Perth, Western Australia. Trip 2013 Highlights, Part 2: Fremantle

Fremantle: High Street view from the Round House.
Every trip to Perth, my partner, Enigma, and I try to plan at least a day in Fremantle together as our 'just us' part of the holiday. The port city is the one place we'd both choose to live if there was no other factors to consider about where we call home.

I personally like it for it's historic architecture and history but more so, it's proximity to great beaches and the fact it's still a working port. Container and holiday ships are always coming and going and serves as a constant reminder that there's a bigger world out there.

Not that I particularly want to explore that bigger world, it's more a metaphor for always thinking about the bigger picture. Looking beyond just your point of view. That kind of thing.

Anyhow, the purpose of this post is not to get all philosophical. This is all about how we spent our day in Fremantle.

Fremantle Tram Tours

Fremantle Tram.
Enigma had read about Fremantle's Tram Tours. The Trams themselves are replica 'Trams' that are more like a bus. They don't run on tram lines but they do follow the exact same circuit of six stops around Fremantle. The trams do eight circuits (during peak season) spread out over the course of a day meaning you can buy a ticket and then hop on and off different trams if you want to spend a little more time at a specific location.

Fremantle Gaol.
Now a Museum with Cafe.
Enigma and I chose to do the full circuit in one go. Other options include tours that also meet up with the ferry tour from Fremantle to Perth (and back) which will then meet up with the Bus Tour of Perth city. There's also a tram tour that includes lunch on the Ferry to Perth and back, meeting up with the tram again on the return and a Friday night Ghostly Tour. Prices vary depending on the tour.

The tram tour stops at six locations but as you go the drivers point out all the various historic sites and other points of interest, giving you a little bit of information about each.

War Memorial.
It's quite a nice tour but, to be honest, it does feel a little rushed with few opportunities to stop and take photos. Though if you planned your whole day around the tram tour and did hop on and off different trams you'd have plenty of time for photos and a good look around.

The Round House and Bather's Bay

After our Tram Tour Enigma and I headed up to the Round House which overlooks Bather's Bay (an ideal little beach to take small children or to just sit and relax).

The Round House (building on the right)
overlooking Bather's Bay on the left.
Old Whaling tunnel
running directly under
the Round House.
The Round House is Fremantle's first Gaol built on, what is mostly, a limestone rock hill.

The Gaol is now a museum that is worth exploring for the gold coin donation required to get in. However I usually visit this location because it has the best view looking over most of Fremantle on one side, then the best view looking out to sea on the other.

Many people have leaned along the rock wall, looking out over Bather's Beach, as the sun sets in the west over the years - including myself.

Fishing Boat Harbour Board Walk

The fishing boat harbour board walk is just over the other side of Bather's Bay and features many different restaurants and kiosks which overlooks where all the locals moor their boats.

Restaurants looking out towards Fishing Boat Harbour.
Enigma and I had intended to have fish and chips for dinner at Cicerello's, supposedly the best in the state, but it was too early so we settled for drinks and took the time to take a few more photos.

Bon Scott tribute Statue
at the Boat Habour.
Most notable to international visitors who may also be fans of the Australian band AC/DC is the statue of Bon Scott. The singer, as far as I know, is buried in Fremantle Cemetery, possibly in an unmarked grave now, as there used to be problems with fans stealing his headstone.

I'm sure the statue was built not only to pay tribute to Bon but to also take some of the focus away from his grave site. Since a photo with a statue of the legend is probably more desirable for all but the most hardcore of fans.

The statue is very life-like but at half scale (I'd say, at a guess). Which made me think he looked a bit Hobbit-sized in comparison to some of the other statues dedicated to fishermen, which are all life size. You'll definitely think "I thought Bon was taller?"

Market Street - Cafe Strip

After we'd explored the harbour we headed back to Market Street, otherwise known as Fremantle's Cafe Strip. Before looking for somewhere to have dinner, Enigma made a couple of stops to buy souvenirs for the grand kids and chocolate for us from Fremantle Chocolate.

The Cafe Strip its self features Alfresco Dining up and down both sides of the street from almost any culture you can imagine. Having been too early for fish and chips at the Harbour we looked for somewhere along the strip that could do a nice fish and chips.

Ali Baba and the
40 Dishes.
We settled upon a small Turkish cafe called Ali Baba and the 40 Dishes. Which, wisely offers a fairly standard fish and chips (I don't know, everyone just expects to be able to get fish and chips in a port city I guess so most places include it on the menu).

We weren't looking for anywhere too flashy but the strip has all levels of dining from small cafes and fast food to full table service and indoor dining. There's bound to be something to suit anyone.

Port Beach - North Fremantle

After dinner it was starting to get dark but there was just enough time for a trip into North Fremantle to show Enigma that Fremantle actually does have a proper beach in Port Beach.

Unfortunately it was too dark to get a good photo by this time but the image below gives you a reasonable view looking back towards the lights of central Fremantle and the port - where we'd spent our day.

Port Beach, looking back towards the lights of Fremantle Harbour.
Photo: Enigma.

Perth, Western Australia. Trip 2013 Highlights, Part 1

I was going to write individual posts about the various highlights of my trip to Perth back in April but, as time goes on, it's becoming evident that I'm not going to get around to it. So here it is. The bumper post of trip highlights in pictures.

This first part is most of the sights we saw with various family members. Part two will focus on Enigma and I's day trip to Fremantle.

South Perth Foreshore

South Perth Foreshore.
Enigma and I spent our first morning wandering along the South Perth foreshore. The foreshore is well kept parkland with cycle and walk paths, playgrounds and more with great views of the central Perth skyline.

We were lucky enough to be walking on a fairly cloudy day but I'd recommend a hat and sunscreen because there are long stretches of path with no shade.

Kelly's Cafe and Restaurant

Kelly's Cafe.
Kelly's Cafe and Restaurant is actually in the middle of a garden centre known as All Palms Garden Centre located in Canning Vale.

The dining space is large but inviting and doubles as a gift shop where you can browse either whilst you wait for your order or after you've eaten.

Enigma and I had a very nice lunch here with my Mother, Sister, Brother and his Partner.

London Court

London Court. Photo: Enigma
London Court is actually just a themed shopping mall but it makes for a great many photo opportunities due to the amount of detail in the architecture. It's also not an uncommon site to see people standing at the entrances to the mall waiting for the clocks to strike so they can see the animated knights jousting (I think - it's been so long since I really stopped to look and see what characters spin around when the clocks strike).

Ken Done Retrospective Exhibition

Ken Done Retrospective. Photo: Enigma
This exhibition was on at the Linton & Kay Galleries on St. Georges Terrace in the city. Ken's art is always divisive among any group of people (who aren't Ken Done groupies) and my family was no exception.

"Checkn out the Ken Done exhibition. 
This one has been done well 
looks spot on like a tv." - Carl A.
Best comment on the exhibition was from my brother who posted the photo he took on the right to his Facebook page whilst at the exhibition. His comment is below the photo.

For my part I'm more of a fan of the work that really put Ken on the map. The really colourful paintings of Australian scenes such as the beach and Sydney Harbor. Beyond that I admire him for his career and how it progressed more than the art.

I must say I was really impressed by the staff at Linton & Kay Galleries. The most pro-active gallery staff I've ever encountered.

Usually you go into a gallery and the curator just sits at their desk and barely even says hello. At Linton & Kay the girls there actively approached everyone visiting the gallery, spent some time with them and also took the time to explain whatever art you happened to standing in front of.

If I sold through galleries they're the kind of staff I'd like to have representing my work.

Tomato Lake Cafe

Tomato Lake Cafe.
My Dad took myself and Enigma here for breakfast. Tomato Lake Cafe is located in Belmont by the lake of the same name.

We didn't really walk around much of the park even though I'm sure it would have been a pleasant walk around the lake. Our sole purpose was breakfast at the cafe.

I don't think I've ever seen service quite so good, not just on our table. If you watch the staff whilst you eat you can easily see they're all going the extra yard to make sure everyone has a great dining experience.

The food is best described as taste is more important than presentation. Which is not to suggest their presentation is poor by any means... you just won't find any pretentious food sculptures and arty plates of 'whatever that is' that would look more at home framed on your wall than as a meal on a table.

Yanchep National Park

Koala Sanctuary.
Yanchep National Park boasts a Koala sanctuary in which we only saw two koalas, both sleeping and neither in a very good spot for a photo opportunity. That's why my only picture is of the sanctuary's sign.

Fortunately the koalas are not the only reason to visit the park. We stopped in for a drink at Yanchep Lakeview tearooms (which also doubles as a Chocolate Shop.

We also had a nice meal at the Yanchep Inn and saw a whole family of kangaroos on the lawn out the front. Who were unfortunately startled and ran when some dick started up his motorbike that was nearly as loud as a jet engine (look closely you can see him and his girlfriend in the photo).

Kangaroos out front of the Yanchep Inn.

Dad's 70th Birthday

Dad's Cake. Photo: Enigma.
Finally the whole reason we went to Perth in April was to attend my Dad's 70th birthday. It was mostly an extended family affair along with a few my Dad's long time friends. It was a great afternoon with excellent food and a good time had by all.

The highlight though was definitely my Dad's cake which was a replica tool box and 100% edible. The level of detail was amazing.

Movie Opinion: Iron Man 3

Iron Man 3 has divided audiences some what. Many fans of Iron Man in the comics feel let down whilst main stream fans of the Iron Man films, for the most part, have really embraced the third installment.

This is not a review of Iron Man 3. If you have not seen the movie and don't want it to be spoiled, stop reading now. I mean it. Once you know one of the biggest plot points of the film, you can't un-know it. Knowing it will spoil the whole film for you because you will see certain characters in a different light.

You have been warned!

Ben Kingsley as
The Mandarin
Before Iron Man 3 arrived n theaters it promised a formidable foe in the Mandarin, supposedly Tony Stark's number one enemy in the comics. Ben Kingsley's take on the character seemed very imposing and a real interesting interpretation. It's worth looking at the trailer just to remind you on how awesome the Mandarin was.



For about the first two thirds of the movie everything is leading up to a big confrontation with the seemingly elusive, self styled terrorist leader. When it finally happens, the Mandarin is on a bathroom break and you begin to suspect everything is perhaps not what it seems.

Then a very English, Trevor, who barely has the stature to be intimidating and no longer speaks in his 'terrorist' voice, emerges.

The hard core comic fan at this point becomes incensed that the kick ass Mandarin is just an actor. This is not what the movie trailer promised.

However if you take the view that you were duped, just like everyone in the film, then it's almost an interactive experience. After months of trailers building up to this one confrontation between Tony and the Mandarin, when it finally happens, you get to discover, along with Tony, that it's all a ruse.

I can understand comic die hards  being upset at seeing what they thought was going to be an awesome interpretation of their character being diminished to caricature and comedy. I must admit I was a little disappointed by it too - only because the ruse of the Mandarin was so well done. It does make you wonder what the movie might have been like if it wasn't a deception?

Despite that I thought the twist in Ben Kingsley's Mandarin's character was a stroke of genius and fit right into the humor of the Iron Man film series.

It's rare that a superhero movie can be surprising. Iron Man 3 was in a way that caught you off guard, taking things that you see at face value instead of perhaps looking into them a little more for the truth.


It's not Iron Man's Helmet but it has Super Power Potential


This face piece, along with the goggles (see image below) are clearly not part of Iron Man's helmet but they can give you super powers like targeted audio and enhanced vision.

My only disappointment is that, clearly, these two objects are designed to be worn together but no one actually tries either out at the same time in the video below. Seems like the budget ran out for creating something to hold both onto your head at the same time.

This concept has the potential for a real Iron Man like helmet that perhaps could be used to enhance a soldiers abilities in the field. Which is what the Iron Man suit was really intended to do.


Eidos - Sensory augmentation equipment (full version) from TJB on Vimeo.

Description by the video creators...
We are used to controlling the world around us, to find the settings that suit us best. What if we had the same control over our senses? If we could adjust them in real time, what new experiences could this make possible?

Eidos delivers two pieces of experimental equipment that let you selectively enhance your hearing and vision by activating your hidden powers of perception.

Tim Bouckley
Millie Clive-Smith
Mi Eun Kim
Yuta Sugawara
You can find out more information about this technology including diagrams and photos at De Zeen Magazine.

The Closest Thing To Space Travel

View over the wing on the plane
flight home from Perth, Western Australia.
I'm one of those people who enjoys flying on commercial airliners. The fact that I only fly economy really doesn't bother me. Especially if I have a window seat.

As a fan of Science Fiction I look out the window and think, this is probably the closest thing to commercial space travel that I'll experience in my life time.

Currently Sir Richard Branson with Virgin Galactic is probably the closest to making commercial space flight a reality but after eight years of trying his company has only just had its first powered spacecraft flight (see the video below).



Whilst in the video you can hear Richard briefly outline his vision of the new frontier of commercial space travel we're a long way off from any kind of commercial travel to the moon and even further for other planets.

Whilst there are a number of projects attempting to send people to Mars including the Inspiration Mars Foundation, attempting to do a manned fly by in 2018, and Mars One, attempting to establish a human colony on Mars by 2023 (see video below), these are pioneering efforts.



Even if any Mars missions are successful it'll be a long time before the data collected will enable commercial flights.

Colonial 1, The President's ship,
Battlestar Galactica.
Some day those huge space transports of the likes seen in TV series like Battlestar Galactica, carrying entire populations of people, will be a reality. Just not in my life time.

Movie Review: Oblivion

I feel like someone needs to slap almost every movie reviewer/film critic who has reviewed Oblivion and said it's 'derivative' and therefore somehow a lesser film because of it.

Yes, Oblivion is derivative but you can say that about almost every movie - even some of the best. They're all derivative of something - especially science fiction films.

Oblivion is set in a post nuclear war Earth where the planet has been decimated. Never seen that in any sci-fi film ever right? The Earth was attacked by Aliens and destroyed. Haven't seen that before either, right?

If I were to keep listing how Oblivion is derivative I'd eventually destroy the plot for you, if you've yet to see it. Especially towards the end where you may even think that final solution to the alien threat was so derivative you're struggling to choose which movie you haven't seen that in.

My point is, that being derivative doesn't matter all that much. What counts is does the film tell a good story? I think Oblivion does. Don't listen to critics just go in with the least amount of knowledge as you can. This story will unfold quite nicely before your eyes and lead you somewhere that you perhaps weren't expecting by the end.

In fact, if you haven't seen it, watch the trailer below. That's all you need to know going in. If you can, see it on a big screen because the visuals and action are worth the price alone. Watching some of the tech in action is one of the best parts of seeing the movie.



Another thing I'm sick of hearing is critics complaining about Tom Cruise playing himself in movies.... WTF? Jack Nicholson's whole career is based around him playing himself. Same with Bruce Willis, Brad Pitt, Hugh Grant and even Morgan Freeman. All of these actors have a few roles here and there that pushed them into something special with their performances but generally, you go to see them play themselves.

Tom Cruise is great at being Tom Cruise in Oblivion. The script doesn't require him to be anything else. It's a sci fi action film with just enough character development to get the story across. How deep can it actually be when Tom's character has had his memory erased prior to the start of his mission (that's not really a spoiler. You find that out very early on in the movie).

If there is something that does let this movie down, I'd have to say it's within the script its self because it doesn't go very deep into the back story of anything. You may come out of the film wishing you could have had more detail about everything... and maybe a bit more screen time for Morgan Freeman too (whose costume was derivative of Christian Bale's Bat Suit except with hockey pads - yeah, bad joke but he did look a little like Lucius Fox in Batman cos-play!).

If you're a sci-fi fan there's no reason you won't enjoy the film. You'll enjoy it even more if you like Tom Cruise. Probably not so much if you were going for Morgan Freeman due to his short amount of screen time.

The visuals and tech are memorable. The action is exciting. The story is probably not quite what you were expecting based upon the trailer however it will give you something to think about at the end.

I'd buy this for my sci-fi movie collection.
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