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5 Things to do on Rottnest Island

A beautiful island that has so much to offer.

Rottnest Island is located off the coast of Fremantle, Western Australia and is known for its stunning beaches and wildlife. The island covers 19 square kilometres and is considered an ‘A-class Nature Reserve’ due to its high conservational value.

The island offers diverse experiences from walking trails and fishing to wildlife encounters and bike tours and is easily accessible by ferry with services leaving daily from Perth and Fremantle. For those staying in Perth, it’s a 90 minute journey with Rottnest Express ferry from Barrack Street Jetty. Alternatively catch a light plane or helicopter flight for a unique view of the island and the surrounding area.

“Surrounded by gleaming blue seas, with rustic beachside buildings, it’s not surprising that 500,000 people visit Rottnest island every year. One of the highlights was meeting the local animal inhabitants of the island, the quokkas. They’re marsupials and are often mistaken for rats – in fact explorer Willem de Vlamingh ended up calling the island: rat nest, or Rottnest in Dutch, because it was covered in quokkas,” says Jason Godfrey from Savour Australia.

Discover five experiences that will inspire you to travel to Rottnest Island and explore its unique landscape.

Video guide: Jason Godfrey experiences Rottnest Island, Western Australia.

Tour the island by bike

Rottnest Island Bike Tour, Rottnest Island, Western Australia

With the exception of the Island Explorer Bus, no cars are allowed on Rottnest Island so the best way to travel around the island is by bike.

Join a tour like Two Feet & a Heart Beat’s Rottnest Island Bike Tour where a local guide will take you around the island to see its landmarks and beautiful beaches while explaining the history.

Alternatively hire a bike with Rottnest Island Pedal & Flipper and explore the island in your own time as you cruise from beach to beach.  For those who would prefer to travel by Segway, Segway Tours WAoffer two tours on the island.

Wadjemup Walk Trail

Wadjemup Walk Trail, Rottnest Island, Western Australia

Explore some of the island’s stunning landscape on the Wadjemup Walk Trail, a 50 kilometre trail that is made up of five sections. Visit The Bickley Bay Walk where you can explore the Coastal Defence systems that were installed during World War Two, The Lakes Walk which takes you through the lake system on the island and Salmon Bay Walk where you can enjoy panoramic views of the Indian Ocean from the Wadjemup lighthouse. The remaining two walks are still under construction.

With each section of the trail taking approximately two to four hours to complete, you may like to extend your time on the island to explore all three. 

Spot a quokka

Quokka, Rottnest Island, Western Australia

Rottnest Island has an abundance of wildlife including seals, dolphins and whales in the surrounding waters and several bird species that nest on its shores. However there is one animal on Rottnest Island that is known as being one of the happiest animals on earth – the Quokka. This small marsupial, part of the wallaby species, is often photographed by visitors who can’t resist the Quokkas’ smile and friendly nature. There are about 12,000 Quokkas on Rottnest Island so keep an eye out for one of these friendly creatures, especially in the mid to late afternoon when they are at their most active. 


Crayfish diving, Rottnest Island, Western Australia

Due to the abundance of marine wildlife including Australian Herring, Tailor and Sea Garfish, Rottnest Island is a popular site for recreational fishing. You can catch a charter boat from mainland Perth that will take you over to Rottnest Island or you can also be picked up from the jetty on the Island.

Too Ezy Charters offer a half day fishing tour followed by anchoring in Rottnest Island Bay for a swim and lunch. Alternatively, Charter 1 allows you to create your own personalised experience staying on one of their chartered boats. Catch a cray fish, a local delicacy, and have it cooked for a delicious lunch on board the boat. Cray fishing season begins mid-October and finishes mid-April.   

Beaches and bays

Salmon Point, Rottnest Island, Western Australia

Rottnest Island has 63 idyllic beaches and 20 bays with sandy white shores and incredibly clear waters, perfect for swimming, snorkelling, surfing or paddle boarding. While you may not get around to all the island’s beautiful waterways, you can stop off at a few to see some of the 135 species of tropical fish that live beneath the water.

Try… Little Salmon Bay for snorkelling and the opportunity to see Bottlenose dolphins; Strickland Bay is a great spot for surfing on Rottnest Island; closest to the ferry terminal is Thomson Bay, a sheltered spot perfect for swimming.

Find out where else you can visit in Western Australia.