Monday, September 20, 2010

Perth 2010 Day 2: Touring City, Lunch, The Perth Mint

After leaving the beautiful Kings Park, we drove around the city before proceeding to our next destination.
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Spotted the famous bell tower along the way
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I found a Catholic church!
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We had to park our car before making our way to the Perth Mint in the city.
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Parking was really expensive in Perth; and it was unique how they mark each of their parking areas by the duration one's car could park.
For instance, 1P equals to one hour of parking only, 2P is two hours, 1/2 means half and hour and so forth.
After parking the car, you would have to issue your own ticket from the nearby parking ticket machine and place it on your dashboard.
It beats me how disciplined these folks are; how would one know if they exceed the hours parked or whether they had purchased a ticket to be placed on their dashboard.
I didn't see anyone checking the cars' dashboards all the while I was here. I guess it all boils down to one's discipline.

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After parking our car, we had our lunch at this cafe restaurant opposite the Perth Mint, after traversing up and down the streets deciding on what to eat.
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The Mint Asian Cafe was definitely the only one bustling with people and we decided to try out Asian food as well while we are here in Perth.
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They offer economy rice variety and also fried noodles and western food; which was a rather wide selection.
Difference here is the economy rice and the dishes were not selected by you, you just need to order and they will prepare the food for you.

Chinese Combination (AUD$7.50) is their small serving of the so-called economy rice version.
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For a larger serving, it would cost AUD$8.00

Fish & Chips (AUD$9.00)
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The very first fish & chips I have tried in Perth and it was not too bad!
It was really value for money (when I don't convert it back to MYR, that is =)
I was amazed at how even the Asians here could prepare such delicious fish & chips.

Even a bottle of water costs more than a dollar here in Perth (AUD$2.20), maybe we really have taken our water for granted back home.
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After lunch, we went to the Perth Mint
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This is the oldest mint which is still operating while the other mints, namely in Sydney and Melbourne, which had since shut down.
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This historic place was established in 1899 as a branch to the British's Royal Mint following the discovery of several local gold mines/fields.

The place offers more than just boring facts about gold but rather, a vast experience of how gold was made and an impressive vault of gold worth billions open to visitors. One could also find out their own weight in gold and try to lift a small brick which weighed a house!

There was also a guided walk tour which starts at every half an hour and tickets are priced as below:
Adults: AUD$15.00
Concession: AUD$13.00
Children (4-15 years of age): AUD$5.00

Opening hours:
Weekdays: 9.00am-5.00p.m
Weekends: 9.00a.m-1.00pm

Once you have purchased the tickets, you will be wearing a band like this and also provided with a small brochure for your guided tour.
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The tour starts from the front of building in front of the statues of the prospectors.
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The guide will tell the story of how the Perth Mint was established before slowly guiding you to the next section inside the building; to the Prospectors' Campsite.
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The Prospectors Campsite offers the perspective of the eager and hopeful gold miners who came from all over the world to search the goldfields of Western Australia. The campsite was built to resemble the conditions of the sites at that time.
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At the campsite, the guide would bring your attention to the wheelbarrow which contained the remnants of the natural gold nuggets (they are fake, of course). These gold nuggets are the largest collection of natural gold nuggets to be found in Australia, and one of them include the Newmont's Normandy Nugget which was the 2nd largest in the world!
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The gold nugget weighs 25.5kilograms (~820 ounces) and was the 26th largest nugget found in the world.
As the guide was quoted saying, imagine the joy of these campers who woke up to these gold nuggets underneath their campsite!

Even though they were mock nuggets, they were still kind of heavy to handle (for me!)
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The guide mentioned that one of these was shaped like a eagle when you cast its shadow on the ground.
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That was as far as the camera was allowed, as we continued exploring into the International Gold Bar Exhibition (Industry Collection of Gold Bars Worldwide).
There was also a 400 ounce pure Gold bar which was sized like a brick but it weighs as much as a house (or worth)!
You can also mint your own medallion, and enjoy the wide display of coins and also visit the coining department.

There was even a live demonstration by the Perth Mint's staff on gold pouring, all of which the camera was strictly prohibited.

The tour around The Perth Mint lasted slightly more than an hour and a half, and it was indeed a very educational experience.

To be continued...

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