Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Rottnest Island --- Perth's Little Jewel

My friend from Perth spoke often of Rottnest Island when she was on sabbatical here in Vancouver last year, so when we went to visit them recently, a visit there was mandatory.

Located a mere 18 km from Perth, this tiny island, a mere 1900 hectares, can be reached by 30 to 45 minute ferry ride on the Rottnest Express or by private boat. Beloved by locals, it also attracts interstate and international visitors, in all around 500,000 each year. Private vehicles are not allowed on the island which is a nature preserve and you can travel its roads on the public bus, popping on and off at various points as you will, or via bicycle which you can hire.

A typical bay with crystal clear beautiful waters, rocky outcrops and scrubby greenery.

There is limited accommodation on Rottnest Island, with one hotel and a lodge, along with various furnished cabins, heritage cottages, bungalows, some of which have spectacular ocean views. There is also some accommodation for backpackers and other places where you can pitch a tent if you desire. So popular is Rottnest as a getaway destination, it is necessary to book a year ahead and during school vacation and public holiday times, accommodation is allocated by ballot.

This area is known as the Basin with a view of Bathurst Lighthouse, one of two on the island

I don't think I have seen more beautiful colours than those of the waters around Rottnest as we travelled via the bus, making several stops at some of the many bays and coves around this tiny island. It's a very popular place for snorkelling and scuba diving, swarming with fish and marine wildlife and most of the activities centre around the ocean. It is quite a barren place really with several large naturally occuring salt lakes in the centre.

Ospreys or sea hawks breed on Rottnest Island during the summer months and here we see one on the very unique nests they build. These nests are a large heap of sticks, driftwood and seaweed usually built in forks of trees, rocky outcrops, utility poles or offshore islets. There are around 15 of these nests on Rottnest and some have been in use for more than 70 years. Click to enlarge for a slightly better view.

Another typical Rottnest Island bay where we stopped to eat lunch and enjoy the view

My friend went for a paddle and inspected one of the huge offshore boulders while the two men went off across the rocks to see what was around the corner.

Apparently there can be snakes lurking in these rocky outcrops so you have to be beware of them. Ugh, I have always hated snakes, since I was a child, although fortunately they mostly get out of your way.

This little creature is a quokka, a small herbivorous marsupial which exists in large number on the island, although rare in nature in general and found only in the small islands around Perth. It is rather like a tiny kangaroo or wallaby and has no fear of humans, who are forbidden to handle the small animals in any way, with threat of a very large fine.

All in all, it was a splendid day, both weather wise and as an occasion for we truly enjoyed the charms of this island getaway. It was wonderful to visit this spot about which we had heard so much previously from our friends who have spent many happy occasions on Perth's little jewel.


Lone Grey Squirrel said...

I have relatives near Perth which I have visited before and will have occasion to visit again. Previously I have agonised over whether a day tip to Rottnest was worthwhile. Your post has been helpful in answering this. But it does look like it is lacking shade and trees.

Janice Thomson said...

Gosh looks like a stunning spot to visit. What beautiful blue colours.

Bengbeng said...

so beautiful...incredibly beautiful n i dont see large nice

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

You're right - the sea has beautiful colours. Love the quokka - I never heard of them before - but the snakes would put me off!

jmb said...

I highly recommend it LGS, it is a bit barren but interesting and the myriad of bays is wonderful.

Janice the colour of the ocean was amazing. I would loved to have seen what was underneath it all.

Bengbeng, there were lots of people in some spots but there were many places to get away from it all.

I did not see any snakes that day Welshcakes, so it was all right.

Thanks for visiting and commenting everyone.

Liz said...

What a pretty place! That nest is amazing. I hope the authorities continue to guard/protect this island carefully.