Australia Day Eleven: A Ferry Ride On The Swan River And Across The Indian Ocean To The Unspoiled, And Spectacular Beauty Of Rottnest Island
I awoke early my first full day in Perth and began to decide what to do. I had no definite plans and there was just so many choices. I decided to take a ferry from Perth to Rottnest Island. I read the island was beautiful, and I would not only see a lot of the city on the ferry ride but I would get to cross a bit of the Indian Ocean, the only one I haven’t sailed. I walked down to the harbor along the beautiful Swan River.
As in most cities, even on a Sunday, there were many folks, walking, jogging and bicycling in the brilliant morning sun. I admired the spectacular modern skyline of Perth and made my way to the Bell tower and the docks where I purchased a ticket for the one and a half hour ride to Rottnest. Here is a link to some more photographs of my walk to the Perth docks. https://keepyoureyespeeled.net/australia/nggallery/australia/australia-day-eleven-perth-walk-to-docks-february-13-2016
We left the docks, and, as our ferry distanced itself from the impressive Perth skyline, I was amazed with the many beautiful home built along the banks of the Swan River. It seems everybody lived in a house or apartment with a view of the water.
And everyone seemed to own some type of boat, there were boats of all types, power boats, fishing boats and most impressive, as we got further from Perth the amazing number of folks out on sail boats. It was a beautiful ride. Here is a link to some more photographs of my ferry ride along the Swan River. https://keepyoureyespeeled.net/australia/nggallery/australia/australia-day-eleven-perth-to-freemantle-ferry-february-13-2016
We next sailed past the impressive Fremantle docks. Huge cranes lined the water to load and unload the large cargo ships. It reminded me a lot of the port of Malmo, in Sweden, on the other side of the planet, which I visited last Summer.
We stopped in Fremantle to pick up more passengers, luggage and a lot of bicycles, since there are no private motor vehicles allowed on the island. As we left the docks in Fremantle we entered the waters of the Indian Ocean, the first time for me. I was thinking of all the sailors who first set eyes upon this massive ocean that touches Asia, Africa, and Australia.
It was a nice ride to Rottnest and we passed many a large cargo ship waiting to enter Fremantle to unload or load cargo. We approached the beautiful blue green waters of Rottnest and the little port town of Thomson Bay . We disembarked the ferry and entered the quaint little town that reminded me a lot of Catalina Island, off the coast of California. Here is a link to some more photographs from the ferry ride from Fremantle. https://keepyoureyespeeled.net/australia/nggallery/australia/australia-day-eleven-fremantle-to-rottnest-island-february-14-2016
I didn’t have any breakfast, and it was almost lunch already, so I decided to have a quick sandwich. I got talking to the girls at the counter and one was nice enough to take me to see a quokka, the native marsupial distantly related to the kangaroo, They are nocturnal but some have grown accustomed to humans and venture out in the day. I thought they were cute but some folks think they look like big rats. The man who discovered the island thought so too, and named it rat’s nest or Rottnest. I liked the little fellows.
I only had limited time on the island, it was a cooler, sunny day and it was packed with locals and tourists. I could only book a ferry leaving at 2 p.m. So I decided to purchase a shuttle bus ticket and head to the far westernmost part of the island. The bus ride was itself a treat for one’s eyes. We passed beautiful beach after beautiful beach, and miles of spectacular shorelines. I was sure regretting not having more time. I was the only one to get off at Cape Vlamingh and walked toward the shore. Here is a link to some more photographs from my bus ride on the island. https://keepyoureyespeeled.net/australia/nggallery/australia/australia-day-eleven-rottnest-island-bus-ride-february-14-2016
Along my walk, there was an display about the native aboriginal culture including an audio recording of the local creation myths about this location. It told the story of an old man who kept death from attacking his people all day. At night he was old and tired and would eat and sleep. His son wanted to spend more time with his aged father so got up before his father and one day. When his father and tribe found him, death had killed him with a spear and so came to his people. But he came back and as a spirit and told his people he found a happy place and it was heaven, and they would all go there too. This beautiful sea shore is that place they called heaven. Judge for yourselves. I spent some quiet moments here thinking my dad and feeling he wanted me to come here. Here is a link to some more photographs from this beautiful place. https://keepyoureyespeeled.net/australia/nggallery/australia/australia-day-eleven-rottnest-island-west-end-seashore-february-14-2016
I explored the area and was treated to another amazing sight, a pod of fur seals just frolicking in a cove below me! It was unbelievable to see these wild creatures just playing and enjoying themselves. It was so obvious they were. having a good old time in the water.
I saw two girls below and it appeared the fur seals were putting on a show for them. I walked down the cliff and to enjoy their performance. I know it will be forever etched in my mind. I watched this delightful critters swim and dance in the blue and green waters for a half hour. They seemed to be genuinely happy to be alive. But knew I had to get back to catch my ferry. I could have spent the rest of the day watching them . Here is a link to some more photographs of this wonderful creatures. https://keepyoureyespeeled.net/australia/nggallery/australia/australia-day-eleven-rottnest-island-fur-seals-february-14-2015
I waited for the bus in the afternoon heat and was glad it arrived. It got back into Thomson Bay a lot quicker than the ride out so I had a little free time to explore the town. before I had to board my ferry. Here is a link to some more photographs I took on the island . https://keepyoureyespeeled.net/australia/nggallery/australia/australia-day-eleven-rottnest-island-downtown-february-14-2016
I also forgot that the only tickets available would not return me to Perth but dropped me off in Fremantle, where I would have to take the train back into the city. In the morning I didn’t think it was such a bad idea, and I might tour Fremantle. But it was now late afternoon, and hot and I was tired. So I walked to the station only to find the ticket machine did not take credit cards. And I had no Australian money on me. I told one attendant my problem and she said I had to get Australian currency. It was saturday and no banks were open and she suggested a hotel in town, some ways off. Thankfully, a kind train police officer, hearing my plight, wrote me a pass to ride the train. She was a life saver. I took the train into Perth and walked the mile back to my hotel. Here is a link to some photographs from my journey back from Fremantle https://keepyoureyespeeled.net/australia/nggallery/australia/australia-day-eleven-fremantle-subway-and-walk-to-hotel-february-14-2016
It was almost evening when I got to my hotel, and I was hungry and tired. So after showering I went to eat in the hotel restaurant, where I had a nice meal the night before. I found no seats were available an, soon found every good restaurant in Perth was booked. It was Valentine’s Day! I wanted food and the concierge suggested going to the casino since there were so many places to eat. I took a taxi over and again found no a seat in any restaurant. I was finally able to convince a nice hostess at a Japanese to give me a seat at the bar. It was late by now, and i had a nice meal, and a glass of wine to end a pleasant day in Perth.
“hark, now hear the sailors cry,
smell the sea, and feel the sky
let your soul & spirit fly, into the mystic…”
― Van Morrison