Rottnest Island is a beautiful Island you’ve probably never heard of. It is a small and sparsely populated island off the coast of Western Australia. It’s name, Rotto in the local dialect, means “rat” or “pest”. The name may refer to its infamy as a penal colony during colonial times. But few know that this little island has some of the most beautiful scenery you’ll find anywhere in Australia. This post explores 15 reasons why you should visit Rottnest Island.
- The island is home to an impressive variety of marine life. There are over 22 species including whales and dolphins that stop by during their migration routes. The best time for spotting these creatures is between November and April. During these months the water is clearer due to less rainfall. It’s also a great place for snorkelers, the water is shallow and the coral beds are teeming with colourful fish.
- The island has over a dozen beaches to explore, with everything from sandy shores perfect for swimming and snorkeling to rugged cliffs that make great photo opportunities. The best time of year to visit is during the summer (October – April). However even then you should be prepared for occasional rainfall.
3. Most visitors to the island are day trippers from Perth, but if you plan ahead there’s plenty of accommodation available on Rotto and in nearby Fremantle (about 40 minutes away by ferry).
4. A day trip to Rotto is a great opportunity for the whole family, with plenty of places specifically for kids. The island has four playgrounds and lots for the kids to see and explore.
5. One of the best ways to explore Rotto is via bicycle. These can be rented from the visitor center and taken along any one of the island’s bike paths or trails. All bikes come with a helmet, lock, and basket for convenience.
6. If you’re looking to spend a night on Rotto without heading back into town, there are three camping grounds. These open year-round (the best months being from October – April).
7. In addition to camping, there are a few day use areas available for picnickers and those looking to escape from the crowds of nearby Perth. Make sure you bring your sunscreen, hats and drinking water.
8. If scudding along the beach in your boogie board sounds like fun, make sure to bring one of those too! Rotto is reportedly home to the world’s longest boogie board, measuring 11 meters long.
9. If you’re a history buff and want to explore colonial relics on Rotto, make sure to stop by The Quod. It is an old settlement built in the late 1800s by the British for prisoners of Rotto’s penal colony.
10. If you’re looking to relax, grab a drink from one of many bars and cafes on the island. There are plenty open during peak season (especially around New Year’s Eve).
11. For those looking to explore the wild side of Rotto, make sure you visit Cathedral Rocks – a rock formation overlooking the Indian Ocean. It is possible to spot native colonies of fur seals from this spot.
12. Other interesting sites on the island include Salmon Bay, where large numbers of dolphins can be seen in winter months; and The Knoll – a raised sandstone formation overlooking the Indian Ocean that is one of Rotto’s most popular tourist attractions.
13. The Rottnest Bakery – this bakery features some tasty eclairs and other pastries that are perfect for a snack with coffee! They’re also famous for their custard slices, which you can enjoy in the outdoor courtyard space. Alternatively you can enjoy one from one of many cafes around the island.
14. The Quokka – an animal found on the island that is a member of the Wallaby family and looks like it’s always smiling! The Department of Parks and Wildlife has information on what you can feed to the quokka. This can be a fun experience for all visitors.
15. Bathurst Lighthouse Cafe – located on the island’s north-west corner is a cafe that offers delicious coffee (and other beverages) with some hearty breakfast dishes from their continental buffet.
As you can see there are many, many things to see and do on Rottnest Island. We encourage you to visit this great little island and explore the delights Rottnest has to offer.
We hope to see you soon!