Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Perth Day 8

I had spent quite a lot of time researching a visit to Rottnest Island. I did not want to spend more than we had to. I principally wanted to see quokkas and once I heard about a coach tour around the island, well that sounded good too. The tour company we used for our Margaret River trip offered a tour to Rottnest Island, but I thought it was expensive. However, by the time I added up the cost of the ferry there and back, or a train to Fremantle and the ferry from there, the government entrance fee to the island, the tour around the island in a coach, I was getting close to the figure for the tour and the tour included lunch. Coordinating the trip on my own would be difficult and the 8.30 ferry seemed to be the only one for the day from Perth city itself, otherwise, make the trip to Fremantle where there were more services.

We were picked up by a minibus at the Hilton Hotel in Mill Street at 7.30, driven around, including down Mounts Bay Road and back again, only to end up at the ferry wharf at Barrack Street Wharf around ten past eight. We could have just walked there from our digs and left home later. The ferry windows were spotlessly clean but just as we were about to depart, a front of showers arrived.

Past Swan Brewery and Kings Park.

New York from the Hudson or Perth from the Swan?

We walked across this bridge with Grace and P.

I just liked the palm trees.

Poverty abounds in Perth, not. This I think is the suburb of Mosman Park, where Rose Porteous lived in her house, Prix D'Amour.

The water tower dominated the scene.

As you can see, I was lazy and took some photos through the windows.

A lovely old hotel, with plenty of history, which of course I have forgotten.

We stopped at North Fremantle to pick up and drop off.

It was a windy day and I felt sorry who decided they should see the island by bicycle.

To say the crossing was rough is an understatement. The bow rose on a wave and then thumped down into a trough but the ferry also rocked from side to side. Staff appeared with sick bags, but they weren't required. Some stupid parents moved their children around on the boat as the ferry lurched, twisted and turned. It is a wonder no children were injured.

As we arrived, the skies cleared.

There were three different markers painted on the pavement to follow. We followed the one that looked like a coach, as we had been told.

We had been allocated the afternoon tour but while on the ferry, we were told we would be the only two and so would we like to join the morning tour. We would and did.

Much of Rottnest Island is surrounded by reefs, making the seas calm within the protection of the reefs.

This osprey nest is a fine construction, withstanding the extreme winds. While maybe it has to be repaired at times, it is used by subsequent generations of osprey.

Right on cue, Mr or Mrs Osprey appears.

The tour guide lass commentated that this wind turbine generated 30% of the island's power, with the rest provided by diesel generators. She then said any excess generated by the wind turbine is returned to the Western Australian power grid, presumably by osmosis.

I like most people, thought trees grew on an angle because of the wind. No, take the species to a place with no wind and they will still grow on an angle. I became cynical about tour commentaries in New York, so don't trust that information either.

What is that cute thing on the back of our bus?

The original light house was atop the small building. It was inadequate and this new lighthouse was built.

I am rather pleased with this photo.

The lighthouse keeper's cottage.

Look, our first sighting of a quokka, in its natural environment.

 A nice little bay.

By golly, the seas were rough. I could have stayed and watched them for a long time, if it wasn't so horribly windy.

I took many photos of waves blasting through this rock opening and so did many others.

Accommodation on the leeward side of the island.

The lunch was at the very pleasant Rottnest Lodge and the meal was large and absolutely delicious.

Here we go. R had seen quokkas on the island about a decade ago. No doubt due to the campaign against feeding them, their numbers around the tourist spots are much reduced compared to when R last visited, but still, there are a few to see.

A Dutch explorer thought they looked looked rats from a distance, hence Rottnest. They are very cute, with soft fur and quite unafraid of humans. They have no predators on the island bar occasional stupid humans. Don't look up Quokka Soccer.

They are of course marsupials, carrying their young in a pouch. Their eyesight is poor but sense of smell is good and the quokka quickly learnt that there was nothing to its taste in our backpacks. Apparently spearmint gum is unappealing to them.

A peacock roamed.

The quokka is eating the leaf? of a Norfolk Island Pine.

While they generally move slowly, you can be taken unawares by them being in another place almost undetected. Clearly they were a problem for this supermarket.

Naturally the Catholic church is on a high point in the main settlement area of Thompsons Bay.

It was school holidays in Western Australia, so a children's movie was showing at the local picture theatre.

The Anglican church was a much more modest affair.

The history of Rottnest Island is long, from being a penal colony,  an imprisonment island for Aborigines, a internment camp during WWI, crucial to the defence of the Port of Fremantle during WWII and an island for punishment and reform of naughty lads, mostly Aborigines. For most of the 20th century it was used for recreation too and it is still marketed as such today.

Our ferry has arrived to return us to the mainland. The other ferry may the one that runs to and from Hillarys Boat Harbour.

Some Asian tourists found these pelicans of great interest.

The group had left when we went out onto the jetty, but another Asian lad who was walking out asked if they were safe and said that they were so big and he was a bit scared. We didn't tell him how pelicans can massacre humans, and for the sake of our tourism industry, assured him he would be fine.


The next day I asked Grace's P about these birds and I expect my description was poor but he said they are robins. I suspect they may be female scarlet robins.

The seas were a bit calmer for our uneventful return journey. Instead of taking a hotel tour of Perth with the coach drop offs, we walked home from the Barrack Street Ferry Terminal. After a large lunch, we just ordered in pizza for the evening. Tomorrow we head for home, but not early so there will be another day, albeit a brief post.


  1. Andrew my favourite photo is a peacock. It is my dream to touch it.

    1. Gosia, funny, I've never wanted to touch one, just look at it.

  2. What a wondrous place. Sounds like you had a great time. Lots of things you mentioned I did not know.

    1. Sandra, learnt rather a lot myself during our visit.

  3. Love that the supermarket put the no quokka sign where they could read it.
    I really liked Rottnest. And swam in at least one of those bays.
    I agree with you about the photo you are pleased with too - stunning.

    1. EC, well, it is would no use putting it up where they couldn't read it. It would be nice to stay there a day or two, but as Perthites say, it is cheaper to fly to Bali.

  4. Found that a fascinating post. Never heard of Rottnest or quotas so my education for the day is complete. I am having a break from blogging for a few days as I am off to New York tomorrow and then a tour of East USA. Not a fan of sightseeing tours but it was the easiest way of seeing all the places I wanted to visit. Your comments about the rubbish some tour guides spout is bang on but then as I only remember what they say for a nano second it doesn't matter too much.

    1. Yes Marie, I saw a mention of NY elsewhere. I was always against tours when I was young but if you want to see the salient places, then let someone else do the hard yards with the organising. There is always some point from a tour commentary I focus on and remember. Are you going north from NYC or south?

  5. Was wondering what the Island looked like. Looks inviting.
    Your photos are good and I like the sea crashing onto the rocks.

    1. Margaret, it is a place where I would to see more of. I would need to brush up on cycling skills as no cars on the island. Both our states have places to see spectacular seas.

  6. Oh man that trip out to the island must have been horrible, I remember the last time we went it was the same and I DID need the sickbag :) The quokkas are so cute I can't believe how cruel some people can be, usually under the influence of drink!I have heard it's more reasonable to go to Bali for a week than Rottnest :)

    1. I quite enjoyed the rough seas. A heavy swell might be worse. It was you who said Bali is cheaper.

  7. Some familiar places and memories there for me, thanks. We didn't lunch at the hotel, my brother and me, we bought a subway sandwich and walked along the beach eating, then I stopped in at the supermarket for chocolate and fizzy water.
    I'm pretty sure the trees grow at that angle because of the prevailing winds. Did you see the settler's cemetery?
    I remember seeing the accommodation around that bay and wishing i could live there. I was disappointed to hear the cabins are booked out many summers in advance with the same families going back there year after year, you have to get in super early to book one and most of the people rebook as they are leaving.

    1. The Subway there seems odd, but useful for many. We didn't see the cemetery. It was a brief overall view of island. Interesting about the accommodation booking lead time. I can understand that.

  8. Thanks for the great tour of Rottnest. I wouldn't like the rough crossing.

    1. Diane, thoughts of Gilligans Island perhaps.