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Published: November 7th 2006
During the 2 weeks easter break, we planned a trip to Rottnest Island. Had been hearing alot about it, most people said it's a one-day trip, but this time, our 'boss' William Lim planned a 3d2n stay. I remember feeling so excited and anxious at the same time weeks before the actual departure.
Rottnest Island is directly off the Perth coast. It provides all that is required for a relaxing get-away. Coral reefs make for fantastic diving and snorkelling; hidden bays and deserted cycle paths wait to be explored. The small marsupial quokka - similar to a small Kangaroo - only exists on this island, and in some parts they have become very tame.
Day 1: 15th April 2004
Had an early breakfast and took a bus from Bentley's Curtin bus stop to Fremantle. Along the way, everyone seemed to be chatting happily and thank god it was a really fine day. Upon reaching Fremantle market, we encountered a funny moment. There was this guy infront of me that took my bag down when he went down the bus. At first I thought he tried to steal my thing, but later on I found out that he mistaken my
bag for his friend's bag. He was being nice - helping his friend to carry his stuff. Anson and the rest thought that I was getting down at the market, hahaha... scared the s*** out of me for a minute! hahaha... At Fremantle port, we took the boat to Rottnest Island - the journey was about an hour. Actually could be done in 25 minutes, but it stopped some where else during the journey.
We arrived at Thomson Bay around 11.30am. Everything was pre-booked. We would be spending the night at Kingston Barrack, slightly further from the jetty drop off, but it was a backpacker's accommodation. Built for WW2 for the armies officers, this former army barracks features 17 dormitory rooms, which is ideal for school and other groups. We got a 10-person room as there were 9 of us, and the girls grabbed the lower bunks (there were 5 double deckers).
There is a good network of sealed roads on Rottnest Island and the only way to get around, besides the bus tours that go around the island, is by bicycle. This is how Rottnest has maintained its charm. It would take a full day to comfortably
explore the whole island by pushbike. Just jump on and choose a direction to ride in. Whichever road you take, you will come across some of the most beautiful coastal scenery in the world. And since bicycles are the most popular wat to get around Rottnest Island, you can hire bikes here (Rottnest Bike Hire), located behind the Rottnest Hotel. Bike hire includes a free helmet and lock. If you can't cycle, try hiring the tandem (a 2 person bike) but it's not easy to cycle! The person in front and at the back must cycle together.
After checking in and settling our accommodation, we started the first day by covering half of the island. We took the left turn after leaving Kingston Barrack, cycling on the Southern side of the island: passing by Porpoise Bay, Little Salmon Bay, and Nancy Cove. It took us one afternoon for this trip as we covered 10.3km. On the way back, we went up to Oliver Hill lookout which is located center of the island. I'll never forget this journey up the hill, because it was one of the 'best' exercises I've had in a long long time! My legs felt like
being pulled apart :P And it was a neverending climb...ok i exaggerated - but it sure felt like that then! On the hill, it was a nice lookout seeing the whole island, and there's a 9.2 inch diameter gun and tunnel, where the army worked during WWII. We missed the guided tour: they will take you to the underground tunnel nearly 30ft down and come up another way back to the lookout area. Instead, we stayed for a while taking some group photos. On the way back to Kingston Barrack, we passed by the Serpentine Lake and swampy areas, another route in the middle of Rottnest. After a dinner of spaghetti, we retired to be early. At midnight (exactly 12am, William dragged everyone out of bed. We were so reluctant to leave our comfy bunk, but gave in at last minute. He promised us a surprise - yeah, and I was waiting =) He brought us to the back of the barrack, passing some houses, along a trail which started off with tar but ended with sand as we walked further. Knee-length grasses grazed the side of the trail and we were without torchlights because William forbad that - this
led us to the beach! An exciting discovery for me, upon hearing the waves splashing and the seeing the full moon hanging above our heads. We walked along the shore, then climbed a small hill, crossed a field and reached our barrack through another route. Interesting!
Day 2: 16th April 2004
After breakfast, we started off by heading to The Basin. Located on the northern part of the island, the Basin is beautiful: a reef-protected bay a few minutes ride from Thompson Bay and is gorgeous and great for children. We spent an hour there before proceeding to the North Point passing Longreach Bay and Little Parakeet Bay. I personally felt that today's journey was a lot tougher compared to yesterday's. It could be due to the longer distance. Or perhaps I was just too worked out, had a pain arse! And the journeys going uphill and downhill weren't easy at all when you were tired! The guys were great too, they made sure none of us girls were left behind, always stopping and waiting for us to catch up XD. Slightly after passing Crayfish Rock, we reached the intersection (with the Southern path which we took yesterday). There
we made our way to the West End, the furtherst point of the island. We stopped by at Radar Reef, Cathedral Rocks and finally Cape Vlamingh (the end). At Cape Vlamingh, we took a rest while waiting for the sunset. It was a beautiful place - famous for whales and dolphins watching. We didnt see any though 😊 But I was ok with that. Guess I was too exhausted to be upset with not sighting any whales! We waited for about 1 hour. The sea breeze was warm yet cooling at the same time, thus made everyone so lazy to get up to cycle back after the sun was gone from our view. But we must get going, because the sky was darkening and it would be tough on the journey back. We were at the west end of the island, and need to cycle back to the other end. I remembered the journey was touch, as our bikes didnt have any light, so the 7 of us relied on 3 torches: one in front, one in the middle and the last one at the back. This lighted everyone's path. It seemed a neverending journey to me, I couldnt wait
to be back at our barrack. Hmm... Along the way back, we came across more quokkas and kangaroos, snakes too! It was party time for them after dark! hehe X) It was a relief for every one when we sighted the familiar Thomson Bay with it's pale lightings from far. We got back to Kingston Barrack around 8.45pm. After calculation, we cycled around 25km just for the second day alone! That was good exercise for me!
Day 3: 17th April 2004
The last day was quite s-l-o-w because we were just waiting to pack and get ready to go back to Perth. Everything was smooth, after checking out, we took a bus to Thomson Bay, before returning to get our bikes later because it was impossible to cycle with our luggages. While waiting for the boat, we had the time to snap more photos and walked around the jetty. Felt a little upset to leave this beautiful place.
One good thing bout Rottnest I wish to highlight: They have toilets and drinking fountain along the way when you cycled around the island. That deserve some applause!
I really had a wonderful time during this Rottnest Island trip
- one of the best I had during my stay in Perth. The arrangement was good, the company was excellent and the fun was great!
A well-deserved Easter break! 😉
* Credit to William, the photographer in our group. Most of the photos were taken by him.
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