A look at Rottnest Island, Western Australia

Finally home, I can now put up a post that I wrote over a month ago.

Before I joined the ship on my trip managed to spend a day in Perth, and as I didn’t have time to search out the interesting parts of the city I decided to ditch the mainland and head out to a little island off the coast. I do like cities it’s just that the downtown quarter of most western cities looks the same to me, McDonalds here, Starbucks there, people wear suits blah blah blah. Its all a bit samey and that’s where my hotel was. In my experience the best parts of each city are away from all that, where you can find independent retailers, coffee shops, small restaurants, and all the stuff that isn’t a carbon copy of what you can find in every other city. The little pockets of entrepreneurs and day dreamers give a far better example of a city than anything else.

Beach

So given my situation and a tight timeline I headed to Rottnest Island on a ferry. It only takes an hour and a bit and despite the rather ugly name (the locals shorten it and pretty it up by calling it Rotto) the place is absolutely stunning. The name itself comes from the original European sailors who arrived on the island and thought an indigenous animal (the Quokka) was actually a giant rat and named the place Rats nest Island or in their native Dutch Rottnest.

Quokka 2

Since then its history is still somewhat dark in that it was used as a prison for the males of Australia’s aboriginals and then in later years as a prison for citizens of German descent during the 1st world war. Having visited the place it’s hard to believe anyone would be there against their will, it’s beautiful.

I opted to hire a bike and cycle round the island which is a great way to see it all, it only takesBeach 1 a couple of hours and none of the hills are too taxing on the legs. The only traffic I saw was other cyclists and a bus that does loops round the island on its deserted roads. If there are any cars they stayed well hidden while I was there. I don’t know if it’s so quiet normally or if it’s because Australia is just waking up from winter and it’s a bit early in the season but there were very few people around that I saw once a left the ferry terminal, to be honest though it made it all the better

Beach 2

The island plays home to a host of wildlife that I’m not used to; I saw peacocks, lizards, cormorants and the most famous of the island inhabitants the Quokka. These wee creatures (as pictured) kind of look like a cross between and rat and a kangaroo and are dotted all over the island, they seem pretty tame and aren’t easily scared but there are signs scattered over the island warning tourists not to disturb them or face a hefty fine. You have been warned! The other warning I can give is that make sure you take a bottle of water or 2 with you for when you leave the main built up area (referred to as the settlement) as there is no drinking water in the more remote parts of the island and on a warm day cycling out there could be a nightmare.

Beach 2Jelly 

I think we paid $75 AU for the ferry (return) and around $25 AU for the bike hire, if you find yourself with a day to spare in Perth I would highly recommend the trip.

Quokka 1

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