Day Tripping: Rottnest Island, Western Australia

Last month we spent three weeks in Western Australia. One of my favourite things we did was visit the beautiful island of Rottnest, around 30 minutes ferry ride away from Perth. A peaceful place full of happy holiday makers, quokkas and breathtaking scenery.

Despite being on the other side of the world, there was something about Rottnest Island which reminded me of Herm in the Channel Islands. It's not just that it's a small pretty island devoid of cars, it's the feeling of the place, the coves and hills. I loved it.

As you'd expect, the main village is a busy place, with the island bakery, shops and (sadly) fast food option Subway bringing crowds of people and seagulls after a quick meal. It's also the first place you get to after disembarking the ferries so understandably busy. Once you getaway from there and explore the rest of the island, it becomes a wholly different place - peaceful and utterly breathtaking in parts.

The best way to get around Rottnest is by bike. You can hire them through the ferry companies or bring your own if you're local. Or, the way we did it, hire bikes once you arrive on the island. It was an easy process and you can even choose your own bike - really handy. It cost us around $16 for 4 hours and they come with a helmet. Stock up on water and off you go. There are lots of roads criss crossing the island and plenty of sign posts so you don't get lost. We loved cycling up and down hills and really enjoyed the coastal paths. It's a perfect way to see the island, we wouldn't have covered half of it on foot and the coach tours just seem a shame when the weather was so glorious.

Push on up the hills and get tot the top of the island to Oliver Hill - it's home to a WW2 gun and underground bunkers, the history is fascinating but the view is even better! You can see across the whole island and back across to the mainland too. If cycling isn't your thing, there's a little train which goes up there too. 

There are a couple of restaurants to choose from on the island plus some cafes. We didn't eat at the restaurants or hotel so I can't comment on the food but my advice, if you don't have time or money is tight, visit the Rottnest bakery and pick up a sandwich or a giant vegemite scroll (its not marmite but it'll do). Dave also had a huge lamington which he thoroughly enjoyed.

One unique (and extremely cute thing) about Rottnest is the Quokka. It's a small animal which looks a bit like a giant rat. They are known as the happiest animal and I'm sure you'll recognise them from various memes. Living as they do on a small island with little in the way of predators and plenty of tourists feeding them treats, they are quite tame and don't mind being stroked and photographed. Apparently the done thing is to get a selfie with a quokka. Easy enough as long as you don't mind looking a bit gormless either bent over or laying down on the floor!

We loved Rottnest and if I can afford to, I'd love to return before we head home but next time, stay the night. Accommodation varies from hotel to camping and even a hostel. My vote? An apartment over looking that gorgeous beach...

Have you been to Rottnest? I'd love to hear your favourite stories! 

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