Zambezi Queen to Johannesburg to Perth

We watched the sunrise over the river from our bed this morning. Breakfast was set for 7.00am as most of us were leaving the boat at 8.15am. We have thoroughly enjoyed our short stay on board the Zambezi Queen and wished that we could have spent more time on the Chobe River. We would have liked to spend more time exploring and photographing the wildlife that abounds in this area and also to have had more time onboard to simply relax and enjoy the surroundings and company of our fellow passengers and crew. For us, it was a unique and friendly experience that has not lost the spirit of all that is uniquely African.
At 8.15am, we boarded the tender boats and all the crew sang a traditional farewell to us as we headed up the river to start the border crossing processes that would eventually take us back to Livingstone. We did in reverse the complicated and unusual process that we had followed on Monday. The only change being that the Namibian Immigration Office was actually in operation and we didn’t have to go to the local police station to get our passports stamped. Tender boat to exit Namibia, tender boat to enter Botswana, bus ride to exit point for Botswana, river crossing to enter Zambia and then an hour’s drive to Livingstone Airport. The process didn’t seem to be as bad as it was on Monday as we were fresh and it wasn’t yet as hot.
We arrived in Livingstone at 11.30am and our flight on an Airbus A319-100 to Johannesburg, left at 1.15pm arriving in Johannesburg at 2.45pm. We were lucky in that we had three seats for the two of us and lots of leg room so it was a comfortable flight. We had a cup of tea/coffee and then headed to the shops for more souvenir shopping before having dinner at the Mug and Bean.
We wandered around the shops and then made our way to the departure lounge only to be told not long before our flight was due to be called to board, that we needed to all leave the departure lounge and line up to have an impromptu bag search. By the time they had finished that, our flight was called and we boarded our South African Airways A340-600 aircraft for the next leg of our homeward journey. For the first time in all our travelling, we found this aircraft to be most uncomfortable for a long haul flight. Although we were in the two seats of a 2-4-2 configuration, we found the seats to be narrow, no long room and virtually no padding on the seats so they were hard and uncomfortable. They also had to reboot the entertainment system a couple of times to get it to work. The one good thing about the flight was that on the way home, they used the jet stream to their advantage and the flight only took approximately eight and a half hours, which was a significant reduction on the time that it took to get there.
We arrived at Perth airport for our three day stopover at approximately 12.45pm local time on Thursday 9 October and after clearing immigration and customs, even with some items to declare, we were out of the airport and into a taxi to the city in about an hour. By this stage we had been travelling for approximately 24 hours and were pleased that we had decided to stopover in Perth rather than to continue our journey back to Brisbane as that would have added a further 8 hours to our journey!!
We arrived at the Hyatt Regency and as we made our way to reception, there was a surprise for us – my beautiful sister, Maria, her son, Tim and his gorgeous girls Imogen and Carys were there to greet us. We had a cuppa and a lovely chat to them and then came up to our room to have showers etc. Our room overlooks the Swan River and Langley Park and is lovely.
We went for a walk along the Riverside, which was most enjoyable, taking in the lovely river and city views before returning to the Hyatt for dinner, updating our blog and an early night.

This morning, we were picked up from our hotel at 7.30am and made our first stop on our Perth half-day tour at the stunning Kings Park Botanic Gardens, famous for its outstanding collection of Western Australia flora and is also popular for picnics, walks, cultural and ceremonial events. The State War Memorial was erected in 1929 and the Honour Avenues and special memorials throughout the Park are dedicated to those who died during service to Australia.
From this elevated vantage point we got fabulous views of the Perth city skyline, the Swan River and the Darling Ranges. We also had stunning views of the city and the river when we walked along the Tree Top Walkway.
We saw the 750-year-old baobab tree, relocated here from the central Australian desert, the lake in memory of the Pioneer Women, the Firefighters memorial, Christ Church Grammar School and the University of Western Australia.
We then re-boarded our coach and listened to onboard commentary from our driver as we toured through Perth. We saw:
• the legendary WACA cricket ground – home of cricket in Western Australia since the early 1890s. The first Test Match was played at the ground in 1970. The pitch at the WACA is regarded as one of the quickest and bounciest in the world and the outfield is said to be exceptionally fast.
• the Bell Tower – located next to the Swan River, the Swan Bells are a set of 18 bells hanging in a specially built 82.5 metre high copper and glass campanile, commonly known as the Bell Tower or the Swan Bell Tower.
• Perth’s grand main street, St Georges Terrace, which runs parallel to the Swan River and forms the major arterial road through the central business district. At its western end in the Barracks Arch. St George’s Terrace is named after St George’s Cathedral. Set into the footpath along the street are a series of commemorative plaques honouring notable figures in Western Australia’s history.
• Perth Mint, which played a central role in the development of Western Australia’s Gold industry. The mint produces Western Australia’s coins and has a 1 ton Gold Coin.
We also saw Government House, St George’s Clock Tower, Trinity Church, The Barrack’s Arch and Parliament House.
Our tour then took us to the coast where we passed Cottesloe Beach on our way to the historic port of Fremantle, where the river meets the sea. We had a quick tour through Fremantle and were dropped off opposite the Norfolk Hotel to go exploring. Some people on the tour were going back on the bus, others were catching the train of the ferry back and we met Maria & Dennis and their two gorgeous grand-daughters, Imogen and Carys. (Maria and Dennis are staying with their son, Tim and his wife, Rachel to spend some time with them while the girls are on school holidays.)
We all went for a walk through the Esplanade Reserve to the Fishing Boat Harbour and decided to have lunch in the Kailis’ Fish Market Café, which has just won some awards. After a delicious lunch and a lovely catch up chat, we wandered down through the boardwalk to the Western Australia Maritime Museum. In the forecourt, they had more than 400 outdoor galleries with 21,000 names inscribed on them as recognition of some of the immigrants who made Australia home. Sandy and Maria looked to see if their family had been recorded but we were advised that families had to register with proof of their ship’s arrival into Australia via Perth. Maria, who was 8 years old at the time, remembered the old buildings that we were taken to upon arrival to transit to Sydney.
We strolled thorugh the three levels of the museum seeing some fascinating things including Australia II, Alan Bond’s America’s Cup winning Yacht and various other small sailing boats, including a pearl lugger, an early harbour ferry, some old one and two man sailing boats, an old whaling boat and the first pilot boat to be used from Fremantle harbour.
Outside the museum was a cutaway section of the bow of an Oberon Class submarine and behind it the HMAS Ovens, an Oberon Class submarine set up as though she were in drydock.
We wandered past the Round House, a convict built prison and made our way along to the Inner Harbour for our Captain Cook cruise along the Swan River back to Perth. We enjoyed the changing scenery on the riverbanks and watching people enjoying themselves in various size boats on the river.
After we arrived at Barrack Jetty, we all walked to the Esplanade train station and caught the train to Cockburn Central, where Rachel and Tim picked us up. We were surprised at how modern, quiet and smooth the train was, as it scooted along the tracks, which went along the middle of the in bound and outbound lanes of the freeway.
We enjoyed a lovely dinner at Tim and Rachel’s house, chatting and laughing, as well as having a well-earned drink or two after a very full day! Tim and Maria drove us back to the hotel where there was only enough time to shower before happily falling asleep.

Last night, Rachel and Tim asked us if we would like to join them, the two girls and Maria & Dennis to go adventuring. After breakfast, we met them outside the hotel – Rachel, Maria, Sandy and Carys in one car and Tim, Dennis, Richard and Imogen in the car – headed 245 kilometres north to explore the Pinnacles. The scenery was stunning as we drove along the Coral Coast, with wildflowers and native shrubs beside the road. We stopped at the fishing village of Lancelin at the “Kerfuffle by the Jetty” café for morning tea, overlooking the Lancelin Island Lagoon and the turquoise waters of the Indian Ocean.
We drove through the Nambung National Park, a few kilometres inland from the ocean to the Pinnacles Desert, where thousands of limestone pillars rise from the yellow/orange sand. The pinnacles vary in height and shape from a few inches to 10 feet tall. There seems to be no pattern to their location or their shape – some of them are jagged, sharp-edged columns, while others resemble tombstones. There are a few theories as to how they were formed – one of which is that they are petrified forests that were covered in sand that is now being eroded by wind and weather allowing the old petrified tree trunks to appear.
We have never seen anything like this before and were absolutely amazed by the formations as we wandered along the 2.5 kilometre trail through some of the Pinnacles, to a vantage point where we had a fantastic 360 degree view over the Pinnacles desert, out to the contrasting white sand dunes and the Indian Ocean.
From the Pinnacles we drove a short distance to another fishing village, Cervantes, where we had a lovely lunch at the Lobster Shack. After lunch we went for a walk along the beach, before returning to Perth to our hotel.
We said our goodbyes to Maria & Dennis, Rachel & Tim, Imogen & Carys, as we are heading back to Brisbane tomorrow. We have thoroughly enjoyed our brief visit to Perth and we were really pleased to be able to see so much and to spend precious time with Sandy’s family!

5 Responses to “Zambezi Queen to Johannesburg to Perth”

  1. Maria Hughes says:

    We loved being able to spend some precious time with you both and I know Tim and Rach loved being able to show you Perth and surrounds xoxo

  2. Maria Hughes says:

    As above xoxo

  3. Maria Hughes says:

    We were delighted to be able tp spend some time with you both and know Tim and Rachel were also delighted to be able to show you Perth and surrounds xx

  4. Maria says:

    Now that we are home from our own beautiful holiday, I have been able to view all your photos – they are absolutely fabulous. I have loved being able to share your holiday adventures, and look forward to the next one xoxo

  5. sandy says:

    Thanks Sis. Glad you enjoyed sharing our holiday with us. 🙂

Leave a Reply