One of my favourite days in Australia so far. Cycling Rottnest Island was something I desperately wanted to do even back in England, and everyone here told me it was an absolute must do. I was not disappointed. This island is an incredibly popular tourist destination thanks in part to the quokka.
An incredibly cute creature, this furry marsupial was originally mistake for a large rat by the original European visitors. Hence the name Rottnest (translated from Dutch to Rat’s Nest). The popularity of the quokka selfie has helped boost tourism to this island and fund maintenance of their stunning home.
Rottnest also has an amazing history. Before sea level rise 6000 years ago the island was attached to the mainland. It was occupied by the Whadjuk Noongar people who named it Wadjemup: ‘place across the water where the spirits are’.
Cycling Rottnest Island
This is by far the best way to get around the island. I booked the bike with the ferry which makes the collection process on the island incredibly easy. I cycled the full 22km loop round the island, stopping off at whichever stunning beach took my fancy. It’s pretty hilly so take your time!
There are a few shops at the ‘settlement’, which is the location of the ferry drop off and the overnight resorts. However round the back of the island there is very little development, apart from a lighthouse or two. Take a packed lunch to eat on the beach!
The views are just beyond words. You can see the Perth skyline from Parker Point and the initial southern beaches. I also enjoyed taking advantage of the plentiful bike lock locations and walking away from the roads onto the more secluded cliff trails.
Rottnest island Wildlife and habitat
So of course the island is home to the furry quokka, the face of Rottnest. However on my journey cycling Rottnest Island I also saw countless lizards and small birds. Information boards tell you what to look out for. Whales might also be seen from the more secluded northern headlands.
I also saw seals at the most western point of the island, Cape Vlamingh. However by far the most breathtaking experience was seeing an Osprey! I had the view of this stunning bird to myself for a full five minutes before it opened its wings and disappeared beneath the cliff line.
If you can bear to tear your eyes off the coastline for a second, take a look inland at the salt lakes. One of my favourite places was the woodland glade on Salmon Bay headland, providing an important habitat for endangered species.
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Scrape up the money for the ferry fare (approximately $80 including bike hire from Fremantle). This is one for the bucket list! The ferry ride in itself is gorgeous, and if your particularly lucky you might catch sight of a whale (I sadly did not).
The benefits of going in the summer are obvious, because this would be a gorgeous place to swim and snorkel. However winter has its benefits too. It was so empty that sometimes I felt like I had an entire island to myself! I would cycle for 20 minute stretches without seeing a single soul.
However even in summer I bet you could find a deserted beach or two. If you are cycling Rottnest Island you can get to places that the bus doesn’t stop at, particularly round the back. The northern beaches in particular are beautiful sheltered spots to relax in.
This video below is by my favourite travel vlogger and gives you some more information on making the most of your day trip to this stunning island.
Let me know if you’ve been or are planning to go! Or any suggestions for other stunning islands around Australia x