Rottnest Island is one of the most famous attractions of the Perth region, not only because of its beautiful beaches with white sand and stunning blue water, but because of the furry little creatures that call this island home: the quokkas.
How to Get to Rottnest Island
Three different ferry companies operate return ferries between three spots on the mainland. The Rottnest Express departs from Fremantle and Perth City. Rottnest Fast Ferries depart from Hillary's Ferry Terminal. SeaLink departs from Fremantle.
It is most expensive to travel from Perth as the journey is longer down the river. I recommend taking the train (2 zone ticket for $4.80) down to Fremantle and boarding from there. Ferries depart from B Shed.
Tickets can be bought online here. When I traveled to Rottnest Island (Jan 2019), round-trip tickets were $69 AUD which includes the $18.50 admission fee to the island.
Getting Around Rottnest Island
There are no cars on Rottnest Island except for maintenance and service vehicles. There are a few options for getting around the island, which is quite large and spread out.
- Hop-on hop-off bus
The bus service completes the entire route of the island with designated stops at the various beaches and viewpoints along the way. This is a great option if you don't want to bike, but make sure you're keeping good track of the bus schedule!
The most popular way to get around the island is to rent a bike and go at your own pace. This allows you the freedom to stay wherever you like for as long as you like. I did rent a bike for $30 through the Rottnest Express ferry company; you can add this on when you book your tickets online. The only downside to biking is that it is quite hilly on the island and you'll certainly get a good workout in.
You can choose to walk, though you may not get very far. This is a great option if you're not trying to get to the whole island, just some of the nice highlights near the terminal.
Things to See on Rottnest Island
The beaches are stunning - pure white sand and aqua blue water beckon. You can snorkel here and swimming is wonderful on a hot day.
Of course, the main attraction here is the furry creature that calls Rottnest home: the quokka. They are known to be some of the happiest creatures on the planet, and their little smile says it all. Grab a selfie while you're here for the cutest picture you'll probably take on holiday.
Is Rottnest Island Worth the Money?
I had a lovely day cycling around the island taking nice photos of the viewpoints. Here's what I thought about all the different aspects of the experience:
- The island is beautiful and the beaches are pristine.
- The quokkas are fricken' adorable.
- It was nice to be back on a bike.
- Biking in 31 degree heat up and down hills on a rented bike with only 2 gears is not so fun.
- The part of the island where ferries depart and leave from feels too much like a resort - big boats in the harbour and people blaring music.
- The beaches are packed, because they're just that pretty. Ricey Beach was the only exception and I loved that spot.
- It's very expensive.
Ultimately, I did not think that visiting Rottnest Island was worth the money. While the beaches were pretty, Cottesloe on the mainland is just as nice. The quokkas are cute, but they're not really worth $100. In the end, it felt like I had paid $100 to do a very expensive workout with the promise of cute, fluffy animals as my reward.