Rottnest Island is just 19 km off the coast of Perth and only 11 km long and 4.5 km wide. It has a casual atmosphere, beautiful scenery, dazzling marine life and some of the world’s finest beaches and pristine bay.
The island got its name when a Dutch explorer, William de Vlamingh, mistaken the island’s unusual marsupial population for common rats and named it Rottnest. It literally translates to ‘rats nest’. Today, having a photo taken alongside the rats known as Quokkas, is one of the main highlights for visitors.
Where Is Rottnest Island
Getting There and Around
Take a short ferry ride from Fremantle, Hillary’s Boat Harbour or Barrack Street, Perth City. An even faster and shorter plane flight is available from Jandakot Airport.
There are virtually no cars on the island. The best transportation of choice to discover the island is bikes. Bikes can be hired or can bring own bicycles by ferry from the mainland for a small fee.
Alternatively, tourists can take private bus charters or catch a ride on the local bus company, Bayseeker Tours. Daily passes are sold in Rottnest Island Visitor Center. This hop on/ hop off service runs daily 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 visitors center is a great place to start before embark the journey of exploration. Tours ranged from guided walks to historic train journeys and glass bottom boat rides. Guided maps are also available here, showing many locations of excellent bike and walk trails.
Water sports are one of the main activities that attract visitors to the island. The water temperature is at least 6 degrees warmer than on the mainland. More than 135 species of tropical fish and 20 species of corals can be discovered below the sea surface. Divers can explore a vast graveyard of over 13 shipwrecks off the coast. Informational plaques can be found alongside the wrecks and are complemented by onshore plaques indicating their location for those who do not dive.
Rottnest also offered other activities such as fishing, boating, golfing, a family fun park and a wellness center. The Hotel Rottnest is worth visiting and several dining establishments are located in the main Thomson Bay settlement area.
Clockwise: Rottnest Island Bike and Hire, Pilot Boat House, The Salt Store, Bathrust Lighthouse, West End Demersel, Oliver Hills and Tunnels Tour, Kingstown Barrack Dormitory, Cape Vlamingh and Thomson Bay,
Visitors can spend a night in the camping area, buangalows, villas and comfortable serviced apartments. The accommodation here are very limited. After all, Rottnest Island is just a small place and you only need two days to explore the surroundings. This is the accommodation available:
- Hotel Rottnest (check their bus schedule upon arrival to the island)
- Karma Rottnest
- Kingstown Barrack