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A 30 minute ride on a speedy boat will get you from Fremantle Jetty to Rottnest Island. Fremantle is Perth's Habour town (also about 20 to 30 minutes away from Perth). Fremantle has a great café strip and restaurants, which offer delicious meals. In summer the atmosphere is wonderful. There are lots of people on the streets, sitting outside the cafes or visiting the Fremantle markets (fresh food growers, knick-knacks… also worth seeing) and street artists put on their shows...

  R o t t n e s t   I s l a n d30 minutes from Fremantle
South Jackson Reef, Stephen & other group members at 18m

A 30 minute ride on a speedy boat will get you from Fremantle Jetty to Rottnest Island. Fremantle is Perth's Habour town (also about 20 to 30 minutes away from Perth). Fremantle has a great café strip and restaurants, which offer delicious meals. In summer the atmosphere is wonderful. There are lots of people on the streets, sitting outside the cafes or visiting the Fremantle markets (fresh food growers, knick-knacks… also worth seeing) and street artists put on their shows.

 So if you are in the area, have a look at Fremantle. From the Jetty it costs you about AUS$30 return for the boat trip. Rottnest is a wonderful little island is about 10 kilometre long and can be circled by a bus in 3hrs.

Diveboat Lionfish IV
Back on the boat
Stephen has disassembled the gear

There are no cars on the island except for the police and public transport vehicles. Visitors take the buses or hire bicycles, which are available behind the General Store at Thompson Bay (your arrival bay). Rottnest is Perth’s cheap holiday island. Accommodation prices are quite affordable, geared toward group or family lodging. You can rent a basic chalet for 4 people from AUD 350,-/5days.

Stephen, my sister Julie and Me at Parker Point

If you get someone to share costs with it gets even cheaper. Camping places are AUD$5.50/person (no separate fee for pitching your tent). Rottnest is a Medi- terranean-type island with low shrub growth covering the ground. White, sandy beaches and clear blue waters make this place magical. There are great diving and snorkeling spots all around the island. "The Basin" is one of the most popular, because of its short proximity from the arrival bay.

Stephen, Julie and Virginia at Parker Point
Fays Bay Fays Bay sea weed
McCulloch's scalyfin, common scalyfin
Blue-lined Leatherjacket

The Basin harbors a variety of fish, such as Red-lipped Morwong, Brownfield’s Wrasse (mostly hiding in between the seaweed isles), starfish, small stingrays and some tropical fish species. There is lots of invertebrate growth (sponges, corals) around the reef. And once I even got to see a nudibranch, a Chromodoris westraliensis 

Old Wife (name derived from grating sound the fish makes when stressed, source Australian Marine Life, Graham J. Edgar (publ. Reed Books)) Sea Slug
Red-lipped Morwong

(blue with black stripes and orange rim, about 6cm long, if you see it send me a photo :)). In summer the basin is best visited around 11am and onwards. The sea is calm around this time. There is a great booklet available form the Visitors information centre at Thompson Bay, called Snorkellers’ Guide to Rottnest Island by Dr Barry Hutchins. This booklet will tell you everything about good snorkeling times for each site and what there is to see. Especially nice sites include The Basin, little Armstrong beach at Little Armstrong Bay, Point Clune at Fays bay and many more. Snorkeling gear (mask, snorkel and fins) are available for rent from Thompson Bay.

Anemones, Zoanthus praelongus Nectria saoria, Star fish

At certain times of the year (summer) it is jellyfish time. There are some species, which can sting you by accident. They concentrate in large schools above sandy areas. To avoid them, try and keep to the reef, by swimming along it. In any case it is a good idea to take "Stingoes" along with you which you can apply onto the wound after you have been stung. Apart from underwater and water activities there are some historical sites on this island.

 
Sea cucumber
Western stingaree

They stem from the IIWW times, when Australian soldiers positioned themselves on the island to halt Japanese invaders, or at least try. There are canons positioned on the highest points of the island. Other interesting things to see include the pink Salt lakes (middle of the island) in summer. As they dry out the empty pool look pink. But I am rambling on. Go, and have a look yourself. And as always, take care of the island as well and follow the rules.

Zebra fish, girella zebra
Last edited 19-06-01

All photos by A. Goss & S. Goss

© A.Goss, April 2001