Fancy a little trip to Rat’s Nest Island? Probably not, but that’s the translation of the popular Rottnest Island in Western Australia.
Rottnest Island is where you will find bluer than blue water, whiter than white beaches and most importantly, it is the only place in the world that you’ll come across a quokka!
Residents of Western Australia have been holidaying on Rottnest Island for years. Most people smile fondly and tell you about a childhood trip there. There are a whole range of accommodation options ranging from camping to nice hotels but we chose to visit for the day. Our time in Western Australia was short and we needed to cram as much in as we could.
You take a ferry to Rottnest from either Fremantle or Hillary’s Boat Harbour. We went from Hilary’s as it was an easier drive from where we were staying. There were boats going regularly throughout the day so we booked 7:30am, best to get there early and make the most of the day.
The ferry was super easy to get, you just hop on and around an hour later you pull in. If you chose to hire a bike (we did as it was included in our ticket … more on that next) they come on the ferry with you. Simples!
Bike vs Bus:
Rottnest Island is pretty small so you can cover it in a day. There aren’t any cars on the island, except service vehicles and tourist buses. The tourist buses cruise around and drop you off at the main points so you can hop on and off and see the island aided by air-conditioning. We chose to cycle, so hired bikes. Because we are stoopid!
Well not really, I would have loved it but we somehow went off down a sandy path at the start of the day, which meant a lot of getting stuck, pushing the bike and gripping the handlebars tight. Nana Renners over here didn’t really consider how much this would hurt my hands, so before we made it back on the proper paths I was already really struggling to grip the handlebars and change gears. FAIL!
However, if you are not disabled and have fully functioning hands I highly recommend the bikes. Everyone else seemed to be having a lovely day on them! Since then I have extensively researched and discovered if I was to get a Lekker Bike they have the gears on a little stick on the handlebar, so I’d manage that no bother with my granny hands. So if anyone fancies getting me a little present, please feel free!
My main priority for the day was getting the all important quokka selfie. Since I saw a picture of one a while ago I have been obsessed. They’re just the cutest little things who look like they are smiling for the photos. The quokkas are protected on the island, so you should be respectful of them and not scare them. But to be honest, they are so cheeky and friendly they hop right up to you so you don’t need to chase them down.
They are looking for food but don’t feed them, there are signs everywhere asking you not to.
Clear blue water!
There are so many beaches and coves around the island, just park up your bike and have a paddle. My favourite was the Basin. Beautiful rocks surround what could be a man made pool. Soft white sand and then you walk out a few metres and the reef drops away into the deeper water.
And the major bonus is there is a shaded area to the side I could sit my dad under to keep him out the sun while I went swimming, everyone’s happy!
Another favourite spot was by the side of the Bathurst Lighthouse. As you walk to the top of the hill to the base of the lighthouse and look to your left I loved the beach down there. It was quieter than most of the beaches.
Make sure you pack your snorkel and mask because there is loads to see. Pretty much each beach you stop at is good for snorkelling. You can also surf on certain beaches but we didn’t spot anyone, there wasn’t really any waves.
Eating and Drinking
Where you first arrive on the ferry there are a number of little cafes and restaurants so you don’t need to worry about taking a picnic. There is a supermarket which sells literally anything you can think of so if you forgot your suncream or just want water you can stock up on supplies.
I highly recommend the bakery, but having just found out I have to give up gluten it was a challenge for me. Which I failed, and had a croissant for breakfast. Oops.
You need to watch out for the birds though, they’re ninja’s! We witnessed one man lose his sausage roll to one of them when he looked the other way. Then a second man had to chose between his baby running off and grabbing his sandwich before a bird swooped. He chose the sandwich FYI and worried about the baby second. Bad dad!
The Rottnest Channel Swim
And finally for the more active among you, it is possible to SWIM to Rottnest Island from Cottesloe beach. It’s a whopping 19.7km!!! The event is on once a year, and we actually visited Rottnest just two days before the big event which I would have loved to have seen! For those of you that know me you’ll know I love outdoor swimming and have taken part in the Great North Swim a few times. I’d love to say I could complete the Rottnest Channel Swim but it’s highly unlikely I’ll ever be that fit! Maybe one day a miracle will happen.
You can do the swim in a team, in a pair or by yourself. But it’s all very well organised and everyone swims with a safety boat so no-one ends up lost at sea.
Time to go home
At the end of the day when you have your quokka selfie ready for Instagram and it’s time to leave, just head back to the ferry. You just queue at the right time, load your bike on and have a nice little boat trip back.
It’s a long day but it was so much fun and the beaches are just unreal!
Make sure you pack your suncream though, it’s HOT! Especially if you choose to cycle around as there weren’t many shaded areas on the way around.
If you’re planning a trip to Rottnest Island I hope this blog has helped! I’ve linked a few more posts below which you may find interesting. You may not, but you should probably read them to find out 🙂