Monday, 18 March 2013

Rottnest Island

On Saturday I joined a group of ten people for a day on Rottnest Island. We took a ferry to the island and spent the day biking around, visiting the bays and enjoying God's wonderful world.
Rottnest Island is 18 kms off the coast of Western Australia, close to Freemantle. Accesible by ferry, the island is a popular tourist atraction and also a great area for a holiday. No vehicles are allowed on Rottnest so you get around by either biking or taking the buses already on the island.
In 1658 the first Dutch sailors set foot on the island. But it wasn't until 1696 that Rottnest was given it's name. Willem de Vlamingh was a Dutch captain who spent six days exploring the island. He described the island 'as a paradise of earth'. While exploring he came across a small brown animal that he mistakened for a rat. Hence he gave the island the name 'Rotte Nest' meaning 'rat nest'. Those little animals where actually Quokkas, one of the atractions of the island.
Quokkas actually look like little kangaroos with a rat's tail. They are very cute and have no fear of humans. They will come up to you and take food from your hands.
One of the other atractions of Rottnest are the many bays, inlets and coves. These bays provide amazing opportunities to swim, snorkel and scuba dive. Many fish live in the small reefs, delighting those who swim above them. I, unfortunately, did not get a chance to snorkel but was able to enjoy the cool, salty waters of the Indian Ocean.
As we were biking back towards the ferry we came across a ship wreck. The 'Shark' sank in 1939. She slipped her moorings and floated away from Freemantle, finally sinking on the 'Henrietta Rocks' where she remains.
Rottnest, called Rotto by the locals, is an amazing place to visit. There are so many neat things to see. Sand dunes, animals, birds and plants dot the trails making each turn an exciting adventure. The trail is rather hilly, providing great exercise especially when biking, but being on a bike allows you to see things you would have missed if you were travelling by bus.
I had so much fun on the island. Although I was tired at the end of the day I was glad to get a chance to see some more of Australia.