By Angela Aris
The beginning of June marks an exciting time for Western Australian Uni Students: the beginning of the winter break. One might (as I tried to) escape up North to the warmth or rug up in an Airbnb with friends… However, unforeseeable circumstances do arise. A two-day visit to my parents’ house in Albany became two weeks. I adopted the glass half-full idealism invoked by ‘The Rainbow Coast.’ The rain is simply a moody backdrop for my romantic beach walks. After high –school, it is impossible to view Albany through the eyes of a newcomer, but maybe this could be advantageous? Hopefully, my prior knowledge could be of use to visiting UWA students or those considering studying at the Albany campus.
I asked my friend Lachie (a UWA student in Albany) if he could show me the campus and some student deals available to UWA students studying in both Perth and Albany. When he asked if we should go to Kate’s Place, I squealed in delight. A slightly embarrassing reaction. Imagine having a ham sandwich for lunch every day. A ham sandwich is always good, but generally, you would expect excitement levels to wane over time. Kate’s is ‘the regular’, the ‘tried and tested’, quintessential Albany café. I do not mean to put Kate’s down in any way. In-fact, it is reliably very good and always has been. It is often taken for granted even.
At the counter, I asked what the student deal was, the server seemed unsure (I don’t think it’s commonly ordered), but after conferring with other staff, she stated it was $14.00 for a large coffee and panini/wrap. From previous experience, I can tell you the paninis are gorgeous! However, today Lachie and I went for options more suited to our personalities. He ordered straight bacon and eggs. My order was complicated; a half-serve of mushroom bruschetta, gluten-free with a side of bacon and one egg. The good thing about being a problematic order-er is you get to test the customer service. They are always so flexible at Kate’s. Their range of gluten and dairy free options and flexible meal sizes are hard to find elsewhere in this secluded town. We sat on the green velvet couches next to the bay windows and shamelessly began our photoshoot, taking advantage of the natural light. From this view, another cute detail stuck out, the humorous and uplifting daily quote written on a chalkboard for passers-by. “The flowers of tomorrow are in the seeds of today.” Our meals arrived. Generous and affordable! We were very happy. I paid $21.00 total for my food and iced almond chocolate.
I would also highly recommend the famous vanilla slice or really any cakes from the cabinet…
Disappointingly our tour ended there. We walked to the UWA campus opposite Kate’s when we realised we had (predictably) forgotten our student IDs. So that was that. We went next door to Six Degrees and sat in the beer garden under blue skies! Over a drink, I asked him if he had any pearls of wisdom for UWA students. He didn’t have a bad word to say about the campus, praising the teachers who were well-informed and happy to do additional research to answer questions. Studying Biomed means travelling to Perth for Cadaver labs and practical exams, which could be quite expensive but “not the Uni’s fault”. His main focus, which goes without saying, was to emphasise the natural beauty Albany has to offer. ‘The Rock’ at Mount Clarence, driving around Mt. Melville, Nanarup, and exploring lookouts in Bayonet Head are his favourite escapes. He said, “Most people don’t know that there’s actually tracks to get up to the mountains… There are so many places to explore. You could go somewhere thinking you’d find nothing and find one of the best spots in Albany.” I would have to say I agree. The best way to experience Albany is to pick a road, pick a turn-off, find some national park and welcome the surprises.
Later that afternoon was my Dad’s weekly Yin and Restorative yoga session. I asked to go along with him to spice up my trip. I arrived expecting to fork out the usual 20 bucks for 45 minutes. Joy, the lady at the counter, chit-chatted with me as people in small towns do. “What are you doing in Albany? Where are you studying?” etc. She told me to pop down my student number on the sign-up sheet and the class was free! Apparently, UWA students (Albany and Perth) receive any two yoga classes for free per week as a mental health initiative. Not only free, but the session was also almost 2 hours long! I was told the evening classes commonly run overtime. The class was primarily stretching with a light meditation at the end. Perfect for a post-study reset or as general self-care. Intending to milk this yoga miracle, I also attended the Saturday morning Vinyasa class. This was significantly more challenging, sweating and shaking halfway through the hour. I would highly recommend perusing the online schedule student. If not, the classes are very well priced at $18.00 for 75 minutes and $13.00 for concession card holders. I haven’t found a better deal in Perth. So, check out the Albany Yoga Room website for more information: https://www.albanyyogaroom.com.au