Enjoy an Aussie summer with Rotto’s top gems

Melanie CoramThe West Australian
Picture: Melanie Coram
Camera IconPicture: Melanie Coram

For such a small island, Rottnest offers surprisingly diverse types of getaways.

Even daytrippers can tailor their day, from the wildly adventurous to the sublimely relaxing.

The Rottnest Island Authority has finished its Wadjemup Bidi walk trail network for an experience that takes in the many faces of the island’s landscape as well as its history.

Or, for a contemporary outing try one of the island’s eight new offerings, from boat tours to boat hire to umbrella rental.

To help decide on an itinerary we’ve put together set menus or mix and match, depending on the weather and your mood.


Wadjemup Bidi walks give new views.
Camera IconWadjemup Bidi walks give new views. Credit: Melanie Coram

Wadjemup Bidi is made up of 45km of trails in five sections that traverse unique Rottnest landscapes, with landmarks that are significant culturally and environmentally. Keep to the trails, take plenty of water and watch out for snakes.

Parker Point Marine Snorkel Trail is on the southern side of Rottnest and has plaques on the seabed with information about the environment and life under the sea. But anywhere sheltered from the wind is a good spot to don the mask and flippers.

For a high-powered snorkelling adventure, get on the Eco Express. The tour is available for children aged eight or over, and with a minimum basic swim level skill and snorkelling experience.

Rottnest Island Country Club provides golfers of all abilities an enjoyable experience. And there is an artificial lawn bowling green, clubhouse and function facilities.

Segway Tours WA conducts a one-hour Settlement Explorer tour or a 90-minute Fortress Adventure. The Segway is easy to learn and is an adventure in itself.


Of course, there are those exclusive and adorable quokkas. Etiquette for the #quokkaselfie includes no touching the animals, don’t feed them and keeping a respectful distance.

  • But these beloved marsupials are not the only fauna attraction. Rottnest is an A-Class Reserve. Snorkellers and underwater observers will see abundant marine life. The warm Leeuwin Current renders the coast and sea around Rottnest a paradise in which to observe tropical fish and coral.
  • The birds of Rottnest deserve a category all of their own. The island is listed as an Important Bird and Biodiversity Area (IBA) with key species being the fairy tern, banded stilt, wedge-tailed shearwater and red-necked stint. There are between two and six breeding pairs of the western osprey and there are osprey nests known to be more than 70 years old.
  • And keep your eyes open for snakes, which prefer to get out of your way if you give them the chance.
  • See wildlife.rottnestisland. com for information about wildlife, nesting warnings and conservation news.


Karma’s Apothecary Massage Bar.
Camera IconKarma’s Apothecary Massage Bar. Credit: Melanie Coram

A hop and a step from the Settlement, the Basin is a sheltered bay popular with families. Rotto Shade Hire is one of the new businesses recently launched on the island. Hire shade umbrellas, beach chairs or a bucket for use at the Basin. They sell Turkish towels, sunscreen and drinking water.

Karma Spa’s Apothecary Massage Bar takes the chilled island vibe to another level. Karma collaborates with WA brands to offer local ingredients to tailor its spa themes to relax, de-stress, activate, meditate and mood booster.


Simon Mendelawitz, Rottnest Island Sea Kayaking Tours, with a Clear Vue Kayak.
Camera IconSimon Mendelawitz, Rottnest Island Sea Kayaking Tours, with a Clear Vue Kayak. Credit: Ross Swanborough/The West Australian

Just 4 Fun Aqua Park is an inflatable floating water park in Thomson Bay. It is open 10.30am-5pm every day, weather permitting.

The Family Fun Park and Mini Golf includes trampolines, giant chess and arcade games.

These are fun activities for young ones but, truth be told, nearly all of the activities Rotto is famous for are fun for the whole family. Bike riding, swimming, ice-cream — what more could a kid want?


Visitors are offered discounted admission fees after midday in January and February. Daytrippers on afternoon return trips with the island’s three ferry operators get half-price island admission for adults ($9.25) and free admission for children. The discounts also apply to visitors arriving after midday by private or chartered boat or plane.

  • Rottnest Express offers WA kids aged four to 12-years-old free travel with membership of its Quokka Club. Infants and children under the age of four travel with Rottnest Express for free and do not require a Quokka Club membership. See quokkaclub.com.au.
  • SeaLink has a $49 adult same-day return fare, including government admission fees. The price is for Monday-Friday travel and carries other conditions but is a good discount. Rottnest Express has a Telethon Saver fare.
  • Rottnest volunteers host Free Guided Walking Tours,relaying stories and sharing the history of the island. Tours depart regularly from the Meeting Post, outside the Salt Store in the main settlement.
  • Outlay for a bike — whether taking your own or hiring on the island — is a good investment and allows you to make the most of the 63 beaches and bays.
  • But after that, photography, swimming and snorkelling and many other joys are free. Pack your lunch (and dinner if you’re leaving on the late ferry).


What more picturesque place to jump out of a plane? Spike your adrenaline with a tandem skydive with Skydive Geronimo. It comes with a 20-minute scenic flight and an experienced instructor.

  • Seatoys’ new Seabob tours at Pinkys Beach have the look of a James Bond gadget coupled with a breathtaking underwater view. Scoot along the water or zip under the surface while scouting out fish and marine flora with electric enhancement.
Instructor Zoe Gillard with a Seabob for new tours at Pinkys Beach.
Camera IconInstructor Zoe Gillard with a Seabob for new tours at Pinkys Beach. Credit: Ross Swanborough/The West Australian
  • The island has long been a surfing haven. Strickland Bay, Salmon Bay and Stark Bay are popular breaks for surfers, bodyboarders and stand-up paddleboarders. There are reef breaks on both sides of the island.
  • Glass Bottom Sea Kayaking Tours by Sea Kayak Rottnest allows viewing above and below the water. Paddle into secluded bays, inaccessible to those on the land and too shallow for those on a boat.

Find more information at rottnestisland.com.

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