In February and March of this year I went to The South Pacific to work and do a some sketching when time allowed. This was facilitated by Kurt Perschke and his public art RedBall Project, which I helped Kurt put on for the 2012 Perth International Arts Festival. I did an earlier post about the RedBall project here.
I spent about a month in Australia, specifically in Perth and Albany in the state of Western Australia, and then another two weeks in Bali, which is only a three-hour flight from Perth, which I will post about later.
I had a great time in Australia. Of course it was the summer there, so this year I got two summers. The best part is the people I met in Australia, who were terrific, and that made all the difference. Perth itself is not a wildly interesting place, but extremely pleasant. It’s always on the list of top places to live in the world, and I can see that it would be an extraordinary place to raise a family, for instance.
There are a couple nice art museums downtown, and a terrific beach at Cottesloe. The nicest town in the area is Fremont, which is a charming close suburb. Subiaco was nice as well. Also the public transportation system is excellent and there are great bike paths.
Perth, however, was extremely expensive, due to it’s remoteness and a local real estate and mining boom. A budget meal and a beer were not to be easily had for less than 25 AUD, about the same as $25 US. I was told that the east coast by Sydney and Melbourne is less expensive. I am glad I had housing and a small expense account, or it would have been difficult.
We were part of the Perth Festival, which is a large music, theater and Public Arts festival that runs in February of Every year. About the same time there was a “Fringe” festival, featuring more alternative entertainment. Of course I was busy with our project so I did not see much of it, but the couple events I did see were wonderful. There was an incredible event put on by “ Les Studio De Cirque De Marseille, an acrobatic performance with wires strung up over downtown office buildings featuring flying “angels” and a snowstorm of Chicken feathers. I have to include this video, because it really was spectacular:
We also went down to Albany, about an hour flight or four-hour drive south of Perth, on the shores of the Southern Ocean. It is very beautiful with rocky shores and cliffs. And the only thing south of Albany is Antarctica. Albany is a nice town, with a small restaurant strip and some pleasant beaches and parks around. It is near one of the major wine growing regions in Australia, so a lot is on offer. They recently built a Performance Center right on the harbor, where many of the events from this satellite of the Perth Festival were held.
Nearby is the valley of the Giants Tree Top Walk, with rope bridges strung up between very tall trees, and also a nice Nature Preserve nearby called Two Peoples. Down in Albany, you really realize the Australia is a BIG place, with not many people.
Overall, I had a great time in Australia. Australians are friendly and just lots of fun and I knocked something off my bucket list, which was too see the Southern Cross constellation. And then I went to Bali….
Here are some more photos from my Australia trip: