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Rottnest Island in Winter: Why It’s Totally Worth Visiting In Winter!

Winter on Rottnest Island, though not the first choice for many travellers, is actually a great time to visit the island and enjoy it in all its beauty!

While Rottnest is known for its turquoise waters and lively beaches during the summer, when the weather cools down it has a really serene, almost mystical vibe and it offers a perfect getaway from the crowds!

After visiting Rottnest Island in both the winter and the summer, I can honestly say that Rottnest Island is definitely worth visiting in winter – in fact, winter is my favourite time to visit Rotto!

pinky beach rottnest island Western Australia       

Here’s why Rottnest Island in winter is an experience worth having:

Pros of Visiting Rottnest Island in Winter:

  1. Pleasant temperatures for outdoor activities:

While winter in many other places is cold, Rottnest Island enjoys a mild climate during winter, and it’s actually the perfect time for explorers to visit!

Cooler temperatures mean hiking and cycling become much more enjoyable activities.

If visiting in the summer months, it can be unpleasantly hot to cycle or walk around – especially as there isn’t much shade around the island.

In winter, the air is very fresh and it’s an ideal time to explore the island!

longreach bay rottnest island beach

  1. Less Crowds & Quieter Beaches:

Visit the beaches on Rottnest Island in the summer and you’ll be surrounded by tourists. But visit in winter with the absence of crowds and you’ll see a much more peaceful side to Rottnest Island.

You can go for nice quiet strolls on the beach, enjoy the island’s pristine beauty in peace – and get some stunning Instagrammable photos.

Rottnest island beaches

  1. More Encounters With Quokkas:

Quokkas, the island’s iconic inhabitants, are more active during the cooler winter months, meaning more opportunities for those quokka selfies!

Quokkas tend to seek shade and rest under the bushes when it’s hot, only coming out in the evening. But if you visit in the winter with the cooler weather you should be able to see more quokkas out and about!

They are very curious creatures and aren’t afraid of humans so will often come to say hi!

Rottnest island is it worth visiting for the quokkas

Visiting Rottnest Island in winter also means you may get the chance to see mother quokkas carrying their babies in their pouches – check out the one below!

quokka with baby in pouch eating

Best Things to Do on Rottnest Island in Winter:

Whale Watching:

The marine life in Australia is amazing in the winter, and Rottnest Island is no different.

During winter, the bays around Rottnest Island often become a restful stop for majestic humpback whales during their annual migration along the Western Australian coastline.

Head to viewing platforms at Cathedral Rocks or Cape Vlamingh to hopefully witness these stunning creatures! Also, look out for the Australian fur seals that you’ll see year-round!

whale watching Hervey Bay whale tail fluke


Embrace the freedom of the open road on Rottnest Island, where bicycles rule the road on this car-free island. Winter brings ideal cycling weather, with a refreshing breeze that’s great to keep you fresh.

Rottnest island bicycle hire is it worth visiting


With many walking trails along Rottnest Island, winter becomes the perfect time to do hikes with its mild temperatures.

Try these hikes during the summer months and the scorching sun will definitely make it harder and slow you down!

You can do a self-guided hike, or if you want to join a group, Hike Collective offer the 12km Lakes & Bays hike, that leads you past the stunning pink salt lakes, as well as beautiful coastal headlands and historical landmarks.

Diving & Snorkelling:

The Leeuwin Current carries tropical waters from the Kimberley region to Rottnest Island’s shores, meaning a snorkel on a sunny day in winter isn’t so bad at Rottnest!

Stick to sheltered bays like The Basin and Little Parakeet Bay, where the water is calm and clear, making it easier to enjoy watching the marine life.

Wadjemup is renowned for its diving sites, variety of tropical fish and vibrantly coloured corals. 

Rottnest island beaches


If you’re into surfing, Strickland Bay is a great place on Rottnest Island to catch a wave.

Other great surf breaks include Stark Bay and West End, however, I wouldn’t recommend surfing at Rottnest Island if you’re not a confident surfer due to the absence of lifeguards.

And great news – surfers can bring their surfboards across to Rotto on the ferry!

Historic Sites:

If the weather’s not the best when you visit Rottnest, fear not, as there are many heritage buildings here at Wadjemup that make a great stop during rainy or windy periods.

The Wadjemup Museum is an interesting place to visit, and a climb up Wadjemup Lighthouse offers a really unique view of the Perth skyline.

Within the Wadjemup Hill precinct, the Battery Observation Post, Signal Station, and the Women’s Royal Australian Navy Service House are all interesting places to explore as well. 

Cons of Visiting Rottnest Island in Winter:

Whilst Rottnest Island is a great place to visit in winter – there are a few things you should be aware of to ensure you enjoy your trip to the max:

  1. Limited Boat Trips & Water Activities:

One of the notable drawbacks of visiting Rottnest Island during winter is the limited availability of boat trips. Certain excursions such as sailing trips and snorkelling trips don’t run during the winter.

The ferries to and from Fremantle/Perth and Rottnest Island are also less frequent in the winter months.

The last departure back to the mainland is at 4.30 pm, as opposed to 6.15 pm in the summer, so day trippers will have less time on the island.

However, as long as you get one of the early ferries across in the morning, you’ll still have plenty of time to explore. Make sure to book your ferry tickets online beforehand!

white sandy beach rottnest island WA

  1. Cooler Waters:

The snorkelling at Rottnest Island is amazing and world-famous, so if you won’t be back in the summer and are brave enough to check it out when you’re at Rottnest in the winter, go for it!

Just be warned – the turquoise waters that lure visitors in summer are a little less inviting during winter as the ocean is a lot cooler!

However, with a good wetsuit, and staying in a sheltered bay with slightly warmer waters, the adventurous can still explore the mesmerising marine life!

If you plan to go snorkelling in the winter, make sure to always advise someone you are going in the water and pay attention as there are no lifeguards.

  1. Some restaurants and facilities may have reduced hours

As there are fewer visitors to Rottnest Island in winter, some of the restaurants and facilities may have reduced hours. Many are still open though, especially on the weekends!

When Is The Best Time To Visit Rottnest Island?

The seasons of spring and autumn are ideal for divers and snorkelers due to their pleasant weather and thriving marine life.

Summer, despite the bustling crowds, offers perfect conditions for water sports and beach lovers, with warm waters and sunny days.

Winter provides a quieter experience, but a more enjoyable time to cycle around and get those quokka selfies!

quokka selfie rottnest island WA

Each season brings its own unique charm to Rottnest Island, and winter, despite its temperate climate, holds a special allure for the discerning traveller.

Is Winter a Good Time to Visit Rottnest Island?

Rottnest Island in winter uncovers a unique and quieter experience on the island.

If you’re after secluded beaches, a more pleasant cycling experience, and a chance to see more wildlife, then winter is the perfect time to explore Rottnest Island.

However, if water activities are at the top of your list, you may prefer to visit Rottnest when the weather is warmer!


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