Rats or Qwokkas - I never saw one
Rottnest Island Travel Blog› entry 11 of 16 › view all entries
I spent a couple of days heading back and forth to Fremantle form Perth but the first time I went I had decided to take a trip out to Rottnest Island.
The Island was called Rottnest because it was thought, by Commodore de Vlaming in 1696, that the furry little critter he saw all over the place were rats. They were in fact Qwokkas (a small type of Wallaby) but the world map is full of erronius names such as this.
Anyway, the island is reasonably flat and of a size that I was going to hire one of the cycles and gad about the place for the day.
I headed over on the Rottnest Express ferry, which wasn't too bad a trip, picked out my bike and set to peddling.
Rottnest was dotted with gun emplacements and lookout towers left after the war. They were all still linked by underground tunnels and you can have a guided tour through these if you wish. I didn't think an underground tunnel, with a group of walking tourists, would be the best place for me to ride my bike so I just stuck to the open air exploration.
There was a little up and down riding to do but the track was pretty well formed, so even an unpractised cyclist like me didn't struggle overmuch.
After taking in all the guns and towers, including the dummy gun that was made so the enemy warships would shoot at that instead of the actual battery, I shot downhill to the coastline.
The beach had been covered in a rather grubby layer of seaweed so it was all a bit smelly and unpleasant that week but you could see that it would normally have been a fabulous place.
When I took the bike back to the store I wandered about the small town and read about life there. It was all very interesting.
Although Rottnest was declared a wildlife sanctuary in 1941 I didn't see any Qwokkas, snakes, or anything else that made me go wow. They did say the Qwokka is a shy critter so perhaps I was breathing so hard during my cycle tour that they heard me coming and shot the gap!