Published: October 2nd 2011September 12th 2011
So it was time to head to Western Australia after our quick week in Wollongong. We got dropped off at a hotel near the airport in Sydney for the night by Brett's dad on another one of his airport runs before he leaves back to Vancouver on Monday. We were sorry to see him go, but think he was happy to get back to Brett's Mom and relax a bit after all these airport shuttle runs for everyone, and we were pretty excited to be heading to Western Australia, even if we had to work. But we weren't complaining at all – especially when we stepped off the plane, into the beautiful weather, picked up our Hyundai Getz (Brett barely fits in and with our bags there is even less room, but seems to be the car we somehow always get, and really it's the perfect car for a construction site! haha) and then seeing the view when we checked in to the apartment that was going to be our home for the next 3 weeks – this was going to be pretty tough!
Actually turns out it was a pretty busy couple weeks, with the both of us only managing
1 full day off in 3 weeks, but we took advantage of that day, and luckily the weather was sunny and 26 degrees. We had wanted to head over to Rottnest Island the last time we were in WA but ran out of time, and the weather wasn't great, so we definitely lucked out this time.
Rottnest (or as the locals say 'Rotto', which follows the Aussie slang of add an 'o' or an 'a' to the end and she'll be right), is a small island located 18 km off the coast near Fremantle. The island is 11 kilometres long, and 4.5 kilometres at its widest point and there are no cars on the island and you get around either on the shuttle bus, or rent a bike and ride around.
We decided to ride the bus as we have heard a few stories about it being quite the trek around the island and since we only had a day, figured why not save our butts the soreness! For almost a century the Island served as a prison for Aboriginal peop when the main prison in Fremantle got too full, and because Rottnest was was separated from the
mainland it would make escapes more difficult. The prisoners built many of the buildings and structures and roads on the island. The prison was closed in 1931.
There are a few places to stay on the island ranging from higher end to budget dorms (no private ownership of land is allowed), about 5 or 6 places to eat (wierdest thing was seeing a Subway and Red Rooster over there, not sure why they allowed that?!), a pub (of course) and a little grocery store, an old lighthouse, and remnants of the old gaol (jail for us Canadians), and not much else except unbelievable beaches and coves around every corner. Well, that and the little quokka. We were lucky to see quite a few quokka's as I had read they only really come out at dusk and dawn, but we saw one right when we got off the bus at our first beach, then again another couple chilling at the pub trying to get a few sips of beer. It was a hot day though, so understandable I guess! The island was actually named after these little marsupials, when the Dutch explorer who found the island in1696 gave it the
name "Rattenest" (which means "rat's nest" in the Dutch language) as he thought the quokka was a large rat. Little did he know they hopped liked a kangaroo!
We were wishing we had a bit more time to spend here, and a couple days would have been great, to relax but also see a few more of the sights. As it was, all we had time for was chilling on the beach for a few hours, dipping our toes in the water which was supposedly 19 but bit chilly for us, and a late lunch and time to catch the ferry back.
We are staying about 40 minutes south of Perth, in an area called Rockingham. They say Rockingham is a bit of a rougher area, but they are trying to revamp it and we didn't find it to bad at all, and the beaches were beautiful, our apartment was great and lots of little cafes and shops on the main strip below us. The skatepark was about 20 minutes south of us, and then Fremantle which is a really cool area with lots to see, and do and eat is 25 minutes north (and our nearest Bikram
yoga) so you can see why we picked Rockingham - right in the middle.
There are more photos below