Rottnest Island – Its Perfections and Imperfections
The fourth and last day tour that I had while in Perth. And while completing my writings for my travel post which started in Perth, I just realized that I almost did a counter-clockwise travel from the said city. First tour was going south, second tour was going east, third tour was going north, and last but not the least, the last day tour was going west.
Perth is already at the west side, which place I was referring to that means my tour was going west? If the three tours were all by land, the last tour was involved with crossing the sea. I took a ferry that goes back and forth from Perth to the island named Rottnest. I still booked a tour to the island since my flight returning to Manila happened at the evening. It was my last day in Perth, or let say my last day in Australia since I must return to my country that night. That day for me like, every moment counts because I am not sure when I will be able to return to the third country which became my home for more than 1.5 years.
It was Sunday and I did checked-out in my hotel. Then, I temporarily left all my luggage at the hotel lobby as I will picked them back again after my last day tour. Since it was Sunday and like my usual Sunday, I attended personal activity early in the morning. Then, I took an Uber to reach Hillarys Boat Harbour as my tour will commence from the said harbour. I reached the harbour and I was thankful that I had a bit of familiarity of it since the night before, I had a chance to drive to the harbour with the help of Patricia (my tour guide from previous tour). When I got-off the car, at first, I thought I had to go to straight to the jetty where the boat will pickup their passenger. Then, I inquired some people whom I thought will be doing the same tour in the island and then I learned that I have to go the ticket booth first to exchange my booking. I was glad that I had time and I did exchange my booking for the actual ticket. Then, I went to the boarding area and realized that the boarding had already started. I approached the staff in the area and shown my exchanged ticket. And after inspecting my ticket, I was allowed to enter in the gate and walked to the ferry, I was very excited to get on-board.
Hillarys Boat Harbour at Night
While traveling via ferry, it was already an adventure because the ferry captain announces if they found a whales along the way so that people on-board will have a chance to see them in their natural environment. At first announcements, I missed to see them, but after third or fourth announcement, I had a chance to see them playing in the water. Unfortunately because of immediate appearance of the whales, I was not able to capture photos of them.
The travel time from Hillarys Boat Harbour to Rottnest Island is around 45 minutes. We left the harbour just few minutes after 10AM and reached the island just after more than 45 minutes. When I arrived the island that was the time I realized how popular the island to people. At the time of tour in Rottnest Island, there was bike racing event and it can be the main reason why lots of people were there at that time. Most of the visitors brought or rented a bike, a one way to enjoy and explore the island for less.
Walking Trails featured in Rottnest
The tour that I booked was Grand Island package where there was an assigned tour guide. As I had limited time, I took the said option. And honestly, I never regret that I took that Grand Island tour because I was able to maximize my time exploring Rottnest.
From the Main Jetty (ferry terminal), I walked and followed the path to meet the tour guide as described in the brochures that was given to me when I exchanged my booking to a ticket. And the walking path was easy to follow. Then, at first, I was hesitant because I met the tour guide and he said, we just need to wait a couple of minutes to see if there are other guests that will join the tour. And in few minutes, two female adult joined the tour. We were exactly three people in the tour.
Rottnest Island offers bus options but it was different compared with the tour that I booked. Because, the bus that we had were designated on the tour while the other bus options is operating as hop on / hop off. This means that passengers has to wait to the drop-off/pick-up point to be able to take a bus. And at the time of the visit, it will take some time to wait for the bus. While on my end, since it was a tour, our bus was right there, we were able to easily navigate and explore every corner of the island which for me was a great choice, as I don’t have so much luxury of time to see all of what Rottnest Island has to offer.
The tour started at the center of Thomson Bay Settlement area where the Main Bus Stop terminal is located. Our tour started and our tour guide started telling us information about the island. He mentioned that at that day, all the accommodations in the island was fully booked and he added that if in case we plan to book accommodations in the island, it has to be done months before your holiday to get vacancy.
The railway from Oliver Hill Station to Settlement Station (Left) or Kingstown Station (Right)
Dyer Island from Parker Point Road
We took Parker Point Road from Brand Way. And along the road, we saw Bickley Swamp, a crossing rail-tracks and some set of accommodation units. Following the road track of Parker Point Road, we saw Dyer Island from a distance and our tour bus had a quick stop at Henrietta Rocks where we saw “The Shark” shipwreck which said to be the easiest shipwreck to enjoy around the island for diving and for snorkeling as it is accessible 50 meters from the beach.
At Henrietta Rocks with Dyer Island
The Shark Wreck
A bay scenery near Henrietta Rocks
Since we never get-off the bus, our tour guide continued driving along Parker Point Road until we reach Parker Point itself. It was the first stop in the tour where a part of its stunning turquoise water bay greeted us. Parker Point has white sand beach and some portion of turquoise water, I can say it’s a great spot for short distance swimming and snorkeling to enjoy the water. At the time of the visit, there were just couple of boats nearby the coast. Based from our guide, during peak season, it’s normal to see lots of boats in Parker Point. But for me, I can say that I was lucky seeing Parker Point with few boat as it honestly lovely.
Porpoise Bay from Parker Point Road
Almost near at Parker Point
At Parker Point
After appreciating the beauty of Porpoise Bay that surrounds Parker Point, we found the famous creature exist in Rottnest Island near of Perth, Bald Island near Albany and isolated scattered populations in forest and coastal heath between Perth and Albany. That animal is none other than Quokka. We found one of them drinking water (though it is advised not to give them food and water) by some bikers that were resting in Parker Point.
At Jeannies Lookout
After Parker Point, we had a short drive to Jeannies Lookout where different pools between reefs are visible from the lookout. Then, we passed Little Salmon Bay (one of the best site to snorkel and to swim), Eastern Osprey Nest (one of the 14 nest site of Eastern Osprey – a wild large eagle bird shape in Rottnest) and Salmon Bay (where beached boasted its beauties and offers lots of underwater sites to enjoy snorkeling and swimming) wherein all the photos were captured while inside the bus.
Little Salmon Bay
Eastern Osprey Nest
Next destination that we stopped for a while for another great scenery was Cape Vlamingh. It was the same place where we ate our packed lunch. In that same location, where I enjoyed second incident of up-close observation of flying silver gull with the beautiful backdrop around it.
Fish Hook Bay while at Cape Vlamingh
At Cape Vlamingh Viewing Platform with scenery and silver gull
At Cape Vlamingh
Not far from Cape Vlamingh is Cathedral Rocks where we had another stop in the island. This is where the New Zealand Fur Seals (local residents of the island) can be observed from the viewing platform or from the boat that can go nearer to these wilds at short distance. If lucky, will have a chance to see them playing around in the water.
At Cathedral Rocks with New Zealand Fur Seal
West End (Between Cape Vlamingh and Cathedral Rocks) – Near the corner of Aitken Way and Digby Drive
The tour continues around the island and to be honest, I was really glad that I joined the tour, because of limited time that I had, I was able to see more in short period of time. Another places that I saw and appreciate while inside the bus were : Rocky Bay, Stark Bay, Ricey Beach and Catherine Bay Beach.
Catherine Bay Beach
Taking Bovell Highway
While we took Bovell Highway, I was able to see from a distance the Wadjemup Lighthouse, Lake Vincent, Lake Baghdad, Geordie Bay and Rottnest Wind Turbine.
Lake Vincent and Wadjemup Lighthouse
Lake Baghdad/Lake Vincent Wadjemup Lighthouse
Rottnest Wind Turbine
Taking Geordie Bay Road
Places to appreciate while taking Geordie Bay Road were : Herschel Lake and Rottnest Wind Turbine.
Rottnest Wind Turbine and Herschel Lake
Taking Digby Road
The scenery to appreciate while driving along Digby Road is the Government House Lake
Government House Lake
One of the historical sites that can be found in Rottnest Island located almost at the center is Oliver Hill where it features the military remnants from World War II specifically the 9.2 inch gun battery. And I had a chance to see it up close and experience a tour on its underground tunnels. For a more details of the visit, please see my post about Oliver Hill.
After Oliver Hill, we visited Wadjemup Lighthouse which stands in the highest hill in the island. But unfortunately, tour schedules were over when we arrived. Therefore, we only took couple of photos inside the lighthouse and its surroundings.
At Oliver Hill
Wadjemup Lighthouse at Oliver Hill
Wadjemup Lighthouse at Digby Drive
Inside and Outside of Wadjemup Lighthouse
At Wadjemup Lighthouse and its surrounding scenery
After coming from Lighthouse, we went straight to Thomson Bay Settlement where our tour bus ended.
At the start of my travel in Rottnest Island, my only impression was that it’s just holiday island and nothing else. While taking the guided bus tour, I was really impressed and thought that it was a perfect place for recreational activities. The last part of my tour in the island was a worthy education for me. My earlier impression in Rottnest was changed. The island has its imperfections that needs to be known by people who comes and visits the island. But these flaws should not spoil the guest perfect holidays, but at least to be a great lesson to learn, to accept and to respect what Rottnest past has.
Rottnest Island Museum is one of the colonial buildings to discover in Thomson Bay Settlement area and currently the island’s museum. To know more about my visit in the museum and some of its display, please check Rottnest … Island Museum post.
Rottnest Island Museum
Another part of the island to discover is the Thomson Bay Settlement area where most of the historical and colonial heritage building can be found and still standing today. The full post about my walk following the colonial buildings of Thomson Bay, check the post Rottnest Walks : Collonial Buildings of Thomson Bay.
Military Barracks (1844) – 3 Flats (“E”,”J” & “H”) or Room 339, 338, & 337
After a quick walking tour about Colonial Buildings in the island, I had to run to the Main Jetty to board the ferry that will bring me back to Hillarys Terminal. And before totally turning my back to the island, I had another glimpse of The Salt Store and Rottnest Island Visitor Centre
The Salt Store
Rottnest Island Visitor Centre
The Main Jetty
Around the Main Jetty
When I was inside the ferry I just relaxed myself. And I had my silent moment of my life. Rottnest was the last place that I left before leaving Australia. And the thought of my flight made me reminded, when I will be able to see again the country that had been part of my life because of my career. And it made me felt that I am going to miss it a lot.
The ferry we had when returning from Rottnest Island to Hillarys Boat Harbour
Hillarys Boat Harbour (Hillarys Ferry Terminal)
We returned to Hillarys Boat Harbour and from there, I took my last shots of the harbour. Then, I waited for my tour bus that will pick me up so I can return to my hotel before going straight to Perth Airport.
1. Plan to visit Rottnest Island ? Please check latest information here.
2. Location : Rottnest Island, WA 6161, Australia
3. Directions to Rottnest Island :
a. Join Day Tours from Perth or
b. Go to Barrack Street Jetty Elizabeth Quay terminal and take Rottnest Express
c. Go to Hillarys Ferry Terminal and take Rottnest Fast Ferries boat
d. Go to Northport Rous Head Harbour or B Shed Victoria Quay in Fremantle and
take Rottnest Express ferry or
e. Go to B Shed Victoria Quay in Fremantle and take Sealink Rottnest Island ferry
Official Website : Rottnest Island