Day 219 (30.10.07)
We got up early and collected up all of our camping gear for our short trip to Rottnest Island, a few km off the coast of Fremantle. Luckily we were able to leave our big packs at the hostel and got to the docks in time to catch the 9.30 ferry. Half an hour later we had arrived at Rottnest Island and were glad to have some warmer weather. It had been sunny but chilly for the last few days but the chill had definitely dropped today.
We weren't able to check in for a couple of hours so we took our stuff to the luggage drop-off at the campsite and headed for a little beach time. Rottnest is about 11km by 4km but has over 60 beaches and we were to discover that they were all absolutely stunning (well all the ones we saw anyway!). We arrived at The Basin to white sands, clear turquoise sea, reef shelfs and not many people - lovely. The sea looked so inviting that we decided to go for a dip. It nearly stopped at the toe - the water was bloody freezing! We braved a 5 minute swim
Preparing the tent
Where are the pegs?
and then left the water to warm up on the sand.
After heading back to the visitors centre to check in we pitched our home for the night, thankful that it was similar in design to our own tent back home and therefore not a krypton factor style challenge to erect! During this time we also caught our first glimpses of the island's resident marsupials, the quokkas, kind of stumpy kangaroos and pretty cute!
Tent ready we set off to explore a little of the northern part of the island. Rottnest is a no car zone and is set up perfectly for cycling and walking. The bike hire cost was a little too much for our pockets but we were happy to set off on foot. We followed the coast path and visited several gorgeous beaches taking in the beautiful views all around us. We made our way back across the island following the path alongside the inland lakes, again very pretty. A great afternoon and a beautiful island - we were so glad we'd made the trip over.
Back at the campsite we made use of one of the gas barbecues situated in the campsite -
apparently most campsites/beaches etc in Oz have barbies ready for use so you don't have to bring your own or get charcoal and all that malarkey. We did the true ozzie thing and threw a few snags on (that's sausages to us and yes, they do say things like that over here!) for some sausage butties. Excellent stuff!
After dinner we wandered back round towards the Basin to watch the sunset over the island and finish a truly great day.
Day 220 (31.10.07)
Today started pretty early, around 1.30am actually. We were woken to rustling sounds and a quokka trying to find its way into the tent to the leftover sausage sarnies we'd prepared for our lunch - cheeky bugger! Once we'd scared it off we also realised that our butts were on the ground and our lilo had almost completely deflated so with a few hours to go until morning we blew it up again and went back to sleep.
The morning restarted a few hours later as we packed up our tent and bags and left them at the luggage drop off. If you get your stuff there on time they collect it and
make sure it gets to your ferry to save you carrying it. We'd missed the drop time (doing our usual snooze routine!) but would come back and collect our stuff later.
Today we wanted to explore the coast on the Southern side of the island so set off along the sands of yet another gorgeous beach - tough life this! We wandered along the path which took us inland and along the coast where we visited several near deserted beaches, saw a pelican at close range and had our leftover barbie food for a picnic lunch.
With our ferry time drawing near we headed back to the campsite to collect our bags to find that they had gone. We hoped that meant they'd been picked up by the ferry company and not nicked but we'd have to wait a while to find out! Now with a little time to spare we went back to the Basin for another refreshing dip lasting approximately 3 and a half minutes and some time with our books in the sunshine.
At 4.30pm after a fantastic stay on Rottnest Island (or Rotto as it's locally known) we boarded our ferry with no
sign of our things and the hope that we'd meet our belongings again when we arrived in Fremantle. Thankfully the systems worked extremely well and we were soon on our way to Ozzie's, tent in hand.
Having handed the tent back we had a bit of food shopping to do, cooked up some tea and then tried to work out how we would get to our next destination. Getting around in Australia without a car takes a little more planning than we're used to as the bus services, although good, are far less frequent than in Asia and much harder to find out about.
With some basic plans in mind we went to bed.
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