One of my favourite memories from our visit to Western Australia was the day we spent on the beautiful Rottnest Island. It’s around 30 minutes ferry ride away from Perth and a perfect day trip. A peaceful place full of happy holiday makers, quokkas and breathtaking scenery.
Despite being on the other side of the world, there was something about Rottnest Island which reminded me of Herm in the Channel Islands. It’s not just that it’s a small pretty island devoid of cars, it’s the feeling of the place, the coves and hills. I loved it.
As you’d expect, the main village is a busy place, with the island bakery, shops and (sadly) fast food option Subway bringing crowds of people and seagulls after a quick meal. It’s also the first place you get to after disembarking the ferries so understandably busy. Once you get away from there and explore the rest of the island, it becomes a wholly different place – peaceful and utterly breathtaking in parts.
The best way to get around is by bike. You can hire them through the ferry companies or bring your own if you’re local. You can also hire bikes once you arrive at Rottnest Island. It’s an easy process and you can even choose your own bike – really handy. It cost us around $16 for 4 hours and they come with a helmet. Stock up on water and off you go. Roads crisscross the island and there are plenty of signposts so you don’t get lost. We loved cycling up and down the hills and coastal paths. A perfect way to see the island! We wouldn’t have covered half of it on foot and the coach tours just seem a shame when the weather was so glorious.
Push on up the hills and get to the top of the island to Oliver Hill. It’s home to a WWII gun and underground bunkers. The history is fascinating but the view is even better! You can see across the whole island and back across to the mainland too. If cycling isn’t your thing, there’s a little train which goes up there too.
There are a couple of restaurants to choose from on the island plus some cafes. We didn’t eat in the restaurants so I can’t comment but my advice, if you don’t have time or money is tight, visit the Rottnest bakery. Pick up a sandwich or a giant Vegemite scroll (it’s not Marmite but it’ll do). Dave also had a huge lamington which he thoroughly enjoyed.
One unique (and extremely cute thing) about Rottnest is the Quokka. It’s a small animal which looks a bit like a giant rat. They are known as the happiest animal and I’m sure you’ll recognise them from various memes. Living on a small island with little in the way of predators and plenty of tourists feeding them treats, Quokkas are quite tame. They don’t mind being stroked and photographed. Apparently, the done thing is to get a selfie with a quokka. Easy enough as long as you don’t mind looking a bit gormless!
We loved Rottnest and I’d love to return. Next time we’ll stay the night. Accommodation varies from hotel to camping and even a hostel. My vote? An apartment overlooking that gorgeous beach…
Have you been to Rottnest Island? I’d love to hear your favourite stories!