Discover the Best Attractions and Activities on Rottnest Island (Wadjemup).
Just 19 km off the coast of Perth City, but an entire world away, lies the sunny holiday island of Rottnest, blessed with a casual atmosphere, picturesque scenery, dazzling marine life and some of the world's finest beaches and pristine bays.
Wadjemup, the Noongar name of the island, means ‘place across the water where the spirits are’. This land is that of the traditional owners, the Whadjuk Noongar people, who know the island as a resting place of the spirits, as well as a memorial place of Aboriginal men and boys whose bodies still rest beneath the sands of Wadjemup. This is a history that we acknowledge and pay respect to.
Rottnest Island is surrounded by the expanse of the Indian Ocean, with uncrowded beaches, traffic-free streets, and home to the world-famous Quokkas. Beaches and bays are all yours to explore, add in snorkelling, surfing, and sunshine; and holidays are made of this.
You won’t be left wondering what to do on Rottnest Island with an abundance of tours, activities, and attractions. Skydive onto the beach, paddle a glass bottom kayak, join a Segway tour, or gather around for Aboriginal stories of Wadjemup. Museums, barracks, lighthouses, war relics and railways tell of the more recent history.
Watch boats in the bay silhouetted by a pastel sunset. Wine and dine on seafood at beachfront bars or grab a 'craydog' from The Lane and do Rottnest like a local.
Come for the day, stay for a week. This is where coastal landscapes become the backdrop to your forever memories.
Things To Do on Rottnest Island
Wondering what to do on Rottnest Island? Discover some of the best picks here.
- Swim and relax by the stunning waters - you have 63 beaches and 20 bays to choose from.
- Enjoy a decadent sea-to-plate experience on an all-inclusive seafood cruise.
- Join a 90-minute adventure boat tour (September– April).
- Discover marine wildlife and underwater snorkel trails at Little Salmon Bay and Parker Point.
- Take a Bus Tour to all of Rottnest’s must-see locations.
- Follow your own path along the Wadjemup Bidi.
- Encounter a variety of nature and wildlife including birdlife, quokkas, and wildflowers.
- Join one of the many free guided walking tours of the island.
- Enjoy a catamaran cruise at sunset or sail the bays on the snorkel tour.
- Learn about the island's history at the Wadjemup Museum.
- Learn about the island from the Aboriginal perspective on a walking tour with a Noongar Guide.
Getting To and Around Rottnest Island
Rottnest Island is only a short ferry ride from Fremantle, Perth City and Hillarys with Rottnest Express, Rottnest Fast Ferries, and SeaLink Rottnest Island. You can also fly over with Kookaburra Air, Rottnest Air-Taxi, Corsaire Aviation, Swan River Seaplanes and Fly Rottnest Island.
If you’re wondering what to do to get around Rottnest Island, bikes are the transport of choice and can be hired or brought along with you by ferry. The island is only 11km long and 4.5km wide making it easy to explore with a number of great trails to follow upon arrival on the island. If traversing by bike doesn't appeal, you can also enjoy the journey by air-conditioned coach on the Island Explorer. This hop-on/hop-off service runs daily with 18 stops on the agenda. The tour takes you to many of the secluded bays and secret hideaways located around the island. You can also explore the island by bike and bus. Simply ride your bike until you are tired and then leave it at a bus stop and enjoy the bus ride back to the settlement. This is ideal for families or beginner cyclists.
The visitor centre is also a great place to book a number of tours. Choices range from historic train journeys, lighthouse tours, underwater explorations, Segway tours, skydiving, and glass bottom boat rides. Visit rottnestisland.com for more.
A Water Playground
Are you still considering what to do on Rottnest Island? Not surprisingly, water activities play a major role in island life - from snorkelling and diving to fishing, surfing, boating, kayaking, sailing and swimming!
With vibrant tropical fish and coral, heading below the surface is a truly worthwhile experience. Rottnest Island boasts the world's most southerly corals and seasoned divers will be happy to know that just off the coast slumbers a vast graveyard of shipwrecks waiting to be explored. Informational plaques can be found alongside the wrecks and are complemented by onshore plaques indicating their location for those that don't want to brave the depths.
Rottnest Island is also renowned for surfing with some of the best breaks in the world found at Strickland Bay. Surfing season is at its best from May to October.
Aquaplay Rottnest tours and waterplay hire is great way to explore Rottnest’s unique marine environment on pedal-boards, stand up paddle boards, and water play equipment. The one-hour waterbike experience is an incredible adventure cruising on a bike across the water. Waterbike tours are run in small, exclusive groups with a private guide, and are safe, stable and easy to use.
What to Eat & Drink at Rottnest Island
When it comes to food and drink, you'll be spoilt for choice. Enjoy beachside dining and fresh seafood at Hotel Rottnest and Isola Bar e Cibo, locally inspired dishes at Pinky’s Beach Club or take yourself on a culinary journey at Lontara.
Treat yourself to great coffee at The Lane, Dome Café and Geordie's Café or if you’re after some delicious pub grub, visit Gov’s Sports Bar. Grab a casual bite from Frankies on Rotto, Subway, Rottnest Bakery and The General Store.
Interact with Nature and Wildlife
Rottnest Island has many bike and walk trails that criss-cross the island – you can pick up your map from the visitor centre, once you hop off the ferry.
The Wadjemup Bidi will take you across spectacular coastal headlands, past stunning lakes and natural and man-made attractions. Wadjemup Bidi is 45 kilometres of trails made up of 5 sections, each boasting culturally and environmentally significant landmarks to appreciate and experience.
For an all-inclusive eco-tour, The Hike Collective offers pack-free, luxury adventure walking tours on Rottnest Island, suitable for beginners and hiking enthusiasts.
To see the island's most scenic views on an electric bike, Paul’s Eco E-bike Tours is for you. You will follow a knowledgeable guide, take a beach walk or swim at one of the many beautiful bays on an electric bike tour.
Learn about Aboriginal Culture and Island History
Join one of the free guided walking tours run by the Rottnest Island Volunteer Guides and discover more about the unique island.
Learn more and heighten your appreciation for Wadjemup on a walking tour with the award-winning Go Cultural Aboriginal Tours and Experiences.
Click here to download a map of Rottnest Island. Copies of this Hello Perth map can be collected at Perth Airport stands at T1 and T3, the East Perth Rail Terminal, all Visitor Centres in the metropolitan area, all Hello Perth stands, plus from over 150 locations such as attractions, hotels and car hire companies.
Plan Your Trip to Rottnest Island
Find the top accommodation, attractions, tours and things to do on Rottnest Island to help plan your trip.
Rottnest Island Trails
Keen to explore Rottnest Island? Traverse the island's unique landscapes along one of their many trails. The Wadjemup Bidi is a series of walk trails that will take you across spectacular coastal headlands, past stunning inland lakes and encounter both natural and man-made attractions along the way.
What's On at Rottnest Island
Check out some of the upcoming events and festivals taking place on Rottnest Island.
Read More About Rottnest Island
View the latest stories and news from Rottnest Island.
Winter in Perth
Winter in Perth means clear skies, cooler days, and plenty of things to see and do, both indoors and outdoors.