Welcome to Rottnest Island! A real paradise located only 20 km off-shore Perth, and one of the best places to visit in Western Australia. It was primarily called “rotte nest”, meaning “a rat nest” in Dutch. Yes, you hear me well. A rat nest! The island is inhabited by quokkas, adorable marsupials that look like giant rats. This is how a Dutch captain, the discoverer of the island, described those cute creatures. Ready to learn more about this place? In this blog post, I’m going to share with you the ultimate travel guide to Rottnest Island.
HOW TO GET TO ROTTNEST ISLAND?
Rottnest Island is located only 20 km off the coast of Western Australia, and you can get there with a ferry from Fremantle (B-Shed or Northport), or from Perth (Barrack Street). Booking is essential. The first morning ferry to Rottnest Island is the most popular, as well as the last one coming back to Perth in the afternoon. The price for the ferry depends on the place of departure (a ferry from Perth is a bit more expensive than a ferry from Fremantle), and the length of your stay on Rottnest Island (the admission fee goes up with the number of days on the island). I got to Rottnest Island with Rottnest Express, and paid AUD 76,50 for a ferry from Fremantle (AUD 51 the return ticket and AUD 25,50 for a 2-day admission fee).
WHAT IS THE BEST TIME TO VISIT?
Spring and autumn are best to visit Rottnest Island. From September to November and from March to May, you can expect temperatures around 25°C during the day. This is the best time to explore the island, but unfortunately, evenings can be a bit cold. Temperature may drop even to 10°C at night. On the other hand, Australia’s summer can be too hot. Imagine a 40°C heat during the day. Hard to handle away from the beach. Therefore, December, January and February are perfect for swimming and snorkelling. There’s not much shade on the island, so make sure to protect your skin from the sun, regardless of the season.
HOW TO GET AROUND?
The usage of cars is prohibited on Rottnest Island. You can get around on a bike or bus. I absolutely recommend exploring the island on a bicycle. This is one of the best things to do here! If you decide to explore the island on a bus, be mindful that this will limit the number of places you can actually see. The bus goes around the island according to the schedule. Make sure to check it out. When it comes to bikes, you can hire one on the island. You can also take your own from Perth (the price for a ferry goes up in such case). I rented a bike on Rottnest Island in Pedal & Flipper. The price for the first day of rental is AUD 30, and AUD 14 for any additional day. Electric bikes are also available. Remember that helmets are mandatory.
WHERE TO STAY OVERNIGHT?
The ultimate travel guide to Rottnest Island has to include some information about accommodation. So here we go! There are different accommodation options available on the island, ranging from reasonably priced campgrounds and cabins, cosy hostels and B&B, and superior hotels and ocean view apartments. You can find all these at the settlement. Likewise shops, restaurants and bars. Keep that in mind, and make sure to take sufficient water and food with you, especially if you are leaving the settlement for the entire day. There is no chance to buy any food outside the settlement. So a large backpack comes in handy!
WHAT ARE THE BEST THINGS TO DO?
A two day visit to Rottnest Island is definitely a must. This place has so much to offer. Just imagine beautiful sandy beaches, great snorkelling spots, a coastline with amazing views, and adorable quokkas ready to make friends with you. The island is 11 km long, and 5 km at its widest point, so it takes a couple of hours to do the round on the bike. I do think that one day is not enough to fully enjoy this place. Read more about the best things to do on Rottnest Island below, and make sure to check out a separate blog post with a ready-to-use, two-day Rottnest Island itinerary. Stay the night, and make the most of your time there!
It’s said that you can’t get back from Rottnest Island without a quokka selfie. It’s not hard to meet those cute marsupials on the island, but it’s extremely hard to take pictures with them. Quokkas are super friendly, always happy, and very lively! Unfortunately, the quokkas population has recently declined. Therefore, you can see them only on two islands in Australia, Bald Island and of course, Rottnest Island. It’s worth to say that touching or feeding quokkas is strictly prohibited. However, selfies are still allowed. So go for it!
Rottnest Island is a real paradise with beautiful, sandy beaches. Pinky Beach with majestic Bathurst Lighthouse is one of the most famous spots here. Located a bit further from the settlement, The Basin, Parakeet Bay and Little Armstrong Bay are also gorgeous. Followed by stunning Little Salmon Bay and Parker Point on the other side of the island. The truth is that there’s no beach that would disappoint here. The best idea is to jump on the bike, cycle around, and stop at any beach that makes you speechless.
Rottnest Island is well recognised for crystal-clear water and abundance of marine life. Little Salmon Bay and Parker Point are my favourite places to go snorkelling here. These spots literally blew my mind. Another interesting place is Henrietta Rocks with a shipwreck sunken to the bottom of the ocean close to the shore. So cool! Honestly speaking, it’s hard to say which beach is the best for snorkelling. They are all wonderful. Make sure to check out a separate blog post with a ready-to-use, two-day Rottnest Island itinerary.
Riding a bike is definitely a great way to explore Rottnest Island. You can get anywhere you want, anytime you want, and admire the views along the way. The island is mountainous, and it takes a little bit of effort to get around on two wheels, but trust me, it’s worth it. Make sure to get to West End, the westernmost point of Rottnest Island. Splendid views guaranteed! Cycling through the middle of the island is also cool. An inland route will take you to salt lakes, and the highest hill of the island with Wadjemup Lighthouse.
This was the ultimate travel guide to Rottnest Island. Are you going to explore the island on a bike or by bus? Let me know by leaving a comment below!