Located just offshore of Perth, Rottnest island is a protected nature reserve, made up of white-sand beaches, vibrant reefs and clear water bays and coves. One of the things it is most famous for is its quokkas, adorable marsupials which are in the kangaroo family. In fact it was the quokkas that were my main motivation to go to Rottnest, but when I got there so much more appealed to me.
There are a couple of different ferry companies that run from Fremantle to the ferry port on Rottnest. We used the Rottnest Express; they offer a HUGE discount on Tuesdays, so we got a return ferry ticket and bike hire for just sixty dollars. Getting up at just gone five AM was hard, but leaving the house after a strong black coffee to spotless, blue skies and a high twenty-something degree sun, instantly woke me up.
The ferry takes approx. twenty five minutes, and if you keep your eye out you might be lucky enough to see some humpbacks splashing around in the waves (we saw one on our way back). I think it was about eight- nine AM when we got there, the time where I’d usually just be getting out of bed!
There are no cars on Rottnest, only a couple of buses that run like twice an hour, so we had the whole roads to ourselves. We cycled up and down hills and wove around different corners and bends, being surrounded by nothing but the bright green foliage which stood out extra fluorescently against the sand it grew through. The wide, open roads took us up to the top of hills and gave us unforgettable views overlooking the ocean and floury sand. Everything looked like something out of a film.
One of the first stops we found ourselves at was the Henrietta rocks. From the view point we looked down and the large rocks and ship wrecks poking out of the sea. The water was glistening so much in the sun it looked like it was filled with glitter. It was so clear that the rocks and reefs under the water stood out as if they weren’t under water at all. This would have been a great snorkelling spot, but unfortunately for us the sea freeze was so bitterly cold and strong that day, that we never found a point where we were brave enough to go in the sea.
Despite being such a tiny island, we still found that most of the day we were cycling around or lying on beaches with nobody else in sight. We had Little Salmon Bay, probably my favourite spot of the day, to ourselves for ages whilst we sat and ate our lunch and let the waves wash over our feet. The sand there had the same consistency of flour. But a bit further down on a different beach, the sand was grainier, with larger piece of shells smashed into tiny pieces.
If there was such a thing as mermaid paradise, it would definitely be on Rottnest. Looking down at the coves and eroded rocks having the sea breeze blow at us was amazing. It smelt proper fresh and salty and sent us into such a soul-cleansed, dreamy state that from then on I struggled to find the effort to ride my bike up hills and spent most of the time pushing it up them instead.
There’s nothing more liberating than cycling up and down hills, surrounded by nothing or no one, with no makeup on and nothing but a pair of shorts and a bikini top. Just riding around with no specific destination or plan, just seeing where we end up. Being there just makes you feel like time has stopped and everything else going on in the world really exists.
How am I only just talking about the quokkas?! They were even cuter than I thought they would be! We kept stumbling across them throughout the day- little families hanging out and making cute little crunching noises when they munched on their grass.
They’re fearless too. They literally come straight up to you and climb on you and lick your hand and let you stroke them. I was stroking ones head and it closed it’s eyes and leaned into me for more strokes sooooo cute! Some people try and feed them to get photos with them, but you really don’t need to do that. They will come right up to you and pose for photos without needing to be bribed with food. And our human food makes their little tummies hurt, so it’s unfair to do so.
At one point there was a mum and baby quokka snuggled up to each other having a cuddle and nap and it was probably one of the best things I’ve ever seen. Another quokka was sleeping with his head tucked into his tummy and his hands covering his face. I just love them so much.
We made it all the way to the West End ant the other side of the island! We came down quite a few hills and twists and turns on the journey back, but the ground became quite gravelly. Poor ol’ Jenny ended up coming off her bike after it skidded on some gravel, and got all cut up from head to toe. We ended up getting our bikes picked up and going back in an ambulance so that Jenny could get her cuts cleaned and wrapped up. Luckily in the end we got to laugh at the situation- we had been getting worn out on our bikes so it was quite nice to get a lift back!
It was nice to go back and watch a film after the long day. We all pretty much passed out from all that sea air and were asleep by ten-eleven.
If you’re in the Perth area, even for just a few days, I would 100% put this as the number one thing to do on your list. After being settled in the city for a few weeks, it was just perfect to suddenly be somewhere like Rottnest literally just down the road. It is one of the most beautiful places I have ever been.