Visiting Rottnest Island, Western Australia

Welcome to post number one of many of our Australia trip. It’s been six years since my last visit to this glorious country and I managed to fit a whole lot of adventures into my two weeks. So be prepared to see posts for the next few weeks (or months depending how quickly I write things up!). It may seem odd to write about something that happened at the very end of our trip first, but that’s just the way my brain works!

Rottnest Island is in Western Australia off the coast of Perth, it’s a protected nature reserve that is home to white sandy beaches, hidden coves and the Quokka, a wallaby like marsupial that runs wild on the island completely free from any predators. In all honesty I hadn’t heard of Rottnest before I was planning this trip. But my lovely friend, who visited Perth in January, told me it was a must for this trip. So as usual I listened to her and organised a trip across to the island.

And guys it was totally worth it. Our ferry across to Rottnest left at 8:40am so we left the hotel at 8 for a casual stroll down to the quay. On the way we picked up breakfast muffins and coffee because breakfast is probably my favourite meal of the day. Once on the ferry we settled down on the top deck for a slow meander down the river to Freemantle harbour.

It takes an hour to get to Freemantle so we sat back and listened to the tour guide tell us all about the river – spoiler it was absolutely fascinating. Also we saw dolphins in the river so yeah, a pretty excellent way to start the day. Once we hit Freemantle harbour all river speed restrictions were lifted so we were soon zipping our way across to Rottnest Island. It’s a 30 minute trip across the sea and let me tell you it was a little choppy. I wasn’t a huge fan, but we arrived soon enough. Also the journey back was a lot calmer, so I think the morning trip was just particularly windy.

As we disembarked from the ferry we picked up our bikes and set off to explore the island. There are a few different cycle routes available so we opted to explore the small shopping area first. We picked up drinks and lunch and said hello to the Quokkas (more on these later) and then headed north to Mushroom Rock Lookout and Bathurst Lighthouse. Have you ever seen such coloured water? I mean seriously. And this is winter in Australia! From the lighthouse we headed back to the area of shops and picked up the main road out to the rest of the island.

The boat we sailed across on had some information about the island and with that was three different cycle routes. We picked the 10km route (there’s also a 4km and 22km) as we figured it would give us lots of things to see but also give us time to chill out and stop at places along the way. Which I think was a good option, although the island is quite small so we probably could have done the 22km route and still have taken our time. But with a particular time to get our ferry home we opted to be cautious.

Rottnest Island is just gorgeous and once you get away from the shops and main jetty area it feels utterly untouched by humans. Yes there’s a road that you are cycling on and the odd rubbish bin or bus stop, but nature is just all around you. From hidden beaches, bushland, lakes and rocky coves. There’s just so much to see. I think my favourite view was this one (above) on the beach with one lone seagull saying hello.

So Quokkas. What is a Quokka? Well it’s only possibly the cutest thing on the planet. And also the reason Rottnest Island is called Rottnest. When the island was first discovered these little marsupials were everywhere, but the Dutch sea captain thought they were rats, so named the island after them! These funny creatures look a bit like a wallaby and they are super friendly. They have no predators on the island so they’re everywhere and are super friendly to the humans that visit the island. I utterly fell in love with them. And they popped up randomly all over the island.

Now we may have acted cautiously when choosing our cycle route, but that meant that we were able to spend lots of time with the quokkas and also check out the Island museum which was fascinating. Oh and the ice cream shop. Winning at life right there! I opted for a cone with one scoop of mint chocolate chip and one of coffee and it was delicious. Armed with ice cream and coffee (winning combination) we say on the main beach and watched the world go by. It was super relaxing and an excellent way to end our trip. Obviously it was winter when we visited so it was lovely and quiet. I can imagine that it’s full of tourists in the summertime and I’m not sure if I’d have liked it quite so much in that instance.

I’d highly recommend a visit to Rottnest Island if you’re ever in Perth. I’d love to go back and actually stay on the Island for a couple of nights; it would be the perfect opportunity to do the longer bike route; take more photos of quokkas and eat more ice cream.

Have you ever been to Rottnest Island? If not have I now sparked the travel bug in you so you’ve added it to your travel list?

Laura xx