Travel Story | Last weeks in Australia

by Flip Flop Wanderers
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Last updated on February 29th, 2020

Our last weeks in Australia: a double feeling. On one hand, we were very excited to start a new adventure, on the other hand it is quite difficult to leave a place where you have been for a year. In total we spent two years in Australia and then it’s easy to get attached to a country like that. We think Australia is a really great country, especially for roadtripping, and we feel completely at home there. In the meantime we have seen (almost) everything, except for the north of the West Coast, and we can say that we know a lot about it! The idea that this was our very last Working Holiday Visa and that we can never work here again (or only in a very difficult way), is weird and a bit sad. If you’ve been in a certain country for so long and know the culture perfectly, you’ll hold it in your heart, and we’ll probably come back another time…

Just one of the amazing beaches on Rottnest Island

Our lasts weeks in Perth consisted of working for a few days, but especially doing everything we wanted to do before we left the country. In our last story we told you that we went looking for wildflowers in the area and that we enjoyed the lovely weather. But we also didn’t sit still for the last three weeks. We made some beautiful walks, watched several sunsets, did some things in the city and Fremantle and we went to Rottnest Island (paradise!). How this was? You read it in this story!

Cycling on Rottnest Island

First we go to all of our preparations for New Zealand. Because as you all know, we’ve been in the country for a long time now already, but to get here we still had to arrange some things during the last three weeks. Firstly, we already had our Working Holiday Visa in September, but we also had to arrange some things like proof of money etc. Of course we had to book our plane tickets and Airbnb for the first nights, and we sold the car. This went easier than expected, so we already sold it 1,5 weeks before departure, even with a little profit! We also sorted out a lot of stuff that could be sent home or thrown away. How much can a person collect in a short amount of time?! And of course we had to clean our apartment well and leave it tidy.

Perth City

During these preparations, Bram worked at the van rental company and once at Kensal and Manon also worked a number of times at the food truck and poffertjes stall and went babysitting for a few times. This way we still managed to save some more money for New Zealand and to do some nice things in Perth.

How cute are the quokkas on Rottnest Island?!

In our last story we told you that we had been to the beach on October 15th, and that the last time was already a while ago. The week after mainly consisted of working and in between we went to the beach to watch the sunset. We thought we hadn’t seen enough of those yet in Perth! It was also beautiful weather this week, with temperatures close to 30 degrees, which is quite unique for this time of the year. Lovely!

On Sunday the 22th of October we had put the car on Gumtree and used the opportunity that we still had the car now, before it would be sold. We therefore decided to explore some more things around Perth that day, that are easiest to access by car, like Lake Monger.

Another place we visited that day was the Rocky Pool Walk. A beautiful natural rock pool in the middle of a National Park, surrounded by bush. Unfortunately it was Sunday and a gorgeous day, so it was very busy with families playing around in the water. We wanted to make some great pictures but that wasn’t possible like this. We seriously had to wait for like 5 hours (!) before we could make decent pictures without people in it. Luckily we could lay in the sun to pass the time.

Because of the fact that the car was already sold the next day (yes, it was that easy!), we unfortunately couldn’t go anywhere by car anymore that Wednesday (25-10). That’s why we just went to the city by train to see some last sights over there. First stop was the Royal Perth Hospital. Why would you visit a hospital just for fun?!, you would think haha. But this hospital has some really beautiful old buildings, one even with hanging chairs in front of it. Looks so cute!

The next stop was the St. Mary’s Cathedral, which was a really modern church. Not really how we like it! So we quickly continued on to Perth Mint, the former goldsmith of WA. Nowadays they don’t pour gold here anymore, but you could still join a tour to see how this was done in the earlier days. They are also the proud owners of the world’s largest gold bullion coin: the Australian Kangaroo Coin, which weighs 1000 kilo and is worth AUD 50 million! Quite impressive to see.

After this interesting visit, we went up in the Bell Tower, which is an iconic (but ugly, in our opinion :P) tower in the Perth CBD. At the top of the tower you have a beautiful view though.

While walking through the city centre of Perth, we stumbled upon some funny looking kangaroo statues. Possibly the only way you get to see kangaroos in the middle of a city 😉

During sunset we decided to do something that we wanted to do for a long time already: making photos with the Blue Boat Shed at the Swan River. Because you haven’t really been in Perth if you haven’t taken pictures with this cute little, blue shed on the water!

The days after were the last few days at work for both of us, we had a lovely goodbye dinner with our dear flatmates and we made a lot of things ready for New Zealand: packing stuff, cleaning etc. We wouldn’t have time for these sort of things later, because the very last days in Australia were spent doing something really exciting: visiting Rottnest Island! This was something we wanted to do for a very long time already, but for some reason it never happened earlier. So you can imagine how happy we were when we finally got to visit this paradise island with those cute little quokkas!

On Tuesday the 31th of October we went to Fremantle really early in the morning where we took the ferry to the island. We immediately went to the Visitor Centre and hired bikes for the next 3 days, the best way to get around the island. It wasn’t long before we saw our first quokka: there was one literally when we got out of the ferry. They are everywhere! On our bikes we first had a look at our cute hut where we would stay for 2 nights and were happy with the choice we made. It was at a very good location and there were quokkas everywhere around the huts!

We decided to explore the main town of Rottnest Island: Rottnest Island Settlement. At this town you’ll find the only shop on the island and it’s also here where most restaurants and hotels and resorts are located. We think it’s a cute little place with lots of character. The main plaza is a very lively place, where people are having their lunch, enjoying the sun or are just playing with the cute quokkas that are literally everywhere on this plaza! But can you blame them, with so much people and therefore, food around? 😉

At the settlement you’ll also find the Salt Store, which was unfortunately closed when we visited, and the Rottnest Island Museum. It is a small, but very informative museum. Here you’ll find a lot of information about the, unfortunately sad, history of Rottnest Island. Did you know that the island was used as a prison for aboriginals back in the days? For almost a century (!) the island was served this way, during which some 3,700 aboriginal men and boys were imprisoned. Just a very, very sad story… Luckily the aboriginal prison closed in 1904 and after that the government turned the attention to Rottnest Island’s possibilities as a recreation destination.

That Rottnest Island has a big history can be seen everywhere: there’s lots of historic buildings, lighthouses, old barracks and an old battery. Another historical site is the Vlamingh Memorial. We decided to visit this place, which was further out of the settlement, and were surprised to see that you had an amazing view here over the inland salt lakes of Rottnest Island. This memorial is places here as a memory of Willem de Vlamingh, a fellow dutch explorer that was the first person to discover Rottnest Island in 1696. He was known for mapping most of the West Australia coast. Arriving at the island, he saw numerous quokkas, and thinking they were large rats he named the island ‘Rattennest’ (‘Rats’ Nest Island’). So that’s where the name comes from!

After this brief visit we decided to bike through the gorgeous salt lakes of Rottnest Island. Did you know that salt lakes occupy 10% of the island?! It is therefore that you can see a lot of them in the centre of the island. We biked over a very beautiful road that cut straight through some salt lakes. Impressive!

On our way to the Pink Lake, we first visited Oliver Hill Battery. This is an old gun battery that was placed here during WWII to protect the harbour of Fremantle. From the battery you had an amazing view over almost the whole of Rottnest Island!

At the bottom of the hill there were some cute quokkas chilling in the shade, and we tried to make some selfies with them. Because, of course, you can’t leave Rottnest Island without a quokka selfie! Did you know that the quokka only lives on Rottnest Island? How cool is that! So yes, we definitely needed a selfie. But how easy it may seem to take a selfie with them on Instagram, that’s how hard it actually is in reality. They may look cute but they are pretty fast and not always willing to look at the camera 😉

We finally reached Pink Lake which was a beautiful lake with a hint of (you guessed it;)) pink colour.

Our next stop on our route for today was Parakeet Bay, the first of many amazing beaches we’ll see on the island. Wow, this beach was just incredible! Don’t think we have ever seen a beach this white!

It was a bit too windy to chill on the beach today and we had to go back to the settlement to get our key for the hut we’re staying in. When we arrived at the hut we found a quokka sitting on our cooler bag, which we had to leave outside because we couldn’t check in yet. Somehow he managed to open the zip of the bag ánd the bag of our bread and he was just very relaxed eating all of our bread! Haha, it was sooo funny to see! I guess these animals are actually really smart! Of course we had to get him off the bag, because else there wasn’t any bread left for us 😛

We loved our hut on the inside! It had a small kitchen an we had our own bathroom, which was very luxurious for what we are used to. We quickly unpacked some stuff and went to The Basin, which was right next to our hut and which is the most popular beach on Rottnest Island. Unfortunately the wind was very strong today which made the beach less appealing. Also, the sun was slowly going down, so we decided to go to the Bathurst Lighthouse on Pinky Beach, to capture the sunset. It appeared to be a very magical place to see the sun go down! Although it was very windy and cold, so after almost freezing to death (joke of course :P) we quickly went back to our lovely warm hut to enjoy our first night on this amazing island.

The next day we cycled a pretty big loop around the island, exploring the beaches on the north coast. First we went back to Pinky Beach, to enjoy some sun at this really lovely bay with views on the lighthouse.

Afterwards we also went back to The Basin and noticed the beach was looking much more beautiful than yesterday with its clear blue waters! We climbed a big rock at the end of the beach and the views from up there were just amazing. I think the photos will speak for themselves 😉

Next beach was Fays Bay. This was a nice quiet beach where, from a rock, we also had a view over Georgie Bay.

Little Parakeet Bay was the next beach. A lovely little beach, secluded between rocks. We decided to chill on this beach for a while and eat our lunch. We even got a little visit from a lizard.

After this, we walked over the sand dune and ended up at Parakeet Bay, again. Wow, we were speechless again! We think we found our favourite beach on Rottnest Island!

The beaches that followed were Little Armstrong Bay and Ricey Beach. Piece by piece amazingly white beaches. We didn’t know the beaches on this island would be so beautiful! It’s just paradise!

After all this much needed beach time we headed back to our hut where, at the end of the day, were a lot of quokkas, so we gave the quokka selfies another try. This time they were much more photogenic!

Our last day on Rottnest Island was spent by another big loop of biking around the island. We first visited Wadjemup Lighthouse. This is a beautiful, big lighthouse on the highest point of the island. As you can imagine, we had an amazing view from up there!

Our next stop was again a beach: Salmon Bay. This was a beautiful long, white beach with the clearest water you will ever see!

Right next to it was Little Salmon Bay, a cute small bay which is apparently really good for snorkeling. It was again very windy today and the water was freezing, but we still tried some snorkeling. It looked good under water, but to be honest, we couldn’t really enjoy it because it was just too cold!

After some more beach time we continued our way on the south coast. We came by Jeannies Pools and Porpoise Bay. At this beach you had an insane view over the white sand and blue water, just amazing!

A bit further we came past Henrietta Rocks, where you had some nice cliffs and a piece of a ruin from a sunken ship.

The south coast ended at the Kingstown Barracks. These former barracks are now used for accommodation, mainly as a hostel.

Back in the settlement we had to hand in our bikes and unfortunately our time on Rottnest Island was coming to an end. We looked a bit around at Thompson Bay, bought some souvenirs and tried to make some close-ups from the quokkas.

We ended our lovely three days with a dinner at Hotel Rottnest (really recommended!) and after that took the last ferry back to the mainland. Oh and have you ever seen a sea gull with three legs? Well, we did! Haha, we saw this fella at Hotel Rottnest and were so surprised!

Our time on Rottest Island was just the best! Although it was still a bit chilly this time of the year, we thought it was pure paradise! Amazing white beaches, the clearest water we have ever seen and cute quokkas: what more could you ask for? We enjoyed every second of it!

This is how much we enjoyed the island!

Back home in Perth we only had two days left before our flight to New Zealand, so these last days were spent with cleaning our apartment and packing our last stuff.

And of course we said goodbye to our flatmates 😉

And then it was the last day we were in Perth… it was so weird. We didn’t really have the feeling that we would never come back here anymore (or at least not for a long time) and especially that we would not live in our apartment anymore. We have lived there for a year and then it really feels like home. But everything comes to an end and we were excited about going to New Zealand!
On Sunday the 5th of November our lovely flat mate brought us to the airport, where we had too much luggage to check in: two backpacks and a suitcase. And even then we still had to much kilos! We know, it terrible, we collected way too much in Australia. After New Zealand we are definitely going to travel much lighter! Luckily we didn’t have to pay anything extra. On the airport it was time to reflect on another year in Australia before our flight departed at 6:55 pm.

Because by then our second year in Australia was suddenly over! How time flies… We again had an amazing time in this country and although there were definitely some shitty times as well this year and everything didn’t really turned out how we wanted to, we still really did enjoy our time in Perth. During this year we worked at the most random jobs: from babysitting to engineering and from event work to food stalls. We had some great experiences and loved road tripping in Western Australia in our own car. Of course, the absolute road trip highlight was our three week adventure through the South West, where we’ve seen the most incredible and fascinating landscapes. We have met the most awesome people and especially had a lot of fun with our flat mates. Our apartment in Mosman Park was the best and we really felt at home in that place.

For now, we are really looking forward to New Zealand and are so happy we can explore a whole new country again! Well, of course New Zealand is not entirely new for us since we have been there in 2015, but this time we have so much more time to explore that beautiful country and see a whole other side of it. We are excited to be able to roadtrip again and are very curious what New Zealand will bring for us.

Off to the new adventure!

Note: at the moment we are of course already for like half a year in New Zealand haha, but what we described above is really how we felt when we left Australia!

Maybe the best moment of your life will be on your next big adventure

~

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1 comment

Marti van Os May 12, 2018 - 8:00 am

Mooi verhaaltje weer over jullie laatste dagen in Australië! Mooie foto’s natuurlijk zoals we van jullie gewent zijn 😉 die quokka’s zijn toch schattig zeg, en dus ook slim, haha.
Op naar het volgende verhaal/avontuur!
Groetjes van mama Marti

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