After watching my 4 month old grandson's swimming lesson, we had lunch at a Portuguese cafe nearby (Portuguese Delights) and then I drove my brother in law and sister in law to Mandurah about 70km south of Perth.
Mandurah used to be a sleepy fishing village but in the last 10 years or so there's been a lot of development and a quite a few people, specially retirees are moving there.
Man made canals were built and in the centre of the town there are shops, restaurants and apartment blocks around the canals known as "Little Venice".
On the outskirts of Mandurah, big mansions with private jetties for their boats have been built facing the canals. The visiting family were left open mouthed at the size of the mansions and fancy boats!!
|Mandurah's Little Venice - Dolphin Quay shopping centre, apartments by the canals|
|Top: Fancy houses and boats by the canals. Bottom: metal boat statue, War memorial, more fancy houses|
Kalamunda/Lesmurdie Falls, Mundaring weir
The following day we drove to the Perth hills (part of the Darling scarp), about half an hour east of my house, or 40 min from Perth city.
The area is home to beautiful National parks and forests, lots of cycle and walking trails, art studios and galleries, craft shops and other interesting shops and lots of farmers sell their local organic produce, all very old-world here.
Starting at the village of Kalamunda we stopped to browse around some shops and popped into the local library to see an awesome 25mt wide stained glass window, the largest in the Southern hemisphere!
It was crafted by the Kalamunda Stained Glassgroup in 1987-1988 featuring the hills landscape and green/grey foliage of the area.
The library staff were very kind and even told us to climb the stairs to the first floor to get better photos.
|25mt wide Stained glass window at the Kalamunda Public Library|
After a quick lunch we drove to Lesmurdie Falls located withing the Lesmurdie Falls National Park. At the entrance just off the car park there are signs indicating walking trails and with information about the Darling scarp and the National park.
We chose the shortest walking trail to the waterfalls and could hear the water right from the start.
There wasn't that much water at this time of the year though, I assume the best time would be in winter when there's more rain.
The views were spectacular and it was a pity the day was overcast, but we could still make out Perth's silhouette in the distance.
|Lesmurdie Water Falls|
|Viewing platforms and views of Perth in the distance, flowers and gum nuts|
Next stop was the Mundaring Weir (dam) in the village of Mundaring.
Construction of the weir or dam was started in the late 1890's and completed in 1903.
It was designed by Irish Australian engineer C.Y. O'Connor with the view of transporting water to the goldfields of Coolgardie and Kalgoorlie in the east of Western Australia - the Golden Pipeline, which is the longest freshwater pipeline in the world.
The lake created by the dam is known as Lake C.Y.O'Connor.
The old Pumping station Number 1 is now the C.Y.O'Connor Museum, where you can see details of the farming, logging and railway history of the area.
The Bibbulmun walking trail commences in Kalamunda, crossing the weir wall and then northern side of the lake, and on to Albany in the south (963km long trail). (see photo of myself and sister in law).
|Mundaring Weir/Dam, motors used as art, and Pumping station house|
|Me and my sister in law crossing the weir wall over the lake (part of the Bibbulman track)|
Back to Kalamunda's neighbouring suburb -Gooseberry Hill where we enter the Zig Zag Scenic Drive (from Lascelles Parade). As the name indicates, Zig Zag Drive is a narrow and windy, one-way only downhill road 2,9km long.
The panoramic views across to Perth are amazing and there are places where you can stop to take photos. Unfortunately as with the Lesmurdie Falls, the visibility wasn't good.
The road was originally a section of the railway line built to transport timber from the hills to the commercial centre of Midland down below. The line required switching points or zig zags to shunt trains up and down the steep hills of the Darling scarp. The timber industry eventually dwindled and the train rails were removed in 1952.
|Top: Perth Views with overcast sky. Bottom: houses scattered over the hills|
And because it was my birthday (2nd March), it was time to drive back home and get ready for dinner at Lago di Como, an Italian restaurant in the suburb of Como, that my husband had booked for the 4 of us.
And what about this sunset for my birthday? As we were parking the car I could see the sun setting over the Swan river near the restaurant, and my sister in law and I climbed the bridge over the freeway to capture the magic.
|Sunset over Swan river, Como Jetty, my husband and I at dinner|
1st & 2nd March 2017