Exploring Western Australia’s Pinnacles

Exploring Western Australia’s Pinnacles

Western Australia is better known for its pristine beaches and warm weather, but there is much more to it than that. The Pinnacles are a great example of WA’s unique offerings. We made it a day trip on its own, or make it an essential stop on your way north along the WA coastline from Perth. We loved seeing The Pinnacles, but it really is a divisive experience. Some love it and others are unfazed by the sights.

The Pinnacles are located halfway between Perth and Geraldton, about a 2 hour drive from either along the coastal highway. You’ll have to pry your eyes away from the beautiful coastal views, but the plus is you will discover one of the most alien landscapes in Australia.


A little background . . .

The Pinnacles are a collection of limestone rock formations, believed to be up to 500,000 years old. However they were only discovered a little over 200 years ago. This suggests that they were formed underground and only became visible when the sands began to erode away.


The yellow pillars reach over 4 metres high and they dot the horizon in all directions. And in the late afternoon sun, the shadows only exacerbate the unusual formation. 




Entry to see The Pinnacles costs $12 (for a car with up to 12 people) and there are two options for those interested in a closer inspection. You can drive the 4km track or explore the area on foot. We enjoyed the drive and stopped several times to wander amongst the formations. For walkers, the path is a more manageable 1.2km but it allows you to get closer to the formations, perfect for photographers.


Getting around

If you’re worried about driving on the sand without a 4WD, we urge you not to stress. The pathway is deceptively good and our front wheel drive van managed to get around it easily. And please don’t feel confined to your vehicle, just like the walking path, feel free to get amongst the rock formations and take plenty of photos.

If you’re still nervous, or want an advance screening, this video shows a little Toyota getting around with no issues.

For photographers, we would advise visiting outside of the midday sun. Early in the morning (before 11am) or later in the afternoon when the light is softer and produces more shadows. The Pinnacles are a desert so it does get hot for much of the year. We advise you to avoid the midday hours during the warmer months.


Australian native flowers are in bloom during spring, July to October. We visited during October and didn’t really notice any, although we weren’t actively looking.

You won’t require a great deal of time to explore The Pinnacles, maybe 90 minutes at the most. If you’re making this a day trip, make use of your time in the area and check out some of the beautiful beaches. Alternatively, Cervantes is a short 20 minute drive away which is perfect for a bite to eat and a relaxing swim. There are some pristine, white sand beaches around the area, but it is a fairly well kept secret.

Flying With A Leg Cast

Flying With A Leg Cast

We sincerely hope you don’t need this piece of advice, but for those like myself, who seem to be followed by injuries and accidents, read on.

On my recent trip back to Australia to catch up with family and friends and resolve some outstanding issues, I managed to rupture my Achilles tendon. Not a painful injury, more so a huge inconvenience with a lengthy recovery period. Whether you’ve broken your ankle, leg or done some serious ligament or tendon damage pre flight, you’re going to want to have a few things in place. I had a 24 hour journey ahead of me, returning to Germany from Australia so you shouldn’t come across too many longer transits than that.


If you’re a responsible traveller you should already have travel insurance in place. Should you be unable to continue with your planned travel, they will reimburse you for cancellations or changes to your itinerary in addition to covering your medical expenses.

Make sure you contact them and explain the situation to them as soon as you get the opportunity.


When you see your doctor or surgeon, make sure to ask them about the risks associated with flying. Especially if you are intending to fly within two weeks of an operation or doing your injury.

Your risk of Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) increases significantly if you are unable to move your legs and get the blood flowing. Essentially, the calf muscle acts as a secondary heart, the movement during walking helps to pump the blood from your lower legs back up to your lungs. Not moving your leg limits this effect and you’ll likely experience some swelling in your lower leg as the blood and fluid pools there. DVT is basically a blood clot that forms from a severe lack of circulation, and they can cause all kinds of difficulties for you.

It’s unlikely that they will be impressed that you’ll be travelling with your injury, but they can certainly assist to make the process easier. You should enquire about getting some blood thinning injections (far more effective than taking Aspirin) and a note so that you can get a better seat & treatment on your journey.

Anti-coagulant injections

For my injury, I managed to get a prescription for some Clexane injections to help thin my blood. These are easily self administered and really assisted since I wasn’t able to stretch my legs and move around the cabin as much. My legs didn’t swell up at all.

For anyone interested, I administered injections daily for the two days prior to flying, immediately prior to boarding my flight and daily for the two days post journey to mitigate the biggest period of risk. I hate needles with a passion but this was easy enough to do (only made difficult by my sweaty palms) – I’d recommend this to anyone in a similar predicament.

Ensure you also drink plenty of water during your flight, and stay away from the alcohol!

Splitting your cast

It is also highly likely that you will need your cast to be split (simply cut down the entire length) to allow your leg to swell without creating too much discomfort. Your legs can swell on a plane due to the lower pressure in the cabin and lack of movement preventing your calf muscles from pumping blood against gravity. Keep in mind you will likely need to have a new cast fitted once you arrived in your destination as a split cast tends to deteriorate far quicker.


Regardless of who you are flying with, you should absolutely let them know of your injury. I flew with Emirates and they were more than happy to organise wheelchair assistance at all airports and assistance with my baggage. Depending on your airline, some won’t allow you to travel within 48 hours of having a full cast fitted due to the risks, but there should be no issues with a split cast. Emirates also offer a multitude of seats for people with disabilities and these are aisle seats, closer to the toilets.

As I booked my seats with my injury in mind, I managed to get good seats in empty rows which helped keep my injury elevated, but if you have already booked your seats, your airline should be able to move you to a more desirable seat free of charge. Aisle and/or bulkhead seats will be invaluable.

On the plus side, my luggage was first off the plane which helped to beat the customs queue. Additionally, priority boarding and skipping the lines at security checks helped to make the journey a much more pleasant experience.


I had high hopes of a complimentary upgrade when I was checking in. And despite the business class seats being less than a third full, no offer was forthcoming. It is a possibility, but I think the airlines have certainly cracked down on offering upgrades to passengers free of charge.

Be sure to confirm the wheelchair assistance and ask whether your seat is suitable for your condition, or ask to be moved into a vacant row/with extra legroom. If these aren’t available I’d recommend an aisle seat, where you can stretch your leg out in the aisle.

You’ll want to arrive earlier if possible to have a higher chance of being moved to a better seat. And keep in mind it will take longer to navigate the airport.


Most airlines will offer priority boarding to passengers with disabilities. If you’re on crutches then it is essential to take them up on this offer. The aisles on the planes are difficult to navigate on crutches when empty, let alone with other passengers and bags blocking the path. So make yourself known to the airline staff at the gate. I found just sitting near the gate was enough for them to come and ask me to board first.


Unfortunately, the majority of airlines will stow away your crutches for take-off and landing, as they won’t fit into most of the overhead lockers or under the chair. I found the airline staff and other passengers to be pretty helpful and willing to get the crutches out once at cruising altitude. Of course, being seated close to the bathroom also offers the benefit of being able to hop to the bathroom when required. Make sure you ask for assistance to get your crutches back and don’t risk further exacerbating your injury.

As always, try to get some movement in your legs during the flight. With your leg in the cast, try to keep it elevated where possible and raising it above hip height will aid your circulation. Drinking plenty of water will help to keep your blood thinner and minimise the risk of a clot/DVT in your leg. The inevitable side effect of drinking plenty of water will mean you need to use the bathroom more often, so a seat close to the facilities will come in very handy. And don’t be afraid to ask other passengers to make space for you in the aisle.


This was the worst part of my journey. Especially after waiting half an hour to get through the visa check in Munich and having rude passengers pushing in front of me in line! The airport was meant to have organised assistance to help collect my baggage from the carousel and get it to my car, but there were no staff to be seen. With some help from other passengers, I managed to get my 27kg suitcase off the carousel and out to the foyer.

For those not lucky enough to have helpful fellow passengers or have help organised, definitely get someone from the airline or airport staff to assist you. I don’t recommend trying to do it yourself, it’s too risky that you will only further injure yourself. The airline should coordinate with the airport to organise assistance for you, as Emirates had attempted for me.

General Tips for Flying with a Cast

  1. Make sure the airline is aware of your disability and see your doctor before flying.
  2. Keep your essentials on your person. Wearing clothes with pockets will help keep you organised so you don’t always have to fumble about in your backpack for your passport or boarding pass etc.
  3. Make sure you are competent at getting up and down steps on your crutches. Sometimes there aren’t ramps to the aircraft or it is a long walk to the elevator.
  4. Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water before and during your flight. Avoid alcohol and excessive amounts of caffeine.
  5. Move your legs where possible and try to keep your injured leg raised where possible. Ask the flight crew if you can be moved to a free row or a bulkhead seat if one is available.
  6. If you’re travelling in countries that tip for services, be mindful that this is probably expected every time someone helps you, with your baggage or in the wheelchair. So keep some change handy!

Get better soon!! 🙂

Things to do in Perth, Western Australia

Things to do in Perth, Western Australia

As a couple who have spent in excess of 30 combined years living in Perth, we are certainly in a comfortable position to help visitors make the most of their time. A lot of people don’t include Perth and Western Australia in their Australian itinerary, and we can somewhat understand that due to the distance and cost of getting there. After all, it is one of the most isolated cities in the world.

For those who can make the time to visit, we can guarantee you won’t regret it. Perth is one of the world’s most liveable cities and boasts an excellent climate. Compared to the experiences on offer in the rest of Australia’s capital cities, Perth is more akin to Brisbane than Melbourne or Sydney. And this certainly isn’t a bad thing. So expect a laid back time, some of the greatest things to do in Perth require time and minimal effort.

Perth lies on the Swan River and has undergone a much needed revitalisation recently. A redeveloped foreshore and an increase in the numbers of cafes and bars means the city is more alive than ever before. And it is continuing to become less of a ‘big country town’ and develop into a vibrant city.

We’ve prepared a list of the best things to do in and around the Perth metropolitan area, a comprehensive list prepared by locals!

1. Look over the skyline from Kings Park

Kings Park has a stunning location overlooking the Swan River and offers sweeping views of the Perth city skyline and back to the Darling Range. The park covers more than 400 hectares and is the largest inner city park in the southern hemisphere, even larger than New York’s Central Park.

Walk amongst the tree tops on the elevated bridge, or wander the pathways through the botanical gardens. Or prepare a picnic with the family on the grassy areas and let the kids enjoy the playgrounds and open space. Overlooking Perth city is the Botanical Cafe and for those looking for a fine dining experience, Fraser’s Restaurant, but be prepared for the bill.

2. South Perth Foreshore & Elizabeth Quay

The waterfront along the Swan River provides some amazing scenery during both the day and night. Enjoy a picnic on the southern foreshore or enjoy a beer in one of the waterfront pubs on the northern side. Whichever side you start on, cross via the ferry which runs every 10-15 minutes or walk across the Narrows Bridge which will take you about half an hour.

Make sure you stay until the evening, when the lights of Perth come on (usually after a picture perfect sunset) it is a spectacular sight. Make sure you wander along both sides to take in the contrasting views.

And while you’re there, get out on the Swan River. Kayaks, Stand Up Paddle Boards and Catamarans can be hired from Funcats Watersports and make for a great few hours of fun. We have done this a number of times over the years and it’s always enjoyable.

3. Day trip to Rottnest Island

Located just under 20km off the Perth coastline, Rottnest Island is an ideal getaway where you’ll have no trouble relaxing. With so many beautiful beachfront locations, you will want to come here for at least a day! Take the short ferry trip over, we recommend departing from the Barrack Street Jetty in the centre of Perth so you get a free Swan River cruise included in the price.

Firstly, the island is best explored by bicycle, as there are no private cars on the island. Having a bike will also make it much easier to get around the island, the more quiet and private beaches are on the far side of the island, which is a little too far to walk. There are also plenty of amazing reefs, so you’ll want to have packed your snorkelling gear.

Rottnest Island is also home to one of Australia’s cutest animals, the Quokka. They’re friendly and very photogenic. There are plenty of other activities to keep you occupied on the island, so please read our in depth article here.

4. Hit the amazing beaches

Western Australia is blessed with some of the best beaches in the world, we’ve travelled everywhere and you’ll be hard pressed to find a better selection anywhere. The beaches in the Perth metropolitan area won’t disappoint with white sand and warm, clear waters. On top of this, Western Australia offers you beautiful sunsets over the ocean every day of the year. What isn’t there to like? Sharks maybe, but it’s highly unlikely you’ll see any

Catch a sunset at Cottesloe Beach

One of Perth’s most popular beaches, about 15 minutes from Perth CBD. The beach attracts huge crowds over the summer months, which is not so great for those who enjoy a bit of privacy but it has all the offerings. A great selection of pubs and cafes are within a short walk too.

In March, the annual Sculpture by the Sea outdoor exhibition turns the beach into an outdoor art gallery. The exhibition is free, so if you’re in town make sure you check it out.

The waves here can get up to 2 metres, great for surfers but not ideal for those with a young family.

Scarborough Beach

Scarborough Beach offers much the same as Cottesloe but is about a 25 minute drive north of Perth. It does have some great facilities nearby and better surfing conditions if that is more your style. There are also surf schools nearby where you can spend a few hours learning the skills to master the waves.

Coogee Beach

This is probably our favourite beach in the Perth metropolitan area. About a 25 minute drive south of the CBD, Coogee has very little surf and is much quieter than many other Perth beaches. It is ideal for families and the surf club has a great cafe and pub where you can watch the sunset over the Indian Ocean.

Cottesloe Beach

Scarborough Beach

Coogee Beach

5. Explore the historic Fremantle port

Fremantle is one of the original settlements in Perth and is almost a city of it’s own. Located about a 20 minute drive from Perth city, it is easily accessible by public transport too.

Fremantle is a great mix of everything, from white sand beaches to bars and nightclubs, it has something for everyone. There are a handful of things to head to Fremantle for but you can easily spend a few days here!

For a meal, we would recommend trying Little Creatures Brewery or Cicerello’s located on the boardwalk overlooking the water. Little Creatures offer local produce and beers, while Ciccerello’s is home to some excellent seafood. Both are somewhat expensive, so be prepared.


For those interested in local history, the Fremantle Prison is still standing today and sits on some prime real estate not too far from the centre. There are a variety of tours exploring the prison but the Prison Tunnel Tour would be our recommendation, although you have to be reasonably fit to complete it.

Wander around Fremantle and I’m sure you will find something that takes your fancy. Try to find the markets hidden along the main street to find locals selling everything from handmade goods to fruit & veg to massages.

6. AQWA & Hillary’s Boat Harbour

Hillary’s is a more recent addition to Perth’s metropolitan area, about a 25 minute drive north of Perth. It is loaded with entertaining ways to enjoy yourself whether you are travelling alone or with your family.

First and foremost, Hillary’s features AQWA, the aquarium of Western Australia. Explore the animals that call Australia home and they have a touch pool that the kids love. For those a little braver, we absolutely recommend that you go swimming with the sharks and rays. You’ll appreciate how huge they are up close and it’s a great adrenalin rush. It is a little expensive at $195pp but we loved the experience! And if you do go that way, make sure you take a waterproof camera. Details here: http://www.aqwa.com.au/shop/dive-snorkel-with-sharks/

The nearby marina has an overwater boardwalk with an excellent selection of cafes and bars where you can enjoy the view and sound of the waves. We love to enjoy a mid afternoon ice cream here and then head to the Breakwater for a drink and an early dinner while watching the waves and sunset.

7. Catch a game at one of WA’s great stadiums

Australians in general love our sport. Western Australia is no exception and have teams in a variety of national sports that play year round. And the teams are passionately supported, making game day a great day out. Most popular, and unique to Australia is the AFL, best described as a hybrid between rugby and football.. WA is home to two teams (Fremantle and West Coast) who play out of Burswood (a 5 minute drive from Perth) and have  about 35,000 fans at home games.

If the sport of AFL is too foreign to you, Perth is home to the Western Force (rugby) and Perth Glory (football). Both teams draw a decent crowd and have a great atmosphere, whilst playing close to the centre of Perth. The Perth Wildcats (basketball) are one of Western Australia’s most successful sporting teams and their games are always entertaining.

Perth also plays host to the Hopman Cup (tennis) in January each year. 8 mixed teams from around the world come to Perth to play in the tournament.

8. Visit the Swan Valley for lunch and wine tasting

If you don’t have the time to visit Margaret River in WA’s south west (it is highly recommended) then heading out to the Swan Valley is the next best alternative. Whilst Margaret River is a 3hr drive from the city, the Swan Valley is only a half hour trip, or alternatively, there are daily wine tours so no one has to miss out and drive. There are plenty of great wineries here where you can sample wines, craft beers and even cheese or chocolate at the various businesses in the area.

There are some excellent tours that will take you through the valley, starting from $120pp including lunch. We have previously tried the 5 hour afternoon tour with Swan Valley Tours ($140pp) and we stopped at a few wineries, a craft brewery and a visit to the Margaret River Chocolate Factory (in the Swan Valley fyi) which wasn’t bad value.

Of course, nothing will beat picking the best options for you, there are some excellent options depending on your interests. We’ve listed some of our favourites here for you:

Margaret River Chocolate Factory

Lancaster Winery, conveniently opposite the Margaret River Chocolate Factory.

Canefire Distillery, rum specialists.

Mash Brewery

Of course, there are many more options in the area, in particular a few German breweries if that interests you. Just be prepared that once the samples are gone, additional drinks are Australian prices.

Bayerischer Wald – The Bavarian Forest

Bayerischer Wald – The Bavarian Forest

We visited the Bayerisher Wald (the Bavarian Forest) during late August, 2016 and spent half a week exploring the surrounding towns and the forest itself. The forest is the largest protected forest in continental Europe, so you can expect something a little different here. It is also home to some of Germany’s recovering wolf population. Read more here.


The Bayerischer Wald stretches along the German/Czech Republic border in the south east of Germany and covers over 240 square kilometres. Due to the huge expanse covered by the forest, there are a multitude of small towns that you could stay in while you explore the forest and its surrounds.

We chose to stay in Regen for our time exploring the forest. It is about a 15 minute drive from the forest and big enough to have all the amenities for visitors. During the summer months we found that affordable accommodation in the area was hard to come by, so try to book at least a fortnight in advance. Aside from the castle ruins on the hilltop there isn’t a great deal to do in Regen, so having a full itinerary will come in handy.

The Forest

We arrived in Regen in the late afternoon and after enjoying the last of the warm summer sun, we decided to go and check out the forest just before sunset. After arriving at the Falkenstein National Park Centre, we headed straight into the forest. After a 10 minute walk we stumbled upon a lookout tower and decided to get some photos as the sun set over the mountains. As the sunlight was fading we were getting ready to leave when we first heard the wolves howling. What an experience! It started off with a single wolf and within a few minutes there must have been 7 or more joining in. Luckily, they are fenced off, as they did sound quite hungry..

We ended up staying in the forest and watching the wolves until the last bit of light disappeared. Even though it meant we missed out on dinner the experience was well worthwhile, and we returned to the same spot the following evening for a repeat. This was certainly one of the most exhilarating things we have done on our travels.


Bodenmais is 15 minute drive north of Regen and will keep visitors entertained year round. Firstly, the townships collective expertise is glassmaking, and there are plenty of traditional shops in the town where you can watch the professionals produce their beautiful works. You really cannot visit here and not include it in your itinerary.

There is also a Kerzenwelt outlet here. Kerzenwelt translates to ‘Candle World’ and if you aren’t heading to Austria any time soon to see the original store, then make sure you stop by. The candles they produce are amazing and we are yet to see anything comparative in our travels around the world.

Being summer, the area also features plenty of hiking trails into the mountains. We hiked up a few short trails and were rewarded with amazing panoramic views of the region. For those heading to these parts in winter, there are plenty of ski fields in the area.

A short walk from the centre of Bodenmais is the Silberberg mountain. The mountain offers some of the best hiking in the area, as well as chairlifts and a beer garden on the ascent for those more interested in leisure. We hiked to the top and were rewarded with some amazing photos and views. To keep the kids, and some adults entertained, there are also toboggan rides back down the mountain.

Lusen & Tree-top Walk

Right on the German and Czech Republic border is Lusen. It is a mountain, not a town but has some great attractions for all ages. It is perfect for getting to know the natural side of Bavaria in all its beauty. It does require a moderate level of fitness and at least half a day of your time to take in all that is on offer. Any carbs you do burn can easily be replaced at the pub near the entrance.

The premier attraction is the animal park. Featuring 30+ animals found in the forest including wolves, lynx and a brown bear. Aside from the big name carnivores, the animal park also features plenty of herbivores and birds. One of our favourite enclosures allowed you to share space with an adorable and friendly owl. The park is quite large, so if you want to look and learn about all the German creatures then you will need more than 2 hours – but spending the time there was worthwhile.

After exploring the animal park your legs are probably ready for a rest. Bad news, there is still plenty of walking to go. So grab a beer and prepare to soldier on. On the other side of the road is the treetop walkway. The cost of entry is 9€ per person. Walking 30 metres above the forest floor was great and there are plenty of excellent photography opportunities. If you’re lucky like us, native squirrels might come out to play. See their website for details. 

The walk ends at a massive lookout tower which can only be described as a giant pine cone. Whilst it is somewhat arduous walking around in circles to reach the top, it provides great panoramic views of the area – perfect for photographers of all abilities.

Their website has some great information on how to reach the park, see here.

Aside from the amazing animal parks and natural experiences to be had, there is also abundance of beautiful lakes and mountains to explore around the forest. The area truly is something special for those who enjoy the outdoors. In hindsight, it would have been the perfect place to camp for a few nights rather than stay in a hotel to really complement the natural experience.



A Place
Full Of History



If you’re after an authentic Bavarian getaway while visiting the south of Germany you can’t really look past Regensburg. It really offers the perfect combination of nature, fun activities and history. Located between Nurnberg & Munich, the town is split in two by the Danube River. Getting here is easy by car from Nurnberg (1:15 hours) or Munich (2:30 hours) or there are regular train services from both cities to Regensburg.

The city dates all the way back to the Roman Empire so there is no shortage history here. A short walk around the city will certainly highlight that. You can see St Peter’s Cathedral from miles around and the city is filled with beautiful architecture.

Visiting the Cathedral is a ‘must do’ whilst in the city. Construction started in the 12th century and it was finished until 1520. It backs onto the main square of the city and casts an impressive shadow. Heading inside is equally rewarding. It will take 15-20 minutes to explore the inside and check out the catacombs below. Photos are allowed, so snap away.

Aside from the Cathedral, Regensburg is full of historical sites. Many of the houses in the old part of the city date back to medieval times and have been well preserved. The aptly named Old Stone Bridge provides unbroken panoramic views of the town and the river, be sure to stop by here to get some amazing photos. It is especially picturesque in the early morning or at sunset.

We visited during the summer months which allowed us to do plenty of hiking in the ‘Bayerischer Wald’ (the Bavarian forest, the largest protected forest in Europe). Exploring the nature aspect of the region was certainly enjoyable but if you are visiting in winter then there are plenty of activities for you.

If you are visiting in summer, don’t forget your swimwear. The Danube River provides a perfect swimming spot amongst the trees. The river moves slowly so feel free to float away downstream and take in the sites as you go, just remember you have to walk back eventually!

The food scene here is great. There is a huge variety of places to choose from, cafes line the roadside. We thought the food was great and did our best to try out all the ice creameries in town, no complaints at all. If you are stuck for a meal in the evening, we thoroughly enjoyed eating at Namaste Indian Restaurant during our stay. The food was excellent and very well priced. Just don’t make the mistake we did and try the extra hot (‘scharf’ in German) naan bread – it was too authentic for my western tastebuds.

Winter activities

Regensburg offers one of Germany’s best Christmas Markets (Weihnachtsmarkt). No one celebrates Christmas better than the Germans and from late November to Christmas eve you can enjoy mulled wine (Gluhwein) and bratwurst while the snow falls. The Christmas markets is not all just about delicious hot food & drinks, there are heaps of stalls selling knitted winter wear, handmade Christmas decorations and everything in between.

Additionally, the cold winter allows visitors to try ice skating on the many frozen lakes or skiing if you are prepared to travel out of town.

Ultimately, Regensburg is a beautiful city that operates at a very relaxed pace. If you are looking to wind down and take things slowly then this would be ideal for you. Enjoy the dining and taking in the sights. We loved it here and walking around with our camera all day was a pleasure.

For those who are interested in an action packed getaway, this probably isn’t the place for you.


A Place
Full Of History


Europe’s Largest
Protected Forest


The Roman
Fort City

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