My Australian adventure started in Perth, the main city in Western Australia and the most isolated city in the world. Kimbra was actually studying right outside Perth, in the port city of Fremantle . It was great to see Murdoch University, meet Kimbra’s friends, and eat at the restaurants she frequented. While Perth is not the most engaging city (I wouldn’t recommend the multi-day trip there unless you have a really good reason, such as a sister), it is definitely a good place to spend a semester.
Besides seeing Kimbra’s life for the past semester, a big Perth highlight was going to the quintessential Australian wildlife park to see kangaroos, wallabies, emus, koalas, and wombats. I think my first real “we’re not in the US anymore” moment was when I walked into the kangaroo area of the park. Most of the sections were fenced off as you would expect in a zoo, but the kangaroo section was just a large grassy area you walked in completely unsupervised. No one else was in the pen, so it took a minute to realize I could just go up and touch the kangaroos with zero guidance from any park employees. This was the most touristy thing we did but absolutely worth it (though later in the week an Aussie told me if I really wanted to see kangaroos in the ‘wild’ I should go to a golf course 🙂 ). While it was fascinating to see all of the wildlife native to Australia, my favorite section was the farm where the most adorable baby goats played.
I live in a fairly large city with easy access to other cities and states, so I definitely felt the isolation of Perth. I happened upon 2 other Americans (separately) during our time in Perth who were eager to strike up conversation with a fellow American. They were staying in Perth for the long term, and in my 5 minute conversations with both of them they brought up how much they missed home. I felt the isolation in just me few days there, so I can imagine trying to adjust for an extended period of time would be incredibly difficult.
More Australia posts to come!
(Australia map courtesy of here)