Rottnest Island

Perth’s very own island getaway is just a short 40minute ferry ride from Fremantle.  Welcome to the absolutely beautiful Rottnest Island holiday paradise. This little island has a circumference of 25km. There are no cars allowed and the preferred method of transport is by push bike. There is a bus that services the island’s bays, beaches and attractions for those that don’t want to ride.

Parakeet Bay Rottnest Island

Parakeet Bay Rottnest Island

The beaches at ‘Rotto’, as the locals call it, are stunning, some of the best in the world. Having visited the most beautiful beaches in other amazing places around the world including the Galapagos Islands, Sardinia in Italy, Brazil, Bali, Greece, and Queensland, I can say with authority that Rottnest’s beaches are up there with the best of them.  So beautiful you just never want to leave.

Geordie Bay

Geordie Bay

The lake - where our deluxe room at the Lodge looks out on

The lake – where our deluxe room at the Lodge looks out on

Our Deluxe room

Our Deluxe room

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Our original room at the Lodge – the Palm Court room

First bathroom in Palm Court room

First bathroom in Palm Court room

Quokka

Quokka

Quokka

Quokka

Quokkas trying to get in on the breakfast action

Quokkas trying to get in on the breakfast action

Hello Mr Peacock

Hello Mr Peacock

Rotto is a very family friendly holiday spot. Accommodation is fairly basic – camping, cabins, chalets and villas – all very basic and the word luxury does not describe any of them. Yet during peak season, it is expensive to stay.  There is also the Rottnest Island Hotel and the Rottnest Island Lodge. The Hotel has recently been refurbished and one can expect to pay upwards of $300 per night for a room without ocean views.

In the past we have stayed in the villas that line Geordie Bay – they are basic but have everything you need – a balcony to look out at the stunning bay, a kitchen equipped with the essentials, bathroom and a choice of two or three bedrooms that sleeps four to six people.   In peak season, a villa for six people will set you back about $2000+ for one week.

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This time however, we chose to stay at the Lodge.  Entertainment Book members, which I am, receive a discount.

The Deluxe room – which we upgraded to once we checked in and decided we didn’t like the Palm Court room – cost $290 per night with a discount. It has a lovely view over the lake, is spacious, has a king size bed, flat screen TV, bar fridge, a modern bathroom and a great shower. Yes, it’s expensive, but it is one hundred times better than the Palm Court room that was once a boys reformatory in 1890.  I did nick name it Cell Block B because it was so much like a prison room!

The discounted rate at the Lodge for a Palm Court room was $210 per night. As you can see from the photos, it is a bit grim. The rooms are dated, stuffy, small, and not that cheap really.  There is no view, no balcony or outside space, and neither of us wanted to spend more than 5 minutes in it. Our room also had a smell to it that was all but pleasant.

Zorba didn’t care how much extra we had to pay, he just wanted out of the Palm Court room.  I couldn’t blame him really.

Once we moved into the Deluxe lakeside room, he declared, “Now I feel like I’m on holidays and I’m excited to be here!”. As long as the Greek is happy!

Native to Rottnest are Quokkas, little marsupials that are part of the rodent family. They are super cute and they are everywhere. They are quite used to tourists and often join in for breakfast!

There are also beautiful birds of all descriptions and some fairly friendly peacocks.

Breakfast at the Lodge offered the standard hotel buffet fare – bacon, scrambled eggs, poached eggs, tomato, baked beans, toast, fruit, cereal, juice, and filter coffee and tea.

There is a pool at the Lodge too – which is little and during our two-night stay, it was always packed. With beaches as stunning as those on this little island, I couldn’t understand why you would want to sit almost on top of people around a little pool.

The beauty of Rotto is that there really isn’t that much to do except beach it, sleep, eat, and rest. There are tennis courts, a 9-hole golf course, an old war canon, a couple of lighthouses and some surf on the east side of the island. It’s just so relaxing and so so so picturesque.  The beauty for families is that kids can ride their bikes without traffic fears and because of days filled with swimming, riding and exploring, kids wear themselves out and fall into bed at the end of the day. Every parent’s dream!

Parakeet Bay at Rottnest Island

Parakeet Bay at Rottnest Island

Eating out options are fairly limited and none of the options are really worthy of much comment. The Hotel pub has great views and a cool vibe, but the food there is average. Aristos seafood is also ordinary. The bakery is a ok and there’s a wholefood cafe that is quite good. Simmos ice creamery has opened up and next door is Lane cafe that serves proper barista made coffee.  There is also a Dome. The general store is well stocked and prices are marginally more expensive that those in Perth. Self catering is the way to go.

Yes, Rotto is expensive in peak season, but it’s also an awesome holiday that is devoid of too many choices that makes a stay on Rotto simply relaxing.  I love it.

FACT FILE

Rottnest Island Information
The Lodge at Rottnest
Rottnest Hotel
Rottnest Fast Ferries
Rottnest Express

InContro, South Perth – review

Could InContro be a candidate for my new favourite restaurant in Perth?

This beautiful South Perth restaurant offers not only superb food, but uninterrupted sublime  city views across the Swan River.  The views are hard to beat.

Inside the restaurant at the view of the city beyond

The setting has an air of sophistication, the waiters are well versed, some donning French accents, and the napery, glassware and cutlery are what one would expect in a fine dining restaurants.  It’s all lovely.

It not just about the views though is it? It’s about the food.  InContro, which means “meeting” in Italian, offers first class Mediterranean style cuisine.  You can dine on the ‘piccolo’ menu – much like tasting plates or Italian tapas, the regular menu, or mix it up like we did and choose from both.

As one comes to expect when dining at a fantastic restaurant in Perth, it ain’t cheap.  No sir.  But for a special occasion, it is seriously worth splashing out for a food experience at InContro.

Leo, Katie, Matthew and John

Our family was celebrating a special occasion, Zorba‘s mother’s 70th birthday.  She is as fit as a fiddle and enjoys nothing more than sharing a meal with her family. Dining with us was Zorba’s sister Marnie and her triplet boys, Leo, John and Matthew, who are seven years old.  There is never any hesitation taking the boys out for dinner with us because they are nearly always well behaved in restaurants and thanks to their Greek and Italian heritage, they love food and eat everything!

Pizza Margherita

As most seven year olds are starving by 5pm, you can imagine how famished the boys were at 6.30pm. We ordered a couple of fresh pizzas for them straight away.  It was enjoyed by Masters Seven with gusto!

Entree was a selection from the piccolo menu; zucchini flowers stuffed with salmon mousse, Rottnest scallops and king fish carpaccio.  It was presented beautifully on a tiered  tray. I could not fault anything, simply beautifully cooked, delicious flavours, and the perfect way to start dinner. The zucchini flowers were my favourite – crispy on the outside, smooth mousse on the inside. YUM! I could have eaten a whole plate of those!

Zucchini flowers

How good do these dishes look?!  Are you hungry yet?

Rottnest Scallops

For main course, we decided to choose our own.  I couldn’t go past the Turkish Sticky Black Angus Short Rib ($45).  Marnie had Linley Valley Pork Belly Vanilla Pear Pomegranate ($36), Zorba and Katie both had Duck Confit Cauliflower Puree Quince Salad ($38).

Turkish Sticky Black Angus Short Rib

My beef rib was nothing short of sensational. Slightly sweet, oh-so sticky, rich with smoky undertones, and the meat was so tender, sliding away from the bone with just the gentlest nudge from my fork.  I have never had a beef rib as good as this one – and that’s a big call.   Whilst expensive, it was a decent sized serve which is just as well or I would not have shared any of it!  The boys all agreed that it was the dish of the night.

Marnie loved her pork and really enjoyed the pomegranate salad.  Katie and Zorba seemed to thoroughly enjoy their mains as well.  To accompanying mains, we had Albany asparagus and shaved fennel pear with candied walnut salad.

Finalmente!  Dessert time.  The seven year old nephews were chomping at the bit waiting for dessert, especially once they heard that fairy floss was a feature.

We all had the Eaton Mess with Fairy Floss and ordered some desserts from the piccolo menu to share. A two-course dessert – now that’s my style of eating!

Eaton mess with floss

The wine list was fairly extensive, but on the high end of pricey.  We shared a bottle of bubbles, a prosecco, to start ($70) and then went for one of the cheapest shiraz blends on the menu on advice from the waitress. I love my red wine but didn’t want to spend upwards of $90 for a decent drop. The waitress’ recommendation was perfect.  The 2010 Sons of Eden shiraz blend ($65) was a beautiful smooth easy drinking red.

The only other time I have been to InContro was for a friend’s wedding late last year.  For a function, it was the best food I’ve ever had. I was excited to finally be going back there again.  And it didn’t disappoint.

It would be hard to imagine anyone being disappointed dining at InContro. It is first class in every sense and really worth splashing out for for a special occasion.  Impressive and highly recommended.

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FACT FILE

InContro
79 South Perth Esplanade, South Perth WA 6151
Tel. 08 9474 5566

Open Lunch and Dinner, Tuesday to Saturday

InContro on Urbanspoon

Food Wine Sleep