Rottnest Island - "I will survive!"
We pre-booked a day trip to “Rotto” (Rottnest Island) – the family holiday playground of choice for Perth locals – with Rottnest Fast Ferries. This car free island is an off-the-grid slice of paradise about 30kms into the sea off the coast of Perth. The trip includes a shuttle bus collection from your hotel, which makes things really easy.
My pre-trip reading (Traveller’s Tales) had prepared me for all sorts of dangers in Australia including sharks, crocodiles, dingos, snakes, spiders, ants and box jellyfish. Reports of a fungus which only grows in Australia and shrinks you brain got added to the list just before we left for the airport.. The music in the shuttle bus was “I will survive” (Gloria Gaynor) – very appropriate…?!
The first thing that strikes you about Rotto is that the sun makes everything glow with a technicolour intensity. The beaches are pearlescent white, the sky an unblemished cornflower blue and the stunning Indian Ocean is neon aquamarine – so blue it made the whole shuttle bus gasp at first sight.
The hop on hop off coach service with commentary stops at 18 locations all around the island and departs every 1/2 hr from 8.30 am until 3.30 pm – a bargain at $20 pp. The best way to explore the island is probably by bike, which you can hire from the ferry company. We were happy to take the slightly lazier option today though.
Flora and Fauna
The playful quokkas – the island’s only native land mammals – are another draw. So cute – but don’t touch or feed them if you want to avoid a $150 fine. A quokka selfie is now an obligatory Instagram rite of passage here, it seems.
New Zealand Fur Seal colonies frequent Rottnest Island too. This lot looked quite content with life – “No worries mate!”
The shuttle bus was crowded and we were glad to disembark at the farthest point on the island (West End) ready to walk back along the coast in the afternoon.
The other visitors soon dispersed and we were left to ourselves to enjoy the beautiful secluded coves with the company of only an inquisitive seagull and (scarily at first!) a couple of large black lizards who crept up the rock behind us. Until their feet appeared, they looked rather too much like a snake for comfort …
The ferry ride back to the mainland passed quickly in the company of a very friendly Australian couple who kindly shared some good advice about travelling in their beautiful country with us (more later) and made us think hard about a second trip here one day, with a campa van. Dreaming on …
They showed us photos they had taken of a deadly snake they saw earlier in the afternoon lazing by the beach on the island …
If you want to moor your boat on one of the yellow bobbing boys in the ocean around Rotto’s shores, there is a 12 – 15 year waiting list.
Day One – I survived! – bring on the rest of the trip …