Rottnest Island is about 19km from Fremantle so an easy half hour ferry ride. While its proximity to Perth might make you think that it is probably not really worth the effort, you couldn't be more wrong. Rotto is a stunning piece of paradise that is a pristine example of what you can expect from the coastline as you head north.
Rottnest was established as a nature reserve very early on in it's tourism life and its been aggressively protected since then. Living in Perth in my late teens and early twenties we spent most Australia Day Weekends on Rotto and I have a lot of very fond memories of the island and the lifestyle it embraces.
The last time I was on Rotto was early 1995 so 23 years ago! My that has gone by quickly and apart from the usual tourism improvements (cafes, shops and bakeries mostly) it is pretty much exactly as I remember it. There are no vehicles on the island so pushbikes are the main mode of transportation. The hire company Peddle and Flipper has hundreds of bikes for hire and a good variety of choices, however - its worth remembering that these are hire bikes and the island is hilly. Not Tour De France hilly but there is nowhere you can go without having to cycle up and down small hills so if you have your own bike to take, that would be my strongest recommendation. The bikes are fine, but I really missed my Stylyx bike with its amazing gearing and seeing so many people pushing their bikes up the hills, it wasn't just me.
- It will be windy
- It could be very windy
- It might even be blowing a damn gale!
That is a given. It could also be stinking hot. I'm talking above 40 degrees celcius hot.
I'd been watching the weather as having had a few years experience with WA temperatures I knew it could be nice, spectacular or "my brain is cooking through my hat" hot! We completely lucked out and the day was a very nice 30 degrees. It was also in the very windy range, but we were just thankful it wasn't 40 knots.
We stayed in Fremantle so we took the Sealink Ferry over and from Fremantle its only 35 mins. Going over was slightly rugged but coming back (the wind remember) was pretty gnarly so if you get seasick, even though its a short journey its best to remember that this is probably the only time that coming back will be worse. Traditionally you head into the swell going out and with it coming back but between Rotto and Perth its a cross swell so you can't escape it and back was easily 50% rougher than out. The ferry was $39 each + a Rottnest Island government fee that is unavoidable. There are 4 services over and 4 back each day so you can easily find a time that suits. Its $49 per person + the $18 govt fee.
You may know that Rottnest is also famous for its little marsupial the Quokka that isn't found anywhere else in the world. I remember in years past staying on the other side of the island and having to cycle home after a few brews at night and we used to call it "dodge the quokka" because like cane toads they are much more prolific at night.
About a year ago an instagram photo of this gorgeous Quokka had thousands of views and ensured that the humble Quokka's were elevated to the latest must have selfie.
We had lunch at the pub, walked around and generally just spent the day relaxing and enjoying the Rottnest experience. It is a stunning slice of coast although the water was way too cool for us to swim. We did hire snorkels but it was just too cold for us Pacific Ocean babies to use them. The Indian Ocean is always cooler than the pacific but we just couldn't believe how cold it was. Talking to a few of Brad's mates over beers the next day, they said that Perth has had an unbelievable cool summer and the water temps have stayed very low. I didn't feel like such a woos after that!
In summary - fantastic day. Got a few cool Quokka photos, cycled off my lunch for sure, lazed on the beach for a few hours and wandered through Freo on the way back to our accommodation. Great day and it reinforced that we need to go back and stay for a few days on the island with the cutest marsupial in the world.
Accommodation Via Booking.com in Rottnest Island
Sealink Rottnest Island