Date: 27th April 2023
Travelled: 0 kms, Fremantle in Western Australia
Visited: Rottnest Island
Stayed: Fremantle Village CP, $43, S32.08027, E115.76081
Budget: days @ $ per day
No visit to Fremantle would be complete without exploring Rottnest Island, at least that’s what our guide book tells us. The problem has been the weather, a little bit of drizzle a couple of times a day isn’t a problem in and around Fremantle, but Rottnest is a 19 km ferry ride away.
The forecast for today is a little better (not much) and Pam’s game, having gotten her sea legs on the North Atlantic crossing to Iceland last year. We set off to Fremantle on our bikes in good time to catch the 9.45 ferry.
Rottnest Island is a lot more expensive than the Manly Ferry, our day tickets including passage for our bikes is $180. The island was named after the quokkas in 1696, Rottnest translating from rats nest, sounds inviting.
As soon as where on board the Captain tells us the wind is up and the crossing will not be smooth. We sit in silence for the 25 minute crossing. Safely off the ferry we wait until our bikes are unloaded then set off exploring.
There are no personal cars allowed on the island, just a couple of local buses and the Ranger’s 4WD. The roads are narrow but other than the buses we see no traffic. The tourist map shows three different cycle routes we take the longest.
I won’t church it up, the 25 kms we ride on the island was hard work as much as it was scenic. Whist the hills were not particularly steep they are numerous, this and the strength of the wind on the day made it a struggle at times.
Pam catches sight of a Quokka on the road side.
Making the highest point on the Rottnest we find the politically correctly named Wadjemup Lighthouse which for the first 150 years was Rottnest Lighthouse. It’s a beautiful structure and unusual in its design. Access is via an iron spiral staircase running up its centre rather than stone or concrete steps circling up the inner walls.
The local volunteer lighthouse guides were very interesting to chat with.
There is no escaping history and Rottnest was used as a prison and forced labour camp for some 3,600 Aboriginal people back in the mid 19th century. They were treated brutally by the authorities and the death rate was terrible.
Rottnest has a series of salt lakes in the northeast. Looking across from the lighthouse the lake pictured below had a distinct pink hew, but from water level it just looked like water.
Another interesting find as we return to Thomson Bay is the cemetery. It’s only small and a bit sad given the ages of the children buried here in the 19th century.
Off the ferry, we still had another 4.5 kms to ride into the wind before back to the Jayco and putting the legs up. We clicked just under 35 kms today our longest ride in quite a while. When I mention electric bikes Pam not giving me that look anymore so it may be time.
Anyway that was our day on Rottnest.
Michael + Pam