How to Plan the Perfect Rottnest Island Day Trip

Quokkas are the main reason people decide to take a Rottnest Island Day Trip. And who could blame them? Friendly, smiling little creatures with tiny hands, quokkas are one of the cutest animals you’ll ever see.

Wardan Nara Bidi, which is the indigenous name for the island, offers a lot more than just running around looking for little animals. If you’re going to spend some time there, then you need to know all the best things to do on Rottnest Island.

The Basin, Pinky Beach and Bathurst Lighthouse at Rottnest Island, near Perth in Western Australia.
The Basin, Pinky Beach and Bathurst Lighthouse at Rottnest Island

Is Rottnest Island Worth Visiting?

If you’re considering a Rottnest Island Day Trip, then you probably want to know if it’s worth visiting. After all, what does it offer that you can’t get on the mainland?

Honestly, quite a lot, beautiful beaches, great cycling and walking tracks and quokkas! It is also a great chance to get away from the city.

There are things to do on Rottnest Island that will make everyone happy – from kids to adults. And it’s close enough to the city that travelling there is a pleasure rather than a burden.

What are the best things to do and see on Rottnest

Look for Quokkas

Quokkas are adorable, smiley-faced creatures that will be a highlight on your Rottnest Island Day Trip. They’re quite brave and tame, so they’ll turn up all over the island. This includes at the supermarket, in pubs, and on the beach.

Australia, Quokka on Rottnest Island
These cute little creatures are quite a drawcard

Just remember that they’re wild animals and you should never touch or feed the quokkas, no matter how cute they are.

See a few of the 63 Amazing Beaches

Rottnest Island has 63 incredible beaches for you to explore, as well as a vast range of activities you can do there. Try snorkelling at Little Salmon Bay or Parker Point, either are good choices.

Little parakeet bay on Rottnest island
Little parakeet bay is one of the prettiest spots on Rottnest island

Take a trip in the glass-bottomed underwater sub explorer if you don’t like to snorkel or perhaps a swim at the popular beaches at the Basin, Pinky Beach, Salmon Bay, or Little Armstrong Bay.

Try Skydiving

If you’re a thrill-seeker, go skydiving with Skydive Geronimo and see Rottnest from the sky. This makes a great birthday or special occasion surprise!

Do some Whale Watching

You can join a tour to see whales moving slowly along the coast in April and between August and November.

Take some Walks

The Wadjemup Bidi Trails are some of the most popular things to do on Rottnest Island. This network of trails explores the best that Rottnest has to offer as an A-Class Nature Reserve, including amazing beaches, bays, flora, and fauna.

Many of the landmarks along the way are culturally significant to the local Indigenous tribe, as well as environmentally significant.

There are five main sections to the trail:

  • Wardan Nara Bidi, which is 10km long and takes in the WWII relics on the island 
  • Ngank Yira Bidi, which is 9.4km long and travels from Thomson Bay to Oliver Hill
  • Karlinyah Bidi, a shorter trail at 5.9km that travels along beaches.
  • Gabbi Karniny Bidi, a 9.7km loop from Thomson Bay
  • Ngank Wen Bidi, a 7.6km trail that will take you past the best spots for seeing marine life!
Rocky bay at Rottnest island in Australia
Rocky bay at Rottnest island in Australia

These are just some of the things you can do on a Rottnest Island Day Trip. So, decide what you’d like to do and get out there to have some fun!

How to Get to Rottnest Island

The first thing you need to do when you’re planning a Rottnest day trip is to book your transport to the island. Rottnest Island is just 10km or 11 miles off the coast and can be reached by ferry or with a tour company.

Ferries depart from Fremantle, Hillary’s Boat Harbour, and Perth City. They take between 45 and 90 minutes to reach the island, depending on where you leave from.  

You can purchase combined ferry and Rottnest Island ferry tickets online or just buy a ferry ticket and pay your park entry on arrival.

Take the ferry from either Perth or Fremantle

There are several different ferry companies you can go with, including:

Each of these companies offers you the chance to package in other tours and experiences at the same time. They also provide safe, comfortable, and modern ferries.

While you’re planning, keep these Rottnest ferry tips in mind:

  • Book your ferry a few days ahead of time in the peak season.
  • The Rottnest Express Ferry offers Cheap Tuesdays, or check local travel brochures for discount coupons.
  • If you get seasick, sit on the bottom deck; it’s usually less bumpy there. Or try to stay outside.
  • You’ll have to pay an island landing fee once you arrive, so have some money handy.

How to Get Around Rottnest Island

There are roads on Rottnest Island, but no cars, so you will have to think about your transport options once you get there. Here’s what’s available:

Bikes

Bikes are the most popular way to get around; you can bring yours on the ferry with you for an extra $15. If you don’t have a bike, then you can hire one. Many ferry companies offer combination ferry and bike hire, so inquire before you book your ferry ticket.

Australia, coast and vegation on Indian ocean in Rottnest Island, bicycles are a usual mode of transport
One of the best ways to explore Rottnest is to hire a bike.

Bike hire is usually around $30 a day. Make sure you check your bike’s condition before you take it out. Some bikes are not in good working order, and you don’t want to end up with one that breaks halfway round the island.  If you prefer you can rent a segway?

HOHO Bus

The hop-on-hop-off bus is another popular way to see the island. The Rottnest Explorer bus service leaves every half an hour from the main bus stop. It stops at Rottnest’s best and most popular beaches and attractions.

Tickets are $20 for adults and $15 for children, and it’s well worth the price if you don’t want to bike around.

Rottnest Island Day Tours

There are dozens of tours to Rottnest Island and it can be really hard to decide which one to pick. Start by considering if you want a fully escorted experience or prefer an independent package giving you freedom to explore the island at your leisure.

Three of the best inclusive tours are:

  • Rottnest Island All-Inclusive Day Tour from Perth – be collected from your hotel and looked after all day. The tour includes Ferry tickets, Morning tea at Hillary’s Boat Harbor, 3.5-hour fully guided island tour by bus, a Historic train ride and a picnic lunch.
  • Rottnest Island Day Sailing Trip – this tour in a luxury catamaran from Fremantle and includes the chance to snorkel or kayak. This 8-hour tour includes morning tea and lunch and the use of water sports equipment.
  • Rottnest Island: Wild Seafood Tour from Perth or Fremantle – If your idea of paradise includes the freshest seafood served with unlimited drinks this tour is worth a look.

If you like to be independent these packages include everything you need for a fun day on the island.

All of these tours and packages include 24-hour cancellation so you can change your mind if this weather forecast is not great.

The Takeaway

If you’re looking to get out of Perth for the day, then a Rottnest Island Day Trip is a perfect choice. Close to the city, it offers incredible beaches and some of the cutest animal experiences possible!

Save this Rottnest Island Day Trip info for your Perth holiday planning

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