Things to do on Rottnest Island

Looking for things to do on Rottnest Island? Sightseeing Pass has got you covered!

With 63 beaches, 20 bays, amazing snorkeling sites, friendly Quokkas, 6,500 years of history to discover and 50 kilometres of roads to explore on a guided tour, bus or bike, you’ll be spoilt for choice when you step off the ferry.

The most popular way to explore Rottnest Island is by bike. Rottnest is an environmentally conscious island which means there are limited vehicles. Hire a bike when you purchase your ferry ticket or bring your bike with you (charges apply) and spend the day cycling around the island. Another way to explore Rottnest is to walk, with numerous walking trails there's plenty to see!

Alternatively you can jump on board the Island Explorer Bus (hop-on hop-off service) to get around the island. Tickets can be purchased from the Rottnest Island visitor centre. Rottnest Island also provides a free shuttle bus between accommodation. 

Cycling around Rottnest Island is the easiest way to get around

Beaches, beaches and more beaches

There's a reason why Rottnest Island was awarded top Australian beaches by Australia’s prestigious travel guide ‘Explore Australia 2007’, and voted the 'Top Destination to Experience in Australia 2014' in the Experience Oz poll. Spend the day swimming, snorkeling or relaxing on one of the pristine beaches.

Some of the most popular beaches and bays include:

- Cape Vlamingh
- Fish Hook Bay
- Geordie Bay
- Little Armstrong
- Little Parakeet
- Little Salmon Bay
- Parakeet Bay
- Parker Point
- Ricey Beach
- Salmon Bay
- Stark Bay
- The Basin
- West End

Rottnest Island, Western Australia


Rottnest Island is home to an abundance of wildlife! On the land you can find plenty of Quokkas, birds and reptiles. Jump into the ocean and you'll have the opportunity to see up to 135 tropical fish.

Rottnest is named after it's most famous animal, the Quokka.  In 1696 de Vlamingh described the quokka as "a kind of rat as big as a common cat". He named the Island 'Rotte nest' (meaning 'rat's nest') and the name of the Island was eventually adapted to 'Rottnest'. Quokkas are commonly known as "the happiest animal in the world." As they are nocturnal animals you will find Quokkas laying under bushes and vegetation during the day.

If you want to see more of Rottnest's unique wildlife, join the Adventure Rottnest tour! 

The Eco Express boat completes a full circumnavigation of the island, giving passengers an unforgettable up-close encounter with the island's rugged coastline and abundant wildlife, including seals and humpback whales, during the seasonal migration.

Tours from $152 per person


Rottnest Island is steeped in history. 

Known to local Aboriginal people as Wadjemup, the Island is believed to be a place of spirits and is of significance to Aboriginal communities. 

The first Europeans took up residence on Rottnest Island shortly after the first settlement of the Swan River Colony was established in 1829. 

Ten Aboriginal prisoners were brought to the Island in August 1838. After a short period when both settlers and prisoners occupied the Island, the Colonial Secretary announced in June 1839 that the Island would become a penal establishment for Aboriginal people.

Rottnest Island has also played a military role in both World War I and World War II and has also had post-war training functions. Rottnest is full of military history which is still able to be seen on the island such as the Oliver Hill Guns.

(Rottnest Island Authority, 2016)

 To discover more about Rottnest Islands rich history, join a Grand Island Tour.

The Grand Island Tour discovers war history and Aboriginal history.

Tours from $69 per person


A great way to experience the bays and history of Rottnest Island is to join a Segway Tour. 

Learn about the amazing and sometimes controversial history of this pristine island. Cruise with us on your Segway and absorb the picturesque vistas of the natural beauty of the island. What you experience will leave you spellbound and wanting more.

Join the Rottnest Island Settlement Tour

Tours from $89 per person

Explore Rottnest Island’s most amazing places on this off-road Segway adventure. After a quick lesson, you’ll embark on an exciting tour, visiting pristine beaches and bays while learning about the island’s local nature and military heritage. Visit the historic gun emplacements and lookout with plenty of time and opportunities for photographs and meeting Quokkas along the way.

Experience Rottnest Island with a Fortress Adventure Tour

Tours from $129 per person

How to get to Rottnest

To visit Rottnest Island you can board a ferry from Perth, Fremantle of Hillarys Boat Harbour (Sorrento Quay). 

Travel time from mainland to Rottnest Island;

- Perth approx 90 minutes
- Fremantle approx 25 minutes
- Hillarys approx 45 minutes