Paradise has been found…and it turns out it’s only a 45 minute ferry ride from Perth. Rottnest Island is so small you could easily explore it in one day but it’s so fun-packed you’ll probably want to stay a week.
- Pristine beaches for splashing about and snorkelling
- Quokkas and New Zealand Fur Seals
- A paradise island you can explore in one day
A Holiday in one day at Rottnest Island
Only have one day but want to feel like you’ve been on a holiday? I currently live in a van and am travelling around Australia, but I still scream ‘YES!’
If you’re with me then boy, have I found something that seriously ticks every single box when it comes to a microadventure. Rottnest Island (known as Wadjemup by its Traditional Owners) is a mere 45 minute ferry ride from Perth and its small 19km² are completely bordered by the turquoise Indian Ocean and wrapped in pure white sand.
Who are the Traditional Owners?
This special place really delivers the goods with an extensive range of activities including snorkelling, surfing, bike riding, hiking, fishing or simply just soaking up some vitamin D.
Rottnest Island is also home to unique flora and fauna including the cheeky quokka, as seen on many an Instagram feed accompanied by the hashtag ‘#quokkaselfie’. Try your best to refrain from feeding or touching these not-so-shy guys, like any native animal they deserve to be treated with respect.
What’s there to do on Rottnest?
Once arriving on the island jump on your bike, catch the island explorer shuttle bus, or simply hit the ground running because that pristine water awaits. The entire coast is scattered with phenomenal beaches, beautiful cliffside walks and secluded white sandy coves.
My pick of the bunch, and it certainly wasn’t slim, was taken out by the expansive Salmon Bay. The beach was calm, clear and uncrowded with wild walks aplenty.
If the wind’s a blowing and you’d prefer to keep your clothes on, I would recommend heading to Cathedral Rocks to view the New Zealand Fur Seals soaking up the sunshine or head off on one of the many walking trails which make up the Wadjemup Bidi, an intricate network of trails which link sites of cultural and environmental significance.
We strongly recommend you make engaging with the cultural history of the island part of your visit. It’s a little known fact that the island was used as a prison for Indigenous men, walking these trails is just one way to engage with the island cultural history’s.
- Ngank Yira Bidi: Explore World War 2 infastructure (9.4km one-way, 3-4hrs)
- Gabbi Karniny Bidi: See the Island’s salt lakes (9.7km loop, 3-4hrs)
- Wardan Nara Bidi: Along Salmon Bay (10km one way, 3-4hrs)
- Karlinyah Bidi: A walk along the Island’s northern beaches (5.9km one way, 2-3hrs)
The way I see it is, whatever you’re into you have a good chance of finding it here. Get on island time, miss your return ferry on purpose and stay the week!
- Sun protection
- Snorkel gear
How To Get There
The most common way to get to Rottnest Island is via ferry, departing from either Perth city, Fremantle, North Fremantle or Hilary’s Boat Harbour in Perth’s north. Times depend on the point of departure and take between 25 and 90 minutes. You can also fly or take your own boat (if you’re lucky enough to own one!).
- Bike riding
The Island is 11km long and 4.4 km wide, covering 19 square kilometres, all of which are worth exploring.