Ginger’s fifth anniversary wish was a selfie with a Quokka on Rottnest Island.
Just in case you’ve never heard of a Quokka, it’s a type of small wallaby with a brown face, short rounded ears, black eyes and a black nose. And Rottnest is about the only place in the world you can find them.
The Quokka was described by early Dutch explorer, Willem de Vlamingh, ‘as a kind of rat as big as a common cat’. His first Quokka sighting was on an island off the mouth of the Swan River. He named the island Rottenest (‘rat nest’) in honour of this sighting.
We think de Vlamingh was a little unkind – Quokkas are much cuter than rats.
The Rottnest Island habitat supports the largest known quokka population – there are around 10,000-12,000 of them living there.
Quokkas have become an Instagram favourite with both celebrities and average folk, as they often look like they’re smiling in selfies.
Here’s what happens when you Google “celebrity Quokka selfies”:
We didn’t come close to matching their efforts, but we still had a fantastic day after catching a Rottnest Fast Ferry over to the island.
Our favourite moment was when we came across a whole posse of the cute little furry things and their babies in a clearing in the late afternoon, just before we caught the ferry back to the mainland.
We hadn’t quite realised the bubs snuggle in their mums’ pouches like kangaroos and were delighted to see little heads popping out to look at us.
Our tip: catch the last ferry home for your best Quokkas sightings as they are noctural. Wander around the edge of Garden Lake near the main settlement just before you depart for your furry fix.
During our quick visit we hired bicycles to explore the scenery on the east side of the island, then caught a bus around the west side because we ran out of time.
We didn’t even get a chance for lunch, we just grabbed a couple of sausage rolls at the island bakery before pedalling off. There are some great bars and restaurants on Rottnest that we’d love to try next time we’re in Western Australia.
The beaches on the west side of Rottnest looked incredible, but we didn’t have our wetsuits, the water was very chilly and our ferry back to the mainland was waiting.
A return visit for a few days has been added to our bucket list. The island is very crowded with daytrippers, so it would be wonderful to relax there in the late afternoon once the last ferry has departed … plus that’s the best time to go Quokka spotting!
Getting there: Transfers across to Rottnest Island can be booked through one of the three ferry operators. Rottnest Island ferry companies provide transfers to the Island from Perth City, North Fremantle (Rous Head), Fremantle (Victoria Quay) and Hillarys Boat Harbour in Perth’s north. Rottnest ferries take approximately 25 minutes from Fremantle, 45 minutes from Hillarys Boat Harbour, or 90 minutes from Perth’s Barrack Street Jetty.