Day 12:

9 July 2010

The girls got up and showered this morning (the boys showered last night) and did some unplanned laundry ('nuff said).  We left the Margaret River area around 10:00a.m. and found the Dolphin Discovery Centre in Bunbury, WA after about an hour's drive north.

Unfortunately, the dolphins had already had their feed for the morning, so we didn't get to see live ones, but we did learn quite a bit in the centre and during the videos they show there.  The kids all got to pat a sea star (starfish) and an urchin as well as see live baby blow fish, seahorses, a lobster and other salt water fish.  Who knew baby blow fish were so flirty?

A sea horse at the Dolphin Discovery Centre

Jenna was especially moved by the display discussing the effect of litter on sea life and took these photos

Devon holding a sea star which Sydney and Jenna pat        Jenna's hippo, Lily, flirting with the cheeky blow fish babies

Touching sea urchins at the Dolphin Discovery Centre in Bunbury, WA

In an attempt to find the local McDonald's, we found ourselves on Highway 2 heading towards Perth.  We finally found a nice Macca's in a very new housing development and had lunch - nearly an hour and a half later.  That means we missed what would have been a lovely seaside drive along Highway 1, but, alas, we did see many fields of cows and sheep.  And, Highway 2 is brand new - built in September 2009, so it was a nice drive.  Oh well....

Around 3:45, we found the Round House in Fremantle ("Freo" as the locals call it), the oldest public building in Western Australia, built in 1831.  The Round House was originally a prison - for both aborigines prior to their relocation to Rottnest Island off the coast - and, convicts (who built most of the original buildings in the city).  The history is fascinating.  Unfortunately, it was closed for touring when we arrived, but we had a blast walking around it and enjoying the wind!  And, we saw another amazing rainbow because it was half raining/half sunny.

Five in Fremantle, Western Australia

Five Back Packs at the Round House in Fremantle, WA           Jenna having a Titanic moment - Arthur Head in Fremantle

A sign describing the tunnel under the Round House (built in 1837) at Arthur Head - and, the actual tunnel

We spent another hour or so walking the streets of Fremantle, which has a sort of a western town feel to it.  Rob thought it reminded him of New Orleans with its double verandahs and architectural style.  The kids have amazed us with how interested they are to learn everywhere we go.  When Rob and I were kids, our parents made us read all the signs in churches, museums, etc. when we travelled...and we whined terribly about it.  These kids actually ask us to read signs posted on the old buildings or, in Fremantle, the signs on posts around the old part of town that discuss how the city came to be and changed.  It was fun to follow parts of the old coast line - depicted by a brick path with blue sea creatures painted into it.

High Street in Fremantle, or "Freo", as the locals call it

The rain and 10 degrees (C.) weather put a damper on the atmosphere, but we made the best of it.  We did some shopping at Peaches Organic Market and then settled into the Fremantle Village & Chalet Centre for the night.   Peace.