Rottnest Island Day Trip: Your Ultimate Guide
Escape the city for a day of fun in the sun on Perth’s favourite island
A day trip to Rottnest Island is a helluva good way to slip into holiday mode, fast. There’s nothing quite like a ferry ride to a spec of an island in a vast ocean to get you in the mood for some fun in the sun.
As the passenger boat approaches the island your happiness feels will explode when you see the turquoise waters and white sandy shores of Rottnest. Smartphones will greedily snap away at the beautiful scene to share on social media channels. Stepping off the ferry will be like setting foot onto new found land, even if it’s not your first visit.
A day on Rotto will most certainly include time at the beach and/or swimming in the clear waters of the Indian Ocean. Add a couple other “must-do” activities and your day will be full.
To help you plan, we’ve put together this ultimate guide to a Rottnest Island day trip. See you there.
Check out the visuals from 14,000 feet above Rottnest
Take the idea of breathtaking scenery up a notch and literally have your breath taken away as you skydive over Rottnest Island. The benefits of jumping from a plane are plentiful:
- jaw-dropping visuals
- a personal hit of adrenaline
- cool kid status
- bucket list tick
- bragging rights
- invincible feels
Get some sand in your undies and salt in your hair
Sun worshippers and water babies could spend their whole day relaxing at any of the 63 gorgeous beaches along Rottnest. Take a dip in the crystal clear water at Salmon Bay, Little Salmon Bay, Stark Bay or Geordie Bay.
There’s so much to see under the water’s surface and you don’t have to be a scuba diver to see it. Don a snorkel mask and flippers to view fish, coral reef and even a shipwreck.
The Shark wreck can be reached from the beach at Henrietta Rocks and is perfect for young people and newbie snorkellers. Snorkel sets and beach equipment such as cricket balls and bats are available for hire at Pedal and Flipper.
See what’s under the sea (and stay dry)
If you want to see what’s going on under the water without getting wet, book a tour on the Sub Sea Explorer. Travel around the island in a boat that doubles as an underwater observatory to view shipwrecks, coral reef and fish. All while learning about the ocean and its inhabitants from an onboard marine biologist. Season: November to April.
Meet Rottnest’s most famous residents
You won’t have to search hard to find the little creature known as the world’s happiest animal: the quokka. And where there’s one, there’s six. Rottnest was actually named after these selfie-loving marsupials by a Dutch explorer who thought the island was infested with rats, so he called it a rats’ nest (Rottnest). The Rottnest Voluntary Guides Association offer a free 45-minute walking tour that will show and tell you everything there is to know about these little cuties. Tours leave the Meeting Post daily at 2:15pm.
Explore by bike or bus
There are (almost) no vehicles on Rottnest so getting around is limited to your own two feet, bicycle or tour bus. Roam by bike (rentals from Pedal and Flipper) at your own pace and linger sans-schedule at all the top spots. Or, ADAMS Island Explorer is a hop-on-hop-off bus that will save your thighs while still getting you to where you want to go. For a full island tour in one hit, choose the Discover Rottnest Tour, which offers 90-minutes of commentary-filled island sightseeing.
Don’t forget to eat (and drink)
Some of our favourite eating spots and watering holes on the island include:
- Thomsons – From breakfast to dinner and plenty of WA local produce. Plus, if you Skydive with us, we’ll shout you a free drink here!
- Frankie’s on Rotto Wood-fired pizza and pasta. BYO wine/beer. Kids’ menu available.
- The Lane Cafe Coffee, fresh juices, smoothies; breakfast and lunch options.
- Hotel Rottnest Bar and Bistro Quality meals and boozy beverages overlooking yacht-filled Thomson Bay. No reservations required.
- Rottnest Bakery For food on the run: sandwiches, pies, baked sweets.
- Simmo’s Ice Cream It’s not an island holiday without ice cream.
Best to budget: $50-60 per person* for a meal, drinks (including water) and snacks for the day. *hungry adult
All-Year Round Rotto Fun
Whilst summer is definitely the busy season, Rottnest is also a great destination during the cooler months of the year. Find out what you can get up to during winter on Rottnest here.
How to get to Rottnest Island
The most popular way to get to Rotto is by ferry, which leaves from Perth city, Hillarys Boat Harbour and Fremantle. There are three companies to choose from:
Best to budget: $67.50 + $18.00 admission fee per adult
Flying from Jandakot Airport will reduce your travel time to Rottnest, which means that you will have more time to play. Here are a few air travel options:
- Rottnest Air-Taxi Multiple departures and all-inclusive fares make this ride classy.
- Rotorvation Helicopters Luxury flights for a minimum of two people.
- Ozwest Aviation Scenic flights to Rottnest from Perth and Mandurah.
Best to budget: $165 per person
Now there’s a chock-full Rottnest Island day trip itinerary if we’ve ever seen one. Any holiday to Perth’s playful island, even if only for a day, is sure to stay etched in your memory and popular on your Instagram grid for a long time. Enjoy.