Monday, September 27, 2010

Rottnest Island

Monday 27 September was a public holiday in Western Australia. so rather than try to go shopping in Perth, we organised a day trip to Rottnest Island. The ferry took about an hour to get to Fremantle due to speed restrictions on the river, then only another twenty minutes or so to get to the island.

Perth CBD from the ferry

Rottnest Island
First up when we got there, we took a coach tour clockwise around the island. Leaving the harbour on the eastern side, the driver gave us a fascinating commentary about the history of the island, and stopped at a few scenic places for photographs. The first stop where we got out to have a look was Parker Point. Notice the coral reef—apparently the Leeuwin current arriving here at the island is warm enough for tropical coral to grow!

A friendly quokka checks out the tourists

Sorry about the quality of some of the photos that follow, they were taken through the tinted coach windows.

Passing some more scenic coral beaches and a lighthouse, we came to the south-west point of the island. The strong currents colliding here are reputed to cause trouble with shipping (and there are certainly plenty of shipwrecks).

Then around back to the harbour via the northern coastline. Along the way the driver pointed out a few osprey nests.

Then it was time for lunch. We decided to walk down to Garden Lake, a salt lake near the main township. Apparently there was a friendly quokka family there. Sure enough, not long after sitting down to eat, a handful came to investigate. Very curious creatures, but easily startled. A small marsupial related to kangaroos and wallabies, the Dutch explorer William de Vlamingh named the island after them because he thought they were a kind of giant rat.

After lunch we went for a couple of short walks, including out to another lighthouse north of the harbour.

These Melaleuca (tea trees) native to the island are called "broccoli trees".

Finally it was time to catch the ferry back to Perth.

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