It was our first time going to Kalamunda and what a treat!

Juliet at Stirk Park, Kalamunda

Juliet, with the ducks at Stirk Park, Kalamunda

It is just as well that we had only just seen David Attenborough’s program on ‘The Private Life of Plants’ which covered bits and pieces of the Australian bush and flora.

Up the zig-zaggy road, we realised why there is literally a festival called the Zig Zag Festival in the Hills. Many of the houses appear to be built on stilts. Some abandoned, I imagine from the seasonal storms and bushfires. Up until last night, we didn’t quite understand how the Australian Ash, a type of eucalypt, and possibly many other native flora, including the Banksia actually like the phoenix from the flames, need to perish in order to survive as species. The height of the Ash tree can be so extensive and the density of the Australian forest can be so great that the seeds and potential seedlings may never get room to grow or enough sunlight to survive long enough. Through the dramatic bushfires, due to the aridity (dryness) of the land, at high temperatures in summer, fire catches on spreading as wildfires do, easily. The burnt Banksia flowers triggered by the heat opens up its windows of seeds hidden within that fall to the ground. The Ash tree seeds that were previously hidden under the bush grounds now see light, and they sprout speedily before the next drought.

So imagine us witnessing all of that before our eyes as we travelled up into the Perth Hills. We were blown away.

Many cannot appreciate the semi-arid landscape and bushlands for their boring Browns and at best, reds, but as a child, i’d always been intrigued with Alice Springs, the deserts and the savannahs. It’s my little weakness. Seeing the vast expanse of faded browns, and curious flora and fauna, in the great Outback from young, inspired it.

Once we arrived at Kalamunda itself, it was a little village contained in itself. Quaint, quiet (for a Saturday) and alive. The nearby Stirk Park had an event that was running that featured the Australian Army Band playing the good ol’ 50s-70s. Children were playing in the fields, ducks and other water fowls hung out basking in the sun by the lake, it was an easy escape from the comparatively busier Perth City.

We had a look at the venue my jazz duo Polkadot + Moonbeam would be playing for the Kalamunda Jazz Festival 2016 at the historic Kalamunda Hotel over the long Queen’s birthday weekend next week. Coincidentally my instrumental jazz duo Mint Street will also be playing at the Kalamunda Farmers’ Markets on the same weekend on Sun, 25th September. It was worth our while coming by to have a look at this pretty little neighbourhood.

Didi opening for P+M (Kalamunda Jazz Festical 2016) @ Kalamunda Hotel

Didi opening for P+M (Kalamunda Jazz Festical 2016) @ Kalamunda Hotel

And guess who we found while exploring the lovely neighbourhood?

I thought my husband Didi had gone silly when he started singing the nursery rhyme “Mary had a little lamb,….” until the lady behind him completed it “its fleece was white as snow!” I ducked my head under the cafe seats where the source of all that seemed to have come from, and found the lovely treasure. A baby lamb!

Juliet has a little lamb.

Juliet has a little lamb.

We had a lovely time chatting with the lady, whose name we didn’t get, unfortunately. Her family runs a petting zoo, and her daughter who was cuddling the lamb like her own baby asked me if i’d like to cuddle him. I just melted. Lamby has a name, she named him ‘Lachlan’, because she liked the look on people’s faces when they try saying the unusual name. :) You know it is true, people who love animals, … I can’t imagine they could be any bit unkind, how bad can they get? (I think that was part of His great plan.)

We explored the rest of this beautiful town, they had the usual mall and such. But we realised that there weren’t any Salvos or Vinnies (a common charitable thrifty addition to any neighbourhood in Australia) in the town. In their places were instead these treasures of Op shop like the ‘Bubble ‘n Squeak’ shop and the precious book stores with amazing collections of second-hand books.

I did a quick search on the internet and found a rather good article from WeekendNotes on the Perth Hills for those interested in a mini getaway.

So don’t miss out on this easy getaway, possibly a 40min drive from the city to Kalamunda next weekend.

Polkadot + Moonbeam plays the Kalamunda Jazz Festival 2016:
3:30pm – 6:30pm, Mon 26th September @ Kalamunda Hotel (Free Entry)
Details here.

Mint Street plays instrumental jazz and latin standards at Kalamunda Farmers’ Markets:
10:00am – 12:00pm, Sun 25th September

More info on the Shire of Kalamunda (great tourist information):