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  • Writer's pictureAlison Fenton

Rottnest Island

Updated: May 25, 2020

22 May 2018

Our first outing in Perth was to Rottnest Island where we joined many other tourists seeing the sites and enjoying the quokkas. Cars are not permitted on the island and buses, bikes and feet are the only modes of transport to get around.

Tip #1: Keen cyclists like us should take their own bikes over by ferry and avoid the heavy, well-used hire cycles. The hills around the island can make some of the riding tiring.

We got up early to catch the early ferry and have as much time as possible on the island. We made the most of Tuesday return ticket discounts, but it would be a lovely place to stay for a few days.

Tip #2: There are two ferry services, Rottnest Express and Sealink. Travellers should check out both companies. Their standard prices are similar, but both have their specials. Also be aware that it is much cheaper to cross from Fremantle than Perth.

It looked like a good day for a crossing, but it was surprisingly choppy. Staff walked around the ferry carrying sick bags and I was happy that we didn't have to use any.

Tip #3: If you are the type of person who gets motion sickness, take some medication before your crossing, even if you think it is going to be calm.

We didn't get too far on the bikes before we came across our first quokkas. It turned out they were everywhere. They had an inquisitive nature and it was easy to get a good selfie with them.

Both of my children discovered that quokkas bite. They were nibbled more than bitten and no harm was done, but quokkas are prone to tick infestation and carry salmonella bacteria on their coats. You really shouldn't pat them, but most people probably do.

Tip #4: Bring some hand sanitiser with you.

We exhausted the children by peddling around the perimeter of the island, plus the side trips. Chase clocked up a new personal best distance of 32km, which is a fair distance on a mountain bike!

Those covering the island at a more leisurely pace, can jump onto a free guided walk. Meeting places are at various points around the island. We had a fair amount of ground to cover in a limited time, so decided not to join the walks, but we did talk to a couple of the volunteers and they were friendly and interesting.

The boys were delighted when we agreed to tour the Wadjemup Lighthouse. Chase had been pestering us to tour a lighthouse almost since the beginning of our holiday. We hauled our bikes up the very steep road but some people left their bikes at the bottom and walked up instead. The tour was an enjoyable experience and good value as far as that sort of thing goes. The guide was excellent and the view over the island was impressive.

Tip #5: The lighthouse tour is worth doing. It was also cheaper than other lighthouses we'd come across on the trip.

We visited some old accommodation near the Bathurst Lighthouse that Drew's mum used to stay in when she lived in Western Australia. It was good to see that some of the historical accommodation still remains on the island. Perhaps we will stay there one day as well.

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