Our current camp site in Perth is based on the 11 hectares in the beautiful rural setting of Carmel, owned by Jamie, Julz cousin. Jamie came home yesterday morning from his work (FIFO), Woodside, which is based in Karratha, 1500 kms north of Perth, with his new partner, Leonie. We had some good quality time chatting and just chilling out. Jamie cooked us up a fabulous pasta dish and we planned out our next day adventure to Rottnest Island (Rotto), Wadjemup (Aboriginal name) about 18kms off the coast from Fremantle (Freo).
So the next day, up bright and early, we drive to Freo to meet the Rottnest Ferry at 10am. The six of us, Ron, Bet, Jamie, Leonie, Julz and I, set off on a fairly cloud covered day towards Rotto. No rain, still a bit brisk, sun shines through on our boat trip – yay!
Leonie proceeds to inform us that the name of the island, Rotte Nest, (Rat’s nest) was given to it by the Dutch in 1693, as they thought the rare marsupials on the island, now known as ‘quokka’s’, were actually large rats.
More like mini wallabies. Very friendly, as are the local seagulls and crows.
The island is now a popular holiday destination for local Perthians and school leavers, however, it has quite a darker past, as we uncovered once we entered the small museum.
Back in the early 1800’s they (the colonial Brits) had set up a prison for local Indigenous males. From what we now know, it was a place that incarcerated many of the leaders and elders of the local tribes. The museum featured a detailed background of the prison and the ongoing problem still faced today across Australia. I have some pics from museum below. Madjemup had first nation people here some 70,000 years ago.
Rotto island now has a small population of 100 people now and is about 11 kms long, 3kms wide (see pic at top). Most visitors bicycle around the islands, cars are not permitted, however, they do have a bus that does a loop for “excursionists” to hop on and off at stops all around the coastline. We did that option.
The beaches and cliffs are, as one would imagine, varied and spectacular. Facing the open Indian Ocean, harsh winds batter the coastline regularly. We passed the popular surf beach, Strickland Beach, or as the locals call it, STRICKO!. 😜I have a small chuckle with our Aussie custom to shorten all our names with an “o”. (freo, rotto, etc)
We stop and get off at the West End of the island and take in the views of the coastline. Stunning. We see sea lions and fur seals on a rock, however, too far out on coast to get a good pic.
We finally return back to wait for our ferry to carry us back to Freo. Late lunch at the local “Dome Restaurant” (a Perth owned reasonable quality and multi locational food outlet) and drive back to Carmel in the Perth Hills.
This has been our longest stay on our adventure (7 days as of tomorrow) a and we prepare for our northern trip up south of Geraldton.
Tonight Jamie is planning another home cooked dinner, so we are off to the movies today (thanks Anaya for Julz/Mum’s gift voucher) and continue to “chill”.