Love the Rotto

29 Mar

Rottnest Island earned its name in 1696 when Willem de Vlamingh mistook some local animals as giant rats. Rotte Nest is Dutch for Rat’s Nest. Sound appealing yet? Well it turns out the “rats” he saw happen to be the most adorable and friendly marsupials we’ve come across in Australia: Quokkas!



As soon as we departed the Rottnest Express ferry, we jumped in line for a hired bike. Although we debated about whether or not to ride tandem, we decided we’d prefer to continue liking each other at the end of the day, so we each got out own one-gear bike. Minus the lack of gears, it turned out to be a great decision. The island is roughly 20km in circumference, and we ended up biking about 10-15 of those kilometers. In the hot sun. With loads of hills. Yes, we are great athletes.

Biking Rottnest Island

We saw our first quokka on the side of a trail and immediately tossed aside our bikes in order to get a closer look. It shied away when I tried to pet it, but I did manage to have it feed directly from my hand! And for all you conservationists out there: no, I did not feed it human food. In fact, I couldn’t figure out what it was eating, so I gathered up a lovely handful of what I later discover was quokka poop before I realized the nuts looked different.

feeding the quokka

I’d like to say that we’re best friends, but it was totally using me for my nuts. Cheap quokka. Apparently they’ve also learned how to knock over beers at the restaurant so they can drink it themselves. Sounds like the Memphis goats!

As we drove along the island, we stopped at a couple lookout spots, but only pulled off for 2 snorkeling beaches. Our main snorkeling point was Little Salmon Bay on the south tip of the island. I experimented with my new underwater camera.. unfortunately there wasn’t anything too exciting down there.

snorkeling in Little Salmon Bay


brain coral

Once we exhausted that snorkeling site, we decided to peddle back closer toward the ferry dock, so we turned around to stop at a wreck site off the coast. Then the typical Lucile move happened… I broke my new camera. Or at least the battery flooded. We’ll see what the manufacturer says once I turn it in for repair 😦

We ended up turning in our bikes and retiring to the Rottnest Hotel for a burger and beer. Britt found her Redback and I found my White Rabbit, so we were content. Next thing you know, a peacock is standing next to me at our table. No reason. Just a random peacock! Apparently everyone else thought it was normal except for us and one other table of girls about our age. Our immediate camera response mayyyy have frightened it off.


Quokkas were also running between the legs of restaurant patrons, grabbing fallen crumbles just as pigeons or squirrels would at home. It was quite an interesting picture. Minus the camera troubles and a few other idiotic moments, it was a fantastic day. Perfect weather. Great exercise. Beautiful views!


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