Cottesloe: Perth's Favourite Beach

10th August, Cottesloe, Perth, Australia

Ian writes:

Sydney has Bondi, Brisbane has ... well it has a fake one near the CBD, and Perth has Cottesloe - a beach, that is. Given that 1.5 million of Western Australia's 1.8 million total population live in or around Perth, it could easily be said that Cottesloe Beach is WA's favourite. While it may be winter, and swimming is out of the question now, we decided to go take a look anyway.

What can I say? The water was a nice colour, the weather was gorgeous, albeit very windy, and there were just a handful of people on the beach. We really didn't get to see what Cottesloe is really all about. Every picture we had seen of the beach showed the summer season which, not surprisingly, meant playing a game of spot the sand because of all the bodies dotted around; it's also a popular spot for surfing and body boarding (but, once again, no sign of that today). The only other thing I knew about Cottesloe was that it was the spot of a very, very tragic shark attack a few years back. Some people might point the finger at surfers and say things like: "Well, you are in their territory, and what with your flippers and surfboard you look just like a seal from below ... you're just asking to get bitten." Well, that seems to be the general rule, but you don't have to be a surfer to feel the sharp end of a great white. A man in his forties had waded out from the beach into water that wasn't even waist height, certainly not deep water, then moments later had his legs taken away from underneath him. A great white had slinked right into the shallow water undetected by anyone and made off with pretty much everything below the knee. Within minutes, he had bled to death right there on the beach in front of hundreds of shocked sun-worshippers. I believe if you look in the dictionary for the word unlucky, this man's name should appear somewhere in the description.

Warning: Here be sharks ... or rather there have been (I'm a great believer in stats being on my side!)

We wandered along the beach, kicking up sand and generally taking it easy. We would have stopped for a tea at the Indiana Tea Rooms, a famous Cottesloe landmark, but decided that we would be paying extra for the name/reputation, so instead we stopped at a café across the road that didn't offer great views over the beach (but did a good cuppa nonetheless).

The Indiana Tea Rooms on Cottesloe Beach - as much of an icon as Sydney's Bondi Pavilion.

And that was pretty much it for the day - a brief sight-seeing diversion from another normal day in Perth. We are running out of things that we can do that are within quick and easy reach of Perth's CBD, and I never want to stray too far in case we go out of mobile phone reception range, just in case that time we are not contactable is when someone tries to call us about buying Ethel. I have become a slave to my phone and a slave to the trials of selling a traveller's vehicle in this city.

While having our own vehicle has been a great, liberating experience, I do have some envy for those people who just hired long-term and could simply hand over the keys when they're done. Selling a vehicle like this means constantly having to check in the backpackers places to see if your ad is still up, whether it's been buried under a heap of other photocopied ads. Looking at some of the other adverts, you can tell that some people have simply left it too late and will sell their vehicles for next to nothing just to be shot of them and get on their flight. At least we have some flexibility - we can keep changing our flight ticket as many times as we like, so until Ethel is sold (for a sensible price), we can delay our flight to Thailand. The down side, as I've already mentioned, is that we are running out of activities to keep us interested while we wait. So, if there are not as many posts in the coming days and weeks, you'll know why! But, hey, if you know the area and have some suggestions about what we can do while we play the waiting game, just let us know.