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With its turquoise waters, glorious sunsets, and kicked-back vibe, Rottnest
is a textbook example of an island escape. There are more than 200 dive
sites to choose from, with limestone tunnels and hundreds of fish species
interspersed among meadows of sea grass, sponges and soft corals. Out of
the water, there’s lots to see and do, including pubs, shops, cafes and golf.
The most tourist-populated
part of the island, Thomson
Bay has excellent drawcards
including the bakery, cafes.
and ice-cream shop. Visit the
Rotto pub for a pint, with
one of the best views in WA.
If you fancy a refreshing dip
(sans the snorkelling) City of
York Bay is an ideal spot. It’s
great for swimming, much
like The Basin, but with
fewer tourists – you’ll relish
the privacy and won’t have
any troubles finding space
to put your towel.
Beneath the lookout is
a small beach where adults
and young kids can easily
– and safely – access the
shipwreck of The Shark;
it’s only a few metres off
shore. For some family
a competition to see how
Rottnest is just
a 30-minute ride
from Fremantle (Rous Head
or C-Shed), or from Hillarys
Boat Harbour you’re
looking at 45 minutes.
A ferry from Barrack Street
Jetty stretches the trip to
There are almost 1000
moorings, of which just
over thirty are available
for hire. Moorings can
be rented from Rottnest
Jandakot Airport take
just twelve minutes.
Diving and snorkelling
The island has a selection of wrecks to explore, and
the waters are populated by 135 species of tropical
fish, 225 temperate fish species, the northernmost
colony of New Zealand fur seals, dugongs, turtles,
stingrays and 25 species of tropical coral. It all
contributes to a visual feast for those who venture
beneath the surface. The best place to dive is
the shipwreck of The Shark at the eastern end of
Porpoise Bay and Henrietta Rocks, while the best
snorkelling is at Little Parakeet Bay and Parker Point.
Rock lobster abound, and there is an incredible
range of sport and game fishing, including Spanish
mackerel, cobia, sailfish and even marlin. Fishers
looking for a feed will find plenty of options, too –
coral trout and red emperor are widespread around
the islands. Make sure you visit the Department of
Fisheries website to read up on regulations and
avoid some hefty fines.
Rent a bike
The best way to see the island is definitely by bike.
There are literally hundreds of bikes to choose from,
some with kiddie carriers and trailers, and even
a few tandems. Many cycle trails criss-cross the
island, but bear in mind that the hills and breeze can
make some rides harder to manage than they look.
Best of all, you can spend the money you save from
bus rides on an ice-cream at the end of the day.
The Rottnest Island Golf Course will reopen in
October, and a round of golf is a great way to
enhance your island experience. The nine-hole
course boasts elevated tees, a swamp and a lake,
making it a challenging but fun experience. During
the summer months all equipment can be hired from
the Rottnest Island Family Fun Park, where green
fees can also be paid.
If you aren’t keen to cart your groceries over on the
ferry, you can order online from the Rottnest General
Store and they’ll deliver your goods in time for your
arrival – free of charge, too.
WHAT TO DO
WHERE TO GO
many species of fish you can
spot around the wreckage.
If you’re going to snorkel
at only one place on the
entire island, Parker Point is
the place to do it – the vast
array of fluorescent pink
coral is truly remarkable.
In among the luminous
corals are fish of all colours
and species – the marked
snorkel trail acts as a guide
and educator along the way.
Photography Rottnest Island Authority.
(photography Chris Tate).
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