Visit Rottnest Island to swim in pristine waters, see fish and coral, stroll over white-sand beaches and see unique wildlife. This popular beach destination was once home to Aboriginal tribes and British colonizers and their prisoners and military.
The island sits 11 miles (18 kilometers) off the coast and is surrounded by the turquoise waters of the Indian Ocean. It only measures 6.8 miles (11 kilometers) by 2.8 miles (4.5 kilometers) at its longest and widest points, but has dozens of beaches, secluded bays with fur seals and many walking and cycling tracks.
Rent a bicycle or take the shuttle bus near the ferry stop to explore the key destinations. The farther you go from the main settlement around Thomas Bay, the fewer people you’ll see. If you are cycling, it’s worth the journey to the more secluded beaches.
You’ll find excellent swimming spots wherever you go. Snorkelers can see colorful coral and fish waiting beneath the surface. Go shore diving, or book a boat dive from the mainland, to see nurse sharks and rays in the limestone formations around the island. Jump aboard a glass-bottom coral viewing boat if you want to stay dry. Surfers can catch top waves at Strickland and Stark bays.
More than 13 ships struck the island’s outer reefs and onshore plaques indicate where the wrecks are. Head up to the Bathurst Lighthouse for 360-degree ocean views.
You may spot quokkas, small marsupials which are found only here. Dutch explorer Willem de Vlamingh, who landed here in the 17th century, thought they were rats and called the island “Rats Nest.” However, Aboriginals had already lived on the island for 6,500 years and they called the animal wadjemup. Visit the Rottnest Island Museum to learn about the island’s indigenous history, its discovery by the Dutch, its settlements by the British and its role as a military outpost.
To get to Rottnest Island take one of the pedestrian ferries from the docks in Fremantle, the jetty in central Perth or Hillarys Boat Harbour. Book your accommodation well in advance if you want to spend the night on the island.
Dining, Beaches and Islands
Wander through native scrubland, learn about plant species, have a barbecue or find a spot on the grass to enjoy the view of the Perth skyline.
Ride the waves, swim in the clear water or have a picnic on the terraced lawns overlooking the ocean at one of Perth’s best family beaches.
Nothing says vacation like spending a lazy day at City Beach, a popular beach in City Beach. Wander the waterfront or discover the area's coral reefs.
See the biggest gold coin in the world, watch the pouring of pure gold and tour the interesting exhibits at this historic coin-producing facility in the city center.
Discover the workings of the universe and wonders of planet earth at Western Australia’s fun and fascinating science and technology center. The kids will love it!
Explore the great outdoors with a trip to Hyde Park, a popular green space in Mount Lawley. Experience the entertainment choices or attend a sporting event in this walkable area.
Cruise over the Swan River to Rottnest Island—affectionately dubbed Rotto by locals—to tour this idyllic paradise by bus and on foot. Gaze out at dolphins from the West End lookout, learn about the island's stint as a penal colony, and get up close to its tiny, native kangaroo—the quokka.
Zip over the waves in the high-speed Eco Express, circling the whole of rugged and remote Rottnest Island. Cruise over the cerulean waters as you pass quiet bays and watch for native wildlife. Dolphins, quokkas, and birds from rock parrots to turquoise sacred kingfishers all thrive here.
Hit all of Rottnest Island's must-see locations as you cruise around the island on a comfortable bus tour. Ferry over from Perth and hop aboard a bus to visit hotspots like the Wadjemup Lighthouse, Oliver Hill Battery, and Cape Vlamingh.
Beautiful Rottnest Island, a low, sandy isle just off the coast of Perth, is a dream to visit by bike. Cars aren't allowed on the island roads, meaning you can cruise along in peace and quiet, stopping off at secluded beaches to swim, snorkel, and sunbathe at your leisure.
Let out your adventurous side for a day of exploring the beauty of Rottnest Island at its best. With a ferry ride from the coast of Western Australia and the use of a bicycle to explore at your leisure, you can see the unique wildlife and spectacular views on this remarkable piece of nature.
Itinerary Swim or snorkel if willing whilst lobster is cooking Duration: 1 hour Location: Parakeet Bay, Cockburn, Rottnest Island, Western Australia 6161 Australia