The Rottnest Express departs from three convenient sites in Fremantle and downtown Perth. Rottnest Island may be as lively or relaxing as you want it to be. So what are the best things to do here?
What makes Rottnest Island special?
The sunny holiday island of Rottnest, 19 kilometers off the coast of Perth City but a world away. It has a laid-back vibe, stunning scenery, amazing marine life, and some of the world’s best beaches and pristine bays.
The island’s Noongar name, Wadjemup, translates to “place across the sea where the spirits are.” The Whadjuk Noongar people. They are the land’s traditional owners and know the island as a resting place for the dead. Besides, a memorial to Aboriginal men and boys whose bodies are still buried beneath the sands of Wadjemup. We respect and acknowledge the past in this way.
With its unpopulated beaches, no traffic, and famed Quokkas as residents, Rottnest Island is encircled by the vast Indian Ocean. Besides, you have the bays and beaches to yourself; add some sun, surf, and snorkeling, and you have the stuff of the perfect vacation.
With so many excursions, activities, and sights on Rottnest Island, you won’t be stuck wondering what to do. Take a Segway tour, skydive onto the sand, or gather for some Wadjemup Aboriginal tales. The more recent past is told through museums, barracks, lighthouses, military artifacts, and railroads.
See the bay’s boats silhouetted by a soft sunset. Similarly, you can enjoy seafood at beachside restaurants or have a “crazy dog” from The Lane and experience Rottnest like a native. Stay a week, come for the day. Here, seaside scenery serves as the setting for your memorable experiences.
The top 10 things to do on Rottnest Island
Take a tour of an indigenous culture
With Go Cultural Aboriginal Tours & Experiences, which provides a glimpse into an ancient culture, you may deepen your understanding of the Noongar language and wisdom. Dreamtime stories, traditional music, and dances that pay homage to the Noongar First Nations people’s connection to land begin with a traditional Aboriginal sand ceremony.
Revisit the island’s past
Starting with a stroll through the Wadjemup Museum, Lomas Cottage, and Pilot Boat House, visitors may gain insights into Rotto’s rich past. It is inside the “Old Mill and Hay Store” and has anything from 40,000-year-old artifacts to outdoor sculptures. Visit Lomas Cottage to learn about former prisoner John Lomas and the 1859 Pilot Boat House to learn about Rotto’s nautical past.
Follow the Wadjemup Bidi trail
Join the Hike Collective for a loop around the island on one of the Wadjemup Bidi walk pathways that meander around coastal headlands, gorgeous inland lakes, and past man-made landmarks. The Noongar language of the Whadjuk Noongar First Nations people.
Make a trip to Oliver Hill Guns & Tunnels
The Second World War artillery position atop Oliver Hill has a labyrinth of tunnels. History buffs may learn about the nationally significant defense historic site in the island’s center by joining a guided walking tour led by one of Rottnest Island’s passionate volunteer guides. To go from Settlement Railway Station to Oliver Hill, catch the Captain Hussey trolley train.
Go to the Wadjemup Lighthouse neighborhood
Head to Rottnest Island’s highest point, Wadjemup Lighthouse, for the best vistas of the entire island. Visitors can use the interpretive signage to learn about the other buildings in the heritage precinct, including the Women’s Royal Australian Navy Service, Battery Observation Post, and 38-meter-high lighthouse.
Experience Strickland Bay wave
At Rotto, there is a top-notch surf break called Strickland Bay. View a short documentary video honoring the island’s early surf pioneers like Al Bean and Mike “Stomper” McAuliffe, who used to paddle two hours from City Beach to Rotto to surf by scanning the QR code affixed to the plaque at the surf hut. The high-performance wave Strickos is only for skilled surfers.
Snorkel or dive at Little Salmon Bay and Parker Point
Visit Pedal & Flipper to rent pedal-powered or electric bikes, snorkels, and masks so that you may explore the island at your own leisure. According to estimates, the reef surrounding Rottnest originated some 100,000 years ago, when sea levels were three meters higher than they are now. Little Salmon Bay, which is tranquil, protected, and has a walkway that borders the limestone reef, is one of the island’s most well-liked snorkeling locations for beginners.
Chill on some of Rotto’s renowned beaches
You may select your own journey on Rottnest Island because there are over 63 isolated beaches and 20 bays. The island, known by the residents of Western Australia as Rotto, is a paradise for swimming, fishing, surfing, trekking, and diving. Find your piece of paradise by jumping on and off the Island Explorer bus and making a scorching loop around the island.
Pose for a moral selfie with a quokka
Hugh Jackman, Margo Robbie, and tennis player Roger Federer are just a few celebrities who uploaded pictures with quokkas, sometimes referred to as the “happiest animal in the world.” However, there are several dos and don’ts when getting the perfect image of the island’s main draw, with the first guideline being to wait for the quokka to approach you.
Join a 90-minute adventure cruise
Passengers may have an extraordinary encounter with the island’s birds, dolphins, and whales on the powerful Eco Express Adventure Boat Tour. Between November and April, the eco-certified trip circumnavigates the island while searching the Indian Ocean for seals, ospreys, and whales (when in season). Additionally, it offers a distinctive viewpoint of Rottnest Island’s varied, undulating terrain.
Best time to visit Rottnest Island
The ideal time to visit Rottnest Island is fall or spring if you want to escape the crowds. Due to the Mediterranean-style climate of Rottnest Island, the water will still be warm enough to swim in during the fall and spring, and the waves will be gentle enough for other water activities.
On Rottnest Island, the average temperature varies slightly. When humidity is considered, temperatures seem fairly pleasant all year round with little risk of precipitation. Compared to other tourist locations throughout the world, the region is more temperate than most, ranking 86th for agreeable weather. Above is a list of weeks with the best weather.
Regarding temperature, February, January, and March are the warmest months to visit Rottnest Island. See below for the monthly average temperatures. The hottest time of the year is often around the middle of February, when daytime highs are frequently above 83.4°F (28.6°C) and overnight lows are seldom below 67°F (19.4°C).
How to get to Rottnest Island?
Rottnest Express, Rottnest Fast Ferries, and SeaLink Rottnest Island offer quick ferry trips to Rottnest Island from Fremantle, Perth City, and Hillarys. Additionally, Rottnest Air-Taxi, Swan River Seaplanes, Corsaire Aviation, Kookaburra Air, and Fly Rottnest Island offer flights over.
Bikes are the preferred mode of transportation for getting around Rottnest Island and can be rented or bought with you by ferry. Since the island is only 11 km long and 4.5 km wide, it is simple to explore and has many wonderful trails to follow.
If biking doesn’t appeal to you, you may alternatively enjoy the trip on the Island Explorer in an air-conditioned bus. There are 18 stations planned for this daily hop-on/hop-off service. Many of the island’s remote bays and hidden retreats are visited throughout the tour. The island may also be seen by bus and bike. Once you’re exhausted from cycling, put your bike at a bus station and return to the settlement. Families or novice bikers will find this to be great.
Rottnest Island’s Food and Drink
You will have a wide selection of food and beverages to choose from. At Hotel Rottnest and Isola Bar e Cibo, you can eat on the beach and get fresh fish; at Pinky’s Beach Club, you can have locally inspired food; or at Lontara, you may go on a culinary adventure.
The Lane, Dome Café, and Geordie’s Café all provide excellent coffee, while Gov’s Sports Bar is the place to go for delectable pub fare. Frankies on Rotto, Subway, Rottnest Bakery, and The General Store all provide informal dining options.