Rottnest Island

Thursday, Mar 20, 2008 at 14:53

ExplorOz - David & Michelle

After a year of waiting since making our booking and paying in full for our accommodation, we have just enjoyed a 5 day holiday on Rottnest Island.

Although Rottnest Island is visible off the coast of Perth and may seem an unlikely destination for us to go for a "trip", its a wonderful place to get that "outback feeling" for such a little effort and it appeals to us greatly for a quick getaway holiday with the kids (and our non-camping friends). For anyone that has never been to Rotto, there's a few things to know before you make your plans;

Rottnest is a Class A reserve managed by the Rottnest Island Authority. A Class 'A' Reserve is the most highly protected class of crown land, where public consultation and acts of parliament are required to initiate changes. Class 'A' Reserves are created for a single, specific purpose -- generally (but not necessarily) related to environmental protection. The most common uses for a Class 'A' Reserve are as a national park, nature reserve, or conservation park. Such reserves (like Rottnest Island) are havens for wildlife and indigenous flora. The most obvious outcomes of Rottnest being a Class A reserve is the limited accommodation, transport, shopping, and entertainment facilities. People who are looking for a resort-style island holiday should not expect Rottnest to live up to false expecations. If you've heard about Rottnest from other people, you've probably heard that you can't bring over a vehicle, and that the mode of transport is bicylces. You've also probably heard that the accommodation is very basic - and you'll need to bring your own bed linen and towels but there is a hire service for extras such as televisions and microwaves. However, as a result of the WA Government investing some $26 million upgrading the accommodation and other essential infrastructure on Rottnest Island visitors in 2008, such as ourselves, are the first to enjoy a slightly higher level of service is designed to meet the demands of a growing number of visitors who are looking for a little more comfort, without changing the experience. The provision of bed linen, microwaves, televisions etc. in the majority of units means there is no longer the a need to transport a mountain of luggage including bedding over to the Island by ferry. In fact, we had everything we could need. The general store now offers a free delivery service (you can even order online before you leave home and you'll find your fridge ready stocked when you arrive) and to make it easy using bikes for transport there is no need to lug back heavy cartons of beer and wine - simply pay at the bottle shop and they'll home deliver almost immediately! All just too easy.

Another thing worth noting is when to book. To secure accommodation during the school holidays you must enter the ballot and since bookings outside the ballot can be booked up to 12 months in advance it is very difficult to get accommodation at short notice and if you'd like to book with a few friends, its best to get in early to get your units in together in the same area.

We have been to Rottnest twice over the last 2 years, both times making our bookings a year in advance. The trick is to call the main booking number on the first day of the month you want accommodation a year in advance - and don't be surprised if it takes more than 4 hours of being on hold to get through - seriously!! There is an online accommodation checker (not booking engine though) so you need to find an available unit (use the island accommodation map) for the dates you want and hope to get through to make your booking before it is taken. As we normally book with 5 or 6 other families, and they only take bookings for 2 units at a time you will need to get a team of callers together to get your whole group booked in together.

On this trip for example, we had 6 families spread right up from one end of South Thompson Bay to the other which worked nicely for the kids as they could ride their bikes outside the units along the one long stretch of road joining all the houses. Our days were spent with adults enjoying training activities (swimming, riding, jogging) early in the morning, and then family outings as a group to various bays and beaches, usually followed by a session of beach cricket before communal efforts at cooking and sharing of food occured in the largest of units, with a bit of evening fishing with the kids on the jetty to end the day. Our group also celebrated 3 birthdays that fell during the 5 day holiday.

My favourite part of the island this time was Salmon Bay, and Parker Point but I didn't have my camera so sorry, no pics! The only "accident" was when Chardae was bitten by a Quokka on the first night, but Leah had broken her arm the day before we arrived, so that sort of counts as it meant we had to postphoned the ferry trip to an afternoon sailing as we were busy at doctors having the x-ray and plaster cast. There were also numerous stingers in the waters and most people got a few stings (harmless).

For more information about Rottnest, and how to get there etc, see the Rottnest Island Authority website
David (DM) & Michelle (MM)
Travelling fulltime in 2024
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