Situated a short ferry ride from Fremantle, Rottnest Island is a national reserve and one of the most popular getaway destinations near Perth. It is famed for its native quokkas (a wallaby-like marsupial that is found in only a few other places in Western Australia), as well as being home to boisterous colonies of sea lions and southern fur seals. Rottnest Island boasts white sandy beaches and secluded coves to discover, as well as plenty of picturesque walking trails.
Rottnest Island was named by the Dutch navigator Willem de Vlamingh in 1696 who mistook the native quokkas for rats (hence the name “rats nest”). The Rottnest Museum is a great place to discover the history of the island and is housed within a mid-19th-century barn and threshing mill. Limestone houses also scatter the harbor, having been built by convict labor on the island.
Join a guided walking tour to discover the endemic plant species of Rottnest Island and its unique birdlife, as well as encountering the famous quokkas. A trail leads to Wadjemup Lighthouse in the center of the island which boasts incredible 360-degree views or you can follow one of the Wadjemup Bidi walking trails that traverse Rottnest’s coastal headlands and lakes.
Rottnest Island is ringed by coral reefs that are teeming with marine life, which you can witness while snorkeling along one of the underwater trails at Little Salmon Bay or Parker Point. If you don’t want to get wet, semi-submersible vessels also access these waters, offering a window into Rottnest’s aquatic environment.