Discover the best things to do on Rottnest Island

From guided tours to snorkelling trails, there are a multitude of ways to spend your days on Rottnest Island.

Affectionately known as ‘Rotto’ by the locals, Rottnest Island is Perth's closest island paradise. Though this tiny island is situated just 19 km off the coast, it seems a world away. 

Surrounded by sparkling turquoise waters, Rottnest Island is home to the happiest little animal on earth – the quokka. The only native mammal on Rottnest Island, quokkas cannot be found anywhere else on earth.

Best things to see and do on Rottnest Island

This amazingly diverse location packs a lot into its small size. Just 11 km in length and 4.5 km in width, the island is jam-packed with exciting activities for adventure seekers. Snorkelling, cycling, exploring on foot, surfing, fishing and even sky-diving are some of the most popular ways to enjoy time on this island paradise.

Snorkelling spots around Rottnest Island

Don a mask and grab a pair of flippers to set off on an underwater exploration. Thanks to crystal clear water, over 400 species of fish and even a shipwreck, snorkelling is a hugely popular activity on Rottnest Island. Popular snorkelling spots include The Basin, Parakeet Bay, Parker Point, Little Salmon Bay and Little Armstrong Bay. At Henrietta Rocks, you’ll find the ‘The Shark’ shipwreck making it an interesting and history-laden snorkelling experience. 

At Parker Point, the water is protected by a sanctuary zone. You can spot pink coral, limestone rocks and an array of marine plants and animals. Salmon Bay acts as a nursery for juvenile marine life. Watch out for the crayfish, starfish and more.

Tip: Explore the island in a clockwise direction as the southern beaches are often best in the morning and the northern beaches most sheltered from the afternoon sea breeze.

Snorkelling on Rottnest Island

Whale watching on Rottnest Island

From September to November, come see the whales off Rottnest Island. There’s no better way to experience the majesty of these beautiful animals as they glide through the blue waters than on a whale-watching cruise.

Snap an ethical selfie with a Quokka

The Quokka is the only native mammal on Rottnest Island and is unique to the island. It’s a drawcard for people visiting the island who want to snap a selfie with these cute little smiling critters. Although they seem to have no fear of people and don’t mind it if you get up close when taking a photo with them, it's important to not touch or feed them.

Snap a selfie with a Quokka

The island's wetlands are home to many of Rottnest Island’s other animals. A large variety of birds and frogs inhabit the salt lake ecosystem. 

Adrenalin Rush - skydiving

Are you a thrill seeker looking for a truly breathtaking and unforgettable experience while visiting Rottnest Island? Take to the air for an adrenaline-fuelled Rottnest Island skydive adventure. It's the most unique way to see the island!

Lighthouse lookout

Take a ride to the Rottnest Island lighthouse. Originally built in 1849, a replacement tower was constructed on the same site in 1896 to become Australia’s first rotating-beam lighthouse.

Stunning Natural Beauty

Rottnest Island has 63 beaches and 20 bays to choose from. You are spoilt for choice when it comes to swimming, surfing, snorkelling or diving amongst amazing marine life and limestone reefs. With many sheltered bays, Rotto is ideal for young families to safely dive in and explore this underwater playground. If you get tired of sparkling blue oceans, you can detour to see Rottnest Island’s pink lakes for a change of scenery.

The Wadjemup Lighthouse and Oliver Hill Battery on Rottnest Island will appeal to history lovers. For stunning natural beauty, add Henrietta Rocks, Cape Vlamingh and the majestic Cathedral Rocks to your sightseeing plans.

Lighthouse on Rottnest Island

Best places to eat on Rottnest Island

Delight in the flavours of fabulously fresh, locally caught seafood for a real taste of the ocean.

Looking for seafood heaven? Head to Lontara, where you will find Rottnest Island scallops, Fremantle Octopus and soft shell crabs on the menu. Soak up the sun and devour the Western Rock Lobster, a local delicacy at Pinky’s Beach Club. Served with smashed cucumber and green goddess dressing, it’s a must eat from their menu. If you’re looking for some early morning grub, head to The Lane. The menu here is all about modern-Australian comfort food.

Historical sites – Oliver Hill Gun & Tunnel 

For history enthusiasts, a guided tour of the Rottnest Island tunnel system and Oliver Hill Gun Fortification is an absolute must. This military infrastructure played a crucial role in Australia’s defence during World War II. At Oliver Hill, marvel at the maze of underground tunnels or jump on board the Captain Hussey trolley train, which will take you from Settlement Railway Station to Oliver Hill. 

Indigenous tour 

The best way to discover the indigenous history and culture of Wadjemup / Rottnest Island (meaning "place across the water where the spirits are") is on a guided aboriginal tour with Go Cultural Tours. You’ll learn about the local Noongar people, hear a Dreamtime story and hear the Noongar language as you explore the island over. Tours include a Welcome Smoking Ceremony which is a truly unique experience.

Getting Around Rottnest Island

When on Rottnest Island, bike hire is the easiest way to explore the sights. To ride around the entire island (22kms) you would need between 3-5 hours, alternatively there are shorter routes available. If cycling isn’t your thing, catch one of the regular hop-on, hop-off buses. Rottnest Island segway hire provides another fun option to zip about in style and explore the breathtaking scenery and hidden island treasures.

Rottnest Island Camping and Glamping

Outdoor enthusiasts will enjoy the opportunity to set up a tent at one of the Rottnest Island camping sites. There’s a great selection of options from basic unpowered sites, to the more glamorous Rottnest Island glamping deluxe tents, complete with kitchenettes, ensuites and king-sized beds. Enjoy the island's simple pleasures - quality time with family and friends, sunshine, swimming and serenity in a natural environment.

Current Special Discounts and Deals

Start planning your next brilliant holiday to Rottnest Island, by checking out the special discounts and deals with SeaLink Rottnest Island.

SeaLink Rottnest Island Special Deals

Best time to visit Rottnest Island

The island has a lovely Mediterranean climate similar to Perth on the mainland. However it is sometimes a little cooler in Summer, with slightly warmer Winters compared to Perth. Between October and April is the best time to visit the island, when the weather is perfect and the seas are calm enough for snorkelling or other water sports.

Looking to explore more of Australia's beautiful island destinations? Here are the 8 best islands to visit in Australia.