"Keeweechic's Rottnest Island" Top 5 Page for this destination Rottnest Island by keeweechic
Rottnest Island Travel Guide: 240 reviews and 544 photos
Rottnest is sandy island about 19 km off the coast of Fremantle. The entire island is only 11km wide and 5 km wide and it is the only piece of land between Perth and Capetown. It was discovered by the Dutch in 1696 and named `Rats Nest` because of what appeared to be king size rats on the island. These rats were in fact Quokkas which are native wallabies found only on the island. The original spelling of the name was "Rott Enest" but has stuck since its discovery and the 'E' was dropped. The local Aboriginal people knew the island as "Wadjemup" which is thought to mean "land across the water". The local Noongar aborinals consider Rottnest to be a house of spirits. A number of ancient aboriginal tools have been found at Rottnest island which date back 30000 years. With the arrival of the European settlers, Rottnest changed in its appearance. Land was cleared and tracks around the island were made. Fires were repeatedly burned from the wood collected. Sometimes the fires were an aid for the Aboriginal prisoners in hunting the Quokkas.
The architecture is quite unique and dates back to the 1800's. There is a varied history of the island being an Aboriginal penal settlement and a World War I camp for 1300 German and Croatian extract prisoners of war. Salt was also gathered and processed here as well as having a World War II military installation there. The island was first used by the Governors of Western Australia as a holiday resort between 1848 and 1919.
Today, Rottnest Island (or Rotto as it is referred to) is a very popular place because of its great beaches and bays. There are plenty of opportunities for recreational activities and the Island authority is actively re-greening the woodland area with reforestation. Many people choose to visit for the just the day and arrive in the morning and leave on the late afternoon ferry.
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