How to plan the perfect day trip to Rottnest Island
7 steps to planning your day in paradise
How gorgeous does Rottnest Island look? Perthites and travellers to Western Australia have been in love with this Indian Ocean holiday gem for decades. If you haven’t been, it’s time to plan a day trip to Rottnest and get over there pronto.
A day spent on Rotto is like a mini holiday to a tropical island. The contrast between the island and Perth city is something that must be seen and experienced in person.
In this post, we’ll show you how to plan the perfect day trip to Rottnest Island and which activities to schedule and book in advance. Get ready for a full day of action-packed fun in the sun.
1. Book your transport to/from Rottnest Island
The first step to your Rottnest day trip is getting there. You’ll defo want a full day, so book an early morning ferry leaving Perth or Fremantle and the latest afternoon ferry back to the mainland to make the most of your day.
Where to book a ferry to Rottnest Island: Book your ferry online with Rottnest Express. They depart from three locations: B-Shed Fremantle, Northport Rous North Fremantle and Barrack Street Jetty Perth city.
2. Book a tandem skydive onto Rotto
Wow, check out the visuals from up there! Skydiving over Rottnest is one helluva way to see the island in all its glory. Not only will you see some amazing scenery, you’ll get the rush of your life when you jump from an airplane 14,000 feet above the sea.
Once you’ve landed softly onto a stunning white-sand beach, you’ll want to do it all over again. Book in advance and ask for an early morning time slot so you can have the rest of the day to explore.
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3. Go for a drink and some eats
When you skydive at Rottnest, your first drink is on the crew so head straight to Hotel Rottnest for your complimentary house wine, beer, or soft drink. If you’re hungry, stay for lunch or head to the Rottnest Bakery for one of their famous meat pies.
Where to have lunch on Rottnest Island: There’s a great range of restaurants, cafes, bakeries and bars on Rottnest to keep your energy levels up. Try Hotel Rottnest, Rottnest Bakery, Dome, The Lane Cafe and Simmos Ice Cream (yes please!).
4. Hire a bike to explore the island
There are limited vehicles on Rottnest Island so it’s either coach, bike, Segway or two feet and a heartbeat to get around. One of the most popular ways to get around the island is by bicycle. And it’s also the most practical and fun method of transportation available. Travelling by bike allows you the freedom to explore on your own timetable and to stop off whenever and wherever you’d like. Rottnest is a little hilly, so there’s a bit of effort and fitness required.
Where to hire a bike to explore Rotto: You’ll have 2 options for bike hire on Rottnest. Firstly, you can hire a bike with your Rottnest Express ferry ticket, which means you’ll take your rented bike off the ferry and return it to the ferry when you leave the island. Option 2 is to rent a bike from Pedal & Flipper when you get to the island. Rentals are by the hour or full day hire.
5. Stop off for a swim or a snorkel
Rottnest has some of the most beautiful beaches in Australia so definitely plan to stop at any one of the 63 beaches or 20 bays to cool off or go for a snorkel. The Basin is a prime spot for snorkelling and it’s close to the main settlement too. Little Salmon Bay has a purpose-built snorkel trail with 10 underway information plaques to view. Bring your own snorkel set, or hire a set at Pedal & Flipper.
Best beaches for swimming/snorkelling on Rottnest: The Basin, Little Parakeet Bay, Little Salmon Bay or Thomson Bay.
6. See the view from the top of Wadjemup Lighthouse
Western Australia’s coastline is amongst the world’s most isolated and rugged and if you have a thing for lighthouses, the state has 28 of them in total. One of them is Wadjemup, WA’s first lighthouse. The paid tour ($9) includes trekking to the top, which comes highly recommended for the stunning views. The tour is run by informative volunteers who are passionate about sharing the island’s history and beauty with guests. On a clear sunny day, the white lighthouse looks incredible set against the blue sky.
How to get to Wadjemup Lighthouse: Located in the centre of Rottnest, you can arrive to the lighthouse by bus, bike or on foot. Tours run 10am – 2:30pm daily so be sure to plan your day around these times if you’re really keen to get up close.
7. Make a quokka famous
Allan Dixon (@Daxon) made quokkas world famous when he took that Insta-worthy selfie way back when and now everyone’s doing it, even tennis champion, Roger Federer and Aussie actress, Margot Robbie. You simply cannot leave the island without a quokka selfie for your social media feeds. But please do not touch these cute wee creatures. They may be the happiest animals on earth, but they are not pets. Instagram has recently implemented a wildlife protection warning to anyone searching “quokkaselfie” hashtag. You’ve been warned.
Where to find quokkas on Rottnest Island: Seriously, you will not have to look far to see quokkas on Rotto. You’ll spot them behind the cafes, along the pathways, at the bicycle parkings, and even at Skydive Geronimo’s airport office.
Planning ahead will definitely help you make the most of your day trip to Rottnest Island. It’s such a beautiful spot that we’re sure you’ll want come back as often as humanly possible.