IT’S not the African desert or Cable Beach but the Swan River foreshore isn’t a bad backdrop to have a leisurely camel ride.
Camel West owner Jon Warren has brought his herd of camels to Elizabeth Quay in the hope of offering people a unique experience within the city centre.
The Swan Valley cameleer caught the herd of 22 wild animals on the Nullarbor Plain and in South Australia last year before successfully training seven of them for rides.
Having started running the rides earlier this month, Mr Warren said the idea came to him during a tourism conference promoting the need for different tour activities for visitors once Elizabeth Quay opened.
“I considered camels because of their importance in WA’s history from the mid 1800s to the early 1900s,” he said.
“Camels were more suited to WA’s inland dry arid conditions than horses and were used for exploration and transport.
“They carted wool, wheat and sandalwood; three of our major exports and wealth creators of the time.
“So the thought that people could learn a little about them whilst riding them in our newest most modern tourist precinct was an interesting juxtaposition.”
Having established the business venture after the mining boom and when people were struggling to travel, Mr Warren said the experience would offer people something they would normally have only got in places like Broome.
“With the end of the mining boom and the Australian dollar dropping means it is more expensive for people to travel overseas and less expensive for internationals to come here so the combination is good for local tourism,” he said.
For people concerned of the animals’ welfare, Mr Warren assured that they were kept in the best conditions and cared for well.
He said although camels were different to horses they could be kept in city environments easily with the right training and conditioning.
“Ours when in work are kept in paddocks in Caversham where they have ample room to kick their heels up and run around,” Mr Warren said.
“The weather conditions in Perth are not as hot or as cold as they commonly experience in the deserts and desert fringes they generally inhabit.
“They are of course well fed to maintain good condition and rested two days a week and can be rotated to another property in Morangup for longer periods of rest or training as required.”
There is about a million wild camels that inhabit inland Australia with about half of those in WA, which has the largest and most disease free wild herds of camels in the world.
Half an hour Camel West rides
Barrack Square at Elizabeth Quay
Wednesday to Friday from 10.30am
Weekends from 10am
Adults $45, concessions $40 and children $30
To book, visit camelwest.com.au/