Rottnest Island is famous for its population of Quokkas. There are about 10,000 of these small kangaroo relatives on the island. Rottnest Island, or Rotto as it is affectionately called by the locals, is located 18 km off the coast of Western Australia. The island is about 11km long and 4.5 km at its widest point.
The Quokkas on Rottnest Island have become major tourist attractions and they are friendly creatures and will sometimes come right up to visitors for a pat. You will get some great photo opportunities with quokkas, but feeding them is prohibited.
Some people think that Quokkas are only found on Rottnest, but that is not the case at all. They are also found on Bald Island, and on the mainland in the Stirling Ranges and the Swan coastal plain near Perth. In 1696, Willem De Vlaming first landed on the Island and mistook the Quokkas for large rats, and decided to call the island Rats Nest Island, which over time became known as Rottnest.
Quokkas are marsupials and carry their babies in a pouch like their kangaroo relatives. Baby Quokkas (joeys) are born after a pregnancy of four weeks. At birth, the baby Quokka (joey) weighs three quarters of a gram. The Joey remains protected in the mother’s pouch for six months. In the early days of settlement, Quokkas were hunted, but since 1914, Rottnest has been a protected reserve, and today the Quokka population is thriving.
There is more to Rottnest Island than Quokkas, though. The island has over 50 km of road and cycle ways, and hiring a bike is a great way to see the island. Rottnest has some of the finest beaches and bays in the world where you can enjoy swimming, surfing, snorkeling and diving. Rottnest Island is one of the best diving and snorkeling sites near a major capital city. Around the island are amazing reef formations, shipwrecks, and proliferation of fish. The island offers various tours to explore the island. There is also a tour in a semi-submersible vessel to enjoy the aquatic attractions without getting wet.
Rottnest Island offers a range of accommodation options including villas with spectacular ocean views, and self-contained cottages. If you prefer to stay in serviced accommodation you can stay at the Hotel Rottnest or the Rottnest Lodge.
Rottnest Island really is easily accessible from the mainland with ferry services from Hillarys Boat Harbour in the north, Fremantle to the South and the Barrack Street Jetty in centre of the city. Ferries run every day of the year and are the most common way for visitors to get to Rottnest. Locals often travel to Rottnest in their own boat.
Flights to Rottnest Island on Rottnest Air-Taxi
For something different, an enjoyable way to experience Rottnest Island is to fly on the Rottnest Air-Taxi service. The service flies between Rottnest Airport and Perth’s Jandakot Airport, fifteen minutes out of the city. The Air-Taxi service also takes tourists on trips round the island – just go out to the airstrip at Rottnest and you can pick up a flight around the island. The service uses small four-seater or a six-seater aircraft.