Rottnest Island is said to have been separated from the mainland about 7000 years ago due to changing sea levels.
As such, the coastal area around Rottnest has remained shallow and dangerous for ancient and modern seafarers.
Back in the 17th century, one William de Vlamingh was scouting the island for possible protection against bad weather. One of his crew, unnamed, said, “Rats! The island is crawling with rats!”
The captain replied, “Eeewww. Rats are icky. Let’s call this place Nest of Rats Island.” Except he said it in Dutch which was – and is – Rottnest Island.
Well, there were and are no rats on the island. What that bumbling sailor saw were small marsupial animals called Quokkas. About the size of an average housecat, they hop from place to place, are vegetarians, raise their young in a pouch and are perfectly harmless except to your garden.
My day tour took me there from the Perth port, and arriving about 11:30.
It’s a nice place. Nice beaches – apparently 60 of them – warm water, gentle breeze, palm trees and a relaxed lifestyle.
As for the quokkas, they are all over the place. Totally unafraid of humans. To me they look very much like small beavers without the flat tail and the big incisors.
I spent the afternoon there, schlepping around, taking pictures. A good way to spend the day.
When it was time to return to the mainland, well, things got interesting.
Part of the ferry trip includes going underneath s bridge. When the boat got there on the way back, we were all surprised to find that some construction was going on and we couldn’t go through there. After a 2 hour delay (!!) we disembarked and were eventually bused back to the port.
Anyway, that was a small wrinkle in what otherwise was am excellent outing.
So if you ever find yourself in Perth with nothing to do for a day, take the cruise to Rottnest Island.
There are no rats. Really.