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Visit Rottnest Island to swim in pristine waters, see fish and coral, stroll over white-sand beaches and see unique wildlife. This popular beach destination was once home to Aboriginal tribes and British colonizers and their prisoners and military.
The island sits 11 miles (18 kilometers) off the coast and is surrounded by the turquoise waters of the Indian Ocean. It only measures 6.8 miles (11 kilometers) by 2.8 miles (4.5 kilometers) at its longest and widest points, but has dozens of beaches, secluded bays with fur seals and many walking and cycling tracks.
Rent a bicycle or take the shuttle bus near the ferry stop to explore the key destinations. The farther you go from the main settlement around Thomas Bay, the fewer people you’ll see. If you are cycling, it’s worth the journey to the more secluded beaches.
You’ll find excellent swimming spots wherever you go. Snorkelers can see colorful coral and fish waiting beneath the surface. Go shore diving, or book a boat dive from the mainland, to see nurse sharks and rays in the limestone formations around the island. Jump aboard a glass-bottom coral viewing boat if you want to stay dry. Surfers can catch top waves at Strickland and Stark bays.
More than 13 ships struck the island’s outer reefs and onshore plaques indicate where the wrecks are. Head up to the Bathurst Lighthouse for 360-degree ocean views.
You may spot quokkas, small marsupials which are found only here. Dutch explorer Willem de Vlamingh, who landed here in the 17th century, thought they were rats and called the island “Rats Nest.” However, Aboriginals had already lived on the island for 6,500 years and they called the animal wadjemup. Visit the Rottnest Island Museum to learn about the island’s indigenous history, its discovery by the Dutch, its settlements by the British and its role as a military outpost.
To get to Rottnest Island take one of the pedestrian ferries from the docks in Fremantle, the jetty in central Perth or Hillarys Boat Harbour. Book your accommodation well in advance if you want to spend the night on the island.
Love the update on the usual Rottnest accomodation options. Location is new and the pool was great. Good for families with kids. We enjoyed our stay.
We had a cabin at the Caroline Thompson Cabins. They were clean and had a full kitchen and fridge. The only thing is you had to bring your own linen - sheets and pillow cases. They did provide the pillows and blankets - although - they all could use a really good wash! I would stay here again though. ...
The staff were very helpful and friendly. However, the furnishing in the room was old and needs an upgrade.