Our beautiful island of Rottnest is 19km off the coast of Perth, a pearl in the blue Indian Ocean. Staying a night or two is the best option for exploring the island. But if you’re time poor and still want those Rotto vibes or a date with a quokka, a daytrip is the only option. Here’s a plan to maximise your island experience.
Just 20 minutes from Freo or 45 minutes from Hillarys, it’s best to get the early ferry so you get the most out of your island adventure.
Bicycles and Rottnest go hand in hand so how about some wheels? Options range from BYO Bike on the ferry with you, hire from the ferry companies or from Pedal and Flipper on the island. Other prerequisites are water bottle, sunscreen, hat, bathers and snorkelling gear because you’re going to be spending a lot of time in the sun!
If cycling really isn’t your thing, there are hiking trails like Gabbi Karniny Bidi and a bus that loops around the island. What to do if you’ve been cycling all day and you’ve had enough? If you have hired your bike from Pedal and Flipper you can leave the bike at one of the many bike racks and catch the bus back – convenient! Check those details when you hire the bike.
Unload your bike, sort out your wheels and then head straight to the famous Rotto bakery in the Settlement and get some lunch and drinks for later- you’ll need them while you’re exploring. The bakery has been a Rotto icon since 1952 so you know it is good. You can also drop into the helpful Rottnest Island Visitors Centre after getting off the ferry if you need more guidance.
Tip: Always carry plenty of water as there are very limited supplies beyond the settlements.
Choose your adventure on Rottnest Island: There are paper maps at the visitor centre and map signs at most intersections so you shouldn’t get lost. Check out our ride recommendations below-
For the energetic: the Island Ride is 22km long with hilly bits all the way out to West End and back. It is a loop so you aren’t retracing tracks. Lexi’s coffee van is a welcome surprise at West End.
Middle distance: Beaches, Lighthouses and Lakes is a 10km half loop including the Wadjemup Lighthouse and coffee van Kalli’s.
A short ride is the Rotto Mini Loop. At 4kms, it takes in the main settlements of Thomson’s Bay and Geordie/Longreach.
The best thing about Rottnest is whatever the wind direction, you can find a beautiful bay that is protected perfect for a swim, to enjoy your lunch or just take in that stunning ocean. Our favourites:
- The Basin (possibly the most popular swimming spot)
- Little Parakeet Bay (usually very quiet)
- Salmon and Little Salmon Bay (popular and has a underwater snorkel trail and coral)
- Parker Point (Another snorkel trail in the beautiful aqua water)
Drop your bikes off after a day of sun, sand and sea. Time to ‘rehydrate’ at Hotel Rottnest or the Bayside Bar before the ferry arrives to take you home. With multiple new accommodation locations offering bars, restaurants and much more on the beautiful Rottnest Island, there are options galore. If you fancy something a little fancy you can dine at Riva. New at Samphire Rottnest is Lontara, offering sophisticated beachside dining in a relaxed contemporary setting or perhaps you like some classic Italian- which you can try at Isola Bar and Restaurant.
You can fit all of this in, and still leave the island at the end of the day.
From 26th December 2021 – 31st January 2022 you can get a ferry home with SeaLink as late as 8pm!
There you have the ultimate way to spend a summer day at Rottnest Island. Don’t forget to tag #perthhappenings to share your Rotto adventure with us.