Australia, Travel & Lifestyle

Renners Down Under: Week 1 on the West Coast

25th February 2018

After a very long time of wishing and waiting I am finally in AUSTRALIA!!! First stop is the West Coast. I’ve been dreaming of this since I was little and I am happy to report week 1 has been a massive success.

While I am over here I am going to do a weekly round up of what I have been up to. Just in case anyone cares. More detailed posts will follow on the specific bits I have been up to.

So after travelling solo for exactly 5 months, 18th September – 18th February it was time to meet my dad and travel with him for a few weeks.

Don’t get me wrong, I loved my Asian adventures but being in Australia I am extremely happy to eat veggie sausages and home cooked foods, drink nice wine, get back in the pool for some proper training and sleep in a room by myself.

So here we go …

Week 1 in a nutshell!

Touchdown in Perth!

Our adventures are starting on the West Coast of Australia in Perth. We have relatives here so we are very lucky to be able to spend the first week staying with them. Dad and I both flew into Perth airport within an hour of each other. My flight was delayed an hour, which would usually be annoying, but we bumped into each other in the bag collection hall. This made it an easy pick up for our family!

It was Sunday evening so we headed back to theirs for an absolute feast of homemade bread, yummy fruit and SO MUCH CHEESE! It was heavenly but I paid for it the next day when my hands were puffy and my joints were painful from the gluten. Was totally worth it though and I would do it again!

We spent the first day doing ‘life admin’. We collected a hire car, I had a doctors appointment to get my next 6 months of prescriptions (boring) and then it was time for the fun part. THE BEACH!

Want white sand?

Head to the West Coast of Australia:

When you hear about Australian beaches everyone bangs on about Bondi and Byron but week 1 has proved you can find beautiful, clean, white sandy beaches with unreal blue water over on the west coast!

There is even an allocated ‘dog beach’ which is where we spent Sunday morning with Zeus, the family pooch.

We spent a few afternoons during the week exploring the different beaches but also seeking shade. Which isn’t my usual style but poor Daddy Renshaw has been acclimatising to the heat! Coming from the arctic conditions of Bolton it’s proving a bit of a challenge when midday hits and we have to head for the shade.

Nevertheless I got him down the beach for a photo shoot and that’s where we got this absolute cracker of a photo!

He swears that he did jump … the camera just missed it! And he isn’t holding the no swimming sign, that’s just an unlucky coincidence! Which he has the hump about because he wanted to move up the beach away from the sign but I quite liked it!

Operation Quokka Selfie:

One of the best things to do on the west coast is take a day trip to Rottnest Island. It’s a short ferry ride from the mainland. You hire a bicycle and explore the island. It’s a gorgeous island with the standard west coast white sand beaches and blue waters. The best part of the island in my book are the quokkas!

The only place in the world they can be found is on Rottnest Island and they are the most adorable thing ever!

They are really friendly and love a selfie!

The quokkas on Rottnest were probably my highlight of my first week in Australia!

Free Willy makes a comeback!

In London I’d go swimming but not as often as I’d like. Mainly because when it’s dark and cold there it takes a lot of willpower to drag myself out the house to go to the pool. I’ve always been excited to get to Australia and train hard in one of the millions of outdoor pools. Perth didn’t disappoint and I managed to fit in three good swims this week.

Scarborough Beach provided my first ocean side swimming pool experience! It has only been opened a few weeks and so its still brand new and mega clean! Right on the side of the beach there is a 50m pool with a few lanes on the side that are 25m. Dad took up residence in the 25m pool and I braved the 50m one! Sticking in one of the slower lanes I was pretty happy with my times but plan on knocking off a serious amount of time over the next year.

The pool at Scarborough has a load of sun loungers around the edge so I managed to convince dad he would enjoy a coffee in the shade while I sunbathed for a few hours. Winning!

Doing time:

Another favourite part of the week was visiting Fremantle Prison! I have a weird fascination with prisons and true crime stories and dad and I decided to take a tour. The prison was built at the top of the hill in Fremantle and as we were guided around we were taught about the convicts sent over from Britain to not only build the prison that they had to live in, but also build the first colonies on the West Coast!

I’m a total geek over this stuff and I’m gutted we didn’t have time to do another tour of the dungeons or to hear about the most notorious criminals. I’m sure we will be back one day and I will be making sure I visit again.


Everyone knows I love wine. I really love wine. And I have never been to a proper wine tasting. Excitingly for Saturday, Rachel and Trendy who have been kindly putting us up for the week have planned for us all to visit three vineyards! THREE! We headed to the Swan Valley for this expedition which was only 30 minutes away.

Rachel, Dad and Trendy – Look how happy they all are!

The first one we just tasted four different wines and were talked through how to swirl it, sniff it and taste it like a professional. It was a gorgeous setting, very fancy!

The second vineyard we headed to was my favourite. A bit more ‘homely’ with lovely staff who gave out free cheese and biscuits for while you tasted the wine. Heaven!

The third winery was where we were having lunch and was a nice mixture of the two. It was still upmarket but also really friendly. We ate lunch drinking our favourite dry white wine over looking the grapes being grown.

The food was delicious and it was really nice to spend some time with family we barely ever get to see. Living on the other side of the world has that problem!

The ‘Real’ Australian experience.

Our last day in Perth has been spent getting the ‘real’ Australian experience. Peter drove us inland away from the coast so we could see the small inland towns and the bush. It was pretty crazy seeing how they live and how they manage to get water to their towns to live off. Driving back we got caught in the most mental storm I have ever seen.

The rain was coming down so hard you literally couldn’t see where you were going. Peter is a native Aussie and an excellent driver so he knew how to negotiate the drive! So many trees had fallen into the road. Luckily these Aussies drive around with chainsaws in their cars, and could get out, chop up the trees and move them!

I also spotted my first wild kangaroos. I don’t think I’ll ever not find that exciting! They were so cute and small because there were loads of babies with them. You can safely say we got our ‘real’ Australian experience!

I heart Australia!

So it’s safe to say my first week in Australia has been a very strong start! I’ve loved exploring the west coast and think more people should head over here! The east coast gets the most press but I think these beaches may be hard to beat. I am excited to find out if there are any better ones!

While you’re here you may be interested in some of my other blog posts below:




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  • Reply Gail 27th February 2018 at 1:42 pm

    Hi Helen,

    Great to see you and your Dad having such a good time, it looks like you are making lots of lovely memories. Keep writing the blogs as they are really entertaining and I am enjoying them all.

    Gail x

    • Reply Helen_Renners 1st March 2018 at 10:04 pm

      Thank you 🙂 We’re having a great time! I’m trying to be better at more regular blogging so be careful what you wish for … you’ll be sick of them haha! xx

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