May 2011… It was my birthday… and I was single… what to do? Tick a big one off the bucket list of course!!
I’d swum with lots of different animals over the years – sting rays, dolphins, grey
nurse sharks (!!) but there was one beast at the top of my to-swim-with list that
happened to cruise through Ningaloo Reef in WA in the months either side of my
birthday… so I made plans to swim with the whale sharks off Exmouth.
I arranged to stay at the Wyndham Outram in Perth for a couple of days either side
of going to Exmouth, so I could catch up with family and friends and explore Perth a
The Outram was super easy to get to and I discovered it was also located right
beside a Cat bus stop – these are free bus lines that circle the city – so getting
around town was a breeze.
Inside the hotel itself the staff were very helpful and I couldn’t believe the size if the
bathtub in my room!! Shame I was flying solo.
High on my list of things to do in Perth was to eat at an establishment
recommended by a foodie friend. The Greenhouse is smack in the middle of
Perth’s CBD and is the brainchild (or is that lovechild?) of designer Joost Bakker
and restauranteurs Paul Aron & Jason Chan. Their dream was to create a warm
and friendly space made entirely of sustainable materials and then serve locally
grown, tasty, organic food. Well they succeeded!
The building is made of straw bales, plywood, steel and corrugated iron. There are
fruit bowls made of old gas bottles, platters from offcuts of wood and milk served in
I perused the lunch menu and finally settled on a haloumi, beetroot and poached
wheat salad. It came with two huge slices of beautifully grilled haloumi and the
beetroot salad was to die for, with not just red baby beets but yellow and orange
Dessert was a baked custard Filo cigar with rhubarb and cinnamon… the custard
was warm and sweet, contrasting beautifully with the chilled rhubarb compote
All up it came to $50… pricey for a brunch but I was indulging.
And what of my birthday behemoth swim in Exmouth?
I got to the beach at 7am to board the boat only to be told that it wouldn’t start and
we’d all have to come back another day… **sigh** No whale sharks this year.
Guess I’ll just have to come back to WA! And now I’m no longer single I’ll have
someone to share that great big bathtub at The Outram with!!!
Words and Photos by Dani