It was the perfect day for a trip to Rottnest Island. The island was discovered in 1696 by Willem de Vlamingh, a Dutch explorer. He named the island Rats’ Nest because he found many large rats there. Of course, these creatures were not rats but quokkas. A few days ago, we booked our ferry tickets to make sure we would have good weather. At the campground before our departure, it was still very windy. We had breakfast and prepared our sandwiches for lunch, bracing ourselves for the wind. Shortly after, we got in the car and headed towards Fremantle to catch the ferry. We were able to park our car there for the whole day.
The ferry took us to the island in about half an hour. It had been a while, but we were excited to go on an adventure by boat again. You can still see the bottom even when the water is six meters deep. The water here is so blue and beautiful. The journey was quite calm. Upon arrival on the island, there was a crowd of people. That’s to be expected with tourist attractions and school holidays. We had only been on the island for ten minutes and already saw 3 quokkas. These animals, resembling a cross between a rat and a wallaby, are part of the kangaroo family and thrive in abundance on this island. They are used to humans and certainly not shy. It was delightful to see them, as they are only found on this island and Bald Island near Albany.
We rented bicycles to explore the island. We were glad to get some extra exercise. A bike ride of 22 kilometers in the scorching sun was definitely a small challenge. Equipped with enough water and sunscreen, we set off. Wearing a bicycle helmet is mandatory here. It was a funny sight with our hats underneath (to keep away the hundreds of flies). After a few kilometers, it was clear that any breeze and patch of shade were welcome on a hot day like today. It was so hot! The island was very bike-friendly. There are no cars except for an occasional hop-on hop-off bus.
We decided to cool off by snorkeling in the sea at our first stop, Parker Point. About 10 meters from the beach, there was also a small shipwreck where we could swim and snorkel. It was nice to do it on our own instead of with a group. It was quite relaxing. We saw a few fish and a jellyfish. Looking closely, you could see the Perth skyline in the distance. We hopped back on our bikes with our wet swimwear and continued our journey. Along the way, we encountered several quokkas by the roadside. Now and then, they would hop away like kangaroos. We stopped regularly for a few minutes to drink enough water and reapply sunscreen.
When we arrived at the first junction, we had to decide whether to bike all the way to the furthest point of the island or not. We decided to go for it and bike an additional four kilometers. This stretch was quite hilly, and we quickly felt it in our legs. Upon reaching Cape Vlamingh, we could see some New Zealand fur seals. They looked quite peculiar in the water. A short walk further took us to the westernmost point of Australia. To our right, South Africa was 4,500 kilometers away, and Antarctica lay straight ahead. It was a pity that we couldn’t see these continents. During our break, we were visited by two large lizards. Inez let some water flow onto the ground, and the creature seemed dehydrated as it immediately started drinking.
During the ride back to the starting point of the island, we came across many beautiful bays and even took a quick refreshing swim in the ocean. We had enjoyed ourselves immensely, and Inez, in particular, was happy to have been active and experienced that sports feeling again. Endorphins were very much welcome! 😀 The only downside of this trip, was that afterward, we had sore bottoms from the hard saddle. After returning our bikes, we had to wait for our ferry for a while. We had a drink, called home, and savored the feeling of satisfaction.
To end this beautiful day, we visited the brewery and enjoyed some drinks and snacks together. Neither of us felt like driving back to the campground and setting up our tent, so we booked a room at the Fremantle Prison hostel. It was a great experience to spend the night there.
x Ely & Inez