There’s a funny thing about travelling in one’s own country — one tends to think that there is less to write about than when travelling overseas, but perhaps the opposite is true. Ruminating philosophically, perhaps after a glass of the Swan Valley’s finest, perhaps one can speculate that journeying amongst strangers is extroversion, and journeying among one’s countrymen/women is introversion. What utter bullshit … what am I drinking?

The fact is that Western Australia should be another country. The French should have taken it while they had the chance. At least one would have had a level of consistency in the Westralian character. The French would have linked the love of wine and fine food with a Gallic approach to mineral exploitation. We would seen Perth renamed Nouveau Bordeaux and garlanded with nuclear reactors. Kerry Stokes would speak bogan Francais rather than that peculiar rasping noise redolent of a chainsaw under pressure. Alan Bond would not have been allowed to migrate. The America’s Cup would have been won by a yacht designed by a government department with sails developed under contract by a fashion house. The indigenous peoples would have been oppressed by native protectors in kepis. And so on.

But I digress. No, really.

This is just a great place. Yes, tourists always see the face the locals want you to see, but we could easily say we could live here, and that is before we got into the Tim Winton thing (we got off the plane and started to notice that literary credibility in the West seems to focus on TIm – no one remembers Randolph Stow and the older generation). Everyone has got over trying to leave Australia in 1933 and decided that they should be nice to us. We haven’t been asked for a GST refund at any stage and, unlike that other lost state of Australia — New Zealand — they don’t know they play Rugby and don’t boast about making passion pop (Marlborough Sav Blanc). 

Note to New Zealand: bring back Richie and all will be forgiven if you reduce the price of Otago pinot and export Speights in casks.

So, to return to my theme: love Freo, walked all over it.


Rottnest Island — aka Rotto — pretty amazing, sore bums from riding bikes designed for teenagers, strange quokkas that I’m convinced smoke weed —when not confusing Chinese tourists.


Swan River wineries – closest region to a major capital city, apparently; in the capital city most isolated in the world… that could cause a huge issue with drinking alone. Still, you could do worse than a case or two at Olive Grove wines. As for the micro-breweries, far too many and far too good. Well, with a history of conservative governments that seem to operate like a branch office of BHP-Billiton, there should be something to cheer one up.

Just love it, and so different from preconceptions – a bit like the weather, which has been confuddling the Bureau of Meteorology and the locals. It should be in the high twenties and it’s nowhere near. Rain, storms,wind and 15º. Wednesday in Margaret River – another nod to Tim. Still… “the river, the river”.