How to reach the Rottnest Island

West Australians have a lot of choices when it comes down to the soft, white sands, turquoise water, and marine life. Rottnest, or Rotto as it is known locally, is something special.

Rottnest is a protected nature reserve with idyllic swimming spots, a relaxed vibe, and postcard-perfect scenery. The 19-km two-island is a popular snorkeling destination with 63 beaches and twenty bays.

This island paradise is just 18 km from the coast and only a hop-skip-and jump away from Fremantle and Perth. Do not forget your snorkel and selfie sticks!

How to get there

It’s not uncommon for the ferry ride to be bumpy. However, it is a relatively short trip. The journey takes about 30 minutes by ferry from Fremantle and 90 minutes from Perth City. Rottnest Express is one of three companies that service the Island. The others are SeaLink and Rottnest Fast Ferries. Avoid disappointment by booking your tickets online, especially in the summer months.

If you want to be seen in style, a helicopter or seaplane is the fastest (and most expensive) way. There is also the option to charter a private yacht.

Thomson Bay Settlement is a short walk from the ferry terminal. It has a visitor center, shops, and cafes. You’ll find quokkas here later in the day. The busiest place on the Island, this is where you can get a snack – try an organic meat pie at the Rottnest Bakery! – or any supplies. A small supermarket is also located at Geordie Bay, on the north side of the Island.

Settle down

About 70% of Rottnest Island visitors are daytrippers. If you’re not in the mood to sprint for the last ferry or want to relax and enjoy the sunset, stay the night. Accommodation on Rottnest is varied, from camping to luxury hotels and beachfront glamping. However, it tends to book up quickly.

Samphire Rottnest is the newest accommodation on the Island. It features luxury villas and restaurants, as well as a beachfront location on Thomson Bay.

The eco-sustainable Discovery Rottnest Island resort, which has 83 tents hidden behind Pinky Beach’s dunes, offers a close-to-nature experience without sacrificing creature comforts. The 83 tents at Discovery Rottnest Island have outdoor decks and ensuites and are a low-impact glamping option.

Karma Rottnest can be found behind the bakery. It’s located in an old jail and is unfussy. A campground is located near the settlement and a short walk away from The Basin Beach.

How to get around

You can only get around the Island by bus, bicycle or segway. You can take your bike across the Island for a fee or rent one on the Island or from the ferry company.

Biking around the entire Island takes about 22km. In the heat, there are many hills, so consider using an e-bike to pedal more comfortably. The Island is more fun to ride counterclockwise! The 4km mini-loop takes in the top attractions, including The Basin and Geordie Bay. It can be completed in less than an hour.

Two bus services are available: a hop on, hop off Island Explorer bus that stops at different beaches and bays while traversing the Island clockwise, and a Discovery Bus, which loops around in 90 minutes and includes commentary.

If you need a locker, you can rent one (small or medium) behind the Visitor Centre.

Enjoy a whale-like time

There are parts of the west end that can only be reached by bicycle. The Island becomes more rugged at the west end if you cycle the entire 22km of Rottnest. Visit the viewing platforms in Cape Vlamingh and Cathedral Rocks to observe Australian sea lions as well as Bottlenose dolphins, New Zealand Fur Seals and (from November to August) humpbacks whales.

Underwater Treasures

Rottnest has more than 135 tropical fish species to be spotted around the area. If you’re not keen on bringing your equipment, you can rent it from Pedal and Flipper.

The Basin, an island-wide snorkeling paradise, is a great place to start. Little Armstrong Bay is a quiet, secluded bay on the north of the Island. A shipwreck is located in the shallows at Henrietta Rocks. It’s about 50 meters away from the shore. It is best to do this when the conditions are flat and calm.

Salmon Bay is an ideal habitat for marine juvenile life. Little Salmon Bay is the southernmost point of Rottnest and has many reefs. It’s perfect for beginners, as it has calm waters.

Don’t fancy heading underwater? Glass bottom kayaking is an exciting way to explore the world below.

Quokkas are a must

The marsupials are a favorite on Rottnest, and they certainly deserve the Most Popular Award. There is so much wildlife and marine life to behold. Remember not to touch or feed the Island’s most popular resident. They may be friendly and photogenic (perhaps due to the absence of predators on Rottnest Island).

There are many animals to be happy about, even though they are nocturnal. This is especially true in the late afternoon and early evening. Free guided walks are available (1pm daily) from the main settlement to learn about the quokkas and their natural habitat.

Take a look

Climb the nearby Wadjemup Lighthouse on a guided tour. Rottnest Island’s highest point offers 360-degree panoramic views of the Island, the Indian Ocean, and Perth City. You’ll find quokkas near the 19th-century lighthouse, looking for shade.

Rottnest Air offers sightseeing flights around Rottnest or air-taxi transfer to and from Rottnest (about 12 minutes one way with the option to add a scenic detour).

Want more adrenaline? Take a skydive to see the Island and experience the thrill of freefalling for up to 66 seconds, depending on the altitude you choose. Then, enjoy a relaxing ride to the beach.

Pink About It

To change up the blue of the coast, you can find a few salt lakes near the center of Rottnest. There are 12 salt lakes in total, and five of them dry up during the summer. The pinkish color of the smaller lakes is due to Dunaliella salina. The pink is not as bright as other pink lakes in the state, but it’s still beautiful, especially when seen at sunrise or sunset. These lakes are part of a wetland habitat, which is an important part of the Island’s ecosystem, and covers more than 200 acres of salt lakes, swamps, and seeps.

Beach hop

There are secluded and busy spots on the Island. Pinky Beach has a buzzing Beach Club restaurant and bar, the ideal place to relax and enjoy the view, especially if you are staying on the Island at night.

The Basin is popular for snorkeling in its shallow, crystal-clear waters. Thomson Bay has a swimming area that is roped off and is very busy due to its location.

The southern coast is home to Salmon Bay, which is a popular, busy beach, Parker Point, and Little Parakeet Bay, a great, calm, shallow swimming spot.

A rich history

It was a prisoner-of-war camp, a penal settlement, and an army barracks. Then, it became the idyllic island retreat that it is today.

You can learn about the military history of the Island by purchasing a ticket for the historic train that will take you up to Oliver Hill. The tunnels are still equipped with 9.2-inch guns. This is the only remaining WWII battery left in Australia.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *