No cars, no city streets, no worries. It’s no wonder, then, that Rottnest Island (or “Rotto”, as the locals affectionately call it) is one of Western Australia’s top tourist attractions. Conveniently located just a short 19-kilometre ferry ride off the coast of Perth, it’s the perfect way to escape the city for a day for a bit of land and sea exploration.
The origins of the vibrant limestone reef surrounding Rottnest Island date back 100,000 years, and today, it’s a fantastic location for snorkellers and scuba divers to get up close and personal with beautiful coral, colourful marine life and even some shipwrecks. Head to Parker Point for a great snorkelling trail, complete with underwater plaques to guide you along the way. The island’s 63 stunning beaches are big drawcards, too – it can be difficult to decide where to begin. Be sure to check out a few of the favourites, including The Basin, Geordie Bay, Little Salmon Bay and Little Parakeet Bay.
On land, hiring bikes or hopping on the Island Explorer bus are great ways to get around to Rotto’s bountiful natural attractions. The 50-kilometre Wadjemup Walk features multiple sections (you don’t have to walk the whole 50), where you’ll find military remnants from World War II, the Lakes Boardwalk and Wadjemup Lighthouse. Here, you can take a guided tour, with the promise of magnificent panoramic views of the Indian Ocean when you climb to the top. For another tour to put a smile on your face, take one of the complimentary guided quokka walks. Some 10,000 quokkas call Rottnest home, and the best way to acquaint yourself with these adorable marsupials is to follow someone who knows their preferred hangouts and can share some fun furry facts along the way.
Ferries to Rottnest Island depart regularly from the mainland. It’s a 90-minute ride from Perth’s Barrack Street Jetty, 25 minutes from Fremantle’s Victoria Quay and 45 minutes from Hillarys Boat Harbour. Because there’s so much to see and do on Rottnest, there are also a range of accommodation options available on the island – take your time and make a weekend of it.