I was a little unsure about doing a non-food post, given this is the month of vegan food. However, 20 consecutive posts on food must be my record for staying on a single topic and my blogging nature wants to veer off topic now! I am hoping that others don't mind the wandering. I will be posting my final Vegan MoFo recipe tomorrow, before a wrap up post as the month concludes on Wednesday.
|Rottnest Island, Western Australia|
I was delighted with the timing of the 'loving this week' theme, because it fit perfectly with my thoughts at the end of the weekend. Yesterday, you see, we were fortunate to have a day at Rottnest Island, an 11km long, A-class reserve located 19km off the coast of Western Australia. It is a 40 minute ferry ride from the Perth coastline and an extremely popular spot in summer - we squeezed our visit in before the peak busy season got going.
Rottnest is relatively unique in that it is free of cars (mostly - there are shuttle buses around the island and vans for essential services), making it a haven for bikes and laid back exploring. It is also free of residents, with the only people living on the island being those employed in essential services there, such as police, nursing staff, and rangers. There is a small school for children of worker residents, but it generally has 10 - 15 primary school aged students at most. No one is allowed to own property personally, and all land and buildings are managed by the Rottnest Island Authority. They also own and oversee the holiday accommodation, which makes up most of the buildings on the island. In effect, it is a self-contained community that changes every time a ferry arrives or departs.
|Planning our cycle route of the island|
I gave Mr Bite return ferry tickets for the island last Christmas, but with our whirlwind year it has taken us to now to get to using them. Fortunately for us, my sister works part-time at one of the ferry companies, which means we get generous discounts on crossings (and free bike hire - thanks again, darling!). If you don't have such connections, it is an expensive day out, but definitely a worthwhile one as a treat. It had been 10 years since I visited, and longer since Mr Bite had been, so we felt it was a well-timed trip.
We arrived on the island at 10.30am, and set off to cycle the perimeters of it. We didn't quite do the full loop - there is a narrow out and back stretch at one end - but saw plenty of gorgeous beaches on our circuit. We finished with a dip in one of the bays and the water was incredibly cold, but a refreshing finish to what had been a hot cycling stretch.
In addition to beaches, Rottnest is home to quokkas, which are small herbivore marsupials that are common on Rottnest but rare outside of the island. They are quite oblivious to humans, being so used to them, and wander the streets happily.
We also saw two snakes on our trip, which were less welcome on our path!, but they didn't seem interested in us either.
As a child, the food options on Rottnest were limited to an alcohol-focused hotel, fancy lodge restaurant, bakery, fast food chicken and chips, and two small supermarkets. We were interested to note that things have changed over the past decade or so, with the chicken / chips shop being replaced by a Subway, the hotel being renovated, and three new options being added: a seafood restaurant, a casual cafe with gluten free options, and a Dome Cafe (Dome being a Western Australian institution akin to Starbucks or Gloria Jeans, but with more food). We bought lunch at Subway and afternoon snacks at Dome.
I am not usually a beach person and yesterday gave me more sun than I have had in a while, but it was a gorgeous day and a reminder that it only takes one free day to have a holiday-like experience. We have had lots of holiday experiences recently, and I felt very blessed to have another day to ourselves yesterday. Rottnest is a definite perk of living in Australia, and one that I appreciate having so nearby.
Have you had any days out recently? Or do you have any favourite places to visit when you do manage an excursion?
This (non-food!) post is part of my Vegan Month of Food contributions for October 2012.