Less than 20 km off the coast of Perth City, the island paradise of Rottnest Island feels like a world away.
With its gorgeous landscapes, beautiful flora and fauna and stunning beaches, Rottnest Island is one of Perth's most beloved destinations for locals and visitors alike. Of course, it's home to the famous quokkas, known far and wide as the cute cheerful animals of the #quokkaselfie! But there's so much more to everyone's favourite island.
Rottnest Island is very easy to get to: just catch a ferry from Perth City, Fremantle or Hillarys with Rottnest Fast Ferries, Rottnest Express or Sealink Rottnest Island. Or for a truly luxe experience, fly over in style with Kookaburra Air, Rotorvation Helicopters, Corsaire Aviation or Swan River Seaplanes.
Enjoy these beautiful warm, sunny deals and get your exploring hat on with 7 of our favourite things to do on Rottnest Island.
Swim, Surf, Snorkel, Sunset, & Seafood
With so many gorgeous bays and beaches, Rottnest Island is a paradise for swimming, surfing and fishing.
The Basin is a particularly popular spot for swimmers, awarded Australia's Top Beach by Explore Australia in 2007. Strickland Bay, Salmon Bay and Stark Bay are all well-known surfing breaks and with 135 species of tropical fish found in the crystal clear waters, underwater adventures are a truly worthwhile experience. Rottnest Island boasts the world's most southerly corals and seasoned divers will be happy to know that just off the coast slumbers a vast graveyard of over 13 shipwrecks waiting to be explored at the snorkel trail at Little Salmon Bay. 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.
Another popular snorkelling spot is Parker Point Marine Snorkel Trail, perfect for experienced snorkelers. Located on the southern side of the island, the trail features a number of plaques on the sea bed which allow you to read about the abundant flora and fish life in the area. Water conditions are generally calm and crystal-clear, for fantastic viewing of marine plants and animals, and the stunning coral reef.
If you're more interested in catching the fish, hundreds of species can be found around Rottnest Island, making it a perfect spot for beginner and experienced fishers alike. Rottnest Cruises even offers a Wild Seafood Experience, so you can catch the most delicious lobster while exploring the island in style; followed by an evening enjoying the glorious sunset over the ocean during the Cast & Cruise Sundowner. Apache Charters also offers the luxurious Quokka and Rock Lobster Tour, departing and returning from Fremantle.
Speaking of adventure, if you've ever wanted to try skydiving, here's a treat for you. Thanks to Skydive Geronimo and luxury helicopter tour specialist, Corsaire Aviation, you can skydive out of a helicopter - talk about a Rottnest experience with a difference! You'll start with a spectacular scenic flight to altitude over Rottnest Island in a VIP Eurocopter EC130, with the door open, and you'll jump from the helicopter at a whopping 10,000ft. Daredevils, don't miss out!
If you love to challenge yourself, or enjoy watching the amazing achievements of others, there an exciting competitive swimming event coming up in March! Over a thousand participants swim from Fremantle's Leighton Beach to Rottnest in the charmingly-named Port to Pub. While the Channel Swim has closed entries, being a spectator is incredible too, and there will be plenty of sponsor activities on the Island that day. And the other competitions are still open for registration - great exercise, and a great adventure!
Looking for a more relaxed form of entertainment? Head to Rotto Summer Vibes! Hotel Rottnest has teamed up with Otherside Brewing Co. for a summer concert series by the beach featuring red-hot live music acts and shows to keep you dancing all night long! Check out internationally acclaimed Aussie act Kasey Chambers (March) hit the island shores for a show you won't forget.
Get In The Know
Rottnest Island is full of cultural, historical and environmental significance, abundant in fascinating stories and places to explore. There's a variety of coach, train and walking tours available so you can experience Rottnest in a whole new way.
Hop on the Rottnest Fast Ferries, Segway Tours WA or Rottnest Express tours to discover the Island's many attractions; jump aboard the Captain Hussey train to Oliver Hill to view the WW2 guns and explore a maze of underground tunnels; climb the Wadjemup Lighthouse for panoramic views; and visit the museums and galleries to learn about the fascinating history and culture of the Island.
There's also free guided walking tours run by the Rottnest Voluntary Guides Association, leaving from the Meeting Post outside the Salt Store Gallery and Exhibition Building regularly. These tours have various themes such as Pioneers and Prisoners, and Reefs, Wrecks & Daring Sailors. Captivating, educational and entertaining!
Another great tour option is Go Cultural Aboriginal Tours and Experiences, which offers a one-hour tour that will heighten your appreciation of 'Wadjemup' (the local Aboriginal name for Rottnest Island) and the Island's intriguing past and spiritual significance to Nyungar People.
Finally, walking trails are a great way to get close to nature. The Wadjemup Bidi is a series of walk trails crossing spectacular coastal headlands and stunning inland, with plenty of natural and man-made attractions along the way, including a stunning array of over 1,500 wildflower species. Check out our website for more Rottnest Island Walking Trails and Rottnest Island Wildflower Trails.
Experience The Island At Night
Rottnest Island at night is an enchanting experience! Quokkas are nocturnal animals, so they're most active at this time. When the day-trippers have headed home, these curious, friendly animals are out in droves. And watching a mother quokka nursing her young is a truly magical sight, not to be missed.
There are several accommodation options available on the island, from budget to luxury. Hotel Rottnest is a steadfast favourite, offering plush accomodation and delicious food. For a unique close-to-nature experience, try glamping at the eco-resort Discovery – Rottnest Island on picturesque Pinky's Beach, one of the most relaxed and beautiful coastal locations in Australia.
Take A Quokka Selfie
No list of fun things to do in Rottnest Island would be quite complete without the iconic quokka selfie! Described as the cutest trend in Australia, travellers from all over the world flock to Rotto for that special moment with the world’s happiest animal.
These friendly, inquisitive little marsupials are naturally curious, and it's not hard to get photos of them. But the quokka selfie itself can be a bit difficult - prepare for lots of outtakes! A few tips: it's easier with a selfie stick; stay in one spot so that they’ll come to you instead of the other way around; and for both your safety and that of the the quokka, do not touch or feed them (it's also against the law, and comes with fines). Have fun, and smile - the quokka will too!
You can spot some incredible wildlife on Rottnest Island! The island is an A-Class Nature Reserve with abundant life on land, air and water, and many unique species. From the quokka to the osprey, fur seals to whales, dolphins, bats and much more. The Cathedral Rocks viewing platform is a great place to spot a fur seal, while Lake Herschel and Lake Baghdad are fantastic for bird watching.
You can also adopt a Quokka - no, you can't take one of these heartwarming cutie-pies home, but you can take a part of Rottnest home with you! Just head to the Visitor Centre to adopt a quokka soft toy, with its very own Adoption Certificate. This Rottnest Island Authority initiative raises money for quokka conservation efforts, and it’s just such a perfect souvenir of your trip.