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Rottnest IslandWestern Australia

 Houses in Thomson Bay
Rottnest Island is a small island 19km far from Fremantle. It's only 11km long and 4.5km at its widest point. Rottnest was attached to mainland Australia 7000 years ago, but because of changes in sea level, came to its present shape. Local Aboriginal people called this island "Wadjemup", which probably means "place across the water". When Dutch explorer Willem de Vlamingh anchored on the beaches of this beautiful island in 1696, he wrote in his ship's log: "Here it seems that nature spared nothing to render this isle delightful above all other islands I have ever seen." Then named this place "Rotte-nest" thought rat's nest. It was a small mistake, because the animals which he saw weren't big rats but in fact they were small wallabies called Quokkas. In 1838 the first settlement was established on the island as a prison for Aboriginal people. Later there was a place for salt gathering and processing. During WWII Rottnest Island become an important stronghold to protect the coast and Fremantle Harbour. Nowadays you can see the gun placement on Oliver Hill. In the last 30 years it has been mostly known as a place for recreation and holidays.

 One of many beaches
Because of the dangerous reef structure around Rottnest it was necessary to build 2 lighthouses. The first was built in 1849 by Aboriginal prisoners. In 1896 was in its place constructed a new one 38 meters high. Wadjemup lighthouse, as it's called, stands in the center of the Island and it's the 4th highest lighthouse in Australia. The second one, Bathurst Lighthouse was built in 1900 on the northern edge of the Island at Bathurst Point. It's 20 meters tall and together with Wadjemup and Fremantle lighthouses provides easier navigation.

Rottnest Island has some of the most beautiful beaches and bays in the world which are excellent for swimming, snorkeling or scuba diving. Almost 40km of coastline with a lot of bays surrounded by rocks and cliffs are scenery, which every photographer must enjoy. If you want to see something else, you can go to Oliver Hill lookout. Before you spreads the whole Island with many inland lakes and swamps, forests and in the background is the infinite ocean...

 Trees on Rottnest Island
So, what can you do on Rottnest Island? Everything, except snowboarding and feeding Quokkas. The best way to explore this interesting island is hire a bike. Then you can enjoy the beautiful nature without cars and hectic society. If you don't like cycling but want see the unique environment on Rottnest, you can join the 2-hour Island Bus Tour. It includes a commentary of Rottnest's history, nature, wild life and information on new activities. There are 16 stops where you can leave and continue on foot.

 Landscape of Rottnest Island
If you like history, especially of WWII you can learn about it on the Oliver Hill Gun Battery built in the late 1930s. This place with its big gun and associated tunnel system was turned into a military museum. Access to Oliver Hill is by bike, foot or a bizarre train. If you are a "water baby" you can enjoy fishing, surfing, swimming, snorkeling or just laying on the beach. You can also play golf, tennis, and mini-golf or visit a museum. The museum provides information about the Island, its history, settlement, Aboriginal prisoners, communication and the wrecks of many ships.

design, programming: Tomas Kucera (2002)
e-mail: sopta (at) post.cz, icq: 33297193
last change: 2005/01/29