Rottnest Island is a small island about 19 kilometers from the coast of Perth in Western Australia. This beautiful Rottnest becomes a wonderful retreat that is filled with casual atmosphere, fabulous scenery, dazzling marine life and some of the world’s finest beaches and pristine bay.
The water temperature is at least 6°C warmer than at the mainland and suitable for scuba diving and diving. More than 135 species of tropical fish and 20 species of corals can be spotted in the turquoise water.
The island got its name when a Dutch explorer, William de Vlamingh, mistaken the island’s unusual marsupial population for common rats. This cute adorable creature is named ‘Rottnest’, which translates to ‘rats nest’. Hence, this island was named.
Where Is Rottnest Island
Getting to Rottnest Island is extremely easy thanks to the fast and comfortable ferry ride. Rottnest Express departs daily from Barrack Street Jetty in Swan River, Perth City and Northport and B Shed in Fremantle.
The ferry takes 1 hour and 45 minutes to reach Rottnest Island, 1 hour from Northport, and 30 minutes from B Shed (Click here to get the latest timetable and fare).
The ferry allows you to bring water sports equipment and bicycle on board for a small fee and roam around the island freely.
There are virtually no cars on the island and the best way to discover the island is by bicycle. You can rent them from Rottnest Island Bike & Hire and the price is affordable. All you need is to show them some form of ID to hire the bicycle. The friendly staff will help you set up the bicycle that fits your size and provide a safety helmet and leaflet
There is also a local bus company called Bayseeker Tours and the daily pass is sold at Rottnest Island Visitor Center. This hop-on-hop-off service runs every day to 18 different stops including secluded bays and secret hideaways. However, its services are limited due to the preservation of the island’s fragile environment.
The visitor center is a great place to embark on Rottnest Island trip. You can find guided walk island tour, glass-bottom boat ride, and snorkeling trip. Guided maps are also given here to show the locations for excellent bike and walking trails.
Best things to do for 2 days in Rottnest Island
This small Rottnest Island is just roughly 11 kilometers long and 4.5 kilometer wide. It is recommended to spend 2 days and 1 night on this amazing island to enjoy the beautiful nature and scenery.
Water sports activities are one of the main reasons that attract visitors to the island. Divers can explore a vast graveyard of over 13 shipwrecks off the coast. You can go fishing, boating, golfing, a family fun park, and a wellness center.
Play hide-and-seek with quakkas
Rottnest Island is home to these cute little quakkas. Many people have mistaken them as rats, even for the Dutch explorer, William de Vlamingh who first stepped foot on the island. These native adorable creatures roam freely and search for food.
Catch the sunset at Cape Vlamingh
Take an evening bicycle ride to the edge of Rottnest Island to watch the stunning sunset. Cape Vlamingh is one of the hidden gems on the island and takes about 45-minute bicycle ride to get here. You can enjoy at this tranquil bay, listening to the sound of birds’ chirping and the calm ocean waves.
Take the morning guided island tour
Join the local guide to learn the history of Rottnest Island and many interesting facts. The guided tour will start from the visitor center and charge a small fee.
We begin walking around the pier to visit Pilot Boat House and the Salt House, which was used to keep the salt before shipping out overseas in the early 1800s.
Then, we continue to take a small hike up to Bathrust Lighthouse and Oliver Hills and Tunnels, which was built by the Dutch to watch out for any ships or invaders coming to the shores of Western Australia. The tour sums up when reaching Thomson Bay, one of my favorite scenic views on the northern part of the island.
Staying at Rottnest Island
One of the most unforgettable moments of Rottnest Island trip is to watch the wonderful sunset along its bay. By doing so, you will need to spend a night here because Rottnest Express leaves the island back to Perth around 4-5 pm.
I recommend staying for a night in Rottnest at one of this budget hostel with dormitory and camping area, bungalows, villas, and comfortable serviced apartments. The accommodations here are very limited and be sure to book well in advance if you are visiting during the peak season. Here are the list of accommodations available throughout the island:
- Hotel Rottnest (check their bus schedule for pick-up service)
- Karma Rottnest
- Kingstown Barrack
Going Elsewhere in Australia?
If you are looking for more wonderful places in Australia, you can check out my other posts:
- Down South of Western Australia (Part I)
- Down South of Western Australia (Part II)
- Kalgoorlie- Boulder