Darwin is a kind of bland town built out of nondescript block or prefab buildings. A few taller buildings make for a modest skyline. Downtown is struggling no doubt due to cyclone woes, competition from suburban shopping centers, and other factors. It has many large and lovely parks, sadly with many blown down trees from a recent cyclone. Its economy is based on agriculture, tourism, and a military presence. The bus system is odd, linking the city with suburbs but not going to and from the airport, which happens to be surrounded by the city and suburbs. Maybe the city council is controlled by cab drivers.
Perth is modern. It practically glistens with steel and glass. Modern design is everywhere. Buildings interconnect. Downtown is busy during work hours. Retail buzzes. Transport is efficient.
Perth has wealth from the mining industry. Iron ore, gold, and copper are shipped worldwide, ths iron to China. Perth spends its wealth on public works. The footy stadium is world class. Alas, perhaps not so much spending on social needs judging from the homeless and mentally ill I saw downtown.
In Darwin we stayed in Palm City Resort. It had typical room blocks, but the courtyard was planted like a palm tree jungle with six-sided guest huts surrounding the pool. It was a good deal at around US$65 a night.
The best priced place I could find in Perth turned out to be a high class Hilton. For about US$80 a night, it was a bargain.
We decided to get away from the city again. We rented a car. I was not happy at first, thinking the left-stay-left thing would be more stress than I wanted.
Surprisingly, I found the driving relatively fun and easier than expected. Finding and experiencing a Red Rooster chicken joint was a big part of the fun.
We headed south along the Indian Ocean coast.
We were in the little berg of Busselton when we decided to find a place to stay for the night. Mo suggested we look online for guidance. I pulled into a parking lot and got out my phone.
When I got results from booking.com, I almost had a heart attack. Hostels were $500. Resorts were $2500 and up. I knew there was an international surfing competition in the area, but I didn't expect such dramatic price gouging.
Mo suggested we stop by a motel we had just passed. She talked to staff there who said they were booked, but that a nearby Comfort Inn had some space left.
We scurried to the Comfort Inn. Mo went in to see what was available. Meanwhile, I re-checked booking.com. I found out I had searched for a 10 day stay. Hostels were only $50 a night. Just then, Mo came out and told me she had agreed to a two night stay for about US$120 a night.