The flight to Australia was uneventful, although we discovered at the airport that Canadians need visas to enter Australia (which we did online while standing in the check-in line). We flew AirAsia, the biggest low-cost carrier in Asia. I must say that everything went well; quite a bargain for less than C$200 each for a 5.5 hour flight. We picked up our Mitsubishi Outlander (same size as a Ford Escape) and headed off to a suburban mall for groceries and some other odds and ends. We were really curious to see if prices here are as bad as feared. Conclusion: groceries and Kmart stuff is the same price as Canada, which was a welcome surprise. Even beer (by the case) isn't much more than Canada.
We're staying at an apartment/hotel downtown for C$117 a night. (The best deal I found for out two week stay.) We have a smallish 2 bedroom place that feels like a college dorm. The good news is there's a real kitchen and laundry. There's also a good TV with lots of English channels! For the first time since we were with the Brandons in Hoi An, we're not in a hotel room, which is delightful.
Yesterday was cool (25C) and breezy. A cold front went thru here on Tuesday after weeks of heat, but the forecast is for the temperature to climb back to their "summer normal" (low 30's) by tomorrow. For us, it was nice to be in less humidity after Malaysia and Vietnam. Tomorrow we head to the Outback, so I expect it will be even drier there.
On our first day, we drove around town and visited a few of the beautiful beaches in this area. For the first time in a long time, it's really nice to be somewhere that isn't crowded. Perth is about 2 million people with a handful of big corporate buildings, but outside the core, it feels about the same scale as London Ontario. There are sprawling suburbs with comfortable looking homes on spacious lots. There are lots of parks and the general setting is quite impressive. Overall, the place looks quite prosperous and comfortable.
Having said that, for the vast majority of Australians who live 4,000 km away, Perth is an outpost, far from everything important to them. Given that we have never been to the east coast, we don't feel like that. For us, Perth seems like a lovely place offering a great quality of life surrounded by natural beauty.
In terms of infamous Australian high prices, we did see that cafes and restaurants are probably 50-100 percent more expensive than Canada (which is about 400% more than Vietnam!). As you might expect, this reinforces our plan to buy most of our food in grocery stores rather than eating out. I also noticed that gas is about $1.20 a litre, so that's not outrageous.
Anyway, so far; so good. We're off to a private animal sanctuary this morning to see some local animals up-close. Should have some good photos later.