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In the continuing story of my trip to Perth in 2006 with my YaYa sisters.

Day 5.. Visiting the Feral Terrorist Quokkas

I woke up this morning to the dulcet tones of Miss Chop telling us to get out of bed because we were off to Rottnest Island today.  So we all hopped up as instructed, had a quick bite of breakfast, made ourselves beautiful, packed the tin foil and we were on our way.  We were running a few minutes late for the ferry, so Annie planted the foot with the petrol light flashing and we parked with 5 minutes to spare to get our tickets and get on board.  Of course, being YaYa’s, we made it.

The ferry was fairly full so we stood while we were heading out of Port Fremantle and it was an incredibly rough passage but all of us had our sea legs and we had a ball.  I needed a loo break so went downstairs where the boat was REALLY rocking.  I kept being nearly thrown off the loo.  After stumbling back upstairs, we went a deck higher and out the back of the ferry. Sounded like a great idea until Sal and Chop pointed out to Annie and me that there was a large contingency of Japanese tourists onboard, some of which were vomiting.  One was calmly throwing up in a plastic shopping bag while the other was heaving over the side of the boat.  I’ve never seen someone be so calm while being sick. I cry my eyes out.  It’s not a pretty thing.  So being sympathy chuckers,  our eyes were watering and we tried to think of anything but what was happening.  I’ve never been so pleased to get off a boat and I usually love the water.

We stepped off onto Rottnest and proceeded to explore this gorgeous Island.  We had a bit of a wander around, found the tourist info centre, got some information and FINALLY found ourselves a stuffed quokka.  Hallelujah.  Sal found a peacock roaming around and fed it until we pointed out that feeding the wildlife was not allowed.  Seriously.. jersey caramels aren’t peacock food.  Up the hill, and a very steep one at that, we found a little church with amazing stained glass windows and then we went up another really steep hill to the bell tower.

We didn’t know a lot about Rottnest before we got here so it was interesting to read all the signs around which explained more about it.  Rottnest Island is about 18 km off the coast of Western Australia and is about 11 km long and 4.7 wide at it’s widest part.  It was called Rottnest by Dutch explorers who mistook the quokkas for large rats. (Rottnest is dutch for Rat’s Nest)  It was used as an aboriginal prison then a juvenile prison in the 1800s.  It was used as an internment camp during WW1 & WW2 and is now principally a tourist and recreational area.

After a bit of a wander we got onto an old bus.  Oh dear!!  It was right out of The Partridge Family, minus the flowers.  Peter was our tour guide and as he closed the door and started to drive, we realised this actually WASN’T the free bus and we hadn’t paid.  Ah well, we beguiled Peter so much with our charms, he didn’t ask for our tickets.  As we had pointed out that Miss Chop was a bus driver, I think he got a bit nervous and kept blaming the bus for his many faux pas.

We bade Peter adieu on the other side of the Island at Geordie Bay and went to the shop to buy some pate and biscuits and a drink, then headed off to see if Annie could break into other unoccupied buildings.  Just as we started to walk down the path, we finally had our very first encounter with a real quokka.  How cute are they? We got to pat it and then realised it had a baby with it, so we were totally excited.  Even better, it was a friendly one, not a feral terrorist one so we didn’t need our tinfoil hats.  We walked on and rounded the corner, ready to sneak into an unoccupied unit for lunch (just the porch, not the interior), when we spotted cleaners  so we kept walking.  We managed to have our photos taken on an empty balcony and pretended it was our holiday home, then headed over to the beach where suddenly the sun came out.  We sat down to our picnic of pate, biscuits, nuts and drinks and just enjoyed the scenery around us.

As we were partaking of our picnic treats, I got a message through regarding the demise of Steve Irwin the crocodile hunter.  I thought it was a joke but didn’t quite get why a stingray was involved.  After a quick call, we sadly found out that it was in fact the truth and he had passed away.  That shocked us all a bit.   Sal and I headed down closer to the water and decided to take a quick walk in the Indian Ocean as we had promised Toasty (who couldn’t make the trip with us) that we would do.

Wandering to the bus stop, we saw another couple of quokkas in the general store area.  A couple were trying to get a photo with a quokka, so being the good Samaritan she is, Sal decided to lure it to stand still by feeding it a biscuit.  Uh Oh… Naughty Sal.  A lady standing nearby with a face resembling a cat’s behind (not furry, just puckered up with sourness) said to Sal.. “That is naughty” and gave her a stare that was colder than a frozen haemorrhoid on a Polar Bear’s bottom.  From then on, wherever we went, it seems she was there, giving Sal the evil eye at every opportunity.

We tried to get away from the stares that were causing icicles to hang from Sal’s nose and got on the free bus this time.  Alas, Lady Tsk Tsk, as she became known, got on straight after us so Sal sat quietly up the back of the bus, feeling like a naughty school girl and extremely paranoid.  She should have just asked for the $50 fine, paid it and got on with it.  The angst was so much worse.

We got off again at the Port area and headed  off to have some lovely fish and chips at the restaurant there.  After lunch we went for another walk to the pub and sat down for a drink, when we encountered more quokkas.  This time a stuffed feral terrorist quokka attacked Sal.  She fought it off valiantly but then the real ones must have passed the word around about Sal being a feeder.  Come to think of it, I was slim before I met her too.

One hungry little quokka decided to climb onto our table when Sal thought “In for a penny, in for a $50 fine” and stupidly had her bag sitting on the table.  It started to pilfer in her bag for the leftover biscuits.  It must have been thirsty after the salt because it then stuck it’s head in her glass trying to get to the Bailey’s and milk at the bottom of the glass.  At this point we   realised we had finally encountered the more dangerous feral terrorist quokkas, so we donned our tinfoil hats and even wristbands to be sure.  This seemed to cause great amusement with people walking passed us.  We explained we were from Victoria and they said that explained a lot.  We weren’t too sure what they meant by that.  With our tinfoil hats on, the quokkas seemed to calm down a bit and seemed more tame.

Heading down to the Port again to reboard the ferry for our trip back to the mainland, we prayed that the trip back would be minus heaving Japanese tourists who had eaten the big breakfast.  It was a much better crossing thankfully and our new friends we had made at the pub were on it.  No heaving Japanese tourists and no Lady Tsk Tsk.  We sat at the back of the ferry while Annie had a nanna nap inside.  For some reason, the water seemed to like Sal best of all and was attracted to her like a magnet.  By the time we got off, she was saturated right through and her eyes were stinging from the salt water spray.

Frozen solid, we headed home to a yummy Chinese meal, hot showers all round and some telly before an early night.

Rottnest Island PeacockQuokka eating Sal's biscuitsthe stuffed quokka attacking Sal even with tin foil hat on

stuffed quokka attacking the drinksPilfering quokkawater attracting sal

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