Back to Rottnest Island


We went back to Rottnest Island today, almost a year after the first time we went there. We even went back to the Rottnest Hotel, where, as La Serpiente told my parents, “an eagle pooped in Daddy’s beer“. Well, it was a seagull and I had almost finished the pint, but it’s nice to see what she remembers. Golden memories.

All that flying around has conspired to give me a cold, so I was wandering around feeling sorry for myself, nose bunged up with snot and throat full of mucus. I struggled past the quokka-infested shopping precinct and down to a climbing frame that La Serpiente refused to leave, until after an hour we pried her loose and went to hire bicycles to ride around the island.

Note to other visitors to Rottnest: don’t waste an hour with your child at the climbing frame that she won’t climb because the feral older children are twice her size and intimidating. Apart from anything else, you’ll arrive at the bike hire place to find there’s a half hour long queue, and then you’ll give up and try walking to Henrietta Rocks instead.

Note to visitors to Rottnest with small children: the 2.4 km walk to Henrietta Rocks is along a very straight, very sunny road, devoid of shade, and after 45 minutes of walking we’d only made it to the Army Jetty, which is about half way to Henrietta Rocks. This suggests to me that there’s some kind of warp in the space-time continuum around Rottnest Island, because it simply can’t take that long to go anywhere. Still, the skies were blue, so was the water, and everything was very picturesque. La Serpiente even found a shell on the beach that she happily told me her plans for: the centrepiece of a necklace she was going to make, requiring also thread. And cotton.

We walked back to the main Settlement of Rottnest, which was where we’d arranged to meet my parents and sister. We snatched lunch at the Rottnest Hotel and then got on a bus for a tour of the island. It turns out there are two different buses that drive around the island. One is cheap and goes all the way around the island, and the other is $50 each and goes all the way around the island. We had booked the $50 one and didn’t A-B test it, so I can’t tell you if it was worth the extra or not, and as I was narcoleptic from sleep deprivation and the cold, I guess I didn’t get everything I should from it. I did find out that Rottnest was named by a Dutch explorer, who had misidentified the indigenous quokkas as rats. Bloody big rats they must have in Holland, or else he was looking at them from a telescope while stationed offshore. I also got some nice photos where the wind is blowing our hair everywhere which way, and saw some of the places we cycled to last time around. Clearly I was fitter back then, capable of riding a bike with two children in the trailer up and down hills. Oh, and we saw at least 20 quokkas. 17,980 quokkas left to view.

THe bus tour completed, we took the children to a climbing frame where they gambolled for half an hour, before heading back to the ferry. On the way, La Serpiente asked for her seashell, which she happily played with, until she dropped it and I trod on it and it shattered into a thousand pieces. Cue wails of unhappiness all the way to the boat, whereupon both kids passed out cold and didn’t wake up until we were carrying them back up the gangplank.

Sunday evening in Fremantle isn’t great for dining out, but we found an upscale hotdog joint, Run Amuk, that had an outdoor dunny in the carpark behind the restaurant, although that wasn’t the highlight of the whole night. That was Destroyer stage-whispering to me “I’ll tell you a secret” before bellowing “Strawberry Shortcake” at me as if it were some Cold War call sign I’d be able to interpret. Her ambitions of being a secret agent seem a little far from being fulfilled…


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