Just off the coast of Perth in Western Australia, Rottnest Island is a great weekend getaway and full of interesting things to discover. The white sand and crystal blue water makes this stunning island a top destination on list of places to see on the west coast. The island is 11km long and 4.5km at its widest point.
Getting there from Perth is fairly simple and you have a few options. Ferries leave from Hillary’s Boat Harbour in northern Perth, Freemantle in the south or the Barrack Street Jetty in the city centre. Alternatively you can catch a short 12 minute flight to the island and enjoy the spectacular views of the area. Helicopter trips are also available. Hiring a bike is a good way to get around Rottnest.
You have a choice of accommodation options from luxury beachfront villas, heritage cottages, cabins or hostel dorm beds. Prices increase considerable in the holiday seasons. A 2 bedroom apartment for 4 people can be a cheap option and you can find one for around $110. Double rooms start at $150 in the resort or head to the hostel for a cheap dorm bed. There is one designated camp site on the island in Thompson Bay.
The island was formerly used as an internment camp in WWII by the Germans and Italians so the barracks are still there along with some cannons. A visit to the pink salt lakes is interesting or wander around and discover the historical sites. Hanging out with the cute little Quokkas is very cool. They are small marsupials only found on a couple of Australia’s islands and they look like a cross between a rat and a kangaroo. There is one pub on the island near the jetty.
Swimming, snorkelling and diving is probably the most popular activity on the island and trips can be organised from Perth. Some of the best diving on the west coast can be found here. The water is super clear, with visibility staying around 20 metres for most of the year.
Crystal Palace is one of the best dives in the area with lots of limestone caves to explore. Swirl Reef and Roe Reef also have some great caves. Shark’s cave is home to Grey Nurse Sharks and West End, also known as the Wild, Wild West site due to the sometimes rough waters and currents, is a site you might even see a whale on your dive! Photographers will love the coral and macro life at Kingston Split.
There is so much natural beauty to discover on Rottnest Island that once you get there, you’ll find you won’t want to leave.
(By Kelly Luckman)