Quokka Island, otherwise known as Rottnest Island is a small island off the coast of Perth, and is home to ‘the happiest animal in the world’: the Quokka! Over 10,000 of these friendly little guys roam about the island and can be spotted EVERYWHERE.
The quokka is actually a species of marsupial closely related to kangaroos and wallabies, despite their more rat-like tail. In fact, Rottnest translates as ‘rat’s nest’ and was so named by the Dutch when they described the quokka’s as a ‘kind of rat as big as a common cat’ in the 1700’s… Don’t let that put you off though!
These little quokkas are the cutest, with their smiling faces and inquisitive personalities. After 7000 years separated from the mainland with no natural predators it’s no wonder they are kinda ballsy and will just come straight up to you to check you out! They like to hide in the shrubs during the heat of the day, but when it cools down they will be out running around and looking for food. Around the settlement area they are super easy to spot as food and water is easily accessible to them here. The shops even have ‘no quokka’ signs up!
The quokkas aren’t the only reason to visit Rottnest island though. It’s an island with so many pristine and secluded beaches and bays, 63 to be exact. I think Western Australia has some of the best beaches in the whole country and this island definitely helped to sway my opinion on that.
How to get there:
You can get to Rottnest Island by ferry, and book with either Rottnest Fast Ferries, Rottnest Express of SeaLink Rottnest Island. These companies have various start points. Rottnest Express was the one we went for, and we got an early morning train from Perth to Freemantle followed by the ‘Rottnest Express’ to the island. The early start was worth it as we got to the island at 8am with loads of time to enjoy it!
How to get around:
As a car-free island, your main options for transport are either bike or bus.
We opted for the bus as the thought of cycling in 35-degree heat wasn’t massively appealing, although apparently the cycling is fairly easy as the island is pretty flat. Riding time from the main settlement (where the boat moors) to the furthest point on the island (West End/Cape Vlamingh) is 50 minutes… allegedly. A loop round the whole island is 22km.
The bus that takes you around the island is aptly named the Bayseeker Bus, and you can buy an all-day pass for around $14. It’s a hop-on, hop-off service starting from 8.30am and passing by every half an hour until 4.00pm-5.00pm depending on which stop you are at. We found it a great way to see a bit of the whole island fairly quickly and then make a decision on which bays to explore more of later in the day.
Whichever mode of transport you opt for, there are limited drinking stations located outside of the settlement area, so make sure you are prepped and stay hydrated!
What to see:
Spot them everywhere, try and get a selfie, enjoy their cute little faces. Just don’t touch them (its illegal and they bite!).
Beautiful, secluded bays and beaches
My fave was Fay’s Bay – a beautiful little bay just out of sightline from the main road, meaning it was empty! Enjoyed this bay to ourselves all day. The beach was white, the water brilliantly clear, you won’t want to leave!
From August to November you have a chance at spotting south right and humpback whales with their newborn calves. Apparently, the West End Boardwalk is a good place to try and spot them from land, or otherwise you can join a whale watching cruise.
On route up to the lighthouse there are great views over the salt lakes on the island, as well as loads of quokkas (added bonus). Views from the top of the lighthouse are even better, with Perth city in the distance.