Travel Blog: Glamping it Up Down Undah

No, that's not a typo. i meant to write "glamping" and not camping. Tom and I decided to take advantage of our relative proximity to Australia and flew to Perth for a 4-day weekend. If you're thinking we're crazy for going for such a short time, welcome to the club. We got the same response from the suspicious customs agent, my co-workers, and pretty much everyone we spoke to in Australia.

But who cares? We had a great time and I would go back without a second thought. Perth is home to a beautiful area called Margaret River, where we "glamped" for the weekend. By glamping I mean our safari tent (about as big as small trailer) was tricked out with electricity, a lamp, an electric bed warmer (much needed as it went down to 50 degrees at night) and four heavy-duty blankets. We were able to buy firewood to make a fire, and there was a large communal kitchen with warm running water, a microwave, a stove, and a fridge. That's my kind of camping!

We flew into Perth at night and stayed overnight at a grungy Airbnb. While the accommodations were lacking, we had a great dinner at a local Italian cafe and went for a long walk on a pier on a sunny, fall morning. After living in a tropical sauna (otherwise known as Singapore) for a year it was glorious to be able to walk without sweating through my shirt and enjoy a hot cup of coffee outside with no fear of spontaneous combustion and/or heatstroke.

We rented a car (always a fun time when you are, how should I say, not the best foreign driver) and made the smart choice of renting a GPS after repeated unsuccessful efforts to connect to Australian phone plans. Driving on the wrong side of the road after not having driven for a year was a bit of a challenge, but I got the hang of it. No accidents, although we ran over a random milk bucket that had strayed into traffic from a neighboring cow farm. Let's just say that incident incited a lot of colorful language.

By the time we made it to the campsite it was already dark and the camp office was closed, but we got more than a friendly greeting from attendees of a huge family reunion taking place that weekend. We wandered into the communal kitchen to explore and were greeted by a friendly Aussie who invited us to enjoy some kangaroo stew and chocolate birthday cake.

I was sadly underdressed for the chill, despite wearing four layers of various borrowed items from friends, and was only too happy to hop into our heated bed at 8:30pm. The next day we slept in but got up in time to grab an overpriced but delicious coffee from shop in the tiny, touristy town center. It reminded me of a beach town on the west coast, with boutique clothing stores, a couple Woolworth grocery stores selling the most delicious yogurt of all time, and copious coffee shops boasting organic/fair trade/hand roasted/grown in someone's' backyard/etc. coffee. While Margaret River didn't seem to be the best option for penny-pinching backpackers, we did notice a few roving Aussie travelers who appeared to be living in their 1970's vans. Very Portland meets Australia.

We decided to check out the trails surrounding our campsite and embarked on what we figured would be an hour hike. However when you're Tom and Marissa you should probably plan on getting lost and add a few hours onto your estimation. which is exactly what happened. We took a wrong turn somewhere and ended up off the path and overshooting our campsite by a few kilometers. With no phone to aid us nor a map that extended beyond the trails, we ended up walking for several kilometers in the wrong direction before I finally turned us around. All told, we walked along the highway for over two hours to get back to our campsite because we were too paranoid to try another trail for fear of getting lost in the woods.

On our final day Tom suggested a walk on an amazingly beautiful beach. We strolled up and down rolling hills that bordered a Hawaii-blue ocean. Despite a deceptively cool breeze, we both managed to get sunburned. During winter. Aussie sun does not mess around.

After our walk to we had an incident-free drive back to the airport where we flew back to Singapore, a little sadly, and with a fervent desire to return.