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    The ultimate Rottnest Island day trip itinerary

    The ultimate Rottnest Island day trip itinerary

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    Located just nineteen kilometres off the Western Australian coast beyond Perth, tiny Rottnest Island / Wadjemup is a car-free holiday haven of incredible beaches and secluded bays, bike tracks and hiking trails, glamping spots and beachfront cottages. Famously home to the happiest animals on Earth, you only have to spend a short amount of time in this picturesque piece of paradise to understand why those incurably cute quokkas have so much to smile about. This is our guide to your ultimate day trip to Rottnest Island:

    1. Getting there

    Regular ferries depart from Fremantle and take half an hour to reach the island. Alternatively, depending on where you are based you may find it more convenient to take a ferry directly from Perth CBD or Hillary’s Boat Harbour, although these may take longer and/or depart less frequently – your personal travel manager can help you choose the best option for you.

    2. Getting around

    You can cycle around the Rottnest island

    You can cycle around the Rottnest island

    The island’s car-free status means it’s easy and safe to get around on foot or by bike – there’s a wide selection of bikes and e-bikes available for hire on the island, as well as accessories to ensure the whole family is sorted. You’ll find everything from kiddie trailers and baby seats to mobility assistance options and even snorkelling gear, plus you can save time by booking ahead.

    If you’d rather sit back and let someone else do the work while you soak up the scenery, hop aboard the Rottnest Explorer, which provides easy and convenient, hop-on hop-off access to the entire island. A guided Segway tour or hiking tours is a wonderful way to enjoy the island while getting to know a little more about its unique history, wildlife and ecosystem.

    3. Pick a beach

    Pinky Beach, Rottnest island

    Pinky Beach, Rottnest island

    Rottnest / Wadjemup measures just eleven kilometres long and 4.5 kilometres wide and is crisscrossed with a 45-kilometre network of walking/cycling trails, known as the Wadjemup Bidi, which make the island a delight to explore on foot or by bike. However, with 63 breathtaking beaches punctuating the coastline, you may find it hard to decide which one to visit first… but we’ve got you covered.

    From the tranquil shores of Salmon Bay to the powdery sands of Pinky Beach, each wonderful beach offers its own unique charm, so there really is something for everyone. Secluded coves like Little Parakeet Bay and Parker Point provide idyllic settings for relaxation and solitude, while The Basin and Thomson Bay are popular spots due to their family-friendly atmosphere and amenities. You can indulge in a myriad of activities, from swimming and snorkelling over vibrant coral reefs that teem with marine life, to sunbathing and picnicking on the soft, white sand.

    4. Meet quokkas, the happiest animals on Earth

    Incredibly cute quokkas Rottnest island

    Incredibly cute quokkas

    The island’s most beloved resident is the quokka: it was mistakenly identified by a seventeenth-century Dutch explorer as some kind of large rat, and although it was later recognised to be a small marsupial, the label stuck, and the island retained its European name of Rottenest (Rats’ Nest). These impossibly photogenic creatures continue to roam freely across the island, so you’re sure to have plenty of opportunities to snap a selfie. However, please be aware that they are a protected species – you are not permitted to touch or feed them, but you are welcome to enjoy their company from a respectable distance. Read this guide on how to spot quokkas on Rottnest island.

    5. Brush up on your history

    Rottnest Island holds special cultural significance for the Aboriginal people of Western Australia, particularly the Noongar people, who know the island as Wadjemup. By joining a guided tour led by Aboriginal guides, you’ll gain insight into the island’s Indigenous history, its traditional land management practices and its Dreamtime stories. We acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of this Island, the Whadjuk people of the Noongar Nation, their ancestors and their Elders past, present and emerging. We acknowledge and respect their continuing culture and the contribution they make to the life of this Island and this region.

    A guided tour will also shed light on the island’s colonial era, during which it was used as a place of banishment for Indigenous prisoners and later as a colonial prison. There are numerous historic sites which you explore, including the Wadjemup Lighthouse, the Oliver Hill Guns and Tunnels, and the Pilot Boathouse Museum.

    6. Eat, drink and be merry!

    The island may be a laid-back retreat from the everyday world, but that doesn’t mean you won’t be well looked after when it comes to eating and shopping. There’s a foodie option to suit every appetite, from sour dough pizzas to freshly made pasta, and even a general store where you can stock up on picnic essentials. The main commercial areas are located in Geordie Bay and The Settlement, where you can also pick up souvenirs, beachwear and other essentials to make the most of your day.

    7. Rottnest scenic tour

    Bird’s eye view of the island

    Bird’s eye view of the island

    Whilst you could board a ferry for the trip home, why not conclude your visit with a bird’s eye view of the island? Rottnest’s landscape of woodlands, beaches, wetlands and water are a patchwork of vibrant blues and greens that can only be truly appreciated from above. Whether you opt for a helicopter, plane or seaplane for your journey back to the mainland, a scenic flight is the ultimate way to conclude an epic day in this special part of Australia.


    If you’re ready to start planning a magical day trip to Rottnest Island, give one of our personal travel managers a call. Of course, you may decide that a destination this special deserves an overnight stay instead, and we’re more than happy to assist you with that as well.


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