Freemantle – Perth – Rottnest Island

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We head off from Margaret River at the crack of dawn and head to Busselton to get out on the famous Busselton jetty for an early morning fish.   It is the longest wooden jetty in the world, stretching almost 2 km so it was a genius idea to carry every fishing rod and tackle box I had all the way to the end. Holly was a few minutes behind me and being the beautiful wife she is had made me a coffee but by the time she made it to the end of the jetty it was cold and she had split it on herself so she was stoked with the whole idea of an early morning fish at the end of the worlds longest jetty. I was in luck and had already caught a squid first cast so that helped brighten the spirits. We ended up with a couple of squid and a few Herring but the entire mornings fishing was full of action with what looked to be big Samson fish, salmon & yellow tail kings cruising past a number of times. We checkout the town briefly on what was another beautiful day before making our way north.

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With no real location in mind for the nights camp we drive for a while before we find a road side stop however there is burn off nearby and the smoke is thick so we push on a little further north to a paid camp site by a saltwater lake at Herron Point. We have now paid more for camps in the last week than we have in the last 3 months of our trip but we have had a good run and cannot complain. With some smoke in the sky and the sun going down over the lake we sit on a bench seat on the sand and watch one of the most magnificent sun sets, some cold beers with cheese and crackers top the day of perfectly.

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Camp Location:  Herron Point Campground, WA

Cost = $15/night

Travelled From: Metricup, WA – Peaceful Park

Distance: 158km

Saturday morning and we head into Fremantle with no real expectation of what the day might hold and are really surprised at what Freo has to offer. There are markets on with awesome food and after eating as many testers as would could we cannot resist splurging out and buying some food, it just smelt so good!

We walk through the streets of Freo exploring the town; it had a real good vibe to the place with plenty of pubs & restaurants amongst old colonial buildings. Fremantle has been recognised as the best preserved example of a 19th century port streetscape in the world. We check out the port as this is where we will be leaving on the ferry for Rottness Island tomorrow; or so we thought… With no camps anywhere near the city and only expensive caravan parks we head west out of town until we find a place to stay.

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Camp Location:  Forsyths Mill, Gorrie, WA

Cost = FREE

Travelled From: Herron Point Campground, WA

Distance: 161km

We wake up super keen for Rottnest Island which was been one of the main attractions on our WA list from the very beginning. The ferry leaves from Freo at 9:10am so we are up early and set off on what was a day we would rather not re-live but that’s the point of this blog to record our travels no matter how pain staking they may be. As we are driving down the highway I feel something is not quite right with the Troopy and there is a noise off and on coming from what seems to be the front hubs on the car. I pull over to check it out and can’t see anything and as we are now running late for the ferry we push on. The car is driving fine there is just this occasional noise and vibration that has us concerned and as it gets worse we pull over as there is now defiantly something wrong. We pull off on a side road to find the rear passengers side wheel is holding on by 3 wheel studs that are about to snap off! Rottnest is not happening today unfortunately. I had rotated the tires at the last campsite and mustn’t had nipped the nuts up enough of this wheel which was a rookie move but after 500km of driving we were lucky that this didn’t end up any worse and we found the issue when we did. Being a Sunday hardly anything was open and we make the call that the fastest way to get back on the road is to replace the wheel studs on the side of the road ourselves. There is an Auto Pro parts store down the road which Holly rides to and picks up 4 of the 6 required wheel studs (all they had in stock).  The 4 studs will get us to the next parts shop 20 minutes down the road before we finish the repair. Tough lesson learnt today, checking the wheel nuts was something Granddad had been onto me about and honestly something that I had been checking regularly just not when it mattered I guess.

Now we make use of the rest of the afternoon by going grocery shopping before heading back to the camp we had stayed at the night before. It had been a long day but it was not over yet unfortunately. We park the car and van and don’t really setup much at all, just pop the roof of the van and crack a beer. As I sit in the caravan and look out the door I hear Holly scream outside as the car and caravan begin to roll. As the whole rig gains momentum I make it into the cab of the car to put on the brakes just as the whole thing comes to a stop after crashing through some bollards. Holly has fallen and copped some gravel rash but she is tough luckily didn’t get run over. As we look at each other in shock and try to figure out what went wrong after our setup went from being stationary for over 10 minutes before it decides to start rolling (the ground was relatively level and we had no reason to believe it was going to move). Holly slamming the rear door of the Troopy must have pushed the dodgy handbrake past its limits and I hadn’t placed the car in reverse which had all come together to just top off our day. Anyway it was kind of funny as we stood around laughing with one another about how this day had panned out. No one was hurt and nothing was damaged and the cost to repair the car was minimal, we went to bed (chocks now under every single wheel).

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Camp Location:  Forsyths Mill, Gorrie, WA

Cost = FREE

Travelled From: Forsyths Mill, Gorrie, WA

Distance: 84km

Monday morning we wake up early again and try to forget yesterday ever happened. The day is turning out to be a cracker as we board the ferry for Rotto. We are taking our bikes over on the ferry to explore the Island. Holly is like a kid in Christmas morning eagerly waiting for her first glimpse of the little Quokkas. It doesn’t take long before we come across a few of the fellas and they are more than happy to pose for a picture. The island has bitumen cycling tracks that are a little hilly but nothing too difficult so moving from beach to beach on our bikes on this marvellous day is just what we needed.

The Island is a place WA locals from the mainland have come to holiday with their families for some time. There are old cottage style accommodations across the island and you can definitely see why you would want to stay for a while to enjoy the place, however if it is just a taste you are after, a day trip is sufficient. The ferry departed the island at 4:00pm and we had a little time left in the day to enjoy hot chips and a schooner at the Rottnest Island Hotel overlooking the ocean while Quokkas scampered around our feet.

The ferry ride is a quick 30 minutes back to the mainland before we make our way back to our car and van and set off on the road to get as far north as we can before it gets too dark. We pull up for the night at another roadside stop, our camps aren’t always by the beach unfortunately but we are excited as there are some ripper spots ahead of us with the next spot being the appropriately named Turquoise Coast.

Camp Location:  Moore River Bridge Rest Stop, Caraban, WA

Cost = FREE

Travelled From: Forsyths Mill, Gorrie, WA

Distance: 158km

 

Zac.

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