come to the Spectacles and then do the other things we’re going to talk about but come for the trails and boardwalk, the wetlands, Aboriginal stories and big spiders in big webs and a paperbark forest partly submerged in wetlands that provide amazing reflections from the still water.

Chalk Hill has a panoramic view to Rockingham, Wadjemup and the Darling Escarpment. It’s also where local Aboriginal people who worked at the nearby refineries used to live because prior to the 1967 Referendum, Aboriginal people didn’t qualify for housing. Going further back in time the hill was used by local Aboriginal groups to light signal fires. It’s a nice steep walk up a sealed path and short dirt track.

Sitting at the bottom of Chalk Hill is Smirk Cottage. This small, two bedroom cottage built in the 1900’s, cared for by the Kwinana Heritage Group and around the grounds are lots of examples of old agricultural machinery and equipment and who doesn’t love sitting on an old tractor.

Just four years ago the Adventure Park won best park in Australia.  It’s got boardwalks, flying foxes, climbing nets, a tree maze, water play, squirting pelicans, great birthday party facilities that you can hire, including one with a kitchen! If you’ve got a kid that is too cool for playgrounds there’s a huge skate park next door.

Adventure Park, Kwinana

For walkers and cyclists and with multiple entry and exit points along the 21 kilometre route try the Kwinana Loop Trail.  Look for the Aboriginal heritage signs along the route to get a better understanding and connection with the bushland you’re travelling through.

Amongst the smoke stacks, desalination plant and refineries is a pristine beach for horses. In summer there can be dozens of good looking horses splashing about, lying back on a blanket reading the form guide or playing volleyball like Tom Cruise in Top Gun.  On my visit I met a champion of WA trotting, Mighty Conqueror.  It may sound like an ambitious name but he’s got the wins and the prize money to make him worthy of the name.

Kwinana Horse Beach, where all the good looking horses hang out

The SS Kwinana shipwreck is a big cargo and passenger steamship that ran aground in the 1920’s onto what we now call Kwinana Beach. In the 1960’s, inspired by South Fremantle Oval, it was filled with concrete.  It’s good to walk the length of an old ship and imagine where the bow was and the bridge and the boilers, and on the sides you can still see rusty steel plates and rivets. 

For a day trip feast, whether you like it greasy by the beach or grilled at a table there are plenty of great fish and chip shops in Kwinana.

Kwinana is a hidden treasure not because it’s reinvented itself but because its learned to live with itself and tell a bigger, better story. 

The industry is still there but look closer and you’ll find ancient stories, wetlands, views, shipwrecks, beaches for long legged champions and adventure parks for little legged champions.

Lots of adventures to be found and enjoyed in Kwinana