March 23rd, 2010
Rottnest Island is known as Perth’s “island playground”. Just under an hour away by ferry, it offers beautiful beaches, excellent surfing and snorkeling opportunities, and an escape from the hustle and bustle of city life. A small number of cars are permitted on the island for official government use, and all of the tourists get around on foot, bicycle or via the official shuttles that loop the island.
I spent a gorgeous Tuesday on Rotto, cycling around the island, soaking up the sun and laughing at the weatherman’s prediction that it was going to be a miserable, rainy day.
The island is named after the indigenous quokkas, strange marsupials which Dutch explorers originally mistook for giant rats — “Rottnest” being Dutch for “Rat’s Nest”. The quokkas have no natural predators on the island, and have no fear of humans.
I got off of my bike in the middle of the island to snap some photos of a lighthouse. When I went back to my bike, I found a quokka sniffing the wheel, checking things out. As I started to take photos of the quokka, three more of the furry things popped out of the trees to join the photo shoot. A girl on a bike came across the scene and stopped to take some photos, and then even more quokkas popped out. Too cool.
Lots of other creatures roam the island, including large numbers of wild peacocks. I had a great time chasing them around with the camera.
A great way to spend my final day in the Perth area, before heading up the West Coast on an adventure into some of the smallest, most isolated towns in Australia.