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Rottnest Island Day Trip: See the Quokkas at Rottnest Island, Australia!

Rottnest Island is a beautiful island paradise in the Indian Ocean that can be easily reached as a day trip from Perth, Western Australia.

Less than 20km from Perth’s coastline, Rottnest Island boasts 63 brilliant white sand beaches, clear blue waters, bays and secluded coves.

pinky beach rottnest island Western Australia

Rottnest Island is worth visiting for all this alone – however it is most famous for the quokka and that is the reason why many people choose to visit Rottnest!

The quokka, which can be resembled to a small kangaroo, can be found only on Rottnest Island, or “Rotto” as it is known to the locals of Perth.

Read on to find out more about these curious animals, as well as how to get to Rottnest Island and a couple of itineraries to follow for a fun day trip on the island!

Rottnest island quokkas


The quokka has been described as the world’s happiest animal, and looking at this little fella’s smile it’s easy to see why!!

They are very friendly animals and it is common for them to approach humans closely as they are curious about human interaction.

quokka selfie rottnest island WA

They usually stay in the shade during the day but they are very easy to spot under the trees and they come out more during the afternoon.

Whilst I’m sure you’ll want a quokka selfie, don’t touch them: it’s actually illegal as it could make them very ill and you could be fined.

where to see quokkas rottnest island WA

Do not tempt them with food as this could make them sick too. Wait for them to come to you, have your camera ready and shoot!

Quokkas are found everywhere on Rottnest Island so it won’t be long before you see one: there are over 11,000 quokkas on the island and in 5 hours my friend and I must have seen at least 60 quokkas!

quokkas Western Australia Rottnest island


How to get to Rottnest Island:

To get to Rottnest, take the ferry from Barrack Street Jetty in Perth at 08.30am – this is the fast ferry and gets into Rottnest at 10.45.

Otherwise you will need to take the slow ferry, departing at 09.25 and arriving at 12.30, as you need to change ferry at Fremantle. Get the 16.25 ferry back, getting into Perth at 18.00.

You will need to transfer at Fremantle B-Shed, so you may even want to get off there and spend the evening in Fremantle (Freo is amazing and there are lots of fun things to do in Fremantle!).

The ferry is $99AUD return, which includes the admission fee to the island.

You can buy one of the bundles below – remember to check whether you are buying the ferry ticket from Fremantle or from Perth (whichever is more convenient for you). 


Alternatively, if you want to buy tickets that include bike hire in the price, which is super handy, click on one of the links below!



Rottnest is only a small island, 11km x 4.5km and so there are only a few restaurants and shops.

Consider bringing a picnic if you are fussy, although we ate a delicious lunch in one of the restaurant cafes by the jetty, taking in the view of the Perth skyline.

There is accommodation to stay overnight on Rottnest Island – the resorts of Samphire Rottnest and Discovery Resorts Rottnest Island are particularly good and both have beach bars to sit and enjoy the views!

However most people, like ourselves, do it as a day trip from Perth.

Rottnest island beaches



The most popular way to discover Rottnest is by bicycle! This is how we explored Rottnest Island and I highly recommend it!

You can hire bikes from the jetty once you get to Rottnest, hire for the day is $30. Alternatively, reserve one online here (also includes cost of your ferry ride)!

Stop off at the Rottnest Visitor Centre just past the jetty to grab yourself a map of the island with several cycling routes marked out, of varying lengths. It is relatively easy to navigate around the island.

You can cycle past the salt lakes and WWII guns and underground tunnels and the view from the Wadjemup lighthouse is amazing, with views of the whole island.

As we only had the day there, we didn’t cycle around the whole island: we could have – it would have been possible time-wise to ensure we got the ferry back, but we wanted to cycle leisurely and stop at the beaches and look at the quokkas, so we missed the Cathedral Rocks viewing platform where you can see New Zealand seals.

Be sure to check it out if you have time and let me know how it is!

Other Ways To Explore Rottnest:

Other than cycling there are several great alternative options to explore Rottnest, including the hop on/hop off bus and the adventure boat tour (operates summer only).

We chose to spend the day cycling around the island as we felt cycling would make the best use of our time so we wouldn’t be waiting around or relying on the bus, and there was more freedom hiring bicycles and stopping anywhere we wanted (or whenever we saw some quokkas!).

Plus, who doesn’t love cycling and feeling the wind blow through your hair?! It always takes me back to my childhood!

Rottnest island bicycle hire

Hop On/Hop Off Bus:

A hop on- hop off bus (The Island Explorer bus) for $20 takes you to the popular beaches and secluded bays and it is a great option if you don’t fancy cycling. Tickets can be purchased from the Rottnest Visitor Centre next to the pier.

Alternatively, be organised and buy them online beforehand to avoid the queues – click on the links below:



Adventure Boat Tour:

If you are in Rottnest in the summertime, between December – April, you can do the 90 minute Adventure Boat Tour around the island (click here to reserve your spot on one!).

It is a high speed boat and so it sure is a great way to see the best of the island in a fun, exciting way!


It is said here at Rottnest Island there are some of the best swimming and snorkelling beaches in the world, so I guess I’ll just have to come back in the summer when the sea is warmer so I can try it out!

Dolphins, humpbacks, sea lions and tropical fish are known to make an appearance here!

A good snorkelling spot (and Instagrammable photo spots!) is Little Parakeet Bay. In addition, Little Salmon Bay and The Basin are great spots for swimming.

The surfing at Strickland Bay is also supposed to be amazing, with some of the best breaks in the world! Surfboards and snorkel gear can be hired on the island or you can buy a package from Get Your Guide here.

Rottnest island beaches


If you’re an adrenaline junkie and skydiving is your thing, check out these epic skydives you can do at Rottnest Island!



Best Time Of Year To Visit Rottnest Island

The weather in Rottnest is usually always sunny – even in winter you can still have sunny weather and 20 degrees! However depending on the season you visit, it will determine the range of activities available.

For example, although it is very pleasant and sunny weather in the winter, boat tours around the island only run in the summer, and it will probably be a little too cold to go swimming.

Luckily there are many options whilst on the island, and whatever you choose to do and whenever you choose to go to Rottnest, you’ll have a fabulous time!

longreach bay rottnest island beach

Other Places To Visit In Western Australia

Rottnest Island is a great place to visit before you head off on your Western Australia road trip from Perth to Exmouth or from Perth to Broome.

If however you’ll just be based in Perth for your trip, and won’t be doing a road trip there are plenty of great day trips you can take from Perth such as the day trip to Pinnacles Desert and Lancelin Sand Dunes – a really fun day out.

Alternatively, if you’re after more fun animal encounters near Perth you can visit the wild kangaroos in Perth at Heirisson Island or swim with the sea lions in Jurien Bay!

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Rottnest island Western Australia  quokkas Rottnest island Western Australia