Rottnest Island – a quintessential and relatively untouched island just 30 minutes by ferry from mainland Perth. This little slice of heaven might just be one of Western Australia’s best kept secrets. Think sandy white beaches, crystal clear waters and your toughest choice of the day is where to stop for refreshments. If you are lucky enough to find yourself in Western Australia then do yourself a favour and plan a trip to Rottnest Island. And because I want to ensure you have the THE BEST time, I have compiled a list of 10 things you must absolutely do whilst you are there.
Take a Selfie with a Quokka
Are these little guys the cutest marsupials you have ever seen? They always look as though they are smiling – perhaps because they live on Rottnest? In recent times they have become world famous for their strong selfie game and snapping pics with the likes of Chris Hemsworth, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal. They are very friendly and you can get quite close, but it is important to also respect their space. Fun Fact – the first founders thought the Quokkas were giant rats and hence named the island “Rat’s Nest’. Over the years, this has transformed into Rottnest.
Cycle Around the Island
A trip to Rottnest Island is not complete without hiring a bike and riding around to explore the sights. There are no vehicles on the island (other than service vehicles) so it is very easy and safe to get around by bike. It is suitable for amateur riders or seasoned cyclist, just make sure you have a map (plus some water and sun protection).
There are a couple of vendors whom offer bike hire on Rottnest Island. We booked our bike and helmet hire with our ferry tickets (Rottnest Express) and collected them as we disembarked the boat. Easy!
Swim at The Basin
The sparkling waters of The Basin make it the perfect place for a refreshing swim. With stunning shades of blue and turquoise, it had me reminiscing of the Caribbean. There are beaches available for swimming all over the island, but this one is particularly special as the water is shallow and clear.
Sip Cocktails at Pinky’s Beach Club
Established in 2019, this new beach club has an uber relaxed vibe and is the ideal place to spend the afternoon enjoying a cocktail (or two). It overlooks Pinky’s Beach and is joined to the new glamping site (see below). There is plenty of grassed area for the kids to roam around, as well as a sand pit and some garden games for use.
Hire a Boat
Should your legs be tiring from all the bike riding, then hire a boat and circumnavigate the island by water. Find yourself a secluded beach for a picnic or a quite place for a swim. Though be sure to obey all warning signs along the coast line. There are many dangers which you might not be used to i.e. unstable cliff edges or snakes. Boat hire available from Boating West.
Luxury camping is one of the hottest travel trends right now. These accommodations were opened in 2019 and are a great alternative to those who fancy camping but not everything it entails. Discovery Rottnest Island is located a 5 minute bike ride from the main settlement, and you can access both The Basin and Pinky’s Beach from the camp grounds. There is a pool available for guest use, communal BBQ’s as well as Pinky’s Beach Club for food and drink.
See Rottnest from the Sky
If you are an aviation lover like me then you will love the opportunity to see this gorgeous island from the skies. The white beaches contrasted by beautiful blue waters is simply breathtaking. You will quite literally have seen everything on Rottnest Island after taking one of these scenic flights. And If you are really lucky then you might even spot a whale during migration season (September – November). Check out Rottnest Air Taxi for more information.
Enjoy a Lobster Roll from The Lane
If you see the sign advertising fresh lobster rolls, then don’t go any further! These mouth watering delicacies were worth every cent. I did not see the sign every day, so I assume that they are only available on days when they have caught the crayfish fresh that morning. Nothing beats fresh local seafood, wherever you are in the world!
Go Snorkelling or Scuba Diving
Something you might not know about me – I have my scuba diving licence. And Rottnest is a wonderful place for snorkeling and scuba diving. Beautiful water, plenty of interesting marine life and high visibility if you secure a good day. I haven’t been scuba diving in a very long time – the older I get, the scarier it seems. But I have fond memories of a day spent at Rottnest Island, diving and exploring the surrounding waters.
Watch the world go by at Hotel Rottnest
Take in the views of Thomson Bay whilst sitting back and relaxing at the bar & bistro at Hotel Rottnest. They pride themselves on sourcing products locally and ethically from WA farmers, so you are guaranteed to enjoy some quality food & drink. There is often concerts and entertainment being showcased at Hotel Rottnest, so be sure to check their website for details.
A few more options if that hasn’t already sold it …
Enjoy a Round of Golf
Can you believe their is a golf club on this small island? If golf is your thing then enjoy a leisurely 9 holes at Karma Rottnest Golf Club. They also offer lawn bowls!
Take a Tour
There are many tours available on Rottnest to suit every interest. From walking trails, sunset yacht cruises and train rides to the WWII guns and tunnels. Head to Rottnest Island Tours for a full list and details on how to book.
Explore by Segway
Many cities now offer Segway tours as an alternative and fun way to explore, and Rottnest Island is no different. Check out Segway Tours WA for details on their latest offerings.
And with that round up, I hope I have you itching to book a trip to Rottnest Island and discover everything it has to offer. It truly is a very special place on Earth and somewhere everyone should visit once in their lifetime. Be sure to let me know in the comments section below what you fancy doing the most on your trip to Rottnest. Safe travels – Shell x
PS – Should you find yourself in Western Australia then a trip to Margaret River is also high on my recommendation list.
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