What We Did:
Rottnest Island sits about a half hour ferry off the coast of Perth. It’s a protected nature reserve with a long naval and convict history, and is famous for its pristine bays and beaches, and the quokka – a small, friendly marsupial found on the island . Rottnest receives about 500,000 visitors a year, and it’s all foot traffic. You can rent bikes and explore the island, or hop on train or coach around the island, but no motorized vehicles can be brought on the island without permission. We woke up early to catch the Rottnest Express departing in Fremantle. It was cooler today, with a strong southwesterly wind. The ferry crashed through waves, but Mom’s ginger drops helped immensely and while we did ask for sick bags, fortunately we didn’t need them. On the island, we picked up our bikes with a carriage to pull Gali and a special backseat for Raquel. We rode around the dusty streets of the main settlement, checking out the old prison colony accommodation that is now rented out as accommodation. Then we hopped on a train for a visit to the massive artillery gun and spooky tunnels at Oliver Hill. Our guide Mike let Raquel ride up front and blow the whistle, which she thought was the most awesome thing ever. That is until she met the quokkas! They’re impossibly cute, friendly, and famous for posing for selfies. On a coach tour around the island, we visited the stunning bays, spotted osprey nests, dolphins, and tired tourists riding bicycles. The kids were bombed but held up pretty well. Rewarded with ice-cream at the settlement in Thompson Bay, we caught the 4:25pm ferry home. The swells were huge, but Raquel loved the crashing waves, giving them names. Gali fell asleep and Mom needed more ginger drops. Dad said that once you’ve done the Drake Passage in Antarctica, it’s all smooth sailing (but Dad would say something like that.) We returned to Perth exhausted, wishing we could have spent 3-4 days exploring the island at our own pace, but happy to have had the opportunity to see it (and meet those wonderful quokkas).
What We Ate:
A light breakfast in our Attika home in Perth. For lunch we had wraps and sandwiches, and for dinner, we stopped on the way from Fremantle to pick-up takeaways.
Where We Ate:
It was a busy day, so chains all the way: Subway (there’s one on Rottnest) and Nandos (they’re all over Perth).
My Favourite Pictures Today
Where We Slept:
It was so great to come home to our suite at the Attika Hotel and find everything spotless and put away. The kids can’t get enough of the extra large shower, they think they’re in a waterpark. Raquel muscled into our extra soft bed last night and dominated the mattress. Mom and Dad woke up clinging to the fringes!
That Roger Federer took a selfie with a quokka and it’s been viewed over 500 million times. That quail is no longer the only “q” animal in town. That Rottnest got its name from a Dutch captain who thought quokkas were rats, and called the island Rotte Nest (rat’s nest). That Fremantle was the major Allied base for the Indian Ocean during World War II, and Rottnest was its primary defence. The Oliver Hill battery had huge guns that could fire armour piercing shells weighing 172 kilograms each to a distance of 28 kilometres. A long tunnel system was built into the hill to operate the guns, but it was never used in combat. That all accommodation on the island is managed by the Rottnest Island Authority and the villas, units and cottages are all self-catering. The island supermarket was pretty impressive! That sea birds love Rottnest, as do whales and dolphins. That there’s a 14 year waiting list for one of the 900 boat moorings around the island. That quokkas were once plentiful but are now limited to Rottnest and Bald Islands in Western Australia. And they really don’t mind posing for selfies.
Reflection of the Day
The Best Part:
The quokkas, hands down! Also when Raquel tooted the train’s horn, and Gali fell asleep in the back of the bike carriage.
The Worst Part:
Our bus tour ran a little late so we didn’t get a chance to explore the island by bike as much as we wanted to.
We'll Always Remember
- Name: Annaliese
- Favourite Place: France
- I Love Travel Because: it gives me knowledge that there are cultures outside of our own that we need to explore.
- My Advice for Kids: Keep a diary so you can see what thoughts you had at that age, and can remember the things you thought you forgot.
- Name: Jillian
- Favourite Place: Switzerland
- I Love Travel Because: It makes me excited for new people, places and food.
- My Advice for Kids: Look around and know where your Mom and Dad are.
Today's Random Thing
A Note from Mom and Dad
There were a lot of young kids on the island today, and kudos to all their parents (including the lady with the toddler and twin babies up front on the ferry!) We were lucky it wasn’t too hot, but it was a bit windy, and since there are no cars on the island, you’re out in the elements. Arriving early eliminated the stress up front, we packed snacks, layers, and lucked out that Raquel didn’t get seasick at all. She loved exploring the tunnels, and is becoming braver and more curious by the day (we’re a long way from her scary imaginary “trolls” in the mines of Bendigo! We wished we could spend more time on the island, but that’s what travel does: gives you a taste, and leaves you wanting more.