*** So before I start this post I feel I should offer a bit of an explanation as to why it has been so long in the making! These last two weeks have been a blur of filming, working, preparing for the looming trip home for graduation and even (dun-dun-dah) getting one whole year older. Shock. Horror. As a result, I haven’t been writing as much as I would like and a couple of things have fallen by the wayside as part of the process (this may have also been aided by a lovely cold). All it takes however is one particularly rainy day to abandon all hopes of the beach, glue myself to the laptop and get LLL rolling again… ***
The Easter Weekend in Australia, as in the UK, means predominantly two great and wonderful things: Friday off work and Monday off work too! Add this to the very unlike-the-UK weather that west Australians are blessed with and you have the perfect recipe for a little adventure. So on Friday morning, Simon and I decided to catch the boat from Fremantle Docks straight over to Rottnest Island to make the most of the Easter sunshine.
Rottnest (or Rotto as the locals like to call it) is a little island off the coast of WA that has earned its name from its most infamous inhabitant, the Quokka. Like little mini rat/hamster/kangaroos, the Quokkas, who number in their thousands upon the island but practically don’t exist on the mainland, made such an impression upon the first Dutch explorers that they named it Rats Nest, or as you’ve probably guessed it, ‘Rottnest’ in Dutch. The Quokka, which is possibly THE most fun word to say in the english dictionary (try that one out in Scrabble), is still the island’s main settler even today, poking their little heads out of practically every bit of shrubbery. Their cute little faces and funny little hops have secured their rightful status as Rottnest icons and tourists absolutely love ‘em. Add to this to their extremely amiable temperament and completely non-existent fear of human beings and we both were amused for hours on end. Who couldn’t love a face like this one?!
That said, Rottnest has much more to offer than its many multitudes of bouncing bundles of joy. Simon and I took our bikes over on the Rottnest Express and upon arriving on the island went for a good old explore. Rottnest is a car-free zone apart from the free bus that circles the perimeter, making it a natural haven and crowning the bike as the best way to get around. Having brought our own bikes over on the ferry, we headed straight up to ‘The Basin’ at the start of the day, a gloriously secluded beach with crystal clear waters, overlooked by a large white lighthouse.
Having made camp on the beach for a few hours, we then cycled up towards ‘Geordie Bay’ – one wonders if it was simply a settlement of people from Newcastle – another popular beach for people trying to catch a few waves or just some rays. After bumping into a few people from the local rugby club (its not a big island after all!) we popped into the Island’s general store – the ‘no Quokka’ signs on the entrance are more amusing than you think – topping up on a bit of H20 before cycling past the Salt Lakes and back into the main settlement for a sausage roll from the Rottnest Bakery. If you’ve ever watched the television programme Lost, the best way for me to describe the settlement is looking exactly like the settlement of ‘The Others’ in the programme. So striking was the resemblance that Simon and I couldn’t help but run around making references to the Dharma Initiative or shouting ‘IT’S NOT PENNY’S BOAT!’. It even had its own little railway station and track on the way to Porpoise Bay. I half expected a polar bear to come running out at me from the bush (this reference will make no sense to those who haven’t seen the first series!). We may have heard lots of snakes, but nothing that shocking!
Our next stop, after a crisp break at Porpoise Bay, was Parker Point. Full of pink coral, it’s a popular scuba spot and as we discovered, is also the place to be if you’re having any type of stag do on a yacht. The pristine landscape was therefore animated by the sound of Olly Murs blasting across the water (I never said they were masculine stag-dos), but in such glorious sunshine, I wasn’t complaining! There was literally nobody else on the beach and so we made the most of the relative calm for the rest of the afternoon, before cycling back, much more sunburnt than that morning back towards the jetty for the 6pm ferry back to Freo.
The thing that I really loved most about Rotto, was that it was just quiet enough that it felt like a new adventure lay around every corner. All of the beaches seemed empty, lots of little shortcuts led to scuba diving areas or even shipwrecks and the landscape was a mixture of different habitats. Teeming with natural life, its not uncommon for people to see large stingrays or dolphins coming into the bays. We didn’t get to see all of the island (I’d estimate maybe a third or less) or all of the wildlife, perhaps we were too preoccupied with the Quokkas, but I absolutely loved it either way. The only thing I would do differently in future is that I’d bring a tent to pitch up at the local camping site so I could see a bit more of it! A trip back is already on the cards.
Over and out Amigos,
The Rottnest Express departs from Fremantle B-Shed (behind the railway station) and availability/times can be found on their website. For more info on Rottnest, head to the official Experience Rottnest page.