Australian Adventure (July 10 - 11, 2013)

40 Days Down Under (Day 27 & 28)

Wednesday, July 10, 2013
We woke up too early to catch a too early shuttle bus to the airport. Melbourne has a great bus system to the airport called SkyBus. The buses leave every 10 minutes and take about 20-30 minutes to get there. We didn't know how much time we needed to allot. We were overly cautious.

We got to the airport hours before our flight and struggled a bit with the self-service bag check kiosks. (We missed the step to print off our bag tags but eventually figured it out.)  Once you get the hang of it, this could save you a lot of time at the airport.

We went through security (shoes stay on, no liquids rules, just basic metal detectors, nobody checked identification) in a jiffy and got breakfast at the food court. (We had almost two hours to kill.)

The Melbourne airport gives you 30 free minutes of wifi which we enjoyed preflight. When our flight boarded, nobody checked for identification. They just wanted the boarding pass. It was like flying in the USA back in the days before paranoia.

We knew we liked Qantas when flying internationally from a few weeks ago, but I also really like Qantas domestic. They provide the seat back individualized entertainment, gave us two beverage services, and gave us lunch and a snack. It was a great flight to Perth despite a 45 minute delay. (The engine has chilled overnight and was "leaking" clear liquid. It took a while to get the mechanical okay and for the liquid to be declared naught but condensation.)

During the flight, I watched Performance and The Great and Powerful Oz.

After landing, we met Graham, our awfully nice Go Campervan shuttle driver, at the passenger pickup and were off to pick up our new home for the next 15 days - our 3 berth automatic pop-top Go Campervan.

After getting a tour of our vehicle, we went to the local IGA supermarket to stock up on groceries. Then we headed up to check into our caravan park for the night. After dinner, we took the 10 minute drive into Fremantle to do a night tour of the jail.

*Make sure to save your IGA, Woolworths, or Cole's receipts to see if you qualify for fuel discounts.

The Fremantle Prison, originally known as The Convict's Establishment, was constructed in the mid-1850s. It functioned as a prison until 1991. Featuring the largest and tallest cell range, Fremantle Prison is the last and most intact convict establishment in Australia. (It was continuously used as a prison for 140 years afterall.)

It was shut down for only two months before it reopened as a tourist attraction. So, while things were likely modernized as the years went on, the prison is largely unaltered from when it ceased operations.

In 2010, the Fremantle Prison became the first building in Western Australia to be added to the UNESCO World Heritage list.

The Fremantle Prison Torchlight Tour was (as Kris would say) "Kristy scaring". After this prison tour, Kris wants to get me into a haunted house more than ever.  He just thinks it would be so much more entertaining.

Honestly, the tour was pretty intriguing. The prison is dark, so you mostly only have the light from the small flashlights you (and the 23 other people) are carrying. You get to see the inner workings of an old maximum security prison without the hum of electricity. It's just creepy enough to be fun.

Haunted watchtower

You tour the cell block, "toe the line", visit the kitchens, see the courtyards, view the haunted watchtower, and peek at the shower/bathroom block. You also get to see the "can" prisoners had to use for ablutions when tucked in for the night.
Feet on the role call line, boilers in the kitchen, our scary group gets spooked by an actor in solitary, and a locked cell door in solitary

The walls make it pretty clear that there's no way out.

Nasty barbed wire.
Doors installed after a riot to control the flow of prison traffic at all times.

We saw a few old cells that the prison has furnished to look as the cells would have looked over the development of years. You also get to gander at the magnificent artwork created by two of the former prison residents.

The creepiest places to be were the solitary confinement ward, execution chambers - complete with noose and trap-floor, the gallows where prisoners were once lashed with a cat-o-nine-tails, and the morgue.

Execution Chambers
Whipping post

After our hour and a half prison tour, we headed to our overnight stay at the Coogee Beach Holiday Park. This place might have been acceptable had it been a $30 stay. Instead, it was awful for a $50 stay. Dirty and cramped, I would have preferred showering at the Fremantle prison.

The only slight saving grace was the excellent book trade section. I was able to trade for a Monica McInerney book I'd not yet read...At Home with the Templetons.

Thursday, July 11, 2013
Today was a rainy drive day. I was able to finish Human.4 by Mike Lancaster which offers a completely different perspective on the alien argument.

I did get to indulge in the tasty new milk drink I got from the IGA yesterday. It's Betty's Milk Bar brand Choc Cherry Delite. Who would have thought cherry chocolate milk would be such an utterly scrumptious treat?

We had a break in the rain just in time and were able to marvel at pink waters of the Hutt Lagoon right before sunset. There is an algae in the water called beta carotene that creates this gorgeous pink color. It is often mined for salt and mined for use as food coloring.

Minutes away from the pink lake, we found the Port Gregory Caravan Park - our lodging for the evening.

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