Cutest ever Quokkas, turquoise blue waters, seals, whales, pristine beaches and much more – nature at it best just a ferry ride away from Perth City ❤ ! Rottnest Island is one of our favourite places near Perth and if you have a day or two at hand you should definitely visit this beautiful paradise in Western Australia!
Taking a day trip from Perth ❤ ? Check out this post for rest of your itinerary for in and around Perth.
Rottnest is believed to have separated from mainland 7000 years ago when the sea water level rose but the limestone coral reefs around it have been in existence since hundreds of thousands of years and you can swim around the untouched sea life 🙂 . This exotic island got its name after “Rats’ Nest Island”, because of the cute quokkas (marsupials) it is home to!
Getting there and going around :
Rottnest is just a ferry ride away from the Perth City. There are ferries available from Perth main city area and Hillarys as well, but takes longer to reach. If you are visiting for just a day, you could take the earliest ferry out to the island at 7.30 – 8.00 AM and take the last one back from the island between 4.30 – 5.00 PM. We were staying near Fremantle and it was a 25 min ferry from there.
It is advisable to book the ticket one day prior because it is popular among the locals as well as tourists. You can book online or check the timings here for Rottnest Fast Ferries, Rottnest Express and Sealink Rottnest Island ferries. These companies also offer discounted packages along with return tickets, if you are interested in doing some activities at the Island like whale watching, rent a cycle etc.
Get a map of the island as soon as you reach. Rottnest has a lot of beautiful spots and you need to pick the must-dos before you start off exploring the island. When you get off, right beside the pier are some nice restaurants and some small shops to buy beach clothes, flip-flops and sunscreen (strongly suggest this as the island can get extremely hot and sunny during the afternoons)! Carry some water with you while setting out to explore this place as the whole island is full of uphill climbs with stores only around the jetty area and few very popular spots.
Accomodation at Rottnest Island:
We went to Rottnest for a day and saw some of the most beautiful sights. However, since the Island is big and has many attractions to check out, we recommend staying for a night at one of the premium resorts or glamping sites. If you are on a budget, Rottnest has budget hotels and hostels as well. We highly recommend to book your accommodation in advance!
Here are our picks on the top things to do at Rottnest Island (in no particular order,as the whole island is breathtakingly beautiful):
1. Take selfies with the Qoukkas:
Qoukkas are cute marsupials native to Rottnest. The island gets its name from them. They are very friendly and the most adorable creatures always posing for a perfect photo or selfie. You can see them hopping around everywhere. Though they are nocturnal mammals, they do go around during the day for opportunistic feeding. Do note: please be respectful and do not feed them anything (infringements may be issued for this) ! Take a photo from distance, maybe with a selfie stick.
2. Visit the natural swimming pool:
Want to go for a swim in a natural pool with sea on one side and land on other? The Basin is one of the most famous beaches on Rottnest. It is a turquoise blue natural rock pool in the sea (which) with waves bashing the shore and playful marine life all around you. The pool is not so deep and easy to access. Perfect for a nice swim and amazing views!
3. Dive or Snorkel through the clear blue waters :
Rottnest is a heaven if you are looking for clear waters to get up close with the corals and marine life or go for some diving or snorkelling! Watch out for Stingrays in the shallows of Thomson Bay! Spot dolphins in Salmon Bay! Little Salmon Bay and Little Armstrong Bay are also known for snorkelling. All these and many more bays are sheltered and calm and provide a perfect snorkelling experience. You may check the visitor center for more information on the sites and on guided tours available.
4. Go beach or bay hopping:
With a fairly long coast line and crystal clear waters, Rottnest is full of beautiful white sand beaches – 63 secluded beaches and 20 bays to be precise. Top few are the Basin, Thompson Bay, Little Parakeet Bay and Little Salmon Bay. Some of the accommodations are right beside the beach. You can wake up to the breathtaking view of the beautiful ocean.
Since there are so many options to choose from, if you are visiting Rottnest only for a day or two, we recommend you look through the maps or activities here to pick the beaches you would like to visit! There are hop on hop off buses that can drop you to your shortlisted points of interest.
5. Hop on a whale watching cruise:
Around 35000+ humpback and southern right whales migrate via the calm waters around Rottnest. The migration cycle starts from April every year when the whales head north to feeding grounds and from September to December when these playful creatures head back south.
The ferry companies that provide transfer to Rottnest Island also provide whale watching tours. You can be part of the amazing migration experience where playful new-borns linger around the grown ups. You will be awed by how beautifully the whales jump out of water and creates a splash when it goes back in every time. Imagine a view with endless sea and hundreds of these creatures playing around :). Whale watching should definitely be on your list when visiting Rottnest Island!
6. Get up close with the Rottnest Wildlife:
Apart from qoukkas and whale watching, this island also offers a variety of other exotic wildlife encounters. Head to the Cathedral Rocks to view the playful New Zealand fur seals, fighting joyfully with each other splashing the ocean, or just laying lazily sunbathing. Swimming with the seals is not allowed. Do respect the rules Rottnest authorities have issued to protect them.
Seal-viewing could be part of your package with the whale watching cruise. You can go bird watching all across the island, spot the Osprey Nests. You can also take guided tours if you would love to explore the flora, fauna and wildlife on this exotic island. There are nature trails collectively known as Wadjemup Bidi – you can check out the trails here to experience nature at its best and take in the views.
7. Choose from your favorite activities :
Apart from exploring the wildlife and nature around this island, you can also indulge in activities like surfing around many of the bays and spots all around Rottnest – with Strickland Bay being ranked as one of the top 50 Surfing breaks in the world. For the adventurous ones, sky diving is also an option.
You can play golf with beautiful views and landscapes in background – making it a perfect little break from the routine! Or simply – Go fishing. Rottnest has regular planned entertainment events as well. Not keen on any activity in particular? Just climb up to the top of one of the lighthouses and soak in the breathtaking view! 🙂
This list is only a pick of the few fun things you can do on this amazing getaway : for more information you can also check the website here. Happy Exploring! 🙂