Destination Guide: Rottnest Island
Rottnest Island is a island in the Indian Ocean, just west of the coast of Mainland Australia. It’s a known holidy destination, particularly for day trips. In this extensive destination guide, I’ll explain why visiting Rottnest Island definitely is worth it!
Australia has many beautiful islands and landscapes to offer and Rottnest Island is no exception. Not far away from Perth, visiting Rottnest Island is also a great idea when you are interested in seeing some beautiful nature or just want to escape the city for a day. Plus, you can find the incredibly charming Quookas on the island. This destination guide will help you in getting an idea of what to see on Rottnest Island and why it is worth it!
How to get to Rottnest Island from Perth?
Rottnest Island is a tiny island located off the coastline and thus can only be reached by boat (or helicopter for that matter). There are daily speedboat connections directly from the harbour in Perth, which take about 90 minutes. You may also depart in Freemantle, which is only about 25 minutes from Rottnest Island and can be reached from Perth by train.
There are a few daily connections, mainly in the morning and the afternoon. Planning ahead can be a good idea, especially in high seasons, so you can safely secure a seat on the boat. Prices for the ferries are a little less than 100 AUD return and you can add further extras like renting a bike for a day in the booking process. Visiting Rottnest Island as such is free and there is no entrance or environmental fee.
Is the ferry from Perth to Rottnest Island interesting?
While going from Freemantle is the quickest way to get to Rottnest Island, taking the ferry from Perth directly represents the best option for getting to the island, in my opinion. This is not only because the direct ride is comfortable, but also because you can enjoy really nice views of the city’s skyline.
Even when getting further away from Perth, the views remain really nice and you can see a beautiful landscape and some amazing villas when getting closer to Freemantle.
In case you are not taking this ride daily, I’d highly recommend departing in Perth.
How to get around on Rottnest Island?
There are a couple of different ways to get around Rottnest Island, but as the island is free of cars, your freedom is somewhat limited. There is a regular bus, which takes you around the island and operates with a hop-on-hop-off system. My recommendation though would be renting a bike and exploring the island with your own pace – just be aware of not hurting any animals on the street.
While Rottnest Island isn’t small, it’s absolutely doable to go from East to West and back on one day, even in four to six hours with a leisurely pace and visiting some beaches in between. Particularly when the weather is nice, the bike ride is incredibly scenic as well, so this would definitely be my go to option.
What to see on Rottnest Island?
With all that information, you might be asking yourself, why visiting Rottnest Island is even a thing? Well, it’s all about the really beautiful nature of the island. The number of beautiful viewpoints is just incredible, in my opinion.
Even without looking for the most scenic spots, you’ll find dozens of lovely little beaches and amazing landscapes.
You can also get a map on the ferry, which allows you to plan your bike ride according to the most scenic spots.
Those are including various special beaches with perfect sand – you might get the feeling of being on the Seychelles or Maldives instead of an island in Australia.
Especially with visiting in off seasons, I particularly loved that there were very few people on the island, especially once you get further away from the harbour, you might not end up seeing someone for half an hour or so.
There are also a few attractions further in the island, like one or an another lighthouse or little nature reservoirs.
When it comes to natural beauty, I’d consider the Southern (and Western) part of the island to be more charming, particularly as there are no buildings and basically no infrastructure aside from toilets here and there.
The Northern part of the island is where some holiday homes and eco resorts are located, so it’s a bit more touristic.
Nevertheless, I basically loved the nature all around the island and can just recommend visiting very much as Rottnest Island has incredibly much to offer and really is the perfect spot for those who love nature.
What are Quookas and where to find them?
Rottnest Island is famous not only for its beautiful landscape, but also for a tiny little animal. I’m speaking of the Quooka, an animal from the family of kangaroos.
It’s the tiniest of all the different kinds of kangaroos and even much smaller than a wallabee. Maybe that’s also what makes it particularly cute.
It’s said that you can’t visiting Rottnest Island without seeing a Quooka, but it took me an hour and a visit to the more touristic parts of the island to see some.
It seems like the Quookas can be found particularly where there’s food and even though it is forbidden to feed them, they are aware on where to steal something or where they will get fed anyways.
I really get the hype about the animal though (you need to get a selfie with them!) as they are particularly cute and get very close to humans.
It’s definitely recommendable to look out for the little quookas when visiting Rottnest Island, they sure are one of the highlights of Western Australia, in my opinion!
What seasons is best for visiting Rottnest Island?
The best months for visiting Rottnest Island are supposedly the summer months in Australia, so November, December, January and February. Yet, in my opinion it doesn’t really matter when you visit. While you have more sunshine in the Australian Summer, there are much more tourists in this seasons as well. Spring and Fall are supposedly quite nice on Rottnest Island as well and even visiting in off seasons like I did was very enjoyable. There were fewer tourists, the weather was amazing (it was for the whole time I visiting Perth) and the landscape was still beautiful. I’d even say that if you are lucky enough to go on a sunny day, the Australian Winter is the perfect seasons as it’s not that hot, but still warm enough.
Overall impressions of Rottnest Island
I wasn’t even aware of Rottnest Island before doing some research about what to do in Perth. After visiting though, I can just highly recommend going. The island is not only an incredible natural beauty, but is also the only home of the cute quookas. In my opinion, it’s worth scheduling a full day of your time in Perth to visit Rottnest Island – you will sure enjoy the visit!