When I had my first conversation with the homeowners in Perth, they mentioned their proximity to the Swan River. Something in me was delighted. I’ve visited Perth before, it’s the capital of Western Australia and one ocf my favourite Australian cities but my visits in the past were located on both the North and South coasts so this was an opportunityto get to know the areas located on the river and the river itself.
Rivers are always fertile sources of civilisation and inspiration-think of the Nile in Egypt-and to me contain the feminine energy because of their essential quality of flow and change.
The rivers of Perth are woven into the Dreaming stories of the local Aboriginal people, the Nyoongar. For them the Swan River is known as Derbarl Yerrigan.
“Derbarl Yerrigan describes the Swan River and some elders have said that it’s the place of the fresh water turtle, because the fresh water turtle was very important to us for medicine,” according to Barry McGuire, a Nyoongar leader
After settling in with the pets, two sweet cats called Dr. Dre and Mister Trix, I set out to explore the bike paths along the river. I was grateful for the cooler weather-22 degrees after a week when the temperature had reached 42 degrees. I should explain my attitude to cycling; I’m not a velcro cyclist but one who wants to enjoy the environment, flora and fauna, as much as the health and fitness aspects. I stop when I feel like it and often take diversions.
My goal on this day was to cycle 14 km to Perth from Ascot. The bike paths along the Swan are well maintained and lead you through diverse environments; wetlands, near bird sanctuaries and importantly as you start to get tired as the sun starts to ramp up his power, the occaisonal cafe and beach.
I almost made it to East Perth but was diverted by a place poetically called “Peninsula Tea Gardens” where I just had to stop and enjoy the river from the comfort of a renovated colonial homestead.
“Missed Me? ” I asked my feline companions returning home after a
few hours absence and as you can see they were racked with anxiety. In their own way they were giving me permission to explore the fabulous river on another day. The next time I would be doing it by inflatable kayak- but that is the subject of another post.