“ Country: Australia / World Region: Australasia / Pacific „
Well to sum up before I have even begun - Rottnest Island was fantastic and my favorite day out during my trip to Perth.
As we had a car, we drove to the city of Freemantle directly, to catch the ferry from the dock.
One of the big bonuses (as I suffer from sea sickness) was that the journey by ferry to the island is only around 25 minutes, one of the shortest ferry rides I have been on. (Although the captain was driving that day like he was trying to beat a world record in speed, so it didn't really make much of a difference!)
The island is car free, so the majority of people either take their own bicycles or hirer them on the island. The cost to hirer our bikes weren't too expensive, around $30 per adult, for a day. There is a shuttle bus on the island, but I do recommend riding by bike to fully appreciate the whole of the island.
We spent the majority of the day cycling around the whole of the island, which is about 24km around, and then stopping off in certain secluded beach areas for snorkeling and sunbathing. Although the island is incredibly popular during the summer period, there are plenty of areas of beach that you can stop at on your cycle, and you will be more or less be completely alone to enjoy your own beach area and quiet time.
For the average person, I didn't think cycling the whole of the island would be too challenging, it was a perfect balance of exercising and relaxing that would appeal to a lot of holidaymakers.
Make sure you watch out for the animals roaming freely on the island, (particularly the Quokkas, that I had not seen in Australia before, a hybrid of a rat and a baby kangaroo!! They are very cute)
Rottnest is very much an untouched haven, it has a relaxed, laidback vibe, a perfect place for couples, or families, and somewhere I would highly recommend if you want to get away from the city life.
This summer I took my 2 boys to Australia. We had great fun planning the trip and deciding what we wanted to see. We knew we wanted to stop off in Hong Kong on route, partly to make the flight a bit easier and party to visit a friend who lives there. The cheapest flights from Hong Kong were via Perth in Western Australia. We then planned to fly to Darwin and later to Cairns. I have always wanted to see Perth and so decided to stay in the city for several days to explore. We all love nature and quiet places and so Rottnest Island 19 KM off the coast of Perth really appealed to all of us.
Ferries to Rottnest Island depart from several locations including Victoria quay in Perth, Hillary's boatyard to the North (summer only) and Northport in Freemantle. We opted to sail from Freemantle as I had read good things about Freemantle. We had planned to take a train to Freemantle but I managed to read the summer timetable and got the ferry times wrong! In the end our only option was to take an expensive taxi to Freemantle. The lesson is to do your homework and ensure you check the timetable of your chosen ferry company! We travelled with Rottnest express and they were excellent! From Freemantle there is a courtesy bus that collects you from B shed just along from the railway station. The ferry departs a few miles out of town. There is free parking available.
Rottnest Island is car free and you can book a combined ferry and bike ticket, saving some money! If you choose this option then your bike will be ready for you when you arrive on the Island. It is worth mentioning that helmets are compulsory in Western Australia and failure to wear one can result in a hefty fine! As we had limited time on the Island we decided not to do this. An adult day return costs $95 with a child (age 4 - 12) ticket costing $40. The trip from Freemantle takes about 30 minutes and it will take you 1 ½ hours from Perth.
The ferry has limited outside seating but we were lucky enough to get seats much to my children's delight! Be warned if you sit outside it can get a bit bumpy and you may get wet! However the views were wonderful although we were disappointed not to spot any marine life. This service is called the Rottnest express for good reason- it travels very rapidly!
If you fancy arriving in style then you might like to consider a short flight from Jandakot airport in Perth. Flights cost $330 return for 3 people. I really wish we had chosen this option as it would have been a similar price for us!
Getting around the Island
Rottnest Island is a beautiful Island and has plenty on offer. The ferry arrives into Thompson bay, the main Island settlement. I would advise that you start your trip with a visit to the nearby tourist information centre a few minutes walk from the quay. It has lots of free information including an Island map. There are various ways to see the Island with bike hire being a very popular option. There are over 50 Km of roads to explore so you shouldn't get bored! However as we only had a few hours on the Island we decided to take a discovery tour. The tour departs from just behind the visitor centre and costs $35 for an adult and $17 for a child. The tour lasts for 1 hour 45 minutes and has a commentary.
If you have more time then I would recommend buying a ticket for the bay seeker bus. The bus travels around the Island making stops at popular sights along the way and you can hop on and off where ever you fancy.
A brief history.
There is evidence of Aboriginal occupation of the Island dating back over 7.000 years. The museum situated in the main settlement tells the story of Rottnest and its people and is well worth a visit. Admission is by gold coin donation. I was really interested to learn that the Island had been used to house Aboriginal convicts from the mainland from 1838 until 1920. Many had only committed minor *crimes* and had been forced to live and work in an alien environment. As a result many died from Western diseases. The Island is a sacred place for the Noonga tribe as many of their kin are buried here.
What is there to do on the Island?
If you enjoy walking then you will love the many well marked trails that cross the Island. I really wish we could have used the bay seeker bus giving us time to properly explore. If you prefer you can book to join one of the free guided walking tours from the visitor centre. We visited in August (winter) and the temperature was a pleasant 22 degrees. In the summer it can get very hot and you will need to carry water what ever time of year you visit. It is also recommended that you use sun screen and wear a hat. There are no facilities outside of the main settlement so you will need to carry any refreshments with you.
Rottnest Island has 63 beaches including a couple that are perfect for snorkelling with marked underwater trails to follow. The beaches are truly stunning with white sand and clear turquoise water. It is also possible to dive with several interesting ship wrecks to explore. The visitor centre has details. There are safe swimming beaches at Long reach bay, little parakeet and Geordie bay. There are roped off swimming areas in Thompson bay and The Basin, both close to the ferry arrival point. If you looking for big waves to surf then Salmon bay is recommended. All beaches can be accessed by using the bay seeker bus service.
The Wadjemup lighthouse is situated about half way round the Island on top of a hill. It was Western Australia's first lighthouse and was build by Aboriginal convict labour in 1849. The first three lighthouse keepers committed suicide here! The lighthouse is worth a visit as it gives wonderful views of the Island.
I love wildlife spotting and Rottnest is famous for its population of Quokkas; small marsupials that are only found in certain areas of Western Australia. The name Rottnest ( or Rotte- nest) means *rats nest* in Dutch and came about after the Dutch explore Willem De Vlamingh thought that the Quokkas he encountered were giant rats! We really loved these little animals and spent time watching their antics.
We also saw lots of birds including a magnificent pair of osprey. At the western end of the Island we spotted an Osprey nest and watched as the adults flew in. We also saw several colourful kingfishes and several Pelicans.
Rottnest is also the home to 2 species of snake; the harmless blind snake and the venomous Dugite snake. Both are timid and usually seen during the summer months. However a bite from a Dugite can be fatal!
If you enjoy sport then there is a golf course and tennis on the Island.
I really wish we had planned to spend a night on the Island as our time was far too short to properly explore. Rottnest gets over ½ a million visitors a year and only has 3,000 beds, so it really is essential to book well in advance. There are several options if you want to say including a campsite, self catering cabins and a hostel. The cabins in Geordie looked good as far as I could see! As you would expect prices are high!
The main settlement at Thompson bay is the location for the cafes and restaurants. There is a small supermarket that stocks basic items in addition to souvenirs. There is also a bakery and fish and chip shop. We decided to have a fish and chip supper before catching the ferry back and it was excellent!
Overall Rottnest Island is a wonderful place to visit and although many come for the day I would love to have been able to spend longer here.
Whilst on our recent trip to Australia, my cousin and I decided we'd go with the advice everyone had continued to give us "Go to Rottnest Island! Go to Rottnest Island..."
And so we got ourselves down to the ferry terminal on the Swan River, just a few minutes from the centre of Perth to the Rottnest Express Office. This is located on Barrack Street. We've now learnt that you can also book this on the internet or with a few other companies in Perth/ Fremantle. Since we had got a job cleaning at a backpackers and rarely had one full day off (like two full days in just under two months...) we decided to make the most of it, and book the package that included the cruise down the Swan River to Fremantle and on to Rottnest Island. This cost us about $90AUD each, including bike hire. You can also hire snorkel gear, at an extra cost of course.
The day started fairly early at 8:45 (if I remember correctly) and the journey right up to Rottnest Island took about an hour and a half from Perth (about 40 minutes from Fremantle.) We were pleased with the boat as we got to sit on the outside deck and have our hair blowing in the breeze as the boat moved through the river's waters. The river cruise itself was nice, although in my opinion the commentary all the way up it was rather annoying and full of useless facts "over there you'll see a big house where such-and-such millionaires live..." We got a nice cup of tea and biscuits included within the price though, which was good. I was rather disappointed with the journey over the sea as we had been told that it was likely we'd see dolphins and we didn't. Then again, it's not like people can control nature.
By the time we got to Rottnest and had got our bikes, it was 11:30am and the only ferry we could catch back was at 4pm, so we were rather annoyed at the little time we got to spend there. We were even more annoyed when our friend told us that it was cheaper to stay at the backpacker's hostel for a night.
Anyway, my first impression of the island was that it was very pretty and clearly man had tried to minimise the impact it was having on nature but it was extremely busy. We had tried to avoid this by coming on a weekday, when it wasn't the school holiday but somehow it didn't seem to work. We had a wonder through the little shopping quarter which was next to the docks. From memory, it had a few gift shops, a supermarket and various food outlets. Since we had already spent a lot (for backpackers like us) we stuck to Subway to take away and try to make the most of the little time we had. Warning though, everything's more expensive in Rottnest, even Subway, so I'd take lunch with you if you're poor like we were! This is also where we caught sight of the first quokka. Quokka's are exclusive to Rottnest and are the reason behind the name of the Island, the first people to discover them thought they were huge rats.
We set off on our bikes and discovered that they were rather uncomfortable to say the least! Our aim was to find a beach to ourselves, which we were told was easy enough to do, although every beach (however beautiful it was) had a handful of people on it. In the end, irritated by the constant growls of our stomachs, we decided to stop at these cliffs overlooking the sea. It worked out well, because it was a gorgeous site and we were surrounded by natural caves.
After lunch, we set off again, pushing our bikes up those hills and continued north-west around the Island. The scenery we encountered was splendid, and it seemed to be like a movie scene where one minute we were cycling around lush green lands, then through forest, past swampland, past areas of vast wilderness and even a naturally pink lake. It was definitely hard work though, as we constantly had to climb huge hills- but then of course we were rewarded with the opportunity to go zooming back down them again! We also came across a fortress point, which was interesting if you're into that thing. They ran free guided tours which would have been useful, should we have actually had time! We then had about 1 hour left before we would have to cycle back to the jetty. I had one last place in mind to visit, the lighthouse, but after constant riding and still not getting anywhere we concluded that actually it was much further than it looked and not worth being stuck on the Island for.
That was basically our day, and we had only covered the west of the Island. I would definitely recommend staying for longer than a day if you want to get your full moneys worth and see the whole island. There is much more to see than we did, including points to snorkel amongst the reefs and whale-watching areas. Overall though, even though it was beautiful if you are stuck for money/time I would suggest that actually book yourself a kayaking tour to Penguin/Seal Island which is just off Rockingham, south of Perth. It was as beautiful as Rottnest (perhaps more) and didn't feel so much of a tourist trap.
The reality is that you are unlikely to visit Australia to specifically stay in Rottnest and it will more than likely be a place for a day out or overnight stay. As we had free flights to Perth from Sydney then a day trip to Rottnest was a must.
Exchange rate £1 = AUS$ 2.30/$1 = 43p
The island was named by the Dutch fleet captain Willem de Vlamingh on 29 December 1696. De Vlamingh described the indigenous marsupial called a quokka as a large rat ("rattenest" meaning "rat's nest" in Dutch).
Between 1838 & 1931 it was used as a penal establishment for Aborogines for crimes that included digging for vegetables on their own land. From 1936 onwards it has been used as a recreational site although even today cars/motor bikes are banned (tour buses/emergency and maintenance vehicles being the only motorised vehicles) and there are less than 400 permanent residents with the majority of workers commuting from the mainland.
Every time we mentioned we were going to Perth then we were told that we just had to go to Rottnest Island (or Rotto to the locals its easy to find out what the locals call a place in Oz take the first three/four letters and add a O on the end).
For the full history and list of activities they have their own website which is well worth a look if you are planning a visit. http://www.rottnestisland.com
For any iPod fans there is a free podcast available here http://web.mac.com/itour.mac.com/iWeb/Rottnest%20Site/welcome.html.
Rottnest Island is based 19kms from Fremantle, in the Indian Ocean and takes circa 45 minutes by Seacat from Fremantle, cost circa $60 return for adults including entry fee to the island www.oceaniccruises.com.au. You can book in advance or buy tickets on the day. You can also get an air taxi if you are so inclined (couple of hundred dollars per person and flies from Jandakot Airport, Perth - 15 min south of the City to Rottnest Aerodrome, which is widely used for pilot training also) but the Ferry is part of the journey and recommended. The Seacat travels very fast indeed and on the day we went the sea was very rough to the point where several people stood at the front of the ship were knocked off their feet and quickly moved inside. There were also a number of people being sea sick so it was something of an inauspicious start.
It is 11 kilometres long, 4.5 kilometres at its widest point and attracts 500,000 visitors pa and is an A class reserve managed by the Rottnest Island Authority and no private land ownership is allowed.
There is a 9 hour difference ahead of GMT during UK Winter and 7 hours ahead in Summer.
When we went (May), in nearby Perth, they had not had a drop of rain for 8 months and it was the 35th consecutive day over 35 C so it was hot, hot, hot! It also felt very dry and was certainly much hotter than Sydney. I will certainly remember the perennial blue skies. Rottnest is just slightly cooler than Perth given it's location in the Indian Ocean but it is still very hot.
Average temperatures are high 89F/32C/low 59F/15C in Summer and high 64F/47C/low 59F/15C in Winter. When we were there is was certainly much hotter than this so dont forget the suncream.
We arrived in just about one piece in Thomson Bay which is the focal point and where there are a few bars, shops, restaurants and from where you will start your exploring of the island. The first stop should be the tourist information centre as this is where you can book bus tickets etc and get some recommendations as to where to go/timings of trips/buses etc.
Also, when you get of the ferry then look back and you can see the Perth skyline shimmering away in the distance. It's a great view.
Other than walking around (not recommended because whilst it is flat it is still too large to walk around, unless you are there for more than one day) then your travel options are down to hiring a bike (very safe) or taking a bus (small fee) which is what we did. There is a bike hire shop in Thomson Bay although I am not sure if you can pre book.
***Things To Do***
The bus goes all round the island and you can get on/off it at any time to explore the many secluded beaches and coves along the way and the bus driver doubles up as tour guide giving you a bit of history to each place. You can also go on an official guided tour but booking is recommended and it was full so the normal bus was what we took. There is also a train that runs from Thomson Bay to the Oliver Hill Gun Battery although again I would recommend pre booking (allow 2 hours for the trip at $12 adults).
The Dive Shop organises dive trips and rents out everything from a snorkel and fins to full scuba gear. The diving and snorkelling off Rottos beautiful coves are unlike anywhere on the adjacent mainland and a couple of days spent here, especially midweek, when its less busy, are well worth the trip from Perth.
It took us all of 2 minutes to see our first quokka and after that they are everywhere but tend to stay away from people, although will rummage in your backpack if given the opportunity. Such a great name that seems to suit it perfectly and it is indigenous to Rottnest Island after the island was cut off from the mainland many moons ago. They were clearly originally mistaken for large rats but they look more like big squirrels to me.
You are really spoilt for choice as to where to get on & off the bus as there are dozens of places to see. However, once outside Thomson Bay there is little there other than the beaches so you need to make sure you have all your supplies with you and plenty of water, sun cream and maybe a packed lunch that you could get from your hotel. This review therefore is more of a general one as it would be impossible to visit all beaches/bays in one day given the numbers.
There are several over-riding memories of the trip around the island and that is the number of shipwrecks that are visible from almost anywhere. Also, there are many secluded beaches/coves of golden white sand and turquoise water which are fit for postcards but I cannot do the sight justice via a description just go to the website above and look at the pictures.
We went to Little Salmon Bay on the South of the Island then Salmon Bay then caught the bus over to City of York Bay and there were many others we didnt stop at but could see from the bus. The beaches are largely deserted, especially the outlining ones (although get busy in high season) and you can have a swim and sunbathe and enjoy the views of the ocean and the many shipwrecks. The sand is very fine & soft and the water is crystal clear although shockingly cold!
We then caught the bus back to Thomson Bay (if you are cycling you need to give yourself plenty of time to get back so you dont miss the ferry). It is a very relaxing, enjoyable, peaceful place and the lack of transport makes it very safe.
Back at Thomson Bay we had a beer and something to eat in the Dome café (prices appear to be 10-20% more expensive given everything needs to be shipped/flown in) and then went for a trip around the museum which is very eerie. It explains all the history of the prison and there is a board there with descriptions of people incarcerated and the crimes they committed which ranged from stealing sheep to assaulting a chinaman and so is very interesting!!. It really makes you realise how tough life must have been for the Aborigines, in Australia generally, once the country was colonised.
Other than gift/souvenir shops there is little shopping on the island.
Both the ferry and around the island is wheelchair friendly although clearly once you get on the beaches the sand makes this more difficult.
You can actually stay on the island with several choice of accommodation ranging from campsites and cabins, villas, bungalows, the Kingstown Barracks YHA, or the Quokka Arms Hotel and Rottnest Lodge. Clearly we went for the day so I cannot comment on what the accommodation is like and you will almost certainly need to book in advance. During the school holiday period you actually have to go into a ballot. The prices vary wildly dependent on the time of year (and do not appear to be advertised anywhere) but you have to telephone for availability/price (from UK 0061 8 9432 9111). The only price I can find is for Rottnest Lodge at $90 per person per night (£80 per night for two people) with single rooms $180 per night, out of season, so its not cheap.
As with most things Australian the people are very friendly and the staff very helpful (on the ferry as well as the island). In fact you can sense an immense pride from the staff just because they are working on the island and this certainly adds to the atmosphere (for example our bus driver gave us a guided tour despite us not being on an official tour bus as you could feel he was bursting with pride to tell us everything).
If you are in to the party scene and nothing else, then don't bother visiting Rottnest - this is a place for relaxation and to generally chill out by visiting the beautiful beaches and seeing nature at it's best.
A fantastic place that has history, charm, great flora & fauna, a relaxed way of life and a haven of peace and tranquility. It is very easy to get to and well worth a visit if you happen to find yourself in Perth with a day or two to spare. It is ideal for a day trip or even a couple of days but you are likely to struggle to keep yourself occupied if you go for over a week (apart from the sunbathing).
With hindsight it would have been great to stay overnight so we could have visited some more beaches (and by the time you have unwound then its time to get the ferry) but we just didnt have the time and the reality is that all the beaches are similarly gorgeous so I dont feel like I have missed out anyway.
It is easy to get to and very easy to get around once there but I would strongly recommend planning your day in advance and pre booking things like bike hire and definetely pre booking accommodation if you plan on staying overnight.
Compared to other Australian attractions, Rottnest is not the cheapest in either getting to or staying over but you are paying a premium for paradise and its worth every penny.
A place you will be sad to leave and quick to return.
Oh, and we saw those damn rats in the wild as well, but we never saw any nests!!
When I was backpacking around Australia I embarked on a short trip to Western Australia. I visited Perth, Fremantle and Rottnest Island. I was travelling on a budget so this review is really for the benefit of people that are doing the same. In order to get to Rottnest Island, you need to take a boat from Fremantle which is a small port, near to Perth. You can take a train from Perth to Fremantle and then buy your boat ticket at Freemantle Harbour. It will cost you around $50 return for the shortish crossing (around 45 minutes). Sometimes the crossings can be busy so it may be worth buying in advance. Rottnest Island is a small, beautiful and green Island which is littered with stunning beaches. It has gained its name from the large amount of quokkas (which look like large rats) that inhabit the island. It is a small enough island to allow you to cycle around it in a few hours (11km long and 4.5km wide). Indeed, cycling is one of the main activities on the island. You will pay around $30 for a days hire. However, if you are going to cycle around the island, please do take plenty of water as you can only buy it at the start of the ride (near the hire shop) and in the heat you can become very dehydrated. The route is easy to follow on the map which the hire place will give you. You do not need to be incredibly fit either as it is relatively flat and I managed it without getting too tired out. There are a few shops all located in the same vicinity. These consist of surf shops, a supermarket, a post office a couple of fast food joints and one or two nicer restauarnts (one of which is the dome). I did notice also that there was a hotel there. However...I was doing it the budget way.... I stayed at the only Youth Hostel on the Island called the Kingstown Barracks YHA. The hostel is not the most amazing place I have stayed, but it is generally clean and reasonable value (around $23 dollars a night). They do have internet access and a lar
ge enough kitchen to accomodate guests. There were only limited places at this hostel though, so it would be advisable to book your place in advance. I did see a camp site on the island too, which may suit some budget travellers. So if you are into wild partying and clubbing nights out, then this is not the place for you. If you are into seeing paradise beaches and getting a bit of excercise and generally chilling out and appreciating the beauty and the nature of Rottnest then this is the place for you. As my expereince shows, if you plan ahead, book into the hostel and self cater, it is entirely possible to do on a budget. One last word of warning. I would only really plan on going to Rottnest for two or three days. It is not the sort of place where there is a large amount going on. Most travellers do just spend a short time appreciating the beauty and then move on.
Sorry, this one's quite a long one... ;o) == The island == Rottnest Island, or Rotto as it is known to the locals, is a small island approximately 15km off the Western Australia coast, near the state capital of Perth. It measures 11kms long by 4.5kms wide (at its widest point). The island is a popular holiday destination for both Australians and internationals alike, and attracts approximately 500,000 visitors every year. The island has a permanent population of roughly 400 people who all work on the island. Motorised vehicles on the island are restricted to public transport (buses and a train), maintenance vehicles and emergency vehicles. All other transport is either by foot or bicycle. == History == Ancient history first. Rottnest "Island" has been inhabited for as much as 30,000 years by the indiginous Australian people (Aborigines). At that point, it was still part of the Australian mainland, but separated around 7,000 years ago with the rising sea levels. The Aboriginal name for the island is Wadjemup, meaning "place across the water". In the 17th century, the island was first encountered by Dutch explorers searching for a lost ship. The island was named "Rottnest" (rat's nest) in 1696 by Captain Willem de Vlamingh on account of the small marsupial animals known as Quokkas which look like large rats. The island was described by Vlamingh as a "paradise on Earth" and "pleasurable above all islands I have ever seen". In the 1830s, Rottnest Island became a confinement place for Aboriginal prisoners. By the 1880s, the prison population had grown from an original six (who incidentally, escaped!) to around 170 people, sixty of whom died in an influenza epidemic. It remained a prison island officially until 1903, although the last prisoner did not leave until 1931. In 1917, Rottnest became a 'A' Class Reserve, protecti
ng all plants, animals and cultural sites on the island and with the closure of the prison, it quickly became used for recreational purposes. In the late 1930s, with the growing threat of a second major war, Rottnest took up an important role in coastal defence. The Settlement buildings were requisitioned for military use and guns and military installations were built at Oliver Hill and Bickley Battery, as were the Barracks at Kingstown. By 1942, military personel on the island numbered around 2,500. The island was still used for military training after the war until 1985, where Kingstown Barracks were handed over to the Rottnest Island Authority, where the island has been used until this day for recreational purposes. == The Settlement == The Settlement is the main population centre on Rottnest, situated on Thompson Bay on the Eastern side of the island. It contains all major facilities, such as shops, post office and cash machines. There is a camp site for people to pitch their tents, or if the local wildlife makes you feel edgy (:o) ), you can opt to stay at either the Rottnest Hotel ($80 - $200 per room per night depending on room type and time of year) or Rottnest Lodge ($130 - $460 per room per night depending on room type and time of year). If you don't mind a walk, and don't mind sharing rooms, a much cheaper option is the Kingstown Barracks YHA which is 1Km away from the Settlement. Beds cost as little as $20 per night. (N.B. I've put the conversion rate at the bottom!) == Activities == First and foremost - the beaches. Rottnest Island has some absolutely magnificent beaches. One of the most popular ones is the Basin, around a 1km walk from the Settlement. It can get quite crowded there though, but travelling around the island uncovers some fantastic secluded beaches for you to simply lie down and relax! These beaches are not li
ke an y that you would find in the UK. The water is clear, the sand is sof t and fine (and hot!). Word of warning though - don't think that just because it is hot in Australia that the sea will be warm - IT ISN'T!!! ;o) There are a wide range of water activities available, from snorkelling and surfing up to boating. Getting around the island can be achieved in a number of ways. Given the lack of motor vehicles, walking is very safe and very enjoyable. There is a bus service that runs around the island for a small fee, also a two hour bus tour of the island. (Word of warning, though, they can get quite busy during the summer months, and being stuck on a packed bus in temperatures as high as 35 degrees can get quite uncomfortable!). A free shuttle bus also runs between the main accommmodation areas on the island. There is also a train that runs from the settlement to the Oliver Hill gun battery for a guided tour of the site. Most people, however, opt for biking. Like walking, biking is a very safe and pleasurable way of seeing the island. Bicycles can be hired for an hourly fee including a free recovery and repair service for anywhere on the island. Off the island, there is a glass-bottomed boat-tour of the island to view the fascinating reef structure around the island and some of the many shipwrecks that have occurred over the past few centuries. == My Experience == Before I start with my experience, please note that the above description of the island is limited. I could not describe everything as it would take forever!!! I have just tried to give you a general picture of what the island is like. I went to Australia on January 15th 2001. A friend of mine had been backpacking over there for the past year and was working on Rottnest Island in the Dome Cafe. It had been arranged since before he went out there that I would go out to meet him at some point, so on a col
d mid-Janu ary morning, I got up at 3:00am to go to Manchester Airport for my 30 hour flight (on my own too!) to the other side of the world. I arrived in Perth at 9:36pm on the 16th January and was ushered quickly through customs on account of me wearing my Welsh Rugby shirt and the Australian customs official being a former resident of Llandudno!!! I met up with my friend in the airport, made the 30 minute trip to Fremantle where we stayed overnight, then went to Rottnest the following day for my stay on the island. The 45 minute ferry trip was quite bumpy and I admit to feeling a little seasick! :o) For the first week, I stayed with my friend in their accommodation to get my bearings, but after that I moved to the Barracks at Kingstown. At first, I was apprehensive of staying in a room with complete strangers. I'm not exactly the most out-going person on the planet. However, there was nothing to worry about. It's a great way of meeting people from all over the world. Although, one night when two Dutch girls came back at 3am in a rather drunken state... The one thing that struck me about the place was how polite everyone seemed to be! No offence meant to any Australians reading this, but I had always pictured them as the stereotypical Aussie - straight-talking, no-nonsense stuff. But everyone I met was extremely nice and polite. Granted, of the people I met out there, my friend is Irish, his girlfriend is from New Zealand, as were most of the others he worked with, and his bosses were also both Irish! But I did meet some very nice Aussies too! Another thing that I only noticed when I got back was that for some strange reason, even though I am arachnophobic with the (harmless) British house spider, I was sleeping in rooms full of spiders and not having any problems at all! And Australian spiders can be lethal!!! So, onto the island itself. I am unlike many people of my age (I was 23 at the time).
I am not intere sted in going to places like Ibiza and partying all night. I like nice relaxin g holidays in the country where I can walk about, getting a bit of exercise and fresh air. In this respect, Rottnest Island is DEFINITELY the best place to go. As I mentioned in the description of the island, the lack of cars on the island makes it extremely safe to walk around on. Just don't do what I did. On one of my walks up to Oliver Hill, my trainers were digging into my heels quite painfully. I took off my shoes and walked barefoot for just 100 yards or so. BAD IDEA! I spent the next four or five days in agony due to massive heat blisters on the soles of my feet! I could just see the looks on the doctors faces in the medical centre as they thought "another stupid pom!". However, most of my three and a half weeks on the island was spent walking around exploring the island. It has fantastic scenery and great wildlife (obviously the Quokkas, but it's also got some more dangerous animals, including a very poisonous snake - thankfully, I didn't see one of those!!!). I went snorkelling a few times, took the boat trip to see the wrecks, borrowed a bike to cycle around the island and generally just lay around on the beaches getting a T-shirt suntan (not one for going topless!!!) If I have one bad point to say about Rottnest Island it's that being there for three and a half weeks, I ran out of things to do. I could have, but I'm not an aquatic person and have never been interested in surfing, etc... I am not going to deduct any points for that though as most people only stay there for a week or so. In those cases, you will never get to do everything you want! I felt sad to leave the island though. I'd made quite a few acquaintances there - friends of my friend - and as Willem de Vlamingh said, the place was "paradise on Earth". I cannot recommend this place enough
. If you ever go to Western Australia, this is a MUST see location. == Conversion Ra te == £1 (UK) is approximately $2.50 (AU) $1 (AU) is approximately £0.40 (UK) == Links == (N.B. In re-reading the review, I noticed that Dooyoo puts linebreaks and spaces in where they should not be! None of the following links are supposed to have spaces in them, so if you find that a link doesn't work, check that it is complete - remove any spaces and then it should work.) Rottnest Island (general): http://www.rottnest.wa.gov.au/ http://www.westernaustralia.net/discover/perth/rottnest.shtml Kingstown Barracks YHA: http://www.yha.org.au/hostels/details.cfm?hostelid=125 Quokkas: http://www.calm.wa.gov.au/plants_animals/mammal.quokka.html http://home.mira.net/~areadman/quokka.htm
A short ferry journey away from Fremantle and Perth in Western Australia lies the beautiful Rottnest Island, or Rotto as it is locally known. Perfect for a day trip away from the mainland, it is a haven of peace and tranquility. It is named after the small rat-like wallabies called quokkas that inhabit island. Originally an island prison for Aboriginal people to whom the invading Europeans took an instant dislike to (well, the last thing you want when expanding the empire is some native person telling you not to take their land), it is now a popular get-away from the world’s most isolated capital, Perth. Take a bicycle with you or hire one on the island, and a picnic, and head off around the island’s roads in search of your own beach or vantagepoint. The museum or one of the shops in the village where the boat drops you off can provide you with a map of the island with which to plan your day and make sure you take in all the interesting stops. You can stay on the island in whichever manner suits your budget, but it can be cycled round in one day with enough time to sun-bathe, go for a swim (skinny dipping is also a sneaky option on the more remote beaches), and walk up to the highest point of the island for a view. Plus, the salt lakes in the middle of the island are the best places to spot a quokka, if you haven’t already had one boldly rummage through your backpack for food. As with most Australian wildlife, the quokka is fortunately not elusive. In fact, again as with most Australian wildlife, walking right up to them is an easy task. (I suppose for safety’s sake I should point out that walking or swimming up to some Australian wildlife is not a very sensible thing to do, bearing in mind that some of it can kill you – marsupials are generally a safe bet though). You are asked not to feed the quokkas, as they should naturally be encouraged to forage for themselves, but their foraging is getting more forward, and you don’t w
ant to scare them. There is a museum on the island, as well as boat trips to see shipwrecks and some of the world’s southern most growing coral. The lighthouse is also a major attraction, with excellent views out to sea, a great spot to see the sun set into the ocean, an experience everyone should witness at least once. The best time to go is during the week during term time, as it can get less tranquil at weekends and during school holidays, although not unbearably so.
"Rottnest Island is located 19 km off the coast of Western Australia, near Fremantle. The island is 11 kilometres long, and 4.5 kilometres at its widest point. The land area measures 19 km². It is classified as an A Class Reserve and is managed by the Rottnest Island Authority. No private ownership of land is allowed. The Western Australian vernacular diminutive is "Rotto", or "Rottnest". It has been an important holiday destination for over 50 years. It is called "Wadjemup" by the Noongar people, meaning "place across the water"."