Rottnest island, Western Australia
02.09.2010 - 02.09.2010 23 °C
I haven’t actually ridden a pushbike since I was about 10 years old! As there are no vehicles allowed on Rottnest island there was nothing for it, if I wanted to explore this incredible island, I had to get on my bike.... I took a bus from the, lets hear it, Y......M......C....A ... a beautiful drive past the beaches on the coastline North of perth to Hilarys jetty. Here I hired a nice pink mountain bike and took it with me on the ferry across to the island. As we approached Thomson bay and had a first glimpse of this heavenly place, it was clear that today was going to be very special.
Rottnest Island is found about 18km off the mainland coast of Western Australia from Fremantle. A small island, 11km by 4.5km at it’s widest, it has mostly been preserved in its natural state with only a couple of small tourist towns. Like many Australian islands, Rottnest was once an aboriginal prison until the early 1900’s. Keep the crooks away from the mainland! Not a bad place to be held at her majesty’s pleasure though, this place is paradise. The isolation of the island from the mainland has allowed some unusual plants and animals to thrive here. The best known of these is the quokka, a cute mini-kangaroo about the size of a rabbit. Living on this island, away from the natural predators found on the mainland, this endangered marsupial is thriving on Rottnest. Actually, the island is named after the quokka, the first European explorers to the island thought they were large rats so named the island ‘Rotte nest’ meaning ‘Rat nest’. So, a rather unique place to explore..
I popped into the tourist information booth and picked up a map of the island, grabbed a sandwich for a lunch stop on one of the beaches and off i went. It is true what they say about riding a bike, straight back into it no problem. I was worried for nothing. The island is pretty hilly though, once or twice I had to get off and push the bike up that last bit of hill. It was an absolutely stunning Spring day, full sun but not too hot, not too cold. I heard that in the summer months the island can get very busy so I felt incredibly lucky to be visiting on a beautiful quiet spring day. I just had the most incredible day. Just me, my mountain bike, a map, and miles of deserted, stunning coastline to explore. Sometimes dramatic rocky cliffs, then turn a corner and find a tranquil bay, white sandy beach and calm turquoise water. The freedom, flying freely down a path along the pristine coast. Pure adventure, completely in my element. The path I took was 24 km in total, up and down those hills. My clacker (Australian for ass) ached like hell, my thighs felt stretched but it was worth every single ache and pain.
I was disappointed that on my way round I failed to see any quokkas. I did spot a couple of small monitor lizards and a snake, which scared me so i didn’t hang about too long to look at! As I arrived back into the town where i started though they were EVERYWHERE.. Cute things hopping around everywhere! Baby quokkas foraging for food. As they are protected and endangered species it is illegal touch a quokka, there is an on the spot fine. They are not shy of people though and come right up to you to check you out. After such excitement it was time to head back on the ferry. I was in such a great mood, the exercise, fresh air and adventure. On the boat my big smile when the barman asked me how my day was earnt me a hot chocolate on the house!! Very special memories of Rotto island...