Some of the best swimming and snorkeling beaches on Earth, in a day trip from Perth.
Spend a day on Perth’s island playground, Rottnest Island, or ‘Rotto’ as it’s affectionately known – just a short ferry ride from the city. Once you’re on the car-free island, you can explore the 63 white-sand beaches, 20 clear bays, top snorkel trails, surf breaks, and unique plant and animal life of this Class A reserve by bus, bike or on foot.
Best time: September to March (to coincide with wildflowers, whale watching and summer)
Rottnest Island is best toured by bicycle
Morning: Perth to Rottnest
Hop on a morning ferry from Fremantle (25-30 minutes), Hillarys Boat Harbour (40-45 minutes) or Perth's Barrack Street Jetty (one hour Swan River cruise and change at Fremantle). Rottnest Express operates from Perth and Fremantle and Rottnest Fast Ferries will get you there from Hillarys.
Or you can arrive in style by helicopter, air taxi, or on your own boat.
When you arrive at Rottnest, head to the end of the jetty and get yourself orientated by grabbing a guide to the island at the Rottnest Island Visitor Centre in the Thomson Bay Settlement.
Choose your preferred method of Rottnest transport – bus, bike or on foot. This itinerary suggests hiring a bike which you can do either on the island or at the ferry terminals in Perth, Fremantle or Hillarys, but you can also reach many of the destinations and attractions on the Bayseeker Bus.
At only 11 kilometres long and four and a half kilometres wide, Rottnest Island is easy to explore on two wheels in a day. Find out more about Rottnest bike hire.
Before leaving the Thomson Bay Settlement, stock up on water and picnic supplies at the island’s bakery, cafes or general store.
Head up to Oliver Hill, following Digby Drive through the salt lakes, or take Parker Point Road along the coast and stop at Little Salmon Bay along the way.
Keep a look out for Western Australia’s cutest marsupial, the quokka. They tend to stay under the shade of the trees during the day, but they are easy to spot.
When you reach Oliver Hill, you can opt to explore some of Rottnest’s military history with a one-hour walking tour of the restored World War II 9.2 inch gun and maze of underground tunnels, or just sit and take in the awesome island panorama.
Meet Rottnest Island's resident quokkas
Afternoon: Rottnest to Perth
Cycle north from Oliver Hill and take Bovell Way east to Little Parakeet Bay, a pretty little spot for a swim or snorkel.
Return to Thomson Bay Settlement via Geordie Bay and head to the cafés for a well-earned afternoon tea – or the bar for a long cool drink – taking in the view of Perth’s city skyline on the ocean horizon.
Head back to the jetty to catch the afternoon ferry back to Perth, Fremantle or Hillarys.
*Distances marked with * include travel from Perth-to-Port by road and Port-to-Rottnest by ferry.
**Rottnest Island is a Class A reserve which means it's car-free. Distances marked with ** and shown on the map are based on travel via bicycle.
| Perth|| 1 day|| Perth & Surrounds|
Perth to Rottnest Island (via Barrack Street Jetty)*
Perth to Rottnest Island (via Fremantle)*
Perth to Rottnest Island (via Hillarys Boat Harbour)*
Thomson Bay Settlement to Oliver Hill (via salt lakes)**
Thomson Bay Settlement to Oliver Hill (via Little Salmon Bay)**
Oliver Hill to Little Parakeet Bay**
Little Parakeet Bay to Thomson Bay Settlement**
Find out more about
PERTH & SURROUNDS
Head to the the Experience Perth website for more itineraries and further information on things to see and do in the region. Find Out More