Western Australia is known for its spotless beaches and dry heat, making it a spot worth checking when you’re in Australia! When planning my trip to WA, all I knew was that I needed to get to Rottnest Island. While it’s a small island, there’s heaps to see so I’ve put together a Rottnest Island guide full of fun facts and ways to get the perfect quokka selfie!
Quick Rottnest Island facts
- Besides a hop on bus on the island and a few work trucks, you won’t find other vehicles. It’s a small island so only bikes are necessary to get around!
- The island was originally named Rotte Nest (meaning Rat’s nest and due to how to quokkas looked like large rats) and was eventually changed over to Rottnest.
Rottnest Island Day Itinerary
To get to Rottnest Island you’ll need to take a ferry from Perth or Fremantle. The ferry from Perth will take longer as it goes through the river so if you’re like me and get seasick somewhat easily, I’d go with the ferry from Fremantle. You can find ferry info here!
I stayed at Perth City YHA hostel and ended up booking it through the hostel for $90 AUD. Included in that price was the ferry from Fremantle to the Island and back, bike hire for the day and the National Park fee ($20 AUD). The ferry from Perth is more expensive but you won’t have to spend $4.90 each way on the train so it pretty much evens out.
As you’ll see from the link above, the prices will differ depending on how you book.
Choosing a good day to go to Rottnest Island is fairly easy with the weather being great in Perth and the surrounding area almost year round. With that being said, I’d personally aim to go during the summer and pick a day with low winds (especially if you’re biking). If you have flexibility in your schedule I’d also suggest going on a weekday rather than weekend so that you’ll have more of the island to yourself!
Hiring a bike for the day is your best bet! Coming from a girl who isn’t so keen on biking, I’m not going to lie to you – it’s a long day. It’s definitely worth it though because you’ll be able to cover a lot more ground and get some exercise in at the same time!
Once you have your bike, head in a clockwise direction (left from the jetty) around the island. Most people will go counterclockwise (right from the jetty) so this way you’ll avoid some of the crowds! If you go clockwise you’ll also face the largest hills near the beginning of your day which will be a relief later on when you’re tired.
The entire loop is about 22km around the island and will return at the ferry where you started.
With too many private beaches to count, the water activities are endless! As you bike around the island you’ll want to stop at each place. If you do, keep in mind that you’ll need enough time to circle back to the last ferry for the day.
There are many great snorkelling spots on the island. You may even see a dolphin or two swimming near the shore! If snorkelling isn’t your thing, there are amazing spots to kick back and relax. Make sure you save some time for the Basin near the end of the trail. You can swim within natural pools in the ocean!
Have you heard of the quokka before? Maybe not, but chances are that you’ve probably seen them a handful of times while scrolling through Instagram! If you’re well versed in quokka, you’ll know that these cute and furry creatures can only be found in Western Australia (and most commonly on Rottnest Island). It wouldn’t be a proper Rottnest Island guide without filling you in on how to get the perfect quokka selfie!
When you get to the island there will be plenty of opportunities to get the perfect quokka selfie! You’ll be given a map of the island that points out the best spots to find them but if you’re on a bike you’ll surely see them many times throughout the day.
Once you find a spot with a few quokkas wandering around, there’s a method to the madness:
Step 1: Set your photos to the ‘live’ function, as the quokkas move around and this will provide you with a better chance to capture them at the right moment.
Step 2: Approach them slowly and don’t touch them! Quokkas can bite if your presence is unwanted.
Step 3: Get low. I’m talking reallllll low, on your stomach kind of low. Unless the quokka is sitting on a ledge or someplace higher up, you’ll have a better shot at getting you and the quokka both in the picture if you’re laying down on your stomach near them.
Step 4: Snap away until you get that perfect shot! It may take a while but don’t worry. No one will care because they’ll be too busy trying to get their own selfie!
Step 5: Accept your failed attempts and have a laugh. Here are some of mine that didn’t quite turn out as planned …
That’s just about it for my Rottnest Island guide. If you end up making it to the island I’d love to hear about your experience and see your #quokkaselfie!