Jeff and I began the day with our sights set on a flight north to Exmouth, WA. By the end of breakfast, we had changed our minds. Perth was beautiful and Rottnest Island was calling. If we were going to fly out of Exmouth to the center of Australia, destination #2, then this would be our last day in southwest Australia. We had heard about Rottnest from a few Aussies we met on the train ride from Sydney, and the locals in Perth highly recommended we check out this vacation destination.
Knowing we might stay overnight on the island, we packed accordingly and stored the bulk of our belongings at the Britannia YHA for safe keeping. It was an easy walk down the hill to the Barrack Street Jetty where we boarded Oceanic Cruises for the 25 minute ride out from the mainland. Dolphins led the way.
When we reached Rottnest Island, I made a connection that made my knees go weak. I realized that I knew about this spot months before we left the 'States. I had seen a movie titled Under the Lighthouse Dancing co-starring Naomi Watts, a true love story, and the scenery was breathtaking. I made a note to one day, someday see it. Once I realized where we were, I knew we would spend at least two nights. A second pleasant discovery was the absence of cars. Rottnest is a tourist destination, and the rules allow for only service vehicles with the rare exception for a private one. Several buses run continuously to get us where we needed to go. Jeff and I snorkeled, walked the beaches, saw quokkas, and enjoyed the day. Quokkas are "rat-like" kangaroo-like marsupials, carrying their young in a pouch. The name Rottnest comes from an early explorer mistaking the area as a "rat's nest," but quokkas are definitely not rats.
This is the famous island quokka. They're cute, friendly, and DO NOT FEED THEM! as the signs post.
The photo below shows quokka tracks on the beach.
Another beach picture....
Seen in Under the Lighthouse Dancing is the historic church (below), and the photo below that is of one of several lighthouses giving the movie its name.
Aussies love this island for day-tripping or week long stays. The nights are quiet, the air is cool, and its history parallels one of our own unique islands in the USA, the island of Alcatraz. More about that in the next blog...