Visit Rottnest Island – A top spot to get away, relax and explore

Rottnest Island lies just 19km off the coast of Western Australia with a paradise holiday feel. With stunning picturesque scenery, dazzling marine life, the infamous Australian Marsupial, the Quokka, and some of the world’s finest beaches and pristine bays, it is no wonder that locals and visitors alike can’t get enough of this island hotspot!

Enjoy activities such as cycling, walking trails, museums, cruises, snorkeling, sky-diving and more – all in the relaxed style of the island. Or simpy take the time to appreciate the stunning beaches and natural beauty of this idyllic holiday destination.

Rottnest Island is an easy ferry ride, boat ride or short flight from easily accessible locations nearby to Perth.

Where did the Island Get it’s name from?

Rottnest Island earned its unusual name when Dutch explorer, William de Vlamingh, mistook the island’s unusual marsupial population for common rats (in 1696) and named it Rottnest – literally translating to ‘rats nest’.

Today, having a photo taken alongside the ‘rats’ – known as Quokkas – is one of the main highlights for visitors to the island.

Quokka on Rottnest Island Quokka on Rottnest Island

WHY VISIT ROTTNEST ISLAND?

NATURE & WILDLIFE

Quokka at Rottnest Island

Rottnest Island is a protected nature reserve, which is home to the Quokka, many birdlife species, spectacular flora, abundant unique marine life and wildlife. With just over 135 species of vibrant tropical fish and 20 species of coral, exploring below the water is an amazing underwater experience.

SPECTACULAR BEACHES

Rottnest Island beaches feature pure white sand and crystal clear blue waters and are popular for sunbathers, swimmers, surfers and snorkelers. “The Basin” is arguably the most popular beach because of its shallow reef platform and gentle waves.

THINGS TO DO

Activities abound on Rottnest Island. From cycling, surfing, exploring by Segway, golf, fishing and kyaking to lawnbowls, mini golf, walking trails and so much more; there is something for all ages and stages. Alternatively, simply enjoy being pampered at the Rottnest Island Karma Spa.

Getting Around Rottnest Island

Being a small The island (only 11km long and 4.5km wide), it is easy to explore, with a number of great trails to follow.

By Bike
On Rottnest Island, bikes are the easiest way to get around. You have the option of bringing your own bike on the ferry or renting a bicycle on the island.

By Bus
The Island Explorer is a hop-on/hop-off service which runs daily and with 18 stops on the agenda. It can take you to many of the secluded bays and secret hideaways located around the island. Day passes for this service can be purchased from the Rottnest Island Visitors Centre.

Tours:
You can also book a variety of tours from the Island Visitor Centre, including historic train journeys, lighthouse tours, underwater explorations, segway tours, skydiving, and glass bottom boat rides.

On Foot
There are free guided walking tours or simply take a stroll wherever you want to go.

Rottnest Island - electric bikes in the reserve

GETTING TO ROTTNEST ISLAND

By Boat:

Taking your own boat to Rottnest Island is the perfect opportunity to experience the island’s many coastal activities. Docking fees boating regulaions and island entry fees apply.

Find out more

By Ferry:

Rottnest Island is just a short ferry ride from Fremantle, Perth and Hillarys Boat Harbour with Rottnest Express, Rottnest Fast Ferries and Mills Charters.

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By Air:

Fly to Rottnest Island with Kookaburra Air, Rottnest.Aero, Rotorvation Helicopters, Corsaire Aviation and Swan River Seaplanes.

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The Quokka

The Quokka is has become known as the “World’s Happiest Animal” because of it’s relaxed, and friendly nature. Quokkas are part of the same family of Marsupials which Kangaroos and Wallabies fall into and are classified as a vulnerable species and have been almost completely wiped out on the mainland.

Quokkas are famous for their photo “selfies” so make sure not to miss out on your opportunity to get your #quokka_selfies whilst on the island.

But please please please take care our Quokkas – watch the video to find out more about these superb little marsupials.

Overnight Accommodation

Staying over on the island couldn’t be easier with a wide range of accommodation options to appeal to all budgets.

From camping, bungalows and cabins to luxury options with ocean views and premier facilities.

Eating and Drinking

You are spoilt for choice for dining options on Rottnest Island with options ranging from top class restaurants to bakeries and coffee shops. Restaurants include including Aristos Waterfront Restaurant and  Hotel Rottnest; whilst The Lane, Dome Café and Geordie’s Café offer take aways and coffee. Delicious pub grub is available at Govenor’s Bar and Riva Restaurant and Courthouse Bar whilst casual dining is on offer as Subway, Rottnest Bakery and The General Store.

History of the Island

It is believed that Rottnest Island was separated from the mainland 7,000 years ago when the sea level rose and cut the island off.

Known to local Aboriginal people as Wadjemup, the Island is believed to be a place of spirits and is of significance to Aboriginal communities. Artefacts have been found at a number of sites on Rottnest Island pre-dating 6,500 years ago and are possibly tens of thousands of years old, indicating previous Aboriginal occupation of this area prior to the separation of the Island from the mainland.

The first Europeans took up residence on Rottnest Island shortly after the first settlement of the Swan River Colony was established in 1829. Rottnest Island was considered to be of interest as a place with potential for salt harvesting, farming and fishing but later became a penal settlement. Closure of the prison turned the attention of the public and the Government to Rottnest Island’s possibilities as a recreation destination.