Come say hello and meet the Quokkas of Rottnest Island
Whether you’re a Perth local or travelling to Western Australia from elsewhere – Rottnest Island is a must-see destination. With its pristine coastline with some 63 beaches, turquoise waters in the 20 bays and cheeky quokkas – Rottnest is a place unlike anywhere else in the world. If you are wondering what to see and do on Rottnest Island, here are some suggestions. But don’t forget to meet the Quokkas.
What is a Quokka?
A quokka is a small macropod, similar in size to a domestic cat. They are herbivorous and mostly eat grasses and leaves. They are mostly nocturnal however, you can still see them through the day on Rottnest Island. It is hard to say exactly how many quokkas live on Rottnest Island though I have been told around 8-12,000 roam freely. So if you want to meet a quokka, Rottnest Island is the best place to see them living in the wild.
Where is Rottnest Island and How to Get There?
Rottnest Island is a small island only 19km off the coast of Perth, Western Australia. It originally was called ‘Rotten nest’, meaning ‘rat’s nest after William de Vlamingh thought the animals he saw were rats. But in fact they were quokkas. As Rottnest Island is a little island and surrounded by water the best and most popular way to get there is to sail. Ferries leave regularly from Perth’s Barrack Street Jetty as well as Fremantle and Hillarys Boat Harbour. If you don’t feel like sailing, don’t worry, you can get to Rottnest Island by air taxi, seaplane, helicopter or on a tour.
How to Get Around the Rottnest Island?
You cannot take you car to Rottnest Island, but don’t worry, there are a number of ways to get around Rottnest Island. You can walk, hire a bike or Segway. There is also the Island Explorer Service bus which runs every 30 minutes and makes continuous circuits of the island. You can organise your transport in advance or at the Visitor Centre or main bus stop vending machines. If you don’t want to plan your day yourself why not go on a tour. Go Cultural Aboriginal Tours provides historic, in-depth tours of Wadjemup (the Indigenous name for Rottnest Island) for a more cultural experience. Here are some tours to consider.
What to See and Do on Rottnest Island
Meet The Quokkas
The biggest attraction on Rottnest Island are the Quokkas. The only native mammal on the island, the famous Quokkas of Rottnest can be found all over the island. Tame and friendly, these precious locals can be spotted in and around town, especially in the late afternoon. If you need more information on how to see the quokkas of Rottnest Island, free guided quokka walking tours are available.
While the quokkas are certainly cute and friendly, which is why so many people get a selfie with them, touching, patting and feeding them is not permitted. You can be fined for doing so. Also, Quokkas have a nasty bite so keep a little distance. However, this can be difficult as many of them are very friendly fellows and they often approach you to get a closer look. Some are known to forage in your bag for food so keep your bags closed. Some might even say to the point of annoying! But I’ll let you discover that for yourself.
Tips to Get Your Self with a Quokka
- Choose your Quokka
- They are inquisitive and use to people coming close to them. Simply get down to their level and wait for them to come to you.
- Take your selfie with the Quokka.
Enjoy The Beaches of Rottnest Island
The second biggest attraction on Rottnest are the beaches of which there are some 83 beaches. Well Rottnest Island is a little island surrounded by ocean! The beaches and bays contain clean white sand, clear blue water and intriguing rock pools and formations for young and old to enjoy. You can swim, snorkel, picnic and explore any of the beaches or bays. Popular spots include Little Salmon Bay, The Basin and Little Parakeet Bay. Don’t forget sunscreen, a hat, your bathers and a towel.
Enjoy the Water Sports on Rottnest Island
As mentioned, Rottnest Island has some 83 beaches and 20 bays all offering water sports. Snorkelling at Rottnest is a breathtaking experience. The marine sanctuaries are home to over 135 species of tropical fish, bottlenose dolphins, stingrays and turtles. There are coral reefs, diving plaques and a shipwreck to explore when diving in this underwater paradise. If you surf or bodyboard, Rottnest has several popular spots with consistent conditions and surfable breaks. Stark Bay, Strickland Bay and Salmon Bay are just some of the best places on the island for catching a wave or two. And don’t worry about taking your own equipment, although you can, but you can hire much of the equipment. Boats, water bikes, snorkelling gear, kayaks, bikes, glass-bottom sea kayaks and even the famous catamaran Capella are just some of the things you can hire to better explore, experience and enjoy Rottnest Island.
Do Some Whale Watching from Rottnest Island
Between September and December, you can catch a glimpse of some of the 35 000 humpback whales that make their way past Rottnest Island each year. West End is the best location for spotting them from the island.
Enjoy the Beaches and Bays while on Rottnest Island
Hike The Wadjemup Bidi (walking trails)
The indigenous name for trail is Bidi, and Wadjemup Bidi refers to the series of trails that wrap around the island. These trails allow you to walk part or all of the island, so you can take your time while absorbing the sea air and amazing views. If this is your plan, then ensure you have good walking shoes and a water bottle. I would suggest to avoid this activity during the height of summer as it can be very hot – though you can cool yourself off in the ocean afterwards!
Catch up with Other Wildlife on Rottnest Island
The West End Boardwalk was built specifically for enjoying the many birds, animals and plants native to the island. The boardwalk was constructed using recycled materials and allows you to tour the island without disrupting its native inhabitants.
The Family Fun
If you need a break from all the salt, sand and sun – Rottnest Island offers a range of activities perfect for the whole family. The island boasts a mini-golf course, a deckchair movie theatre, lawn bowls and a nine-hole golf course. The Wadjemup Museum also offers a look into the past for those wanting to learn about the island’s history. Yes, plenty to see and do on Rottnest Island.
Enjoy a Meal while on Rottnest Island
For a small island there are plenty of food and drink options available. Head to the bakery then sit by the beach or sit in a cafe or restaurant. Or bring your own food for the day. The choice is yours.
Extend Your Stay on Rottnest Island – Accommodation Options
You don’t just have to come for a day to Rottnest Island, you can extend your stay. There is accommodation available ranging from camping to a hostel to hotels and holiday homes. But book as soon as you can because accommodation can fill up very quickly. Check out options on Booking.com.
Are you Ready to Meet the Quokkas on Rottnest Island?
The Quokkas are definitely a main attraction when visiting Rottnest Island, but as you have read, you will never run out of things to do when visiting Rottnest Island. Its combination of natural beauty, outdoor activities and modern amenities make it a place the whole family can enjoy.
Useful Link – www.rottnestisland.com