Weekend trip to Rottnest Island
What places in your town do you show someone who’s only got a few days? When a good friend of mine decided to leave Perth a weekend trip to Rottnest Island was my first idea.
Every morning on my way to work that little island, Rotto as Perthians like to call it, hovers off the coast at the end of the sparking sea. On overcast days it bobs like a bastion in the dark ocean and at night it’s lighthouse on the north-eastern tip twinkles in three-second intervals.
Rottnest Island is the perfect for a weekend trip. It’s a magical version of a secluded country town mixed with gorgeous beaches and a relaxed car and carefree lifestyle. Plenty of yachts anchor around the island’s coves like luxury satellites launched to escape the city’s hectic schedules.
For those mere mortals who don’t have their own boat at their disposal, ferry services also take passengers over to Rotto and drop them off at the jetty, which is also close to the heart of the ‘town’.
At the end of the jetty is the tourist centre, the Dome café, the other restaurant, the bike hire shop, the cemetery, the few historic buildings and places to stay. Yes, that’s it. It’s wonderfully compact and bustling tourists wander from the boat to the bike shop and off they go to explore the rest of Rotto.
So, you can get to the island without a yacht, but you can’t do without a bicycle. Peddling across the island is pretty much the only way to get around (remember, I said it is car free!). Few service vehicles cruise around and, I’m lying, there’s a bus service dropping off lazy tourists who couldn’t be bothered to hop on their bikes and cycle the 11 kilometres across and back.
But why would you sit in a bus when instead there’s wind in your hair, salt breezes stroking your skin and you can jump off your bike at any occasion to cuddle a Quokka. These mini-kangaroos, mistaken for giant rats by the first visiting Dutch sailors giving the island it’s misleading name, love tourists as much as tourists love Rotto, Quokkas, a dip in the sea and a cold beer in the shade.
Lazily they hide in the shrubs’ shade and can be persuaded for close-up photo shoots if the appropriate incentive is presented. I’m sure feeding Quokkas is against many regulations, but carrots don’t count, do they?
Then, there’s the bays of which one is prettier and more pristine than the other. My favourites for snorkelling are – wait a minute – there’s apparently 50 coves around. You go and find your own favourite one!
The excitement of finding oysters on rocks, the sensation of sand between your toes, the smell of sunscreen and salt and the relaxed fatigue you feel after a sun-filled day: these are exactly the impressions I wanted my friend to take with her.
She’s said bye-bye to Perth for now. I hope the memories of our weekend-trip will stay with her!
Are you planning a weekend trip to Rottnest Island? What’s your favourite place to show visiting friends?