Starting off your day by ferrying over to an island under a bright blue sky with the prospect of spending your day biking swimming and relaxing next to crystal clear turquoise water is the best. After a couple of days discovering Perth, we wanted to get active and see the Aussie nature up close. We took the 25 minutes ferry from Fremantle B shed port and were awed by how much the surroundings changed in such a short time. As we got closer to the island the water changed into different shades of blue and green backed up by dramatic coastal cliffs. As there are no cars allowed on the island, you can just feel the calmness when you arrive, with a sudden full on holiday feeling.
We were making this a day trip so we wanted to make the most of our day. There are a couple of buses making their rounds on the island, however, we chose for the bike (AUS $ 27 per day). Whenever we have the chance to rent a bike and spend our days pedaling around and discovering the country, this is our preferred option as you see and experience so much more this way. And this is the perfect place to cycle around, rolling hills, empty roads and wild nature to one side and the ocean on the other. The sun was already beating down on us so we slapped on plenty of sunscreen and off we go.
Everyone told us to look out for quokkas, the inhabitants that gave Rottnest Island its name. Back in the days when the Dutch arrived on the island for the first time, they mistaken these animals for rats, and called the island Ratsnest which eventually became Rottnest Island. Quokkas are indigenous to Rottnest Island and they feel very comfortable on the island. They are not shy or scared and every time we stopped to take some photos, a couple of curious quokkas would pop out and walk over to check us out.
How Rottnest got its name
We were spoiled for choice and choosing the best beaches to hang out was difficult. But as soon as we saw Little Salmon Bay we hopped off our bikes and got into the water. The bay was ringed by small overhanging rocks which made perfect little caverns to hide from the sun. The water was so clear that you don’t need snorkels to see the wildlife down below. We cycled to the far western end of Cape Vlamingh which has soaring cliffs with ospreys nesting on the rocks. The scenery is amazingly wild with windswept trees and quokkas everywhere. Our second beach pick was Parakeet Bay where manta rays swim right up to the beach. Wrapping up our 25 km roundtrip across the island was the sunset on Pinky Beach with the Bathurst lighthouse overlooking the bay.
In the village of Rottnest near the ferry landing, we had some drinks and snacks amongst the wandering quokkas. Here the historical buildings shows the rich heritage Rottnest has going back 7000 years when inhabited by the Aboriginals. The island known as Wadjemup (place across the water) is sacred for the Noongars (Aboriginal) people.
With 63 beaches, 20 bays and only 19 km from Perth this is the perfect place to enjoy the simple pleasures in life.