Perth's island paradise...
Just 19 km off the coast of Perth, but an entire world away, lies the sunny holiday island of Rottnest. Blessed with a casual atmosphere, picturesque scenery, dazzling marine life and some of the world's finest beaches and pristine bays, Rottnest Island is Western Australia's very own island getaway.
The island earned its curious name when in 1696, Dutch explorer, William de Vlamingh, mistook the island's unusual marsupial population for common rats and named it Rottnest - literally translating to 'rats nest'. Today, having a photo taken alongside the 'rats' - known as Quokkas - is one of the main highlights for visitors to the island.
Located just a short ferry ride from Fremantle, Hillarys Boat Harbour or Perth City, and an even shorter plane flight from Jandakot airport, it's easy to see why Rottnest Island is a favourite destination for Perth locals and those from further afield. Catch a ferry to Rottnest with Rottnest Express or Rottnest Fast Ferries.
There are virtually no cars on the island and bikes are the transportation of choice. Bikes can be hired, or you can bring your own aluminium steed by ferry from the mainland for a small fee. Covering an area only 11 km long and 4.5 km wide, the island is easy to explore but if traversing it by bike doesn't appeal, you can also enjoy the journey by air-conditioned coach.
Private bus charters are available but one of the best options is to catch a ride with local company, Bayseeker Tours. This hop-on/hop-off service runs daily, and with 18 stops on the agenda, takes you to many of the secluded bays and secret hideaways located around the island. Bus numbers are limited to preserve Rottnest's fragile environment. Day passes for this service can be purchased from the Rottnest Island Visitors Centre.
The visitor centre is also a great place to book a number of tours. Choices range from a variety of guided walks to historic train journeys and glass bottom boat rides. You can also pick up maps marking the many locations of the excellent bike and walk trails that criss-cross the island.
Things to see and do
Not surprisingly, water activities play a major role in island life and with just over 135 species of vibrant tropical fish and 20 species of coral, heading below the surface is a truly worthwhile experience. The Island also boasts the world’s most southerly corals and a water temperature at least 6 degrees warmer than on the mainland.
Seasoned divers will be happy to know that just off the coast slumbers a vast graveyard of over 13 shipwrecks waiting to be explored. Informational plaques can be found alongside the wrecks and are complemented by onshore plaques indicating their location for those that don't want to brave the depths.
Rottnest is also renowned for surfing. Take your board and prepare to carve up the waves. There are also plenty of other activities such as fishing, boating, golfing, a family fun park and a wellness centre. The lively Hotel is worth a visit or you can enjoy a meal at several dining establishments in the main Thomson Bay settlement area.
Accommodation ranges from camping to bungalows, and villas to comfortable serviced apartments making Rottnest the perfect place to spend a relaxed few hours or an indulgent few days. Find out more
Cycle around the island, enjoy a drink overlooking the sparkling blue ocean and explore the many fantastic bays and beaches.. Find out more
Cruise to Rottnest Island, hire bikes, explore the island on the Then, jump on board a cruise to Rottnest and explore the island on a Discovery Tour.. Find out more