Rottnest Island: bike heaven covered in banana peel

It’s almost been 3 weeks since I visited Rottnest (known as Wadjemup to the local Noongar people), but the island made a long-lasting impression on me. This beauty is located only 18 kilometres west of Fremantle (which is a short train ride from Perth), but for someone who gets seasick easily, it’s always exciting to see if I can make it to the other shore without throwing up. Luckily I took some travel sickness pills with me and on the way to Rotto, a couple of whales even came by to say hello and distract me from the waves.
You’ve got this!
Once you set foot on the island, the rolling ocean has been forgiven and forgotten. The friendly Rottnest Express lady hands you your bike and helmet, and off you go. The biggest challenge I had to face was not cycling itself but remembering I had to ride on the wrong (left) side. Though the roads were so quiet, most of the time I could just stay in the middle.
Because that’s the great thing about Rottnest: there are hardly any cars! Occasionally, you see the bus service or an island ranger passing by, but that’s it; you are the king/queen of the road! Being a Dutchie, it’s not difficult to imagine how amazing I felt cruising those hills. The sky was slowly turning blue and the ocean was even bluer. But just in case you didn’t feel very confident yet after those first kilometres, someone left you some encouraging words on the road: you’ve got this!

Attack of the Quokkas
Obviously there is one thing Rottnest is famous for: their quokkas. Rotto actually has to thank some Dutch guys for its name, because they were under the impression the island was inhabited by giant rats (rott – nest). They didn’t know these cat sized animals were actually the always smiling quokkas. Two things I learned from my day among these cute creatures is that they are not afraid of people (on the contrary: they like to climb on humans and bikes), and it’s impossible to eat a banana while they are around.
Basically, the moment the quokkas had me in their vision, they decided it was a good idea to check out what I was carrying in my bag by sticking their heads inside it. My banana also had their immediate attention, meaning they were jumping against my legs and climbing me to get closer. Since quokka selfies are a big thing at the moment, I couldn’t resist to give it a try, especially since it was obvious they weren’t camera shy. The result: a lot of close-ups of quokka claws and noses, and my camera covered in banana peel. But hey, how could I not forgive them?

Private beach
Luckily Rottnest is also the perfect place to recover from all this quokka violence. Just keep cycling until you find a private beach and enjoy the peace and quiet. Just be careful not to swim too far from the shore since shark attacks are not uncommon.
I have to say I wasn’t sure if I should go to Rottnest Island since the ferry plus bike hire was fairly expensive (about $100) and the weather predictions were not that great, but I am sooo glad I decided to do it! Rottnest has definitely won my heart and if I ever return to Perth, bike heaven is right there at the top of my list. One of the best days I’ve had since I arrived in Australia, even despite my sunburned bike hands. ^^