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It was finally time for us to discover Western Australia. A long-cherished wish. Our first destination during a Western Australia trip was Rottnest Island. The Island of the Quokka’s, the azure water and paradise beaches. After a full day in the city centre of Perth, we left Hillarys Boat Harbour (together with our rental bikes) to discover Rottnest Island, one of the most beautiful islands of Australia. Read our experiences and tips about Rottnest Island now.
Video about Rottnest Island
We had chosen a day tour from Perth which included the ferry, bikes and hotel pickup. Via GetYourGuide we booked the Rottnest Island Full-Day Bike and Ferry Trip. More information / booking
Ferry to Rottnest Island
Rottnest Island is normally a very touristic destination. Because of the border restrictions it was very quiet now, but we did not mind at all. We had booked tickets through GetYourGuide which included a pickup in the city. We were picked up near our hotel around 8 o’clock in the morning. After a 20-minute drive to Hillary’s Harbour, we could pick up our rental bikes at the harbour and walk to the ferry.
Everything during this tour was well organised. Our bicycles were lifted on the ferry and we could find a good place on the boat. There was enough room on the ferry as it was nice and quiet. There were other Australian tourists from other states on the boat who were welcome in Western Australia and several students who went snorkelling on the island for the day.
Cycling across Rottnest Island
We love cycling. Discovering the island by bike was something I was really looking forward to. There are almost no cars on the island, which makes cycling on the island very relaxing.
It’s always a surprise what the weather will be on a island as Rottnest. For us the forecast was a minimum of 12 degrees and a maximum of 20 degrees. Wearing shorts was acceptable, but longer trousers were also fine. It can be quite windy on Rottest like other islands. We had wind gusts of 46km/h, which is quite normal on the island.
As a cycling enthusiast, Rottnest is a real treat. With the very hilly landscapes a bike ride is a good exercise. The landscapes are very surprising during the ride. But one thing is certain: the azure-blue water plays a major role on the island.
The island has so many beautiful spots that it is very tempting to make regular stops. At many viewpoints you will also find steps and paths that lead to paradisiacal beaches. You don’t get used to the azure water, it remains a special experience. Again, while writing this blog, I am surprised by the colours in the photos. But I can confirm: no filters! ;)
Rottnest Island is not a large island, it has a surface area of 19 km2. The island feels bigger than it is, mainly because of the hilly landscape. Cycling across the island is not difficult, but having a good condition is a plus. Some hills require some effort, and the wind also plays a role.
You won’t get saturated quickly on Rottnest Island. The island has a varied landscape, which will surprise you and make you fall in love with it again and again. There are stretches of coast with dunes, white sand and blue water, but there are also stretches where the surroundings are very rough. Rocks play a major role here. A beautiful sight, have a look at the photos below!
Hiking on Rottnest Island
You can (if you wish) cycle for hours on Rottnest. But hiking is also something I recommend to do on Rottnest Island. There are several walking trails across the island, with distances from 5.9km to 10 km.
- Ngank Yira Bidi – Visit Bickley Battery, 9.4km / one way / approx: 3-4 hours
- Gabbi Karniny Bidi – Explore the salt lakes, 9.7km / walk / approx: 3-4 hours
- Wardan Nara Bidi – Relax at Salmon Bay, 10km / one way / approx: 3-4 hours
- Karlinyah Bidi – Experience the Northern beaches, 5.9km / one way / approx: 2-3 hours
- Ngank Wen Bidi – Explore the West side of the island, 7.6km / walk / approx: 3-4 hours
Which route you choose depends on your time, condition and what you want to see. We cycled all over the island and found every side of the island special. When we on the island again, we will definitely do a hike, because it Rottnest tastes like more.
You’re only 19 kilometres from vibrant Perth. Many Perth residents like to take the ferry to Rottnest to relax and leave the vibrant city behind.
What the island is best known for (of course) are the quokkas. If you ask me, one of the cutest animals on earth. We spotted the first quokkas near the Rottnest Island Visitor Centre. There are a number of restaurants here, and of course those cute animals know that too…because of the food 😉
We prefer to see those cute animals in the nature ourselves, so we kind of assumed that we would spot them during the bike ride. Nothing could be further from the truth, during the first few kilometres they were nowhere to be seen.
After a long ride, we decided to make a short stop at the side of the road to drink some water and eat a biscuit. We were suddenly surprised! The cracking of the bag of biscuits aroused the curiosity of the quokkas. Before we realised it, there were two of them standing next to us.
After quickly hiding the bag of biscuits, we had a great time with these cute creatures around us. Although it is a bit cliché, I couldn’t resist taking a Quokka selfie 🙂 .
Although the island is already an experience to visit due to its azure waters and beautiful coastlines, these animals make the island even more special. They are very tame creatures that are not afraid of humans and are used to having their picture taken. But treat them with respect (they are nature)…and don’t feed them!
Those who think that the Quokka is the only animal that lives on Rottnest are wrong. There is plenty of wildlife, including lizards, monitor lizards and snakes.
Western Australia is home to many different types of snakes. You always have to be careful when hiking, especially when snakes come out of hibernation, which was our case. We had to make a stop because a snake was crossing over. But don’t be afraid, as long as you leave the snakes alone and give them the chance to cross, there is basically nothing wrong 😉 Don’t be afraid, as long as you don’t disturb them.
On Rottnest Island, lizards and monitor lizards regularly cross the road. We saw the Land Mullet (Egernia Major) on the road a few times. A very cool experience! But water birds can also be seen regularly, especially near the lakes. Birdwatchers will also find their heart’s content on the island.
It is actually quite difficult to say which place on the island stands out, as the whole island is impressive. But one place does stand out for me, and that is because of the breathtaking nature and wildlife you can spot there. The most beautiful place on Rottnest for me is West End.
While Rottnest Island had already stolen my heart much earlier in the day, I really fell in love during a short walk near West End. Wow!!! How beautiful is this place!! The water, the rough rocks, the nature, really a paradise. As far as I am concerned, you can’t leave the island until you have seen West End 😉
Could we get any more excited after seeing the coast at West End? We thought not! Until we cycle back and suddenly see a sign with the word ‘Seals’ on it. Could it be? Is it the right time of year? Since we had no idea how far it was to walk to see them, we decided to first ask the owners of Lexi’s on Rotto, a vintage caravan from the 70s that has been lovingly restored and where you can order coffee or a cool drink.
The owners enthusiastically tell us that a family of seals can be spotted right now. Full of enthusiasm, we start our walk towards the coast. After a few hundred metres we come close to the water, and yes: 3 beautiful seals bobbing in the water 🙂
It is very amusing to see how the seals are playing in the water. They enjoy the sunshine while we enjoy them and the beautiful landscape they are in.
Rottnest Island experiences
We had a great time on Rottnest Island. As cycling, hiking and nature lovers, we had a great time. Unfortunately, it was only one day, but we are not ruling out a new visit to the island. We can’t wait to go for a long hike or to stay there for more nights. Are you in Perth yourself? Take the ferry and experience it with your own eyes. You will fall in love, guaranteed 😉
Visit Rottnest Island
Enthusiastic and want to visit the island yourself? You can book the cheapest ferry tickets (including bikes) here. Staying overnight on the island? Check out the cheapest hotels here.
More travel tips about Western Australia? Check WesternAustralia.com