After some debate we bought a car – a serviceable 2001 Toyota Avalon. We can resell the car at the end of our term, and still spend less than renting a car every other weekend.
Today we took a road trip driving in an Easterly direction from Perth to the small towns of York, Northam and Toodyay. It really was a drive through the countryside – big expanses of fields, with the hay mown and neatly stacked up, drying out. The fields and trees are green – a more faded and bleached yellow-green from spending so much time under the hot, bright sun. The sun beaming down on my body also felt hot and dry and healing in the 28⁰C afternoon.
The trees remind me of broccoli, with long stems and bushy tops. We saw many flocks of sheep, fields with horses grazing, and one small herd of alpaca, but no kangaroos, even though we did see kangaroo crossing signs. Maybe the signs are just to get the tourists excited.
York is a small town with buildings in the early Victorian and Federation style. We poked around in the antiques and collectibles market and small shops and came away with an old, small framed French advertising poster. Near York we stopped at a small Avon Valley winery for some wine tasting and bought a couple of bottles of wine and a small jar of locally grown and processed olives.
Moving on to Northam we lunched in an old hotel pub. Lunch was light and crispy Barrundai (fish) and chips with a cool pint of beer. Delicious and refreshing.
After lunch we resumed driving through the country to Toodyay, set on the banks of the Avon river, and originally the site of the Convict Hiring Depot, and then back to Perth. The round trip drive took just under 6 hours and provided us with our first glimpse of the Eastern Shires. Just saying Shires makes me think of Hobbits – but we didn’t see any of them either.