During my first trip to Perth, I could not plan to go to Rottnest Island. That was something that I missed and regretted not going. Who would not fancy visiting a spectacular island surrounded by crystal clear blue waters? In order to compensate, I planned for Rottnest during my second visit to Perth.
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About Rottnest Island…
Rottnest Island is an island offshore (18 kilometres from Fremantle) from the city of Perth in Western Australia. Being an “A” class reserve, the island is famous for the cute looking quokkas. It is also famous for its pristine shallow waters and bays.
The island is only 19 square kilometres and generally one can bike around the island in a day and is administered by Rottnest Island Authority. Is it said that the island was separated from the mainland around 7000 years ago when the sea level rose. The island was named by Willem de Vlamingh and was named after the quokka population. It was called t Eylandt t Rottenest which means Rats’ Nest Island.
The best time to visit Rottnest Island is between the months of October and March. The weather is pleasant during the Spring season but it can get really hot during the summer season. As the island is dry, ensure to keep yourself hydrated.
The traditional owners of the Rottnest Island are the Whadjuk Noongar people and the name of the island in Noongar language is Wadjemup that means a place across the water where the spirits are.
Did you know that human artifacts dating back to at least 30,000 years on the island?
How to get to Rottnest Island?
- Ferries – There are return ferries run by two providers – Rottnest Express and Captain Cook Cruises. These ferries run from Perth wharf or Victoria Quay at Fremantle. The return tickets with Captain Cook Cruises from Fremantle to Rottnest cost me around AUD 72.
There are frequent trains between Perth city and Fremantle. For up-to-date information on the trains, visit Transperth website.
Refer 5 days in Perth for more details on the transportation in Perth.
Things to do
There are plenty of things to do on the island. Below are the things that I did while I was at Rottnest Island for a day:
One needs at least 3 days on the island to cover all the things.
- Selfie with Quokkas – One of the cutest and smiling animals that you can find in this World are the Quokkas. And a selfie with one is a must!
Some of the quokkas are used to humans and are a bit aggressive. So be careful of while going close to them. Also, do not try to touch them.
- Biking around the island – The path around the island is about 21 kilometres, so biking is the best and the famous way to travel around the island. The bikes can be hired on the island itself for AUD 30 per day.
Note: Wearing helmets is a must while riding the bike and ensure you follow the road rules to be safe on the island.
And no cars are allowed on Rottnest Island. There is a bus that goes around the island and it costs around AUD 88 per adult.
- Hikes – There are various trails on the island for hiking. I did not do any of the hikes, other than walking to the Lighthouse.
Be careful while walking in the bushes on the island. The island is home to two species of snakes. One is non-venomous and the other is venomous.
- Snorkeling and Diving – The island is amazing for snorkeling and scuba diving. The crystal clear water provides great visibility. But beware the water is very cold even during summer season let alone winters and autumn seasons.
Note: Rottnest Island is one of the best dive sites around Australia. The water of Rottnest Island is known for its abundant marine life.
Watch out for humpback whales during the whale migrating season (May to October) every year. Some of the divers have seen whales while diving. How cool is that!
One can definitely stay at Rottnest Island. There a different stay options ranging from luxury to more affordable cabins. There is also a hostel available on the island for backpackers. Note: I did not stay on the island and I only visited Rottnest Island for a day. Visit Rottnest Island’s official website for various stay options.
The island is home to 300 permanent residents and it is visited by at least 450,000 visitors every year.
There are many restaurants and cafes near the settlement (or the main jetty). The restaurants provide mostly fried items like fish and chips and Chicken Parmesan.
Note: The food is expensive on Rottnest Island. Ensure to carry some food from the mainland.
- Captain Cook ferry tickets = AUD 72.
- Scuba Diving = AUD 229.
- Breakfast at Wharf = AUD 25.
- Lunch at the island = AUD 30.
- Bike hire (including water) = AUD 32.50.
- Coffee and other miscellaneous = AUD 20.
- Freemantle YHA = AUD 30.
- Perth to Fremantle train ticket = AUD 4.90.
- Fremantle to Perth train ticket = AUD 4.90.
Total expenses = AUD 448.30 for one day for one person.
Safety for solo female travelers
Rottnest Island is extremely safe for solo female travelers. I traveled alone and did not have any issues or concerns whatsoever. However, I would be careful while traveling on the train in the mainland (Perth). I did see many homeless people around the train stations so definitely beware especially at nights.
I would definitely recommend traveling to Rottnest Island while visiting Perth. It is extremely pretty and totally worth a day trip. The water here is simply magical and the island itself is a great place to spend a day.
For travel guides on other islands in Australia, refer “Islands of Australia” section on my blog.