You can’t really go to Perth and not visit Rottnest Island www.rottnestisland.com. This beautiful craggy island of rocks and white sand beaches is a protected nature reserve and all round national treasure.
It’s most famous inhabitants are the quokkas, a small marsupial that doesn’t exist anywhere else. A passing Dutch sea captain thought they were large rats, hence the name of the island.
After a hearty shakshuka breakfast at Kazoomie’s (see previous post) we boarded the ferry to “Rotto”. It takes about 25 minutes from Fremantle, or 90 minutes from Perth.
I was with my brother Dan and our friend Nicky who were right at home.
You can hire snorkelling gear from the place next to Kazoomie’s, or on the island. You can also rent bikes on the island, or catch the Island Explorer bus that circulates the island at regular intervals. We had a set of snorkelling gear with us and got tickets for the bus.
There are many beaches you could go to, but on our friend Karen’s recommendation we went to Little Salmon Bay.
After a couple of hours there we got a bus to the westernmost tip of the island to the Cape Vlamingh Viewing Platform. We got some good views over the water from there. Video here.
And from there it was a short walk to another viewing platform at West End. Video here.
Then another short hop on the bus to the Cathedral Rocks Viewing Platform to see the New Zealand fur seals, another highlight of the trip.
Looks like we got a bit closer than we were supposed to but we were on a small ledge safely above them. They can be a bit aggressive if you approach them apparently.
Hard to see in these pics but the seals were swimming on the spot with one flipper raised vertically out of the water, but you can see it in this video I took. The practice is known as sailing. I looked it up later and it seems that it helps them to regulate their body temperature in both hot and cold conditions.
Then it was back on the Island Explorer to Thompson Bay, where we’d first come ashore. By now we were feeling the need to get fed and watered. There are a couple of places you could eat but this place seemed the obvious choice…
Hotel Rottnest (Intermediate B), 1 Bedford Ave, Rottnest Island, www.hotelrottnest.com.au
This is a classic Aussie pub with a big outdoor terrace looking out over the bay. We hunkered down and got the sherberts in while we waited for our ferry home.
The sea air had given me quite an appetite and I had two rounds of oysters as well as a burger and chips and a couple of jugs of Little Creatures pale ale. The food was okay but nothing special, just decent local pub grub (B/C+).
Occasionally we felt something brush against our legs under the table.
It was the quokkas on the lookout for crumbs, completely unphased by the busy pub terrace and loud music. Video here.
Peter the Peacock was also on the lookout for any leftover tidbits that we weren’t keeping an eye on.
This was a truly special day, a wonderful experience that I’d urge anyone to have. I’ll be back at the first opportunity.