Rottnest Island, Western Australia © Tourism Western Australia
Guide to Rottnest Island
Aboriginal name: Wadjemup (pronounced Wad-jem-up)
- Getting to Rottnest Island
- When to visit
When it’s time to relax and recharge, swap the rush of the city for an idyllic escape on Rottnest Island.
Located just 19km (12mi) off the coast of Perth, Rottnest Island’s tranquil setting will make you feel a world away. Rotto, as the locals call it, is a protected nature reserve boasting an abundance of unique flora and fauna, including spectacular marine life and the island’s most famous resident – the adorable quokka. Discover rich cultural heritage, explore white-sand beaches and swim and snorkel in pristine waters, all in this little pocket of paradise.
In the local Whadjuk Noongar language, Rottnest Island/Wadjemup translates to ‘place across the water where the spirits are’. To the Whadjuk Noongar people, Wadjemup is a spiritual paradise where spirits journey before the afterlife. Learn more about the island’s cultural significance during an Aboriginal walking tour with a Whadjuk guide.
- Traditional name: Wadjemup (pronounced Wad-jem-up)
- Indigenous Peoples: Whadjuk Noongar people
- Traditional lands: Whadjuk Nyoongar booja country
- Traditional languages: Whadjuk Noongar language
- How to say g’day in Noongar: Kaya
To reach Rottnest Island from Perth, catch a ferry or private air transfer. Ferries depart from three nearby harbours, each accessible by public transport, car or taxi.
- Ferries departing from Perth (Barrack Street Jetty) take approximately 90 minutes
- Ferries departing from the suburb of Fremantle take approximately 30 minutes
- Ferries departing from Hillarys Boat Harbour, 20 minutes north of Perth, take 45 minutes
- Scenic helicopter and seaplane flights are also available to the island
Rottnest Island is car-free, so the best way to get around is by bike, which you can hire on the island. Bus tours, shuttle services and walking tours are also available.
Like much of Western Australia, Rottnest Island’s weather is near perfect all year round. The lowest rainfall happens during the summer, and this is generally the most popular time to visit the island. In fact, accommodation for the Christmas period regularly books out months in advance, so plan ahead!
- High season: Summer (November to January)
- Low season: Winter (June to August)
- Don’t miss: The chance to spot baby quokkas from April to December
Everyone can visit the famous smiling quokkas on Rottnest Island with a suite of accessible facilities and services available.
- Arrival: At Perth Airport you’ll find a range of accessibility support. From Perth, Sealink operates daily wheelchair-accessible ferries.
- Getting around: Call ahead and reserve an accessible space aboard a Discover Rottnest or Quokka Coaches bus to hop around the island. You can also hire accessible equipment from the island’s Visitor Centre.
- Accessible experience highlights: Aside from stunning beaches, Rottnest Island’s main attraction is the adorable quokka. Ramps at key facilities, wide pathways and accessible bathrooms throughout the island ensure all travellers can experience these smiling marsupials.
- Helpful resources: Explore accessible services and facilities using the Rottnest Island accessibility guide.