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February 19, 2019, Australia

Top picks in Western Australia

Michelle Chin goes on a six-day road trip to explore Perth, Albany and Denmark

Michelle Chin

Personalised city tour in Perth
Some travellers prefer having the freedom to get around on their own, but I feel that being on a guided tour — on foot — can fully maximise your time actually doing what you prefer.

Although the itinerary for my group was already planned for this sponsored trip, it can be customised to suit the preferences of everyone in the group.

Any bar hoppers, street art enthusiasts or sea view admirers in your group? Let your guide know and plans can be made to accommodate your interests.

My group embarked on a two-and a half-hour walking tour that covered Perth’s Yagan Square, Elizabeth Quay and various places showcasing quirky street art.

Our local guide kept us rapt with nuggets of trivia on the history, geography, dining areas, arts, libraries and more.

She had an answer to whatever we asked about, and her recommendations were great.

We took her suggestion to visit Caballitos, a bar that is popular for its margarita slushies and tequila cocktails along Queen Street. It is tucked away in a semi-dim basement with an ambience that borders on eerie.

There were plenty of red lighting and sinister-looking skulls lining the bar counters and walls. I thought the quirky decor added to the relaxing yet somewhat electrifying environment.

By the time we left after enjoying some drinks, I could imagine myself to be a regular of Caballitos, celebrating Friday nights and hosting birthday parties there.

Immersive art at Mount Clarence
The Field of Light: Avenue of Honour (www.fieldoflightalbany.com.au) at Mount Clarence was a visual treat.

We visited it at night, walking past 16,000 illuminated green, white and gold glass spheres that lit up the ground like glowing wildflowers.

I felt like an astronaut navigating a galaxy irradiated with stars. It was almost like an extraterrestrial experience. I was spellbound by the magical sights. It was definitely an Instagram-worthy place.

But on a pensive note, the art installation is commemorating the sacrifice of about 41,000 Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) soldiers who fought in World War I.

The concept was inspired by the wildflower season when the troops departed Western Australia for the war.

The art installation was the brainchild of British artist Bruce Munro, and the ANZAC’s sacrifices set its backdrop and narrative.

It offers many things that symbolises and celebrates bravery, endurance, honour, hope and the importance of peace.

It also evoked peace, melancholy, admiration and awe in me all at once. It opens from sunset to 10pm daily, till April 28.

Nature’s paradise at the Valley of the Giants
I love treetop walks and nature reserves, even in humid Singapore.

So imagine my joy when I reached the Tree Top Walk at the Valley of the Giants (www.valleyofthegiants.com.au) in Denmark.

The November weather was cool and sunny — perfect for this activity.

Suspended at about 40m high, the 600m-long Tree Top Walk offers awesome views of the works of Mother Nature as I gazed down on the dense canopies of majestic trees.

The lush environment was peaceful, but my heart was anything but still. Trekking at such a height was exhilarating.

The walk brought to my mind scenes in the movies Tarzan and The Jungle Book, where greenery was important to their plots.

My mind was active with childish imagination, as I secretly imagined how wondrous it would be to morph into an agile monkey where the canopy is a playground.

The red tingle trees are the “show” stealers.

With a grey-reddish bark and a base circumference that can grow up to a whopping 20m, this tree may grow for more than 400 years and reach a height of 75m.

If you are lucky, you may spot animals such as the quokka which is a macropod the size of a house cat, or the western rosella which is a brightly coloured parrot endemic to southern Western Australia.

Gastronomic delights at The Lake House
I’ve always thought that a place — that has everything you need in the countryside — like The Lake House (www.lakehousedenmark.com.au) in Denmark only exists in fairytales: a quaint café cum restaurant, surrounded by a lake, blue skies, fluffy clouds and lush greenery.

The establishment has a cellar door, restaurant, café and vinofood gourmet store under one roof. Its ambience is warm and inviting; the setting, simply wonderful.

I managed to get a seat with a great view of the lake as I enjoyed the wine and shared platters of smoked chicken, leg ham, Italian cacciatore sausage, vegetable frittata, seasonal dip, antipasto bowl, vinofood condiments as well as a cheese board with cheddar, brie, wine jelly, semillon pickled pears, chutney and wafers.

I also enjoyed the whimsical He Said She Said Lifestyle Wines that target young-at-heart consumers.

Its range of wines include Cabernet Merlot, Shiraz Cabernet, Rose, Sauvignon Blanc Semillon and Premium White, with labels that are playful, cheeky, humorous and offbeat.

If you tend to get lost about what to buy for loved ones or friends, check out its vinofood products that include a wide variety of jams and jellies, chutneys and relishes, vinegars and dressings, antipasto and syrups. All of them are handmade in small batches in The Lake House’s commercial kitchen.

 

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