Summer has ﬁnally hit Perth, and Christmas holidays are just around the corner - that means it’s the perfect time of year to get back to Rottnest Island!
Whether you’re wanting to get out and explore, lay back by the beach or just have a cheeky getaway, there’s so much for everyone to enjoy on Rottnest. If you’re looking to take a day trip, have an overnight stay, or maybe even want to make multiple trips this summer, this guide for exploring Rottnest Island has everything you’ll need to plan your visit.
The ﬁrst step in planning your trip to Rottnest Island is ﬁguring out how you’re going to get there. Luckily, there’s a fair few options for you to choose from.
The most common way to get to the island is by sea of course: SeaLink Rottnest and Rottnest Express are two operators with ferries that depart daily from a few different spots in Fremantle and Perth, which is very convenient if you’re a tourist already exploring these key WA locations. Or if you’re a little further north of Perth, catch a ride with Rottnest Fast Ferries, departing daily from Hillary’s Boat Harbour. Check out their respective websites for timetables so you can ﬁnd a ferry best suited to your location and schedule.
If you’re keen to try something different (or maybe if you get a little seasick) then you can even get to the island by air! Swan River Seaplanes, Rottnest Air-Taxi and Kookaburra Air all offer a range of Rottnest tour packages to choose from, with some stunning views on offer along the way.
Rottnest Island isn’t exactly small: with 63 beaches, 20 bays and many coral reefs and wrecks on offer, you’ll have plenty to explore over the course of your trip. But to make the most of all these amazing island spots, you’ll need a way to get around.
The good news is Rottnest doesn’t exactly have an issue with trafﬁc, with very few cars on the island. With clear roads and long winding paths, bikes are easily the most popular and accessible form of transportation on the island. You can bring your own, or you can hire one from Pedal & Flipper ahead of your trip when you book your ticket.
If biking isn’t your thing or maybe you’re a little older, then the Discover Rottnest Bus Tour might be right up your alley. Spend your day travelling the island on an air-conditioned bus while being guided through its unique ﬂora, fauna, history and culture, with scenic views right outside your window. Book your seat here.
Bikes and buses are great for getting around fast, but maybe you’re ready to take it a bit slower? If that;s the case then check out the Wadjemup Bidi, a series of walk trails that will take you across spectacular coastal headlands, past stunning inland lakes, and natural and man-made attractions. There’s a few different duration and distance options to choose from, so you can ﬁnd the one that best suits your needs.
What’s Happening On Rottnest
Whether you’ve been to Rottnest before or it’s your ﬁrst time exploring the island, there’s always something new to see or do.
Aquaplay Rottnest offers some aquatic fun for all ages. Located in North Thomson Bay, you can choose from pedal boards, stand up paddle boards and waterbikes - each one offering you a unique way to get across the water!
Speaking of fun for all ages , everyone should check out the Family Fun Park at least once - with mini-golf and a range of arcade and retro pinball machines to bring out some friendly competition, as well as homemade crepes, fresh coffee, ice cream and cold drinks on offer, there’s plenty to keep you entertained. And that’s all before the deckchair cinema, complete with its own candy bar!
If you’re after some more exploratory attractions to visit, then the iconic (and very visible) Wadjemup and Bathurst Lighthouses are what you’re after. You can reach these by bike, or from the bus tour and shuttle bus.
But who could forget the most important attraction Rottnest has to offer? The beach. More importantly, all 63 secluded beaches and 20 beautiful bays. There’s plenty of options to choose from, no matter where on the island you’re travelling to or from. Just don’t forget to bring your bathers and sunscreen (but you knew that already).
Being a hugely popular tourist destination, it’s no surprise that Rottnest Island has plenty of guided tours and experiences on offer, allowing you to get the most out of your island stay.
Arrive in style by sailing your way to the island from Fremantle with Charter 1, a magical eco-experience on board a yellow sailing catamaran with a range of tour packages to choose from. You’ll even get the chance to visit magical bays that are only accessible by boat, and snorkel, kayak or SUP in the pristine waters. Speaking of snorkelling, Dive Traveller’s offer a guided diving and snorkelling experience as well as Rock Lobster hunting, with plenty of soft corals and amazingly diverse ﬁsh life to spot under the surface!
If you’re after something a bit more “fast and furious” to get the blood pumping, then Eco Express Boat Tours has exactly what you need, with a high-speed, adrenaline fueled, guided adventure tour exploring the water around Rottnest Island. More of a hardcore adrenaline junkie? Skydive Geronimo is WA’s only island skydive experience, allowing you to tandem skydive from a plane at 10,000ft, 14,000ft or 15,000ft. It’s certainly not everyone’s cup of tea, but the view of the island that you’ll get from your unique vantage point is unmatched.
Back on land, a cool way to explore Rottnest is on two wheels - and we’re not talking about a bicycle. Have some fun with a guided Segway Tour! It’s easy to learn and you’ll be able to reach some unique places across the island as you’re led by your tour guide for 30 or 60 minute drives.
But maybe there’s only one kind of tour that interests you - one that involves food. We hear you. So check out the Luxe Island Seafood Cruise - a deluxe dining experience on board Rottnest Cruises' 69-foot charter boat cruising across the islands turquoise waters. And when we say deluxe we mean it: feast on a 7-course degustation menu of fresh local ingredients and seafood prepared by a private chef onboard, and sip on your welcome cocktail and premium wines by Margaret River’s Howard Park Wines, plus craft beers by Spinifex Brewing Co and Little Creatures. Plus, you can swim, snorkel, ﬂoat or just relax on board while anchored at Island Bay. It’s a hard life, but someone has to live it!
Don’t forget - Rottnest Island is hosting New Years Eve again this year!
The festivities kick off from 3pm on December 31st with a range of activities and events for the whole family, including beach games, a circus show, a silent disco, acoustic music, roving entertainers, upbeat tunes and, of course, ﬁreworks to cap off the night. A series of late night ferries will be running to get you home in the evening. Don’t forget to grab your tickets before the event sells out (ferry tickets purchased separately)!
Food & Accommodation
Where to Eat
Just because it’s an island doesn’t mean there’s nowhere to eat or spend the night - in fact, there are a few great options for both!
Spending the day exploring Rottnest and having fun in the sun can be thirsty - or hungry - work. Whether you’re after a nibble, a couple cold drinks, or maybe a nice meal while you watch the sun set, there’s a spot for you. Check out all the options on Rottnest’s Eat And Drink page.
Where to Stay
With so much to see and do - and plenty of time to kill over the summer holidays too - why not spend the night on the island and wake up to gorgeous sunrise views over the ocean!
Rottnest offers a range of holiday accommodation options, from your standard family holiday units, to more premium options with ocean views, to heritage cottages for a more authentic stay. If you’re looking for something a bit fancier, then check out Samphire Rottnest: located on the beachfront of Thomson Bay it features 80 spacious rooms that were built for comfort, and all feature a private balcony. Now that’s how you enjoy island life!
It’s always worth visiting Rottnest at least once each summer - it’s been another long year, and you deserve to treat yourself to an island getaway.