Rottnest Island | Australia

One Day Trip to Rottnest Island from Perth (2024)

Embark on an unforgettable one day trip to Rottnest Island from Perth. This post is your ultimate guide, meticulously crafted for those seeking the perfect day-trip itinerary. Discover the crystal-clear waters, idyllic beaches, and unique wildlife, including the renowned quokkas.

On my initial trip to Perth for a weekend, I unfortunately missed out on the opportunity to explore Rottnest Island—a decision I later regretted, given the allure of a breathtaking island embraced by crystal-clear blue waters. Determined to make amends, I strategically included Rottnest in my itinerary during my second visit to Perth for five days. It was a decision fueled by the desire to experience the beauty and tranquility of an island that had eluded me before—a commitment to turn missed opportunities into cherished memories.

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PIN for later reference – A Day Trip to Rottnest Island from Perth

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About Rottnest Island

Nestled 18 kilometers off the shores of Fremantle, Rottnest Island emerges as a coastal gem from the city of Perth in Western Australia. Recognized as an “A” class reserve, the island has earned fame for its adorable quokkas and charming visitors with their cute appearance. Renowned for pristine shallow waters and picturesque bays, Rottnest Island beckons travelers to indulge in the tranquility and natural beauty that define this captivating offshore destination.

The Whadjuk Noongar people are the traditional custodians of Rottnest Island, referred to as Wadjemup in the Noongar language, signifying a place across the water where spirits reside. An intriguing fact: human artifacts dating back at least 30,000 years have been discovered on the island, offering a captivating glimpse into its ancient history.

Covering a mere 19 square kilometers, Rottnest Island is a cyclist’s paradise, easily explored in a day. Administered by the Rottnest Island Authority, this piece of land is believed to have separated from the mainland 7000 years ago as sea levels rose. Named by Willem de Vlamingh after the island’s quokka population, it was initially called ‘t Eylandt t Rottenest,’ translating to Rats’ Nest Island.

Optimal for visits between October and March, Rottnest Island experiences pleasant spring weather, although summers can be pretty hot. Given the island’s arid nature, staying hydrated is essential for an enjoyable exploration.

Rottnest Island | Western Australia
A picture taken from Rottnest Island

How to Get to Rottnest Island?

  • By Ferry – Two ferry providers, Rottnest Express and Captain Cook Cruises, operate return services from Perth Wharf and Victoria Quay in Fremantle. I purchased a return ticket with Captain Cook Cruises from Fremantle to Rottnest, which amounted to approximately AUD 72.

There are frequent trains between Perth City and Fremantle. For up-to-date information on the trains, visit the Transperth website.

Rottnest Island | Western Australia
Ferry from Fremantle to Rottnest

Things To Do at Rottnest Island

On Rottnest Island for a day, I immersed myself in numerous activities. From exploring the charming bays to cycling around the island and basking in the beauty of the beaches, each moment was a unique experience. However, it’s worth noting that a minimum of 3 days is recommended to cover all the island has to offer. With many attractions and adventures awaiting, extending your stay allows for a more comprehensive exploration of Rottnest’s diverse wonders.

  • Selfie with Quokkas – Capturing a selfie with Quokkas is an absolute must on Rottnest Island. These adorable, smiling creatures are among the cutest animals in the world. However, exercise caution as some quokkas are accustomed to human interaction and may display aggression. Approach them with care, avoiding proximity, and avoid attempting to touch them for their safety and yours. Enjoy the magical experience of sharing a frame with these charming creatures while respecting their natural behaviors.
Rottnest Island | Western Australia
Selfie with a quokka
  • Biking Around the Island – With the island’s scenic path spanning approximately 21 kilometers, biking stands out as the preferred and renowned mode of transportation. Bikes are available for hire on the island at AUD 30 per day. Please note that wearing helmets is compulsory when cycling, and adhering to road rules is essential for a safe experience on the island. It’s worth noting that cars are not permitted on Rottnest Island. Instead, a bus service is available, circling the island for around AUD 88 per adult.
Rottnest Island | Western Australia
  • Exploring Island Trails – Rottnest Island offers a variety of hiking trails, though I limit my hikes to the defined paths and also stroll toward the lighthouse.

Exercise caution while traversing bushy areas, as the island is inhabited by two snake species—one non-venomous and the other venomous. Stay vigilant and stick to well-trodden paths to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience amidst the island’s natural beauty.

  • Lighthouse Exploration: Visit one of the island’s historic lighthouses, like Wadjemup Lighthouse, for panoramic views of the surrounding ocean.
Rottnest Island | Western Australia
  • Snorkeling and Scuba Diving – Rottnest Island offers an incredible underwater experience for both snorkeling and scuba diving enthusiasts. The crystal-clear waters provide excellent visibility, revealing the vibrant marine life beneath. However, be mindful that the water can be pretty cold, even during the summer, not to mention the freezing winter and autumn months.

It’s noteworthy that Rottnest Island is recognized as one of the premier dive sites in Australia, celebrated for its abundant marine life. The island’s waters beckon with a diverse and thriving underwater ecosystem.

Rottnest Island | Western Australia
Scuba diving at Rottnest Island
  • Beach Relaxation: Enjoy the pristine beaches that dot the island’s coastline. With their white sands and turquoise waters, they provide the perfect spots for relaxation.
  • Wildlife Spotting: Apart from quokkas, Rottnest is home to various bird species, marine life, and even the occasional dolphin or whale during migration seasons.

Keep an Eye Out for Humpback Whales – Witness the majesty of humpback whales during their annual migration season from May to October. Some fortunate divers have even reported encountering these magnificent creatures while exploring underwater. The thrill of spotting whales amidst a dive adds an extraordinary and awe-inspiring dimension to the experience. How cool is that!

  • Cultural Discovery: Learn about the island’s indigenous history and heritage at the Rottnest Island Museum.
  • Visit Settlement Shops and Cafes: Explore the island’s main settlement area for shopping, dining, and enjoying a variety of culinary delights.
  • Heritage Sites: Discover the historical significance of Rottnest by visiting heritage-listed buildings and structures, including the Oliver Hill Battery and the Salt Store.

Where to Stay on Rottnest Island?

Accommodation on Rottnest Island caters to various preferences, ranging from luxurious stays to more budget-friendly cabins. Additionally, there is a hostel tailored for backpackers. It’s important to note that despite my day visit, the island provides options for those wishing to extend their stay.

Here are some places to consider for your stay:

  1. Discovery Resorts – Rottnest Island (400 metres from The Basin).
  2. Samphire Rottnest.

With 300 permanent residents, Rottnest Island attracts significant visitors, with around 450,000 individuals exploring its wonders each year.


What to Eat on Rottnest Island?

Numerous restaurants and cafes near the settlement, primarily around the main jetty area. These establishments predominantly offer fried delicacies such as fish, chips, and Chicken Parmesan.

It’s essential to know that dining on Rottnest Island can be pricey. To manage expenses, consider bringing some food from the mainland to ensure you have more budget-friendly options during your stay.

How Much Did I Spend on Rottnest Island?

  • 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.

Is Rottnest Island Safe for Solo Female Travelers?

Rottnest Island is exceptionally safe for solo female travelers. During my solo trip, I encountered no issues or concerns. However, when using trains on the mainland (Perth), exercise caution. Be vigilant, especially at night, as I observed a notable presence of homeless individuals around train stations. Stay aware of your surroundings to ensure a safe and secure travel experience.

Closing Notes

I recommend including a one day trip to Rottnest Island from Perth in your Perth itinerary. Its unparalleled beauty and charm make it an absolute gem for a day trip. The enchanting waters surrounding the island are magical, creating a serene atmosphere perfect for a day of exploration and relaxation. Don’t miss the opportunity to experience the unique allure of Rottnest Island—a destination that promises a day filled with natural wonders and memorable moments.

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    PIN for later reference - A day trip to Rottnest Island from Perth
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