Friday, 30 May 2014

Perth Day 20 & 21 - Heirisson Island

Of Roos and Men.  Marsupial Game of Hide and Seek. Semi-Wild, Half Pets.


As I mentioned in my previous dairy entry Perth Day 3 - Queens Gardens, WACA, Glouster Park that I stayed in Fraser Suites, where it's located at the very east end of Perth, and is therefore within walking distance from Heirisson Island. Naturally I decided to visit it even if it's just an island with nothing to offer.

Map of Heirisson Island, Perth, WA
A fence parallel to the causeway cut across the southern part of the island
The arrow points to the approx location of the entrance of the gate
(Click to enlarge)

As it turned out - after letting my fingers do the walking on the internet - I found out that there're a few things of interests that it would take my fancy. One of such attraction is a colony of 6 kangaroos living in its natural habitat on this island.

Sign at the gate entrance, Heirisson Island, Perth, WA
Sign at the gate entrance

Well, there's still a fence to confine to the southern half of the island. Without it, the roos would simply roam freely onto the causeway and into the roaring traffic. You can see the gate (about 30 m) from the causeway if you aren't sure which side is the south side of the island where the roos live.

I went there eagerly to meet the furry Aussie natives (no, not Barry Humphries in one of his wild impersonation. I think he lives in Melbourne, not Perth). I went there about 5 pm. I walked the trodden sandy path that circles the island as I took pictures like there's no tomorrow (There's only one tomorrow as it was my 2nd last day in Perth). After completed a lap of the circuit, I couldn't see even a roo's tail. They must have told the news of my coming.

Sure, as they're living in relatively "natural" environment, so I don't expect them to come out and pose for my photo, gesturing a "V" sign and say cheese (or whatever their favourite food is). After all, they're not confirmed in a cage as in a zoo so they can't hide from our prying eyes. Well, both roos and men are both in a cage. In this case, a very large cage.

I admit that the sun had started to set, and so visibility wasn't as good. While there're some trees and shrubs in the area, it isn't so thick that they could easily hide deliberately. Still, with their grey brownish camouflage, they could easily blend into the natural surrounding.

While a little disappointed, I did take some nice photos of this magical hour of the day around the island. To comfort myself, I say that even without the roos, the photos made it a worthwhile trip.

Rocky beach of Heirisson Island, Perth, WA
Rocky beach of the Island

Just look at some of these photos of the dusk on Heirisson Island and tell me these aren't lovely pictures.

Yagan statue, Heirisson Island, Perth, WA
Yagan Statue

City skyline as from viewed from Heirisson Island, Perth, WA
City skyline as viewed from the Island
Lovely sunset photo of city skyline. But not as pretty as the crow.

Crow, Heirisson Island, Perth, WA
This makes a good movie poster for either Hitchcock's Birds,
or book cover for Edgar Alan Poe's Raven.
Make me an offer.

A lake in Heirisson Island, Perth, WA
A lake on the island

I couldn't tell while I was taking photo of a swamp (it was actually darker. I overexposed the photo), I could smell the swamp gas, which made me hungry because that's the smell of cooking gas.

A swamp on Heirisson Island, Perth, WA
A swamp on the island

With that hunger call (too loud to ignore), I called it a day.

I decided to try my luck the next day to see these marsupial fellas. And here I was.

As it was my last day in Perth. I can't leave the city without saying goodbye to the kangaroos in Heirisson Island. Okay, I didn't even get to say hello to them yet.

Since I stayed so close by, I decided to come here again to try my luck. While somebody suggested on the net that the best time to go is late in the day during feeding time by the ranger. I went there around 5:30 pm yesterday. I saw the rangers (I think they were) drove away as I watched them from the causeway. So I just missed it (and I was really hungry). And with low visibility, I didn't get to see any of the kangaroos in the island.

I come here around 3 pm today. Being weekend, I could expect more visitors (dunno how much difference this makes as most visitors to this island are overseas tourists). As I entered the gate yesterday, a group of young people was leaving. And as I left, I saw a group of young men entering. Maybe they  - like the kangaroos - knew I was coming (no, no, I wasn't wearing those loud squeaky shoes (at the time)).

The best strategy would be to come earlier, and wait for the feeding time to avoid disappointment, especially if you can only take one trip here.

Indeed, there were several groups of people around the island today. As soon as I arrived, I saw a family gathered around, looking at something. It's a lot easy to spot a crowd than a kangaroos, whose fur are designed to blend into nature. With people, their clothes are designed to stand out.

I think I saw a total of 4 out of the 6 kangaroos on the island (unless the other pair I saw later were the same as the ones I saw when I arrived. It wasn't easy to tell them apart).

A child touch a kangaroo, Heirisson Island, Perth, WA
A cautious touch by a visitor

They don't mind being gawked at, and don't mind being stroke either. I have a feeling they enjoy it. While they're semi wild, and the island isn't exactly stomped all over by huge crowds of tourists, nevertheless, I suspect there're a few dozens of people visit them everyday. So they're quite accustomed to human contact. They're something of wild pets. You can stroke them, but I suggest you wash your hands afterwards. Heirisson Island isn't a name for a 5-star resort; so they don't get shampooed everyday. I only concern about the germ carrying issues.

Are those roos dirtier than money? I'm not so sure. If you're concerning about dirty money, then you should wash it. I don't mean laundering money, I mean washing it with soap. This is ok with Aussie dollar notes as they are plastic money. When I say plastic money, I don't mean credit card, I mean money notes that are made from polymer. I know some people smell or kiss their money. I advice them wash it first. But then the smell of money is probably gone after washing it. In any case, if you don't like your filthy money, give it to me. I like dirty money.

Swamp,  Heirisson Island, Perth, WA
The swamp looks less magical in the day time. Still it's quite breath-taking.
The swamp gas that is.

Shouldn't need more 2 hours to see everything on the island if you're overseas tourists where time are more pressing. It's a small island, and you probably only want to see the southern half of it. If you walk around the island without stopping, I don't think it takes much more than 1/2 an hour.

Remember to turn on volume and closed caption when watching the following youtube videos.

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