Monday, 18 March 2013

Perth & Rottnest Island

The first part of our Western and Outback Adventure took place in Perth. Perth is one of the most geographically isolated cities in the world. The flight from Melbourne was long but the time difference worked in our favour. Perth is a very clean modern city with nice shopping and restaurant districts. It is a very walk-able city with a nice river pathway system.
Our first order of business was to head out for some bicycle and snorkel fun. Our destination was the beautiful Rottnest Island. Our day started with a river cruise past Freemantle, and 18km offshore was the island. Rottnest means “Rat Nest” in Dutch after the first explorer here glimpsed the local Quokkas. These pint sized Wallaby things would look like rats from a distance but are actually very friendly and cute.
Upon arrival to Rottnest we were issued our trusty cruiser bicycles and snorkel gear strapped on the back. Armed with a map we were left to explore the island and its many beaches. This was a once in a lifetime experience and we both rated it pretty much as high as you can for personal satisfaction. Traffic on the island is limited to a few coaches for the elderly and lame, and bicycles for the rest.
We pedalled for a couple kilometres and eventually came up to Little Salmon Bay for our first snorkel dip. Within ten feet of being in the water we were stalking a ray as it cruised along. We barely had time to fire up the camera before it outpaced us and moved on. We were surprised at the coral that was there as well as the mapped out snorkel tour with undersea guideposts.
We dried off on the bikes and continued on past a nice light house, where we befriended a Quokka, and ended up going for another swim at Little Parakeet Beach.
Our time on Rottnest was excellent and have not stopped talking about since. So many travellers do not venture into the West or through the Outback and it was a relief to have such a genuine experience. The beer and wine afterward tasted delicious as a reward for a moderate days work.
  The following day we explored the city on foot with a quick trip to the Western Australian Museum and downtown street malls. We really enjoyed our couple of days in Perth and would have liked to see the wine and beach regions to the south and some of the desert areas outside of town, but we were off to start our Outback camping tour…

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