Monday, December 07, 2009

sleeping out to get in

This marvellous Rottnest story was in the admirable POST on the weekend.

People sleep out for AC/DC tix, for VIP seats at the Olympics - and for bungalows on the beautiful island.

As well as the pic here there were also pics of snoring people at 5.15am the day the office opened and people having a cup of tea to while away the time.

Some western suburbs identities we know secured the prize of Colebatch for later this month.

WESTERN suburbs residents’ love for Rottnest was put to the test earlier this week when holiday bookings for December 2010 opened.

People anxious to secure a cottage on the island for Christmas next year started queuing outside the accommodation office at Rottnest from the middle of last week.

By Saturday afternoon, about 25 people had brought their sleeping bags and folding chairs to settle in for three days and nights camping out on the pavement.

When bookings opened at 8.30 on Tuesday morning, about 120 hopeful holidaymakers had turned the concrete plaza around the office into a colourful camping ground.

Some brought laptops and worked, or watched movies, others brought beach shelters and folding beds to make their stay as comfortable as possible.

Power points outside the office were kept busy charging mobile phones so campers could stay in touch with friends and family on the mainland, discussing preferred dates, locations and prices for a holiday a year away.

Members of the sporting O’Connell family kept up a family tradition of three generations, securing cottages for their Christmas celebrations.

Some of the queuers joined Rottnest Society volunteers on Monday morning to paint the sea wall.
But most of the time, the campers chatted, read, picnicked, went for an occasional swim and made friends with the people they will holiday with next year.

A local primary school teacher took two days of long service leave to join the queue.

“But don’t take my picture – the parents will wonder why I’m at Rottnest instead of teaching their children,” she said.

Doctors and lawyers took time off work to queue for their families; teenagers who had just finished exams were in demand to sleep out at night while their parents retired to their cottages and bungalows.

People can only queue on the island if they have accommodation on Rottnest, but “queuettiquette” (a term coined by a happy group in the queue) demands that somebody occupies each group’s chairs and beds at all times.

The accommodation rule means that the queue at Rottnest is usually shorter than the one outside the island’s accommodation office at Victoria Quay in Fremantle.

A Rottnest Island Authority said about 70 people were in a Quay queue by 8am on Tuesday.

“People just kept coming,” she said.

And there is a good chance that those prepared to brave the elements for a few days and nights will get the accommodation they want in 12 months time.

Getting through to the Rottnest Island Authority’s telephone booking service is much less reliable.

Accommodation at Rottnest is decided by a ballot system during school holidays - but in summer, the system does not swing into operation until New Year.

One of the first groups to arrive on the island said they were welcomed by the accommodation staff.

“They told us they were pleased to see us and happy that we were so passionate about Rottnest,” one woman said.

She and her friends have been queuing for December accommodation every year for several years, but they were coy about revealing just how many times they had queued or exactly when they had arrived last week.

Many “campers” said they were unhappy with the RIA’s decision to eliminate peahens so the peacocks on the island would gradually die out.

They were visited by a friendly peacock each day in the queue, which shied away timidly if anybody shouted or waved a hand at it.

The potential of sunburn during the day and stiff limbs after nights sleeping on the ground were all worth it, as shouts of joy meant the first 20 or so people in the queue had managed to book their preferred places for another summer of fun on their favourite island.

The authority spokeswoman said 664 bookings were taken at Rottnest and Victoria Quay on Tuesday.

1 comment:

  1. Your article is very interesting.Thanks for sharing this wonderful pic.