Rottnest Island: White Sand, Turquoise Water and Quokkas

Imagine yourself on an island, standing in warm crystal clear water, your feet sinking into the almost perfect white sand, the warm sun beating down on you from cloudless skies, and almost no one else around. That is what you can find on Rottnest Island for three seasons of the year.

Ricey Beach on Rottnest Island, Western Australia

Ricey Beach on Rottnest Island

Located just off the coast of Fremantle in Western Australia, this beautiful island often makes you feel like you are somewhere in the Mediterranean. Although popular in the warmer months with locals and tourists alike, this is the sort of island where you can easily find yourself a secluded beach all to yourself at almost any time of the year.

I’ve visited Rottnest Island many times in my life, and during my last visit with my wife and brother-in-law I had memories flooding back of school excursions and family trips to the island. It is still just as exciting and beautiful to visit now as it was when I was a kid. We took a day trip to the island, taking the ferry from Fremantle and renting bikes on the island. We spent the rest of the day cycling around the island, exploring its beautiful white sand beaches, turquoise water and stunning scenery, and meeting the cute little Quokkas that are unique to Rottnest. At the end of the day we sat and had a beer at Hotel Rottnest, looking out over Thompson Bay while awaiting the afternoon ferry.

If you travel to Perth in Western Australia, make sure to take a trip out to Rottnest Island. It is simply stunning. If you aren’t sure, I’m here to change your mind with these photos from my last trip to the island. There really is no other place like “Rotto” 🙂

Thompson Bay on Rottnest Island, Western Australia

View of Thompson Bay towards the main settlement

Beach at Bickley Bay on Rottnest Island, Western Australia

View of the beach at Bickley Bay near Kingston Barracks

Kingston Barracks on Rottnest Island, Western Australia

Kingston Barracks – Former WWII army barracks, now used as hostel style accommodation

Road on Rottnest Island, Western Australia

The road that runs around the island, mostly used by cyclists. A stunning bike ride!

Rocky coastline at Henrietta Rocks on Rottnest Island, Western Australia

Spectacular rocky coastline at Henrietta Rocks

Beach and boats at Henrietta Rocks on Rottnest Island, Western Australia

The beach and boats anchored offshore in the turquoise water at Henrietta Rocks

Reef and wreck at Henrietta Rocks on Rottnest Island, Western Australia

The reef and rough coastline at Henrietta Rocks. There is a boat wreck here which can just be seen on the left.

Salmon Bay on Rottnest Island, Western Australia

The beach at Salmon Bay. That water! In the distance you can see Wadjemup Lighthouse

A Quokka on Rottnest Island, Western Australia

A very friendly Quokka that we met while cycling around Rottnest. These little marsupials are the reason for Rottnest’s name. Rottnest is Dutch for “rats nest” which is what the early Dutch explorers mistook them for. I suppose they kind of do look like a rat crossed with a wallaby. They certainly are very cute, and totally unique to the island.

View from Wadjemup Lighthouse on Rottnest Island, Western Australia

The view towards Salmon Bay from Wadjemup Lighthouse

Green island on Rottnest Island, Western Australia

The beach and view to Green Island

Quokkas napping on Rottnest Island, Western Australia

More quokkas that found napping in the shade of a tree near Green Island. When they sleep they tuck their heads in near their feet. This just makes them even cuter.

Ricey Beach on Rottnest Island, Western Australia

Ricey Beach – Amazing white sand, warm turquoise water, and all to ourselves.

Catherine Bay on Rottnest Island, Western Australia

Catherine Bay – Just another stretch of perfect white sand on Rotto

Beach view from Hotel Rottnest on Rottnest Island, Western Australia

View of the beach and Thompson Bay from our beer spot at Hotel Rottnest. I could get used to this.

Are you ready to head to Rottnest Island now? Here’s how.

How to travel to Rottnest Island

Fast ferries (Rottnest Express) run several times each day from/to the port at Fremantle and the pier on the Swan River in Perth. There is also another ferry company (Rottnest Fast Ferries) that runs between Rottnest and Hillary’s. The return ticket from Fremantle costs $77, although if you book in advance you can sometimes find promo deals.

Two other options to get to Rottnest are to fly (yes there is an airstrip on the island) or, if you’re lucky enough to own your own boat, you can take yourself to the island.

Getting around Rottnest Island

In my opinion the absolute best way to get around Rottnest Island is cycling. The island is small enough to cycle all of the way around, and the main road is sealed. Cycling allows you the freedom to go where ever you like on the island and discover those secluded little coves and beaches. You can rent bikes on the island for $30 per day, or you can take your own bike over on the ferry. If you don’t want to cycle there is a bus service that goes around the island stopping at the major spots. A day pass costs $20. Walking is an option if you just want to explore the beaches and bays closer to the main settlement. Believe it or not there is also a train on the island that runs from the Thompson Bay settlement to the top of Oliver Hill. The train tickets cost $10.

Rottnest Island Accommodation

If you want to spend a few days on Rotto, there are plenty of accommodation options from camping and hostel accommodation to self contained cottages and bungalows. You can even have a luxurious water view. It isn’t cheap to stay on Rottnest, but that’s the price you pay for staying on an island paradise. Prices start from $36 per person per night for a campsite.

Rottnest Island info and bookings: rottnestisland.com

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8 comments… add one
  • Dan May 6, 2015

    Awesome guide! Thanks for sharing. I would love to get across to Rottnest Island for some awesome sunsets and of course the famous Quokka selfie

    • Dean Wickham Jun 19, 2015

      Hi Dan. I haven’t stayed there overnight before, but yes, I imagine the sunsets would be amazing.

  • Nicole@mynextcar Jun 15, 2015

    Pictures are just beautiful. The island is just looking awesome and the view is just amazing.

  • Samantha Alexander Jun 26, 2015

    Hi Dean, I used to visit this place once in a year. And must say you share some beautiful pictures and you know I love to go this place only for cute Quokkas.

    • Dean Wickham Jul 3, 2015

      Thanks Samantha. I can see why you liked to go there every year. Such a nice spot.

  • Aaron Jan 6, 2017

    Such an awesome place; cheers for the reminder that it’s just ‘down the road’ and I need to visit again! There are truly some incredible bays to explore regardless of the weather!
    Aaron recently posted..12 reasons you should visit the KimberleyMy Profile

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