There is a beautiful little paradise situated in the turquoise waters of the Indian Ocean off the coast of Perth in Western Australia. That little paradise is known as Rottnest Island and its the perfect place to spend a day for a city escape.
If you haven’t heard of Rottnest Island, and chances are you haven’t if you are not all that familiar with WA, its somewhere you should definitely visit if you plan to travel in Australia.
The main attraction and what Rottnest Island is most popularly known for are the Quokkas! Chances are you have seen the images of these fury, adorable marsupials on instagram which always look like they are smiling. This famous pose people take with the qoukkas is known as #quokkaselfie and something you must do on your day trip to the island!
Fun Fact: The name Rottnest originated from Dutch explorers who mistook the quokkas for giant rats. They called the island “Rotte Nest” meaning “Rats’ Nest.”
Getting to Rottnest Island
Getting to Rottnest Island is fairly simple. The ferry takes you directly to the island and leaves about 6-7 times a day from several locations around Perth including Fremantle. There are three ferry options to get to Rottnest Island. The Rottness Express, The Rottnest Fast Ferries and the SeaLink Rottnest Island.
Prices vary between ferries and departing locations and also depends if you decide to include a tour package with your booking. I booked through a tour company called Backpackers World Travel which had a great deal for day trips to Rottnest Island. This saved some dollars compared to booking directly through a ferry company.
The package included return day transfers on the ferry, admission to the island and bike hire for the day. The cost was about $90 AUD. If snorkelling is an activity you want to do and one highly recommended if the weather is good, you can add this option for an extra cost to a package deal through tour companies or with the ferry companies directly.
The bike hires and snorkel gear are supplied from the ferry companies and provided to you when you check in to board the ferry.
If you just purchase a return ticket for the ferry you can also hire bikes and snorkel gear on the island.
Getting Around Rottnest Island
The best way in my opinion to get around the island and see as much as possible is by bike. If biking isn’t your thing then there is also a hop on hop off bus that loops the island throughout the day. Tickets can run about $20 AUD. Rottnest Island is quite fair in size so walking isn’t the best option if you only have a day and want to see as much as possible.
Biking the island can take a few hours so depending on how much time you have there are map options for a shorter or longer route. It is also a fantastic workout as there a lots of hills. Totally worth it for all the amazing views!
What to Expect on Rottnest Island
As Rottnest Island is a popular tourist destination and holiday escape, the island has a few local stores, restaurants, information centre, accommodation, camping, spas, and loads of various activities.
The main and ultimate attraction of course are the quokkas!
What To Do On Rottnest Island
First things first, spot the quokkas and #quokkaselfie. These little guys are all over the island and you will probably see them when you first get off the ferry by the information centre. With no predators on Rottnest Island, the quokkas are extremely friendly and far from people shy. You can get very close to them but, make sure you don’t touch or feed them. Be prepared to make multiple stops along your bike ride as you come across lots of quokkas and don’t be surprised if you see entire families. Beware, you will take lots of pictures!
Beaches and Snorkelling
Rottnest has so many great beach spots around the Island. Spend some time lounging and relaxing in the sun or taking a refreshing dip in the clear waters. If you brought snorkel gear, experience the diverse fish and coral life in your own underwater playground.
Some of the most popular beaches and bays include:
- The Basin
- Little Parakeet Bay
- Little Salmon Bay
- Geordie Bay
Stop by the visitor centre when you arrive on Rottnest for tips on the best snorkel spots.
There are two lighthouses on Rottnest Island. The Bathurst Lighthouse and the Wadjemup Lighthouse. You can take a tour of the Wadjemup Lighthouse daily from 10 am to the last tour around 2:30 pm. The cost is $9 AUD for adults. If you are budgeting, opt for views on the ground.
What to Pack For a Day on Rottnest Island
- Walking shoes
- Sandals, “thongs”
- Swim suit
- Extra sweater for cooler weather
- Lunch – make your own if you are budgeting and save some money
- Water – You can also purchase on the island
- Book if you enjoy reading on the beach
- Camera for the quokkas of course!
- Extra money for purchasing items if needed
- Umbrella in case of rain
Food and Drink on Rottnest Island
Rottnest Island has a fairly good selection of places to eat and drink if you decided not to bring a lunch and splurge a bit. Depending on the time of year you visit Rottnest, the weather can get hot and after spending all day biking the island, nothing is quite as refreshing as enjoying a cold brew or cocktail while gazing out at the pristine waters of Indian Ocean waiting to catch the ferry back to the mainland. Chances are high you will spot an abundant of quokkas around the restaurants trying to find scraps of food. More photo opportunities before leaving Rottnest!
And there you have it, a quick guide on how to spend one day on Rottnest Island. If you travelling in the Perth area Rottnest Island needs to be added to your itinerary. You will not regret it!
Have you been to Rottnest before? Would love to hear about your experience! Please share in the comments below.