Yesterday we made it back into Perth itself for the first time since we drove through to get to Fremantle on the day we arrived. On the recommendation of Phil Campbell we went along to St Matthews at Shenton Park for their 10 am family service. We were made to feel welcome and listened to the Archbishop (there for his annual visit) speak on being hope for the world. Certainly an engaging guy who made a couple of challenging points.
After the service we met a couple of people including Helen, who invited us back to her place for lunch. Her husband Rob, who we hadn't met at church, got a bit of a surprise when we turned up at their door at the same time as he got home, and before Helen had had time to let him know we were coming - awkward moment! He recovered well, and they treated us to spaghetti meatballs for lunch, and lots of photos and info about the south west of WA, where we're headed next.
We'd planned to check out Kings Park in the arvo, but it was a wet and miserable day and, after a failed attempt to use one of the other online vouchers Sal had bought, we ended up at the movies watching Smurfs 2 in perfect movie-watching weather.
Today was forecast to be a much nicer day, and was also a public holiday (and first day of school hols) in WA. Our first stop was the Perth Mint which began operating in 1899. Apparently the Canberra mint is the only place that still produces Australian currency, so the focus of the Perth Mint is on refining precious metals and producing commemorative coins and collections. Unfortunately the Mint is undergoing some renovations so a fair bit was closed off. Our favourite part was the gold pour where for the past 20 years they've been melting down and pouring the same six kilo block of gold seven times a day. It's great to see it come out of the 1300 degree furnace molten orange. About 30 seconds later it's set enough to come out of the mold, and after a minute or two in water it's cold enough to touch. Our kids enjoyed it so much they went back an hour later for front row seats. Photos aren't allowed in the Mint so we've only got some from outside.
For lunch we headed to Kings Park and realised that half of Perth had done the same (I guess a combination of the beautiful weather and holiday). Fortunately Kings Park is massive and we were able to find our own spot for a bite to eat. It really is a magnificent park with fantastic views of the city, play areas for kids, botanical gardens, water features, lots of walking/riding tracks and plenty of green spaces to sit down. After lunch we climbed the DNA tower (some of the kids more than once) and then headed to the Synergy Park play area for the rest of the afternoon.