And I Took The Road Less Travelled. What About You?

Perth! What’s your favourite street and how do you like to travel?

Enjoy listening to the audio from ABC Perth Saturday Breakfast that included a very special guest, Perth’s famous traffic reporter, Bernie D!

One of the ways we really get on a roll is when we talk about a topic that includes a roadtrip.  We both love a roadtrip and a reason to see something that requires time spent driving is good time spent. 

Some of the stories we’ve done that have been linked to roadtrips include hometowns and lakes, country destinations including Dryandra and the Avon Valley and where you can find Aboriginal tourism experiences.

We’ve also sought to slow you down and ask you to explore a suburb. Rather than just race through on your way to work, come back on a weekend and make it your destination. Explore Mount Hawthorn or Bull Creek, Karrinyup or Bassendean.

The Main Street of Bassendean

Tips for a good roadtrip:

  1. Make it about what’s on the way, not just what’s at the end.  Be prepared to stop if anyone in the car wants to.
  2. With the point above in mind, plan your trip based on time for stops not the kilometres you’re travelling. By distance it should always take me less than two hours to get to Narrogin but we stop to climb up Sullivan Rock, stop at Williams Woolshed for a sausage roll and if we go through Wandering we stop to look at bulls and sometimes horses.  It’s a 2-3 hour trip.
  3. Do a bit of research.  You may have a clear destination but what’s around the corner from your destination?
  4. Find something to buy. Local jams, local art, find something that is a reminder of a great day out … like a talc rock from Three Springs!
  5. Who’s on the bench?  If something is closed, how are you going to use your time without heading straight back home.  Who’s coming off the bench to save the day?

Road travels are hidden treasures because they can be easily planned, easily budgeted for, can be any length you want and is the best reason you’ll ever have to create a new playlist.

Travelling for Sport

When we started Hidden Treasures on ABC Perth Saturday Breakfast in 2021, it was intended that I would speak every couple of weeks.  After a few months of fortnightly discussions, I was asked to come in every week.

Well, we’ve reached a milestone.  This is our 50th episode of Hidden Treasures.  To mark this achievement we’ve got a special guest lined up to contribute to our discussion about some of our favourite hidden treasures over the past 50 episodes.

We’re lifting our bat for the half century.

While we’ve travelled regionally and even gone overseas, this show is grounded in the discoveries you can make in Perth. 

A little city hanging on to the edge of a continent that has so much to offer for staycations or day trips with destinations motivated by sport, culture, hunger or just because you want to hit the road for an afternoon and see what’s out there.

Fun Fact!  Half of our episodes have featured a suburb of Perth.

Fun Fact! In nearly half of our episodes I’ve found a way to mention that I grew up in Narrogin.

Fun Fact! One episode inspired you to travel to a long lost theme park.

One of our best hidden treasures is discovering sport around Perth that you might not have known about or maybe always known about but never gone to.

One of our favourite stories last year was when we talked about WAFL grounds and what it’s like to attend a WAFL match. 

Claremont FC’s Trophy Case (not a real tiger)

The support from WAFL clubs who let me hang out at their Members Bar and to the mighty South Fremantle Bulldogs who let me hangout with the team after a big win.  To talk about the footy, footy food and tribalism was great fun.

On the day of the AFL Grand Final we also did a story about different sports you could watch or have a go at in Perth.

Bring on Clint Wheeldon from ABC Sport!

We asked Clint where he’s travelled for sport and why is sport such a great reason to travel.

We talked about what we have stolen from a sporting ground. For me, I’ve taken grass from Lords and the MCG.

Travelling for sport sometimes has to be done at all costs.  My wife allowed me to spend a fortune to see the Socceroos v Uraguay in 2002. I was like a Roman Emperor in the Southern Stand of the MCG.

Travelling for sport can also be a pilgrimage or a party.  Sometimes it’s just about seeing the ground even if there’s no game being played.  Sometimes it is about travelling with friends or a tour group and seeing your favourite sport.

So after 50 episodes what have we learnt? What makes Hidden Treasures a hidden treasure?  Because we have fun and the reason we have fun is because there’s so much out there and all you need is a reason to find it. 

Reconnect with a hometown, stop for a while in a suburb you normally just commute through or find hidden treasure in known treasure, like we did on Wadjemup, or take a break in Perth like we did in Innaloo and Karrinyup as part of staycation homework for Molly, or take the advice of my man Tom and get to a regional show.

Get out there and find a rite of passage like Ebonnie’s trip to Busselton Jetty or find any jetty, like we did with Ben Carlish from Recfishwest. Find a new sport like Padel, or find a fishburger or laneway mural.

Why is travelling for sport a Hidden Treasure?  You don’t have to play it to enjoy it?  Take a road trip to a country footy match and honk your horn, or just take a walk down to your suburban ground.

Sport is yet another reason to get out and about. It’s the eye of the tiger, it’s the thrill of the fight and it’s the thrill of finding something new to do and finding a new tribe to enjoy it with.

What ground do you want to walk onto?

Have You Travelled for a Special Milestone or Occasion?

It was Ro’s idea that we do a Hidden Treasure show about travelling for a special occasion or milestone. She had just returned from yet another trip to the Kimberley, this time for the birthday of a favourite aunty.

Landing in Broome … again

On Hidden Treasures we often find ourselves focused, or more accurately – distracted – by the reasons for travel.  We’ve talked recently about rites of passage and hometowns, and we started thinking about other reasons why we head to a destination.

Sometimes it’s for the bucket list, sometimes it’s to get a tan.  What about when it’s for an occasion?  Have you travelled to attend a wedding? Have you travelled for a birthday celebration, or perhaps conspired with your partner to secretly elope?

This weekend on Hidden Treasures, we’re exploring the travels we’ve done to mark a special occasion.  Where’s the furthest you’ve been for a wedding, a birthday, a funeral, a wedding anniversary, or another occasion you might like to tell us about.

Did you still have to buy a present or was attending a far flung destination considered a good enough gift?

The first time my wife Rebecca and I travelled overseas was for a wedding.  In his grooms speech, in front of a setting Tuscan sun, Simon remarked quite accurately that the wedding was an excuse for most guests to have a broader European experience. 

A wedding in Tuscany was actually part of a ‘broader European experience’

Affordable luxury for a large group is also a motivating factor in travel for an occasion. My friend Annie got married in Bali because she wanted a luxury experience for all of her guests that in her hometown was going to be difficult to accomplish.

I’ve been to Broken Hill for a wedding and I doubt I would have ever visited Broken Hill if not for the invitation to attend a wedding. 

That’s the point isn’t it.  It’s the destinations you got to go to that you may not have ever gone to without an event to attend.

It’s not just weddings, birthdays and other occasions, I’m also interested in those life milestones that inspire travel, like Josh getting his P plates a couple of weeks ago.  For his first time driving solo, where did Josh go? Did he play The Triffids ‘Wide Open Road’ as he took off?

One of the best pre-Covid travel opportunities to mark special occasions was in the cruising industry where as many as 50% of passengers list a special occasion as the reason for travel. 

On ‘The Love Boat’ it always seemed to be someone’s wedding anniversary or birthday.  Captain Stubing always seemed to have a plate of cake in his hand.

We love talking about reasons to travel because sometimes it has to be more than a holiday that gets us somewhere.  Traveling for an occasion is a hidden treasure because it can get us somewhere we might not otherwise have thought about going to and just like those words from Simon about the “broader European experience”,  once you’re there you can go anywhere. 

ABC Perth Saturday Breakfast Springs a Surprise

Ro indulged me recently in a show about hometowns. I was allowed to talk about Narrogin in great detail and we only heard a little bit about Ro’s hometowns. So, I set out on a secret roadtrip to visit one of her hometowns and then turn it into a Hidden Treasures story.

What is it that drives us to drive?  What is it that makes us want to hit the road less travelled?  For me it might be that I’ve never been there before.  It might be because my daughter needs to log some hours on her L plates.  Or it might be because it’s come up in conversation and it’s sparked a curiosity to see it for yourself. So here is Three Springs.

Three Springs is north of Perth, north of Moora, north of Coorow and Carnamah and east of Eneabba.  It’s a good day trip.  Not for the faint hearted who struggle to get over the escarpment on a road trip.  It’s over three hours away and a bit longer if the L Plater doesn’t want to get above 80, which isn’t for the faint hearted either.

Here’s a few things you’ll see all year long, not just when the wildflowers make this one of the great destinations in Western Australia:

  • Yarra Yarra Lake Conservation Park is a shimmering salt lake in summer but the Lakes Lookout has amazing views that is pink in summer and deep blue through the wet months and filled as far as the eye can see with birds!
  • Dookanooka Nature Reserve is brilliant for wildflowers but even in summer is a great expanse of mallee against blue skies.
  • The Historic Well is one of the original three springs that give the town its name.
The historic well, one of Three Springs original spring water wells
  • The Talc Mine started in 1948 and digs out 250,000 tonnes of talc a year. From white to dark green talc, this mine has a wonderful lookout that shows off the mine and the surrounding landscape.
Talc!
  • Take a look at the pink lakes on the Perenjori-Three Springs Road on the way to the talc mine.
  • The dominant wheat silos in the middle of the town are emblematic of the reason for the towns existence, surrounded by wheat.
Time for a mural on these silo’s I think
  • The main street is broad and straight with most of the towns services lined up for you.
  • Rossiter & Co Butchers is where Glen still makes his famous sausages.
  • The Commercial Hotel is a big old pub on the main street.

One of our callers to the show, Simon, told us about his visits from the farm to the town as a kid growing up near Eneabba. He remarked that coming to Three Springs was like a metropolis and a great day out to play at the wheat silos and hang out at the shops in the main street.

Three Springs is a Hidden Treasure because it’s on the road less travelled if you want to explore the north on a roadtrip from Perth.  It’s also a great destination outside the wildflower season because it’s a town that’s small enough to discover quickly, surrounded by land that’s big enough to take your breath away.  Importantly, you can also imagine little Ro standing outside the butchers on the main street munching on her slice of polony.

As Published in Have A Go News: Lakes in Western Australia for setting world records, watching birds and maybe even jumping on.

I’ve always loved a lake. From Dad’s stories of the Bluebird on Lake Dumbleyung, to watching my kids leap into the sunset at the not so pink lake in Esperance, they are a great reason to travel close to home or further afield.

Enjoy reading the story above or even better, grab your own hardcopy of Have A Go News, a real newspaper. There’s 80,000 copies around Western Australia every month.

Maybe our most famous lake, or at least our most arty: Lake Ballard near Menzies

It’s a Love Story

For Hidden Treasures on ABC Perth Saturday Breakfast we made the big decision to travel further than we have ever done before. If ever there was a short four word sentence dominating water cooler conversations more than any other, it has to be, ‘Our borders are opening.’

While the anxieties are obvious, so too are the growing opportunities.  While it may take a bit more planning, this could be the first time in a while that you are thinking about travel.  So, dust off the cover of your passport, check that it hasn’t expired and groan at that passport photo because to mark the borders coming down, Hidden Treasures is going international.

Puglia

This is a love story.  This is a story about Puglia, a land with towns that a much loved young reviewer of my work described as, ‘Being full of towns with funny names’. Puglia does have lots of towns with names you just want to keep on saying, not just for the memories, but for the mood it puts you in. Feel the linguistic seduction as you pronounce Locorotondo, Alberobello, Ostuni and Polignano A Mare.  I am besotted.

You probably think Italy is well discovered and all of its roads well-travelled by tourists and only leading to Rome.  Let me take you to an ancient city that you can visit and not see groups of tourists pouring out of buses.  Let me take you to an ancient city where evening walks after dinner are quiet and the light has the flickering softness of a medieval village.

Italy is often described as looking like a boot.  I’m going to take you to Puglia which is just above the ankle of the boot.  Where a cowboy might have his spurs.  Puglia is largely an agricultural region and you’ll find rows of olive trees that are hundreds of years old, towns perched on cliffs overlooking the Adriatic Sea and peculiar cone shaped stone huts that can only be found in this region of Italy.

Matera

Matera is one of the oldest, continually habited cities in the world and features in the latest James Bond movie, No Time To Die. Just like James Bond, I have an appetite for adventure but, unlike James Bond, my appetite for gelato is stronger than his.  He can keep his Walther PPK, I’m armed with a pistachio gelato!

This is a destination that demands you experience it in daylight and in the evening.  Matera is like having a lunchtime picnic with your girlfriend and going to a gala ball with her in the evening. Both are enjoyable experiences and she is beautiful no matter what the occasion but Matera by night has a glow and a softness that is seeing her at her absolute best.

Matera

Polignano A Mare

A little town perched on cliffs overlooking the Adriatic Sea.  Famous for the little inlet; Cala Porto, little wine shops, restaurants in cliffside caves and the home of Domenico Modugno.

Cala Porto

Domenico Modugno

As a former cabaret singer of absolutely no repute this is my Holy Grail. Overlooking the sea is a statue of Domenico Modugno. This wonderful singer performed Nel Blu Dipinto Di Blu in the 1958 Eurovision Song Contest. While I’m there, I am doing some work for an Italian TV travel show and we encourage the crowd to sing the song with me.

Grotta Palazzese

In a cave on a cliff, overlooking the Adriatic Sea, the atmosphere is just magical. After a few hours of wine, grilled octopus, olive oils and breads, it’s time for me to find my way out of town.  I stop in a little shop called La Nicchia selling olive oil and wine, and then swagger, sway and sing my back to the train station where I head to Alberobello.

Grotto Palazzese

Alberobello

A small town that is famous for its trulli huts that have held UNESCO heritage status since 1996. Each circular trulli is built without mortar with overlapping stone and a conical roof.

Trekking Slowly

The best way to discover Puglia is on a walking tour, with an occasional little train ride.  This way you travel slowly and see more. You have time to sit in the shade of an olive grove, picking grapes to snack on and even stop for a swim at the beach.  If you see a horse stick its head over an ancient old stone wall in an olive grove, you can stop and create your own experience, rubbing its nose and giving him a real vine ripened tomato.

Why is Puglia a hidden treasure?

Italy can be a bit like the Chevy Chase European Vacation style bucket list; get a photo to prove you were there and move on to the next attraction.  Puglia puts its arms around you and sits you down to slow you down, even though your heart is bursting.

I know why I feel this way. It’s love. Just like taking your girlfriend home to meet mum and dad for the first time, sharing Puglia with you is something I am so proud of. Puglia is a hidden treasure because it is an undiscovered land in a well discovered country and the quicker you get there, the quicker you will fall in love too.

And, with thanks to the lyrics of that special song, ‘No wonder my happy heart sings, your love has given me wings’.

ABC Perth Saturday Breakfast: Hometowns … it’s not about being a hometown hero, it’s about having a place to go

We’re all from somewhere.  Some of us are from towns and suburbs, some of us might be from remote pastoral properties or communities.

Wherever you’re from do you still live there?  If you’ve moved away from where you grew up do you ever go back?  Why do you go back?  Why do you think people should experience your hometown?

For Hidden Treasures on ABC Perth Saturday Breakfast, Ro and I explored hometowns and took lots of calls and messages from listeners keen to share stories about their hometown. Christina told a great story about Kalgoorlie and Lorraine called to say she grew up in Narrogin and had memories of butchers giving her little red sausages as a treat (I remember the slice of polony from Spanswicks Butchers).

For the first time in a long, long time I couldn’t be in the ABC studio and the audio software didn’t work as well as we had hoped so when you’re listening to the file below, please forgive me. It does get better after a few minutes I promise!

What do you love most or miss most about your hometown?

Some things that might make your hometown special include:

  • Entry statements that capture an identity … big sheep (big anything), quirky statues or signs
  • Prominent buildings like town halls, pubs and memorials
  • Iconic shops like deli’s and toy shops
  • Big events like regional shows and festivals (Dad’s favourite tshirt was pink and emblazoned with the Agrolympics logo)
  • Making your own fun in a creek or vacant block, perhaps building a bike jump
  • Being a member of local service clubs and sporting associations
  • Local lookouts and hangouts
  • Rivalries with neighbouring towns and districts

A lot of us find ourselves away from where we’ve come from. To travel back to where we’ve come from is one of the greatest reasons to travel.

I’d like to introduce you to my hometown.  It’s not far down the road. I’m proud not just to grow up there but to have heritage there. If you’ve known me for five minutes, you know I’m from Narrogin.

Recently, my daughter Matilda turned 18 and she and her friends blew the party bar tab at a Perth pub in 15 minutes, by ordering cocktails.

I thought back to when I turned 18 and my Dad, the now passed but forever beautiful Dr John Parry, took me to the Narrogin Club to have a middy of Super.  No cocktails, no guava flavoured vodka concoctions.  Super. 

Dad and I sat at the bar and solved a few of the worlds problems and his mates came and went, sharing the days events from down the main street to what was happening in the paddocks.

With Dad’s passing I stopped renewing my membership at the Narrogin Club but with Matilda becoming an adult I contacted the President, Wayne Francis, who hastily convened a committee meeting where it was unanimously voted to allow Matilda and I to come along last Saturday night. 

Just a dad and his daughter

Wayne welcomed us, served us and shared stories of the town and people that were enthralling for me and a bit bemusing for Matilda. 

She struggled her way through her first beer and this is where my dad and I diverge.  He let me struggle to drink my first beer whereas I allowed Matilda to call it quits and order something else.

We could talk more about how my hometown has a townhall, great counter meals at the local pub, an annual regional show you can still sneak into for free behind the race track and how kids get out onto vacant blocks and build bike jumps with treacherous pits for those kids who don’t pedal fast enough.

Bike jumps or Gallipoli trenches?

We could talk about the three primary schools, the senior high school, the strength of its service clubs and sporting associations. We could talk about the Tucker Box Deli and Steve’s Deli (still called that even though Steve hasn’t owned it for more than a quarter of a century).

It’s a town that hasn’t stood still since I last lived there but in my mind, as we drive around and I see houses where my friends lived, I think they’re still there and all I have to do to get those times back is throw my bike down on their front lawn and knock on the door.

Why are hometowns hidden treasures?

My hometown is a hidden treasure because it’s not far down the road and it welcomes me every time with its view into the valley as you come over the hill. 

Coming into town … no flame trees but you know what I mean

Hometowns are hidden treasures because they remind us of the importance of having a sense of place and the importance of having a sense of community. To have a place to go to, to mark milestones and tell old stories and make new ones is the greatest treasure of all.

ABC Perth Saturday Breakfast: Getting back to our program roots by discovering a suburb!

When Hidden Treasures started over a year ago, the idea was to explore suburbs and find ways to do more than just drive past them or through them.

This year we’ve enjoyed expanding the program to explore topics like our lakes, movie location sites and rites of passage.

Now we’re getting back to our roots.  I was sent out to a suburb that is well known for its searing summer heat and a road that is probably our most spectacular.

Heading up to the hills from Perth is always spectacular, not just to explore the bush around you, but to look out across the escarpment and see our little city hanging on to the edge of this big, wide, mysterious land.

We have a lot of suburbs in the hills that are worth exploring and with our recent run of 40+ days, there is a suburb that was hotter than most and decided it was worthy of a family day trip … Gooseberry Hill!

More steep driveways than any other suburb in WA

Here’s just a few of the reasons to get you up to Gooseberry Hill:

  • Zig Zag Scenic Drive: Bit like the bumper cars, it’s one-way drivers, one way only!
  • Lookouts: Lots of safe places to pull over to stare out as far as the eye can see.
  • The Quarry: When you fly into Perth you’ve probably noticed the old quarry but do you know what the stone was used for and what the quarry is used for now?
  • Rocky Pool: 5km walking trail that is harder than easy and is a beautiful swimming hole.
  • Walking Trails in Gooseberry Hill National Parks: Lots of looping walks through jarrah and redgum and granite boulders bigger than your house.  Comfortable walks and uncomfortable walks.  Check the Trails WA website.
  • The Railway Heritage Trail and memorial to the Blue Goose, an aircraft that crashed in 1945.
  • Driveways – Gooseberry Hill has the most number of steep driveways in Western Australia.
  • Patsy Durack’s Rose Gardens in Archbishops Holiday House – March, April, May and Devonshire Tea, wheelchair accessible. Part entry fee goes to the Cancer Council.
  • Restaurants and pubs and a cake shop serving … Neapolitan Cheesecake!
  • Little signs selling stuff in the driveways and backyards.  Right now it’s fig season!

Gooseberry Hill is a Hidden Treasure because it reminds us that hidden treasures we’ve explored before, where you’ve got a little suburb next to bigger, better known suburbs, like Highgate sandwiched between the city and Mount Lawley.  Gooseberry Hill’s next door neighbour is Kalamunda with its art galleries, cultural centre, even a main street!  But Gooseberry Hill has the attractions we’ve spoken about and a feeling we haven’t.  A feeling of being away from it all but being part of something. 

There’s a song called ‘Good Light in Broome’ but there’s also good light in Gooseberry Hill, and you might not be up there to stare at the moon but you’ll find lots to do and lots of opportunities to stare out at our little city from the best views the hills have to offer.

ABC Perth Saturday Breakfast Discovers Our Rites of Passage

As we grow up and find our way in our street, in our town and our state, there are experiences we have that aren’t connected to bucket lists or wish lists.  They might be things that our parents have done and now think we’re old enough for, or places they took you to that you now take your kids to.

Let’s start with the jousting knights in the clock at London Court.  This was the thrill in my day of coming to the city.  The following day at school, my hand would shoot up to tell my news to the class and I’d describe how the knights would pass each other as the clock bells rang out and then one of the jousting poles would knock a knight backwards on his horse.

This for me is a rite of passage.  It’s something that might not have Lara Bingle in front of it asking where you are, but it means something to you.  I want to be clear that this isn’t the rite of passage experience like going overseas and visiting Gallipoli or sitting on Cable Beach at sunset or riding a bike on Rottnest for the first time.

Our rites of passage might be defined as unknown to anyone outside your family, or maybe even outside your town.  One of my rites of passage was the ride in the trailer from the Narrogin tip back to the main road.  It might not be appropriate these days but when we were old enough to hang on, it was a great adventure. ABC legend Brad McCahon was just as inappropriate as me, sharing his Boulder and Kalgoorlie rite of passage that involved a pub crawl up the length of Hannan Street.

Inspiration for rites of passage can be seen in our discussion a few weeks ago about exercise spots.  I was surprised that Ro and Ebonnie had never climbed the DNA Tower because I think it qualifies as a rite of passage as exercise or even a date destination.

Rites of passage that are hidden treasures you can be inspired by to make your own include:

  • Climbing the DNA Tower
  • Safely walking the sandbar to Penguin Island
  • Swimming to the Cottesloe Pylon and maybe even diving off it
  • Riding a train
When did you first catch a train?
  • Picnic at Kings Park and Fish & Chips on the beach
  • Roadtrips to anywhere
  • Swan River Ferry from Elizabeth Quay to Mends Street Jetty
  • Crabbing with a scoop net in your oldest sneakers
Were you scared when you caught your first big blue manna crab?
  • Catching gilgies from a creek or, with permission, a farmers dam.
Have you ever caught a gilgy?
  • Do a bombie off Palm Beach Jetty, Coogee Jetty or jumping off Blackwall Reach (be careful, be safe).

I love rites of passage as a hidden treasure because they sit alongside bucket lists as an inspiration or motivation for a travel experience but may not be as flashy.  A bucket list item might be wading in the Dead Sea but a rite of passage might be wading in the Mandurah Estuary with a scoop net. One is worthy of a slide night, the other is worthy of family stories for years to come about nipped toes, stingray terror and dropped torches.

ABC Perth Saturday Breakfast looks at the art, wildlife and wild rides to be had on lakes

Whether they’ve got water in them or are just a salty plain, lakes are opportunities not just for our wildlife but for all of us.

They’ve been used for land and water speed records and they’ve been used for sculptures.

You’ll find lakes where you can sit and watch birdlife, you’ll find lakes you can walk around and you’ll find lakes you didn’t know existed all over Western Australia. 

I think all of us have enjoyed a lake at one time or another.  Whether it’s been for the peace and quiet, a sweaty run or watching wildlife from a bird hide or a kayak, our lakes are found throughout our metropolitan area and Western Australia. 

Some are well known, like Champion Lakes, Lake Monger, Lake Joondalup, Herdsman Lake and Black Diamond Lake.  They are iconic attractions but there are many others you should experience and thanks to a caller last week who mentioned Lake Lescenaultia, that’s why we decided to make this weekends Hidden Treasure all about lakes.

  • Lake Dumbleyung:  I think the first lake I heard about was this one.  Famous for Donald Campbells 1964 world speed water record in the hydroplane boat called the Bluebird.
  • Lake Magic: If you’re out for a surf at Wave Rock near Hyden, head just about a kilometre away and discover WA’s own circular version of the Dead Sea.
  • Lake Leschenaultia: under an hour away from Perth towards Chidlow in the east. You can hire canoes for much of the year and there’s a good walking train and barbeque facilities.
  • Lake Ballard: Home of the largest outdoor art gallery on Earth and also an art loving population of flies who will keep you company as you walk from statue to statue.
Lake Ballard is home to the worlds biggest outdoor art gallery
  • The Spectacles: We spoke about these wetland lakes when we discovered Kwinana last year. 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 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.
  • Lake Richmond:  Now this is my big hidden treasure for this show.  We’ve talked about Lake Clifton and it’s fish burgers and thrombolites but did you know that down at Rockingham there’s a lake that is a world heritage site, is one of our deepest and mysterious lakes, and is home to an ancient population of thrombolites which can be viewed from an elevated walkway.
  • Lake Gwelup: Lake Gwelup featured in our story last year on Karrinyup and Gwelup and this is one of the best lakes in Perth to view the rainbow bee-eater which flies down from Papua New Guinea and Indonesia to make a love nest in the surrounding trees.  If this tree is rocking, don’t bother knocking!
Lake Gwelup’s elevated boardwalk
  • Lake Jackadder: This is in Woodlands just behind the Innaloo Cinemas and one of my favourite lakes because it’s got a regular turnout each weekend of remote-control sailors who are members of the Perth Radio Sailing Club.  They squint and have lopsided Greek fisherman’s hats and toggle their controls to race each other around marker buoys in the lake.
  • Mary Carroll Park:  A bit like The Spectacles in Kwinana, this two-lake system is in the heart of the Gosnells area. It’s a Bush Forever Site and you can join a local volunteer group who do community awareness, weed control and rehabilitation.
  • Goegrup Lake and Yalbanberup Pool: This is part of the Serpentine River and accessible from Mandjoogoordap Drive and it’s about where the Kwinana Freeway becomes the Forrest Highway.  Great for kayakers and there’s lots of little tributary canals and streams that branch off from each of these lakes.
  • Smiths Lake formerly known as Three Island Lake and even more formerly as Danjanberup.  It’s my little hidden treasure for this show. It’s one of Perth’s smallest lakes and is the remnant of a much bigger long lost lake.
Smiths Lake is very small and very pretty

Lakes are hidden treasures because there’s likely one close to where you live that you’ve never walked around or has wildlife you’ve never seen or activities you didn’t know about.

Whether it’s a lake in our goldfields or a lake in our suburbs, they are more than a blue shape on your street map, they are opportunities to explore and have adventures or just sit quietly and watch the life of your local lake.