The perfect one day trip to rottnest island (2022 guide)
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Rottnest Island is a popular tourist destination located just off the coast of Perth, Western Australia. The island is home to a number of beaches, bays, and coves and the Island is popular for many activities such as swimming, snorkeling, fishing, and cycling.
During my one-day trip to Rottnest Island, I explored many of the amazing highlights by bicycle and in this blog article, I will share all the best places that you have to do when you plan to visit Rottnest Island.
READ ALSO: 10 amazing day trips from Perth
Rottnest Island Ferry tickets
The easiest way to get to Rottnest Island is by ferry and only 3 companies operate ferries to the island. I booked my tickets with SeaLink and bike hire through GetYourGuide.com as it was slightly cheaper than on the website of SeaLink.
SeaLink is a great company if you want to visit Rottnest Island. I used this company before to get to Magnetic Island in Queensland.
From Perth to Rottnest Island:
The Rottnest Express ferry departs from Perth’s Barrack Street Jetty and takes approximately 90 minutes to reach the island.
From North Perth to Rottnest Island:
The Rottnest Fast Ferries are operating from Hillary’s Boat Harbour to Rottnest Island and it takes about 45 minutes.
From Fremantle to Rottnest Island:
The SeaLink ferry departs from B Shed, Victoria Quay, Fremantle Terminal and takes approximately 30 minutes. Prices are AU$ 53/adult and AU$ 26/fee for a return ticket
How to get around on Rottnest Island?
Tourists are not allowed to explore the island by car but there are buses operating around the Island, or you can hire a bike like I did, which is the most fun way.
There are buses operating around the Island, which are stopping at all the highlights. Starting from the Settlement (the town of Rottnest), the bus drives anti-clockwise in a loop around and it cost about AU$ 20/adult for a day pass.
I didn’t experience the bus myself as I decided to rent a bike but if you have kids or riding a bike isn’t your thing, the bus is the best way to get around Rottnest Island.
TIP: If you didn’t get a map on the ferry, get one in the information center at the harbor of Rottnest Island.
Exploring Rottnest Island by bike is the easiest and most fun way. You can stop whenever and wherever you want. The island has some hills, so it can be a challenge on hot days.
I rented a traditional push bike and loved the freedom but one of the tires was a bit deflated and I had to push very hard to get up the hills. A great option for those who don’t like hills is considering hiring an e-bike.
SeaLink offers ferry tickets with bike rental included, which saves some time on the Island. The only and best bike hire on Rottnest Island is Pedal & Flipper and during busy days, there can be a long cue if you didn’t book in advance.
Prices for a pushbike start from AU$ 30/bike and E-bikes from AU$ 70/bike
TIP: The bike rental company opens at 8.30 AM, so keep this in mind if you book the ferry at 7 AM. I booked the ferry at 7 AM, so I explored the Settlement and had breakfast before the bike rental opened.
What Is The Best Time To Visit Rottnest Island
The best time to visit Rottnest Island is from September to November when the weather is warm and sunny. December to February is also a good time to visit, but it can be quite crowded due to the school holidays.
March to May is the off-peak season so that you can find some good deals on accommodation and activities.
June to August is winter, so it’s not the ideal time to visit if you’re looking to spend time at the beach. However, if you don’t mind the cooler weather, it can be a great time to visit as there are fewer tourists.
I went in February and it was not too busy, though but unfortunately, the weather wasn’t in my favour. It was raining in the morning when I left Fremantle, sunny until noon and cloudy in the afternoon.
How Much Time Do You Need On a Day trip To Rottnest Island?
There is a lot to see and many beautiful places to discover on Rottnest Island, so whether you go for a half-day or even a week, you won’t get bored.
However, if you plan to make a day trip to Rottnest Island then I recommend taking the earliest ferry at 7 AM and coming back with the last ferry at 4 PM. This gives you enough time to cycle around the island and explore the main highlights.
If you have less time, you could skip the western part of the island or simply enjoy the beaches in the north and the Settlement.
Accommodation on Rottnest Island
Accommodation on Rottnest Island is limited and recommended to book in advance. I listed below an option on booking.com that offers a free cancellation. Another accommodation, I recommend is in Fremantle for those who prefer not to stay on the Island,
On this website, you can find more available accommodations but 80% are booked out within a year.
Located nearby the Settlement and in front of Pinky Beach, The Discovery Rottnest is a unique place to stay. The Glamping tents provide a luxury and comfortable camping experience for an affordable price.
Prices are AU$ 340 per night
A great option when you stay in Fremantle instead of on Rottnest Island is the National Hotel. It is located within walking distance from the B Shed, Victoria Quay, where the ferry leaves.
Also, the Fremantle Markets and Bathers Beach are a few minutes’ walking from the hotel.
Prices are AU$ 200 per night
Map of Rottnest Island?
This Rottnest Island map can help you to visualize the route that I did during my Rottnest Island day trip. As I went with the early morning ferry and came back with the latest one, I had enough time to explore these places.
However, I felt that It might be too much for one day, so I recommend skipping a few places and enjoying more of the most beautiful ones, like Little Salmon Bay or the Basin.
16 Things To Do On Rottnest Island
Explore the Settlement
Bus stop: 1
Rottnest Island has a small town area called “The Settlement” with a few shops, cafes and restaurants. It is a very lovely place to walk or cycle around when you arrive at the Island in the morning or the afternoon, before heading back to the ferry terminal.
Also, the Rottnest Island Museum is worth a visit as it’s full of interesting facts and history about the island.
Henrietta Rocks – Shark Wreck
Bus stop: 3
The first stop after picking up the bikes was Henrietta rocks, which is a beautiful spot to explore in the morning as there is a shipwreck in front of the beach. Many different species of fish and coral can be found at Henrietta Rocks.
However, it was quite early in the morning and the water was still too chilly to go in, so I decided to take some photos, enjoy the views, and continued to the next stop on Rottnest Island.
Little Salmon Bay
Bus stop: 6
Little Salmon Beach on Rottnest is like paradise on earth, a small untouched beach with the clearest blue water I’ve ever seen. It is the perfect place for snorkelling or relaxing on the Island. I parked the bicycle across the road and walked down this cute little beach to relax and swim
It was still early in the morning so not too many people were around here but I can imagine how it would be during the summer school holidays.
Bus stop: 7
After about an hour at Little Salmon Bay, more tourists came and I decide to go to the next stop, Salmon Bay, which is only a few minutes cycling from Little Salmon Bay.
Salmon Bay is a very beautiful beach and a great place to spend some time when it is sunny, however, I took a quick photo stop at Salmon Bay as it started to rain and a strong wind came up.
Bus stop: 8
Wadjemup Lighthouse is located in the middle of Rottnest Island and on the way to the next stop. A visit to the lighthouse is possible and absolutely beautiful but due to a rain shower, I skipped the Lighthouse and went straight to Green Island, which is the next stop on this one-day itinerary for Rottnest Island.
If you have some more time or better weather, I really recommend visiting the lighthouse as the views are stunning.
Bus stop: 9
Green Island is a beautiful place on Rottnest Island and it is the perfect place for a picnic on the beach or some snorkelling around the island when the sun comes out. I used the time to take some photos and decided to have my lunch at West End,
There is also a toilet block before the beach entrance and a parking area for your bicycle.
West End – Cape Vlamingh
Bus stop: 11
Before having lunch, I cycled to West End, which is the westernmost point of Rottnest Island and probably the heaviest part of the cycling trip as the hills are pretty steep. I stopped a few times to have a rest and enjoy the amazing views of the Island.
Once arrived at West End, I went to Cape Vlamingh, which is one of my favorite places on the Island. You can walk down the boardwalk and enjoy watching the seagulls and many birds nesting on the limestone cliffs.
If you visit Rottnest Island during the whale season, you might even spot whales passing by.
Bus stop: 11
When you walk or cycle back to bus stop 11, where the Lexi’s on Rotto is, you can follow a small dirt path on your left that goes to the Cathedral Rocks. It is a short walk from the bus stop but definitely worth a visit as the rocks are a resting place for many birds, seagulls and seals.
There is a small view platform where you can relax while watching the beautiful scenery and wildlife of Rottnest Island but bring a jacket as it can be very windy up here.
Picnic Stop At Lexi’s on Rotto
Bus stop: 11
At bus stop 11 you can have a picnic as there are a few picnic tables with umbrellas and a food van called “Lexis on Rotto”. Don’t expect too much but it can be convenient to have a cold soda or a small snack after some cycling up the hills.
There are also toilets available but bring some tissues and sanitiser as there was no water to wash your hands when I visited Rottnest.
Narrow Neck Bay
Bus stop: 12
One of the smallest points on the Island and a great spot to stop when you cycle back to the Settlement. From the top, you have stunning views over the bay and if you have more time you can even relax at the beach but I enjoyed the views and continued to find (still) my first Quokka.
Bus stop: 13
After the Narrow Neck Lookout, I turned left to follow the road back to the Settlement and just before I arrived at Rocky Bay, I found my first Quokka. I stopped and took some photos with these cute little fellas before continuing to Rocky Bay.
Rocky Bay is another beautiful stop along the way with incredible views over the Northern coastline of Rottnest.
Little Armstrong Beach
Bus stop: 17
Little Armstrong is a great spot for swimming and snorkelling and it’s located on the northern side of Rottnest Island. From the parking area, you’ll need to walk down the stairs before entering this little paradise.
Bus stop: 18 or 19
Geordie Bay is a favourite place amongst tourists as there are a few accommodation options up here and the bay is just amazing. Most of the rooms have a view over the bay and there is a restaurant with a liquor shop.
TIP: There is a water re-fill so make sure you fill up your bottles before leaving as there is no other refill station on the West side of the Island.
Bus stop: 19
Fays Bay is a small and secluded beach nearby Geordie Bay. It is a perfect place to relax or spend some time with your family and kids away from the crowds.
Make sure you bring a beach umbrella on sunny days as there are no shady spots on this beach.
Bus stop: 1 or 19
The Basin is one of the most beautiful places and the best place for snorkeling. It is a beautiful natural pool with a lot of fish and other sea creatures. But not only in the water, you can spot wildlife, also around the basin, but you’ll also find probably the most Quokkas on Rottnest Island as they are wandering around and looking for food.
There are showers, toilets, and a sundeck to relax, which makes it a good spot for families and couples.
Bus stop: 1
Bathurst Lighthouse is the second lighthouse on Rottnest Island located next to Pinky Beach. As it is easy to walk up the stairs to the lighthouse, it is the perfect place to watch the stunning views in every direction of Rottnest.
Extra tips for your day trip to Rottnest Island
- Get a map at the information centre when you arrive at the ferry terminal.
- Bring your own snorkel gear or rent one when you arrive at the island.
- There are no cars on Rottnest Island. The only way to get around is by bike or bus. If you don’t have your own bike, you can rent one from Pedal & Flipper.
- There are several beaches on Rottnest Island, but the most popular ones are The Basin, Thomson Bay and Pinky Beach.
- Make sure you pack plenty of sunscreens, hats and sunglasses, as well as an insect repellent, as the island can be quite sunny with limited shady spots on the Western side
- There is a convenience store at the Settlement and a couple of other shops around the island. However, they are quite expensive, so it’s best to stock up on supplies before you arrive.
- The tap water on the island is safe to drink but only available at bus stops 1, 2 and 19 so make sure you fill up your bottles.
- There is limited phone reception on the island, so it’s best to download any maps or apps you might need before you arrive.
- There are ATMs on the island, but they often have long queues or are out of order. It’s best to bring enough cash with you to last your whole stay.
If you’re looking for a day trip from Perth that will get you out of the city and offer plenty of activities, Rottnest Island is the perfect destination.
There’s something for everyone on Rottnest Island with beautiful beaches, interesting wildlife, and plenty of biking and hiking trails. So what are you waiting for? Book your day trip to Rottnest Island today!
Save these pins for later!
Explore Rottnest Island in Western Australia – Kata Tjuta National Park with my favorite travel apps
To plan my adventures, I use these FREE websites and apps as they provide the best information, the best deals, and they are user-friendly.
- Skyscanner – Flight deals
- Booking.com – Hotels and accommodation
- TourRadar – Group trips
- TripAdvisor – Reviews and activities
- HostelWorld – Hostels
- GetYourGuide – Activities and excursions
- RentalCars – Car rental
- Omio – Transport
- iVisa – Travel documents
- Wise – Money transfer
- InsuredNomads – Travel Insurance
PICTURES AND EDITING
All the pictures on this page are made and owned by me. If you are interested in some pictures to use for your magazine, website, blog, or any other purpose, just send me an email and we’ll figure it out.
Do you like the edits? My Presets will be online soon so you can edit your pictures in just one click!
The camera gear I used for this trip
I never go out without my camera and many people ask me which gear I use. So to make it quite easy, I listed all the gear I used for this trip below.
Most of the time, I travel with the Sony A7III and the Sony 24-105mm/f4 as my primary lens but depending on the location, I change to another setup. However, I love the Tamron 17-28 to shoot in the big cities.