Prince Harry sad to leave Australia

Last updated 20:32 06/10/2013
Reuters

Britain's Prince Harry says he's sad to leave Sydney, as he takes a short trip to Perth on the country's west coast. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).

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Special forces and surfing spots were on Prince Harry's mind as he completed his whirlwind tour of both sides of Australia with a brief stopover in Western Australia.

After the fleet and fireworks in Sydney on Saturday, the 29-year-old Prince made his first visit to WA accompanied by Prime Minister Tony Abbott, saying he had always wanted to visit the state.

After sharing a Royal Australian Airforce flight across the country, the Prince and the PM were met by WA premier Colin Barnett and his wife Lyn, both avowed royalists.

And after an amiable chat on the tarmac, the premier and the prince spent 30 minutes discussing the state and it's attractions - with the best surfing spot high on the prince's agenda.

"Prince Harry was charming, a very nice young man and we just chatted about his trip and how pleased he was to be here," Barnett said.

"He said it was a short visit because he had to be back to work on Thursday - a delightful young man, full of energy and enthusiastic.

"His query was where is the best surfing spot ... I should have said Cottesloe (where Mr Barnett lives) but I told him Margaret River. He showed close interest in the state and I am sure he would like to have a closer look around in the future."

The prince also commented on his relief to be out of the Sydney heat.

After his meeting with Barnett, the Prince Harry along with Abbott was whisked away in a ten-car armed convoy to the home of the SAS at the Campbell Barracks in the coastal suburb of Swanbourne.

The prince even managed a quick wardrobe change, ditching the dark-blue navy suit he arrived in to don combat fatigues for his meeting with the SAS troops, who have been based in Swanbourne since 1957.

"It is a great thing he is spending some time with the SAS regiment - they have spent some time in Afghanistan, as he has, Barnett said.

Despite no official public functions for the prince in WA, a small crowd of well-wishers did gather at the airport to greet the royal, along with a troop of photographers and a helicopter from a local TV network.

Before his departure from Sydney, Prince Harry told reporters Australia already felt like a second home and he was very sad to be leaving.

"I just can't get the time off work these days," he said.

"The next time I come back you will be struggling to get rid of me I am sure."

The prince will leave Perth later on Sunday evening en route to Dubai, where he is scheduled to attend the Sentebale 'Forget Me Not' ball on Monday.

Prince Harry was a co-founder of Sentebale - a charity set up to help vulnerable children.

Abbott was also due to fly out of Perth this afternoon, to take his place at the APEC Summit in Bali.

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- AAP

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