A ROTTNEST RE-CAP

Our first visit to Rottnest Island, Western Australia - sun, sea and quokkas!

FINALLY! VISITING ROTTNEST

I'm a born and bred West Aussie and I'm a little bit embarrassed to admit that, up until last week, I'd never taken the ferry ride over to Rottnest Island to enjoy some time with the quokkas. I also hadn't realized that a lot of people don't know that Rottnest is a lovely place where there are no cars (except for a few utility vehicles) - instead you walk or hire a bicycle for your time there.

Rottnest has always been a family destination - it has a lot of great (if somewhat over-priced!)  accommodation and not much to do but swim, walk, ride a bike, surf, snorkel, eat, and chill out. Things have gone a bit more upmarket in the last few years with more shops and some classier places to stay, but it's still a very laid back and cruisy destination. We stayed at Longreach Bay in a two bedroom unit with a kitchen, sitting room, bathroom, and balcony with a view. It was a 2 minute walk to the beach - with all our linen etc supplied - and met our needs perfectly.

2 bedroom unit at Longreach Bay, Rottnest

GETTING THERE

We took the Rottnest Express ferry from Fremantle - much easier and more restful than swimming over (which a lot of die-hard enthusiasts do every year - despite the shark risk!) It was a pleasant 30 minute trip and I was very relieved not to get seasick on the way (although sick bags were on offer if needed!) They delivered our luggage to our accomodation, which left us free to collect our bicycles and grab some lunch in the mall.

Rottnest Express ferry from Fremantle to Rottnest

BIKES

A lot of people bring their own bikes with them, but it was a long way to haul ours from down in the country, onto the ferry and then onto the island. Instead we chose to hire a couple - a really cheap investment for the five days of our stay. The bikes were surprisingly plentiful in supply and really good quality - BUT the ones that were first choice for everyone turned out to be VERY hard on the bottom and I had a lot of trouble hoisting my leg over the centre brace.

Fortunately we decided to go back and see if there were any other styles and I swapped mine for one with more padding in the seat and no cross beam - SO much better on my tail feathers and easier to get on and off. Certainly worth going back and asking the very pleasant staff if I could do a swap.

Rottnest bike hire - great bikes and friendly staff

We also weren't given bike locks (an oversight apparently) and both bikes were stolen - one we got back fairly quickly (due to my husband's detective skills), the other went missing on the last night (from our cottage courtyard!) so we reported it and didn't need to get a replacement. The bike hire people were very understanding (apparently the bikes turn up eventually when the conscience-less people who steal them, leave them where they've finished with them.) Next time we'll make sure we get a lock!

QUOKKAS

Quokkas were everywhere (especially around dusk). Clusters of them under trees, in the little shopping mall, on the roadside, and crossing the roads - it was a quokka paradise - and of course I had to have a photo with one! We had one little fellow who came to visit our cottage and was happy to have his photo taken - getting a selfie was too much maneuvering for me so we just had a close-by pic instead. 


It's recommended that you don't feed them, but this one got lucky with a piece of apple, and they manage to scrounge plenty of scraps around the eating areas. They are certainly well fed and happy looking little souls!

FOOD 

A lot of people bring all their food with them, but we chose to pack a few essentials and buy the rest at the General Store - more expensive than the mainland but not ridiculously priced. Plenty of variety and all fresh and easily accessible. There was a great little "mall" with a fantastic bakery and other food outlets and a restaurant or two - something for everyone, so we ate out a lot and didn't really need to cook much at all - something we both appreciated.

AND FUN

As I mentioned in my post about our holiday to Singapore last year, Ross and I are chalk and cheese when it comes to what we consider a "fun" vacation to be. He needs to be off being active and I like to sit and chill out with a book. Rottnest was the best of both worlds - he took off on his bike with his surfboard slung over his shoulder, or his flippers and mask packed, and had plenty to do. I sat on the balcony with a book and enjoyed the view and the peace and quiet - then ventured out with him for a ride to the mall or a walk on the beach. Win/win for this Bear Grylls/Carol Brady couple!

     The Mall and it's really great Bakery and  Ross off on one of his adventures

TO WRAP UP

As a final word, I think the question I ask myself after a holiday (to work out how much we enjoyed ourselves) is "Would we go back?" Both of us agreed that we had a fantastic time - beautiful weather, relaxed pace of life, good food, comfortable accommodation, and plenty for both of us to enjoy - so it was a resounding "Yes" to returning and we're thinking that next year might be the perfect time to book another week away.

Our first visit to Rottnest Island, Western Australia - sun, sea and quokkas!

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31 comments

  1. I have been waiting for this post to see what Rottnest was like and how you both enjoyed it. Sounds like my sort of holiday too. I did not realize that there would be so many Quokkas around and tame as well.
    So glad that it worked out great for you.
    Kathleen

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    1. I think you'd like the quokkas Kathleen and yes, it was a wonderful time away - very relaxing and I wasn't really that keen on coming home :)

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  2. Hi, Leanne - Like Kathleen, I too was waiting for this post. A place without cars sounds soooo peaceful. I also love your picture with the Quokkas! So glad you enjoyed it!

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    1. Not quite the Camino Donna, but it was a lovely time away and really good to find something we both enjoyed.

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  3. This looks amazing. I've never been to Australia but have always hoped to go. And now Rottnest is on my bucket list. :)

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    1. You'll have to get over to Western Australia if you make it Down Under one day Lisa - don't just go to Sydney or you'll miss out on half the country :)

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  4. So glad you enjoyed Rotto! We went over on about the second day we arrived in Australia when we were at the stage of fitting everything in like tourists ;) but haven't been back in nearly 9 years - not because we don't want to, but because there's so much to do in SWA. You've reminded me how lovely it is. Love the comment about Bear Grylls and Carol Brady - er that would be me and Dave too ;)

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    1. I love the SouthWest too Jo but this was so relaxed and felt like we were really away from everything (but with wifi and drinkable water!) And Bear Grylls had plenty to occupy him - always a good thing!

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  5. Oh my I can't believe this is the first time you have been!

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    1. I know! I was a bit embarrassed about it until I started talking about going and came across lots of people who have never been there - you'd think all West Aussies would have it ticked off wouldn't you?

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  6. It looks beautiful Leanne and will be on our list when we eventually get to WA. Loved all the photos and those Quokkas are so cute. It is shame about your bikes getting stolen but at least you found one. You looked very relaxed and I bet it was hard to come home.

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    1. You're right about not wanting to come home Sue - it's always nice to get back to our routine and the cats, but I felt like I could have stayed there indefinitely and forgotten about the world and all our responsibilities!

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  7. I've heard so much about Rottnest Island, & the quokkas sure are cute. I can't believe people would steal bikes on a holiday! #TeamLovinLife

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    1. People have not conscience now days Jo - to actually let themselves in thru the little gate and wheel a bike out of our courtyard was unbelievable. It was a lesson in how low some people will go.

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  8. I am so glad this holiday worked so well for you both. It is funny when we realise we have not visited landmarks or places where we have always lived. Time for more of this I think! Merry Christmas to you and yours. Denyse x

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    1. Thanks for the Christmas wishes Denyse and they are returned with love - and you're right, there are often touristy places that we avoid because we're locals, but we're missing out because they don't become tourist attractions without good reason. We'll definitely be going back.

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  9. The quokkas are adorable. It's always fun to go somewhere where there isn't traffic to relax and chill out. Sounds like a fun trip.

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    1. It was an island holiday without the heat and humidity (and no cultural adjustments) Pretty easy way to spend a week Rebecca :)

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  10. You had me at cute quokkas! Although I've been to Perth on a couple of occasions I've never ventured over to Rottnest Island. I know it is a very popular tourist attraction so will definitely put in on the itinerary for next visit. Thanks for the great recap. #TeamLovinLife

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    1. I think you'd really like it Kathy - it's not touristy as such - just really laid back and everything within easy reach and fairly unspoilt (my ideal holiday location now!)

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  11. What a fabulous adventure, Leanne!!
    Do you know I didn't even know what a quokkas was until I read this???
    XOOX
    Jodie
    www.jtouchofstyle.com

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    1. It seems to have become a celebrity selfie "must do" this year so a lot of people have encountered quockas from famous instagrammers Jodie - at least now you're up to speed with it all x

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  12. The "would we go back?" Question is one we always ask too. This sounds like a great visit.

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    1. It's a good way to figure out how much you actually enjoyed a place isn't Emma - it can be nice but still a "never again" experience - when you know you'd go back then you know you're onto something really good.

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  13. Totally different post than I expected. I did not realize it was a real place.

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    1. Yes it is indeed Elise - and a lovely spot to have so close to home - I just wish we'd discovered it sooner!

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  14. My daughter has just been there and absolutely loved it Leanne! So glad to hear you enjoyed it too but it’s not good about your hire bike being stolen. I must add this to my list now as it sounds like a great place to visit.

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  15. What a wonderful holiday! Any place that requires a ferry to reach sounds like my kind of place! (And I would have passed on the swim over, as well, haha!) I'm so glad you had a great time (despite the bike thefts!).

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  16. The high speed express ferry takes 30 minutes to cross and yet some people still swim it for pride? That's crazy. Sounds like the perfect vacation. Sunny beaches, cuddly critters. Just what I like.

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    1. You can't always understand those people who are into fitness with a risk attached Jennifer - I don't even speak the same language. Give me the ferry any day!

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