From Busselton we did a beautiful coastal walk from the Cape Naturaliste Lighthouse and saw whales breaching far out to sea. They are now travelling South, returning to sub-Antarctic waters with their calves. No more frolicking in the coves – their summer holiday is over.
There is a marvellous jetty at Busselton, almost 2km long, but we didn’t walk it as we baulked at paying for the privilege. Some things should be free! We lunched in Bunbury on our way to Perth and we spent our first two days here with friends, who live just north of the city. We are very comfortable in our caravan but it was nice to be in a house, with space around us, and we were very well looked after. Sat, of course, was Grand Final day so we had pies for lunch and enjoyed the game. Geoff is, naturally, very happy with the result.
On Sunday we relocated to a caravan park in south Fremantle and Monday morning we caught the ferry to Rottnest Island. We only stayed one night, but it was really lovely. It is a fairly low-key holiday destination and it is easy to see why so many West Australians have fond memories of the island. They are attached to it in the same way that many Victorians are bonded to The Prom. The current atmosphere belies the sorry history of Rottnest. It was a prison for aborigines and, of about three and a half thousand prisoners, approx. 10% died, and are buried in the island. Some of the prisoners came from as far afield as the Pilbara and some were very young or very old and some were sentenced for very minor infringements of the law. It would have been a terrible life and many would surely have died of broken hearts, far away from their people and their country.
For those of us lucky enough to be on Rottnest by choice, there is lots to do. There are virtually no cars on the island so transport is via Shank’s Pony, push bike, the shuttle bus or the hop-on, hop-off bus which loops the island, taking in many of the beautiful beaches and coves. We ate our lunch, sitting on the rocks at Fays Bay and we did a walk from the Kingston Barracks, to see the Bickley gun emplacements and Bickley Bay. We also rode on the little, bone-shaking, railcar up to Oliver Hill to tour the WW11 gun emplacements, ammunition stores and tunnels which formed an important part of Australia’s wartime defences. There are quokkas everywhere and they are quite unconcerned about all the noise and activity which surrounds them. There is also a resident peacock who is as peacocky as you could wish. He actually slowly pirouettes to have his photo taken.
I find myself thinking often of ‘The Shark Net’, now that I am seeing The West for the first time, especially on Rottnest
We came back to Freo yesterday, enjoying a much smoother crossing than we experienced on the way over. Tomorrow, friends are taking us out for the day, up into the hills.