Rottnest Island – Western Australia

Rottnest Island is great place to visit and maybe to take your grand children if that is possible. That’s because it has lots of Quokkas and are they are known to be one of the cutest animals on Earth. A selfie with a Quokka seems to be a bucket list thing for a lot of people including adults. They do bite and I have seen that happen and tried not to laugh just little.

Where is Rottnest Island

Rottnest island is located about 23km due west of Perth Western Australia.

About 11 km long and about 4.5 km wide. Regular boat trips leave from a number of locations on the mainland such as Fremantle and Perth. Here is Rottnest Island’s location on Google maps. This gives you an idea of where it is in relation to the nearby mainland.

Getting Around

If you take one of the boats from Elizabeth Quay in Perth you will experience the trip out through the Swan river. Fremantle is located at the mouth of the Swan river and you can take a ferry from there as well if it suits your plans better. No private motor vehicles are allowed on the island so the best way to get around is by a combination of walking, hired push bike or by bus. We went on a guided bus tour and enjoyed driving past a few exhausted push bike riders. The push bike ride would be great if you are prepared for that but you can face strong winds.


Rottnest Island Light House

The traditional owners of Rottnest Island are the Whadjuk Noongar Aboriginal people. In earlier times Whadjuk Noongar people could walk to the Island as it was not yet separated from the main land. Later on and for most of the period between 1849 to 1904 the island was used as an Aboriginal prison followed by forced labor until 1931. During that time they constructed a lot of the buildings and roads on the Island. The island was also used in World War I and World War II. WWI to intern Austrian and German people and as prisoners of war. For WWII it was used for defense installations and internment.

The salt lakes on the island were also used for salt mining. A number of historic buildings are open to the public and well worth checking out. The small museum is also worth a look. The main occupied areas are a very short walk from the jetty where the ferries arrive and leave. The Island has a broad history including signalling, lighthouses boy’s reformatory and of course recreation, which started around 1902.

The Quokkas

These animals were mistaken to be large rats by Dutch captain Willem de Vlamingh in 1696 (yes before Captain Cook). That is how the island got it’s name (as in “Ratnest”).

Quokkas are macropods similar in size to a large cat. This is one of the only places where you can easily see them. They have little fear of humans however can cause injury if you try to handle them. It is illegal to feed or handle them and they are a protected species. There is also a high occurrences of Salmonella infection in the Quokkas on Rottnest Island so best not to get that on your hands.

The Ocean Views

Fish Hook Bay Rottnest Island

The scenery on the island is great. The bus trip gave us a fairly extensive trip around this small island. On the day we were there the colours of the ocean and sky were quite unbelievably rich. Here is a photo of Fish Hook Bay (at the western end of the island) and the lighthouse closer to the center of the island. The Island has great scuba diving and snorkeling locations and popular for fishing where permitted. There are an interesting assortment of ocean birds as well. The water is generally warm, ranging from about 23°C in summer to 19°C in winter.


No Quokkas Sign

There are a number of places you can get food on the island and at what seemed to be a reasonable price. There are signs on the doorways sating no Quokkas allowed in the stores. I wondered whether they read the signs.

It’s likely you will return to the mainland in the later afternoon just as the sun is setting and possibly see some dolphins on the way.

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