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Published by TOP4 Team
An idyllic, relaxed lifestyle draws about half a million holiday-makers to Rottnest Island each year. The island, 11 kilometres long and 4.5 kilometres wide, lies in azure waters only 18 kilometres west of Perth, just a short ferry or plane ride from the mainland. Its crystal-clear bays and white, sandy beaches are perfect for a range of aquatic pleasures, while on land there are heritage sites and interesting flora and fauna – including the famous quokka – to discover. The island’s fishing and surfing are at their best during the cooler months. Day trips are popular, as are longer stays in the low-key accommodation. With no private cars permitted on the island, bicycles are the main mode of transport, although limited bus services operate and a light railway takes visitors to Oliver Hill, in the centre of the island, for spectacular views.
What you should visit:
The diversity of fish and coral species and the countless shipwrecks found around the island make Rottnest a favourite site for scuba divers and snorkellers. Dive charters and snorkelling tours are popular; if you prefer not to get wet, enjoy the underwater scenery aboard the glass-bottomed Underwater Explorer.
The “West End” of Rottnest can be reached on an 11 km bike ride along a sealed road, or on a bus tour. There are stunning ocean views from Cape Vlamingh (where you may also spot a humpback whale in winter) and a 1 km heritage trail that affords sightings of wedge-tailed shearwaters, fairy terns, quokkas and bottlenose dolphins.
An outer reef surrounds Rottnest, protecting the clear waters and creating calm conditions for family swimming. The Basin provides one of a number of beautiful sandy beaches on the eastern end of the island. It is within easy walking distance of Thomson Bay and has basic facilities.
The quokka is a native marsupial found primarily on Rottnest. It is semi-nocturnal and furry and grows to the size of a hare. There are about 10 000 quokkas on the island. Find the interpretive signs about a kilometre south of Thomson Bay, just before Kingstown Barracks; if you don’t see a quokka here, then there are good viewing spots along the boardwalk at Garden Lake.
Take a look at other local tourist attractions across the Perth Region today!