Rottnest Island is a paradise in the middle of Western Australia, you cannot miss it when in Perth. And the best way to know it is to ride your bike along the 24 km of asphalted roads, besides the sandy inner roads to get to the hidden beaches. For the not so sporty ones, there a bus line all day, after all, cars are not allowed in the island.
Most of the way is plain, with a few slopes. The roads are often empty; however, bikers should stay on the left – just like the cars. In the beginning we were warned by other fellow bikers. It is hard, we tend to ride on the right lane, when we realized we were in the middle of the road and got scared sometimes when the bus came in our direction. The video shows parts of our ride.
The Dutch discovered the island in 1696 and named it after the great amount of giant rats that lived here. In fact, the rats are from the marsupial family – the Quokkas, similar to the kangaroos. They are used to having visitors and always want food, we offered tree leaves and we could even pet them. In the 19th century it was a prison for the aborigines and only in the 20th century it became a protected reserve, turning into a place leisure and tourism for the Australian people.
There are 63 beaches, 20 bays and a lighthouse with a view of the island and the continent beaches; it is the highest spot in Rottnest. There are beaches for snorkeling, surfing (the best waves of WA), fishing or just hanging around on the white sand and emerald-green sea. There is also a golf club, plane tour, movies, aborigine museum, wind turbine, a tour on 2nd World War underground tunnels, activities for children on the weekends and a harbor with restaurants and coffee houses.
Transportation: Daily ferry boats from Perth or Fremantle at 7:30 / 9:45 am or 15:15pm and returning at 2 or 6 pm. There are one-day tours including a tour guide, walks and meals. To know it well, the best thing is to catch the first ferry and spend the night. It takes 30 minutes and costs A$ 54. Rottnest Express is the only company. Take the map right away and rent a bike with them, to avoid standing in line, it costs A$ 20. The train to Fremantle leaves central station in Perth every hour. I took it. My tip is: do not sit on the first seat on the left, in the open part of the boat. All the other seats were taken but this one, it looked like the perfect spot so I rushed to get it – the only one where you can get soaking wet! The wave would hit the ferry and come right onto me! Thank God the weather is dry and my clothes dried fast. People laughed at me and asked if I had a spare change of clothes.
Leaving Perth, catch the ferry at Rottnest Fast Ferries. It costs A$ 60, takes an hour and a half and leaves every 30 minutes, between 8am and 6pm.
Take Note 2
I did this on a weekday; they say that on holidays or vacation time it is crowded with young people and families. You can stay in a youth hostel, a fancy hotel or rent a house.
Restaurants: DOME has several types of coffee and quick snacks.
Pack some water bottles, it costs more here.
You can also rent snorkel.
Between Nov and Apr, there is surf school.
Between Aug and Nov, you can spot whales.
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Translated by Lúcia Maciel