Adventure, baby!

Western Australia

Things To Do In The Margaret River (Away From The Wineries)

Margaret River, Western Australia

The Margaret River region is well known for wine but not as much for being a family or relaxing holiday destination. The spectacular beaches, wildlife and fun activities, however, make it an incredible place to visit to enjoy the scenery, food and wildlife. We found plenty of things to do in Margaret River for the whole family to enjoy, from little kids to adults.

Busselton, Margaret River, Western Australia

In and around Busselton
A popular town for families to vacation, Busselton has plenty to offer for entertainment. Check out the 150-year old Busselton Jetty – at 1.8km in length, it’s the longest timber-jetty in the Southern Hemisphere. Walk out or catch the little train to the end of the jetty to the Underwater Observatory, where life in a coral reef is on view.
busseltonjetty.com.au

Dunsborough, WA

In and around Dunsborough
A coastal town in the Margaret River region, Dunsborough has several cafes, bakeries, groceries stores and the like, set by a gorgeous, family-friendly beach.

Eagle Bay, Margaret River, Western Australia

Eagle Bay
A stunning beach known for its dazzling white sand and vivid, turquoise water. Eagle Bay is a great swimming beach thanks to its shallow, calm water. There is nothing else to do here but swim and enjoy one of the most beautiful views in the world.

Meelup Beach
A fabulous family beach located near Dunsborough, Known for its calm water, Meelup also has excellent public change rooms, toilets and showers.

Canal Rocks, Margaret River, Western Australia

In and around Yallinup
Yallingup is a popular tourist place to visit thanks to its stunning beaches and limestone caves.

Yallingup Beach
A protected lagoon that’s perfect for swimming and snorkelling.

Busselton, Margaret River, Western Australia

Yallinup Maze
A fun place to drop by to have a run through their ever-changing timer maze, jump on the
bouncy castle and try a free puzzle or game in the puzzle cafe.
yallingupmaze.com.au

Swings & Roundabouts, Margaret River, Western Australia Swings & Roundsbouts
This winery has an incredible outdoor space with all kinds of old school play equipment. The food it a touch pricey: we paid $22 for a small pizza and $16 for a small plate of squid
swings.com.au

Canal Rocks, Margaret River, Western AustraliaCanal Rocks
Walk across the timber pathway to the rocks and tide pools Canal Rocks is famous for. Swimming and snorkelling are popular here but be aware of the tide, currents and lack of lifeguards.

In and around Margaret River Town

Margaret River Chocolate Company, Margaret River, Western Australia Margaret River Chocolate Company
Kids will enjoy the free chocolate samples while adults try to choose between the many varieties of chocolate on offer (good luck, it’s a tough choice!). Stop by the cafe for breakfast, lunch and sweet snacks.
chocolatefactory.com.au

Woody Nook Winery & Cafe, Margaret River, Western Australia

Woody Nook Wines
A great place for lunch with the family, the outdoor Nookery Café has delicious food, a kids’ menu and a grassy play area with swings.
woodynook.com.au/

Cowaramup, Margaret River, Western Australia

Cowaramup
The locals call it ‘Cowtown’ thanks to the 42 life-sized fibreglass Friesian cows and calves that have been placed all over the streets. The locally made goods are excellent –
sample nougat, chocolate, ice cream, fudge, olive oil and fresh produce.

Augusta, Margaret River, Western Australia
In and around Augusta
Augusta is the most south-western town in Australia and near Boranup Forest, Jewel Cave and Hamelin Bay. The town is a popular destination for snorkelling, swimming, SUP, canoeing and whale watching – between June and August around 35,000 whales pass along this coastline.

A Drive Through The Boranup Karri Forest, Western Australia

Boranup Karri Forest
An absolute must is to drive through the towering karri trees. The forest is a 25 minute drive south of Margaret River town along Caves Road. Stop by Cafe Boranup to break your trip. More info on the forest and cafe here.

Augusta, Margaret River, Western Australia
Leeuwin Lighthouse
The most south-westerly point of Australia, it’s a must to see even if you don’t want to pay the $8pp entry to the grounds to walk around the base. It is however the tallest lighthouse on mainland Australia and overlooks the point where two oceans meet.

Hamelin Bay, Margaret River, Western Australia

Hamelin Bay
Friendly stingrays frequent this bay, attracted by the fish remnants dropped by fishing boats that use the boat ramp on at Hamelin Bay. A gorgeous beach for swimming, snorkelling, kayaking and photography, this beach also has public bathrooms and a nearby holiday park with a kiosk. Get more info on Hamelin Bay here.

Getting around
It’s a must to hire a car in the Margaret River region. We hired ours from Australian company Redspot.

Where to stay
We were lucky that we bunked in with relatives during our visit, but I would suggest staying in Busselton or Dunsborough for a central location on the beach, or in Augusta for a few days in that region.

This post contains affiliate links. That means if you book a hotel through a link on my site I will receive a small commission for referring you to that website. It won’t cost you a cent extra. Thank you for supporting Adventure, baby!

Christine Knight
Christine is the editor of Adventure, Baby!

A Drive Through The Boranup Karri Forest, Western Australia

A Drive Through The Boranup Karri Forest, Western Australia

If you drive 25 minute south of Margaret River town along Caves Road in Western Australia, you might be forgiven for thinking you’ve stumbled across fairy land. Suddenly rising from each side of the road are towering karri trees, some over 60m in height, with bright white trunks, filling the valley below.

A Drive Through The Boranup Karri Forest, Western Australia

If you keep a look out on the eastern side of Caves Road you’ll find The Karri Lookout, which is an ideal place to pull over, photograph and then wander into the forrest in search of wildflowers, orchids, funghi and, of course, fairies.

A Drive Through The Boranup Karri Forest, Western Australia

The forrest is also home to many species of birds, so keep an eye out for a Purple-crowned Lorikeet, Splendid Fairy-wren, White-breasted Robin, Crested Strike-tit, Golden Whistler and many other birds.

A Drive Through The Boranup Karri Forest, Western Australia A Drive Through The Boranup Karri Forest, Western Australia A Drive Through The Boranup Karri Forest, Western Australia

A Drive Through The Boranup Karri Forest, Western Australia

A bit further into the forrest will bring you to Cafe Boranup, which is a great place to break for lunch or tea and scones. They serve wholesome food, housemade cakes, chutneys, jams, coffee and tea.

A Drive Through The Boranup Karri Forest, Western Australia

You might also spot a Splendid Fairy (blue) Wrens while you’re dining. The cafe also has disabled facilities, information on what to do nearby, a little playground for the kids and couches with books and board games.

A Drive Through The Boranup Karri Forest, Western Australia A Drive Through The Boranup Karri Forest, Western Australia

Next to the cafe is the Boranup Gallery, which is a great place to admire or buy works by local artists.

A Drive Through The Boranup Karri Forest, Western Australia A Drive Through The Boranup Karri Forest, Western Australia

Cafe Boranup
7981 Caves Rd, Forest Grove
Hours: Daily, 10am-4pm
Online

Christine Knight
Christine is the editor of Adventure, Baby!

Meet the Hamelin Bay Stingrays, Western Australia

Hamelin bay Stingrays, Western Australia

There is a part in Moana, the Disney movie that is on serious repeat in our house right now, that moved me to tears. Stay with me, I promise it’s relevant. It’s when our family’s new favourite heroine, Moana, sees her grandmother’s spirit stingray appearing to guide her at her lowest moment and help her discover who she truly is. The ray, symbolising her grandmother, is a powerful reminder that we are never alone, that we carry our family with us at all times, even if they’re not physically present. Cue tears, lots of them.

Afterwards, I found myself wondering why choose a stingray for this spirit animal, of all the creatures in the ocean? There are a lot of awe inspiring animals to choose from, after all.

A few weeks later, when I make my way to Hamelin Bay and see these incredible creatures for myself, I discover animals that take my breath away with their size, speed, grace and beauty. Stingrays are truly majestic, magnificent creatures, and I can see why Disney chose this animal to represent a person who is so strong and kind.

Hamelin bay Stingrays, Western Australia

When I tell people that I met stingrays up close, they have reacted with comments like, “Wow you’re so brave!”, which made me realise that rays are misunderstood by many people to be dangerous, aggressive animals.

They’ve had a bit of a bad rep after the unfortunate death of Steve Irwin in 2006, by a stingray barb to the heart. He was incredibly unlucky as there have only been three recorded deaths in Australia due to stingrays, including Steve Irwin, with the other known stingray deaths in c.1930 and 1988 (also as a result of a direct sting to the heart). It is believed that there has only been 17 fatal stingray attacks worldwide, so your chances of being killed by a stingray are very, very, very slim.

Hamelin bay Stingrays, Western Australia

Stingrays are actually incredibly docile creatures and can be friendly and curious, as I found when I met the gentle wild rays of Hamelin Bay.

Hamelin Bay is located in the south end of Western Australia’s Margaret River and is a popular place for families to come to stay at the nearby Hamelin Bay Caravan Park.

Hamelin bay Stingrays, Western Australia

A group of stingrays has been visiting this bay for years, attracted by the scraps from the fishing boats that use the boat ramp and jetty on the beach.

Hamelin bay Stingrays, Western Australia

Your chances of spotting a ray are highest in summer but they are known to visit all year round. Groups range in size between 3 and 10 rays, swimming up and down the beach on patrol.

Hamelin bay Stingrays, Western Australia

The stingrays are absolutely massive, with a wing span of up to one metre across. They are completely unafraid and swim right up to the shallows. As these are wild rays, there is no guarantee that they will be there when you visit, but the beach is so stunning that it’s a good place to visit even if you don’t spot a ray.

Hamelin bay Stingrays, Western Australia

There are two types of stingrays found in Hamelin Bay. The smooth stingray is the largest of the world’s stingrays and is dark grey or black and round in shape. Of the two stingrays, the smooth is the more likely to approach visitors on the beach.

Hamelin bay Stingrays, Western Australia

The eagle ray is diamond shaped with distinctly pointed wings and is often a paler shade of brown or browney-grey or even blue-grey rather than black.

Hamelin bay Stingrays, Western Australia

When we visited the rays we stood in the water for a while watching them swim past in absolute awe. One of the smooth rays came up to check me out as you can see in the photo, and rubbed against me as it swam by. Absolutely incredible.

Visiting the Hamelin Bay stingrays was an amazing opportunity for Cheese to meet the spirit animal from Moana in real life and see for herself what a precious creature it is. Another animal to be observed, enjoyed from a safe distance, and protected.

Hamelin bay Stingrays, Western Australia

Tips for visiting the rays

Stingrays generally only attack if they feel threatened, so don’t approach them in the water and be careful not to tread on them.

You can swim at the beach and snorkel, but be aware that there are no lifeguards on patrol.

There are public bathrooms available in the parking lot.

With younger children, have them watch the rays safely from the shore rather than venturing in for a closer look.

Hamelin bay Stingrays, Western Australia

Reinforce with older children that the stingrays are wild animals and are such are unpredictable. Have them stand still in the water and let the rays come to them if they want to.

The best season to see the stingrays is summer when the water has less seaweed and is calmer.

Visit in the morning between 9am-10am or afternoon when the boats are returning for your best chance to see them.

Hamelin bay Stingrays, Western Australia

The stingrays at Hamelin Bay are protected and must not be harmed. Please report any incidents if you witness people harming the rays.

I would advise not trying to touch the stingrays, but to observe them instead. One might find you interesting enough to come up and say hello, as one did to me! You never know your luck.


Getting to Hamelin Bay

Hamelin Bay is located in the south of the Margaret River Region. It’s about a 15 minute drive north of Augusta or 25 minute drive south of Margaret River Town. Drive south down Caves Road right to the very end or, if heading north from Augusta, turn left at the junction of Bussell Highway with Caves Road.

The drive is doable in one day, or you can stay the night at the The Hamelin Bay Caravan Park.

Hamelin bay Stingrays, Western Australia

Christine Knight
Christine is the editor of Adventure, Baby!

Kings Park & Botanic Garden: The Best of Perth, Western Australia

Kings Park & Botanic Garden, Perth, Western Australia
Let your wild thing roam free at Kings Park, a 4.06-square-kilometre park on the western edge of Perth’s CBD.

You could easily spend a whole day or even more in the park, there’s so much to see and do.

Perth, Western Australia

Fraser Avenue Precinct Venues
Enter the park via Fraser Avenue and pull over at the car park near the entrance to enjoy a short walk that takes visitors to the State War Memorial and Western Australian Botanic Garden entrance. You’ll also get stunning views of the Swan and Canning Rivers, the city skyline and the Darling Ranges.

Perth, Western Australia

Perth, Western Australia

Western Australian Botanic Garden
The place to explore more than 3,000 species of native flora, most of which are found nowhere else on the planet.

Perth, Western Australia Perth, Western Australia

Rio Tinto Naturescape Kings Park
A place for children to connect with nature and to learn to appreciate the unique Western Australian environment.

Perth, Western Australia

Synergy Parkland
Our favourite part of the park, Synergy Parkland is a recreation area for the entire family. The area features expansive lawns for picnics, dinosaur-era themed play equipment and the Zamia Cafe. We also saw plenty of ducks on the pond (including babies!). With public bathroom facilities and plenty of shade, this is a popular park for families to enjoy.

Perth, Western Australia

Perth, Western Australia

Perth, Western Australia Perth, Western Australia Perth, Western AustraliaPerth, Western Australia Perth, Western Australia Perth, Western Australia Perth, Western Australia Perth, Western Australia Perth, Western Australia Perth, Western Australia Perth, Western Australia Perth, Western Australia Perth, Western Australia Perth, Western Australia Perth, Western Australia Perth, Western Australia Perth, Western Australia Perth, Western Australia Perth, Western Australia

More info on Kings Park.

Get Directions

Christine Knight
Christine is the editor of Adventure, Baby!

Fremantle: The Best of Perth, Western Australia

Fremantle, Perth, Western Australia

A port city that’s traditionally known for its maritime history, gorgeous Victorian architecture and remnants of the past, “Freo” is also the arts hub of Perth.

Perth, Western Australia

While Fremantle is our top choice of where to stay when visiting Perth, if you only have a day or two free to visit the area, you absolutely must make time to see these top four spots.

Perth, Western Australia

Fremantle Prison
WA’s only UNESCO world heritage-listed building has to be top of the list. Spend a few hours reliving the past on a tour: choose between “Doing Time”, “Great Escapes”, “Tunnels Tour”. “Torchlight Tour” and the “Arts Tour”. Make sure to drop by the Visitors Centre for an up close look at what life in the prison was like – on display are artefacts of punishment and reform, actual footage of prison life and informational panels depicting the prison’s history, riots, punishment and reform programs. Have you ever wondered if you have a convict in your family tree? Now’s the chance to find out: search for your convict ancestors on the convict database.

Perth, Western Australia

Fremantle Prison1 The Terrace, Fremantle,
9am – 5pm, 7 days a week (Closed Good Friday & Xmas day)

Perth, Western Australia

Cappuccino Strip
The place to see and be seen in Perth, the strip (also called “South Terrace” if you’re looking for it on your car navigator) is home to many cafes, restaurants and pubs, famous for it’s Italian origins and the state’s best coffee. Shop the locally made designer clothing stores, pick up a gift and browse books in this atmospheric part of town.

Perth, Western Australia

If you have a little one who believes in magic, be sure to visit The Picked Fairy shop. We loved it so much we went back twice!

Get Directions

Perth, Western Australia

Fremantle Markets
This busy indoor market dates back to 1897. It’s completely free to enter the markets to wander through the with stalls selling food, local produce, clothes and handicrafts. You’ll find a variety of food and good produced by locals – we found beautiful photography and artworks, fresh ripe fruit and delicious popcorn and chocolate. The atmosphere is lively thanks to the live music often playing inside.

Perth, Western Australia

Perth, Western Australia
Fremantle Markets
, South Terrace & Henderson St, Fremantle
Hours: The Yard Friday 8am-8pm, Saturday, Sunday and Monday public holidays 8am-6pm. The Hall Friday 9am-8pm, Saturday, Sunday and Monday public holidays 9am-6pm.

Perth, Western Australia

WA Shipwrecks Museum
Inside a restored 1850s-era commissariat building lives the foremost maritime archaeology museum in the southern hemisphere. The galleries contain hundreds of relics from ships wrecked along WA’s treacherous coastline, including the original timbers from the Batavia (wrecked in 1629) and countless artefacts from the Dutch shipwrecks Zuytdorp, Zeewijk and Vergulde Draeck.

WA Shipwrecks Museum, 45 Cliff St, Fremantle
Hours: Open daily, 9:30am-5pm (except certain public holidays)

More info on Fremantle.

Christine Knight
Christine is the editor of Adventure, Baby!

Elizabeth Quay: The Best of Perth, Western Australia

Elizabeth Quay, Perth, Western Australia

A brand new area on Perth’s waterfront, Elizabeth Quay is in the process of becoming a vibrant destination for tourists with activities for people of all ages. Take a ride on the gorgeous traditional, handcrafted Venetian carousel, walk across the Elizabeth Quay bridge to the new maritime inspired playground Island Playground, or cool down with a run through the BHP Billiton Water Park.

Perth, Western Australia

Before heading home, grab lunch at a nearby restaurant, try a delicious scoop of Gusto Gelato and pose beneath the 8-story-high “Spanda” sculpture.

Perth, Western Australia Perth, Western AustraliaPerth, Western Australia Perth, Western Australia Perth, Western Australia
Perth, Western Australia Perth, Western Australia

Perth, Western Australia Perth, Western Australia Perth, Western Australia Perth, Western Australia

More info on Elizabeth Quay.

Get Directions

Christine Knight
Christine is the editor of Adventure, Baby!

Cottesloe Beach, Perth, Western Australia

Cottesloe Beach, Perth, Western Australia
The most iconic of Perth’s city beaches, Cottesloe is also one of it’s most popular. Located midway between the Perth central business district and the port of Fremantle in Perth’s western suburbs, it’s only a 15 minute drive from the city centre. Located directly on a train line and equiped with bathrooms, cafes and plenty of shady trees, Cottesloe is the perfect beach to while away the day on.

Perth, Western Australia

We loved the beach’s clean white sand and beautiful clear turquoise water, and particularly the grassed areas behind the beach with plenty of tall pine trees for shade. A short walk around the rock line gives a fantastic view of the striking art-deco Indiana Teahouse building that is a Cottesloe landmark featured on many post cards and tourist brochures.

Perth, Western Australia
Perth, Western Australia
Perth, Western Australia Perth, Western Australia Perth, Western Australia Perth, Western Australia Perth, Western Australia Perth, Western Australia Perth, Western Australia Perth, Western Australia

More info on Cottesloe Beach.

Get Directions

Christine Knight
Christine is the editor of Adventure, Baby!

Things To Do In Perth With Kids

Perth, Western Australia

Perth, capital of Western Australia, is a laid back city with lots for the whole family to enjoy. From the gorgeous weather to the stunning beaches, natural beauty and cosmopolitan city centre, there are plenty of things to do in Perth with kids. 

Perth, Western Australia

Cottesloe Beach
The most iconic of Perth’s city beaches, Cottesloe is also one of it’s most popular. Located midway between the Perth central business district and the port of Fremantle in Perth’s western suburbs, it’s only a 15 minute drive from the city centre. Located directly on a train line and equipped with bathrooms, cafes and plenty of shady trees, Cottesloe is the perfect beach to while away the day on.

Perth, Western Australia

We loved the beach’s clean white sand and beautiful clear turquoise water, and particularly the grassed areas behind the beach with plenty of tall pine trees for shade. A short walk around the rock line gives a fantastic view of the striking art-deco Indiana Teahouse building that is a Cottesloe land mark featured on many post cards and tourist brochures.

More info on Cottesloe Beach.

Rottnest Island, Western Australia

Rottnest Island
An absolute must when visiting Perth, Rottnest is an island off the coast of Western Australia, located 18 kilometres west of Fremantle. Take a day trip to “Rotto”, where you’ll come face-to-face with the world’s happiest animal, the quokka, swim on some of the world’s most gorgeous beaches and even spot a New Zealand fur seal or two. One day at Rottnest is never enough!

Rottnest Island, Western Australia

More info on the perfect day at Rottnest Island.

Perth, Western Australia

Elizabeth Quay
Brand new area on Perth’s waterfront, Elizabeth Quay is in the process of becoming a vibrant destination for tourists with activities for people of all ages. Take a ride on the gorgeous traditional, handcrafted Venetian carousel, walk across the Elizabeth Quay bridge to the new maritime inspired playground Island Playground, or cool down with a run through the BHP Billiton Water Park. The whole Elizabeth Quay area is a particularly great place in Perth for kids.

Perth, Western Australia

Before heading home, try a delicious scoop of Gusto Gelato and pose beneath the 8-story-high “Spanda” sculpture.

More info on Elizabeth Quay.

Perth, Western Australia

Fremantle
A port city that’s traditionally known for its maritime history, gorgeous Victorian architecture and remnants of the past, “Freo” is also the arts hub of Perth.

Perth, Western Australia

Visit Fremantle Prison, WA’s only UNESCO world heritage-listed building, grab a coffee from one of the many cafes on the Cappuccino strip or take a stroll through Fremantle Markets for fresh produce, food to go and baked goods, local arts and crafts and live music.

Perth, Western Australia

If you have a little one who believes in magic, be sure to visit The Pickled Fairy shop.

More info on Fremantle.

Perth, Western Australia

Kings Park & Botanic Garden
Let your wild thing roam free at Kings Park, a 4.06-square-kilometre park on the western edge of Perth’s CBD. If you’re driving through the park, pull over at the car park near the entrance to enjoy stunning views of the Swan and Canning Rivers, the city skyline and the Darling Ranges. It’s easy to spend a full day in Kings Park enjoying bush walking, the Botanic Gardens and the many children’s discovery play areas.

Perth, Western Australia

The highlight of Kings Park for us was Synergy Parkland, a recreation area featuring dinosaur-era themed play equipment, water play, and multiple climbing structures. There is a cafe and bathroom facilities in the park plus plenty of shade.

Perth, Western Australia

More info on Kings Park.

Scitech
Take future engineers and scientists to visit Scitech, an interactive science museum located in West Perth. Scitech’s programs are aimed at kids aged up to 12, with a goal “To increase awareness, interest, capability and participation by all Western Australians in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.”

More info on Scitech.

Art Gallery of WA, Perth

Art Gallery of Western Australia
Part of the Perth Cultural Centre, the Art Gallery of Western Australia has been educating and engaging the public since opening in 1895. The gallery runs monthly kids programming as well as school holiday activities and has a permanent interactive drawing space for families.

More info on the Art Gallery of Western Australia

Getting around

We hired a car because Perth is quite spread out. You can catch the train to get around (more info here) and in Fremantle use the free CAT bus.

Perth, Western Australia
Where to stay

There are numerous options for accommodation in and around Perth. I would recommend staying in Fremantle as there is plenty to do and it’s very kid-friendly, but Perth CBD is also very central.

Heading out after dark? We are early birds but if you’re after some night life, check out these tips.

Additional image courtesy of the Art Gallery of Western Australia

Christine Knight
Christine is the editor of Adventure, Baby!

Rottnest Island Day Trip, Perth, Western Australia

Rottnest Island, Western Australia

Words fail me when I try to describe why Rottnest Island is so special. “Majestic”, “breathtaking” and “spectacular” all sound like hyberbole, but they’re the best words words to describe this unique island that is an absolute must-see when visiting Western Australia. Whether you stay for one day or five, Rottnest will enchant, inspire and recharge the souls of your entire family – and leave you planning your next visit the moment the ferry departs.

Rottnest Island, Western Australia
The History of Rottnest
Rottnest is a small island off the coast of Western Australia, located 18 kilometres west of Fremantle. It is believed that Rottnest Island was separated from the mainland 7,000 years ago. There have been numerous artefacts found all over Rottnest that indicate it was home to Aboriginal people prior to the separation of the Island from the mainland.

Rottnest Island, Western Australia

The Aboriginal name for the island is Wadjemup, and it is a place of significance to Aboriginal communities. There are 17 sites on Rottnest Island listed under the Aboriginal Heritage Act 1972-1980.

Rottnest Island, Western Australia

Europeans discovered Rottnest Island in the 17th Century. Samuel Volkerson and his crew of the Dutch ship Waeckende Boey are believed to be the first Europeans who actually landed on the island in 1658, but it was William de Vlamingh, in 1696, who gave the Island its name after the abundance of quokkas he saw, mistaking them for rats. He named the Island ‘Rotte nest’ (meaning ‘rat’s nest’) and the name of the Island was eventually adapted to ‘Rottnest’.

Rottnest Island, Western Australia

From 1838 Rottnest was used as a penal establishment for Aboriginal people, with the prison officially closing in 1904, but with prisoners used to build roads and other works on the island until 1931. Ferries started bringing tourists to Rottnest in 1902, with the first public jetty being built in 1906 and further development for visitors following soon after.

Rottnest Island, Western Australia

Today, Rottnest is well known for its 63 beaches with sparkling white sand, superb snorkelling, happy quokkas and plenty of roads and history to explore.

Exploring Rottnest

A Rottnest Island day trip is an easy way to see a bit of everything the island has to offer, without the added expense or organisation of accommodation on the island. While I think there is enough to do to stay a few days, if you’re time poor, then a day trip is still plenty of time to see a bit of everything.

Rottnest Island, Western Australia

Meet the quokkas
Taking a selfie with a quokka is often number one on the Rottnest Island bucket list for many visitors (including us!). The Aboriginal people living in the Augusta and King George Sound areas of the south-west of Western Australia gave the small marsupial it’s unique name. They are generally nocturnal, however they can be seen during the day hoping to steal food from tourists or resting in the shade under bushes.

Rottnest Island, Western Australia

While quokkas are incredibly cute, it’s important to remember that all plants and animals on Rottnest Island are protected by law. Wildlife should not be disturbed, rather observed from a reasonable distance. Please remember Rottnest Island is an A-Class Reserve and these beautiful creatures are wild and should not be touched, fed human food or provided an artificial water supply. More information available here.

Rottnest Island, Western Australia

That said, the quokkas are incredibly used to tourists and are very curious little critters. You will find them come up close to take a better look at what you’ve got in your bag (keep it zipped shut and any food sealed).

 

Rottnest Island, Western Australia

Swim at the beach
Rottnest is home to 63 glistening beaches and 20 secluded bays, each one more spectacular than the next. If you’re spending just one day on the island, I suggest picking one beach to swim and snorkel at rather than rushing to see them all. The most popular beaches for families are Ricey Beach, The Basin, Little Parakeet Bay, Little Salmon Bay and Geordie Bay.

Rottnest Island, Western Australia

We chose The Basin to swim because of its shallow clear waters. It’s also well regarded for snorkelling – if you don’t have your own snorkels and masks, you can hire them on the island at Pedal & Flipper.

Rottnest Island, Western Australia

A short walk along the coastline takes you to Pinky Beach, one of the prettiest beaches on the island, with the distinctive Bathurst Lighthouse in the background. If you keep walking up the beach and to the lighthouse, you’ll be rewarded by a gorgeous view, and a short walk back to the main settlement and ferry departure point.

Rottnest Island, Western Australia

Spot a New Zealand Fur Seal
From the new viewing platform at Cathedral Rocks, the resident New Zealand Fur Seals colony can be seen flipping and playing in the bay and basking on the rocks. Cathedral Rocks can be accessed by bike or by jumping off the Island Explorer bus.

Tour a lighthouse
Of the two lighthouses on the island, only the Wadjemup Hill lighthouses is open to the public. Tours are conducted daily for a cash-only fee.

Rottnest Island, Western Australia

Staying longer?
Take a segway tour, snorkel, play a round of golf or check out a movie at the cinema. There’s plenty to see and do.

Rottnest Island, Western Australia

Eating and Drinking
Bring large water bottles filled with ice cold water. While you can refill the bottles in the main settlement, the rest of the island is mostly free of drinkable water. If you are arriving for a day trip, bring plenty of snacks or picnic foods as the only areas to buy food are the main settlement and Geordie Bay. If you’re planning on biking around the island or doing the Island Express hop-on-and-off bus as soon as you arrive, both of these take hours and will leave you famished, so taking food is a must.

Rottnest Island, Western Australia

There are plenty of dining options on the island, from the General Store which has groceries and picnic supplies, to the bakery (our choice – they have fantastic pies, pasties and sausage rolls including vegetarian options) and more upmarket cafes and restaurants. You can’t leave without a scoop of Simmos Icecream.

Rottnest Island, Western Australia

Getting Around Rottnest Island

By Bus
Rottnest is a small island, but it’s a long way if you’re planning to walk or bike it. With children on a day trip, I would advise catching the air conditioned Island Explorer Service bus, which is what we decided upon. The bus makes continuous circuits of the entire island, so you can jump off at each point if you like to take a quick look. The buses run every 30 minutes and cost $50 for a family of two adults and one child. Tickets can be booked online, from the Visitor Centre or Main Bus Stop vending machines.

If you’re staying on the island, you can make use of the free Accommodation Shuttle Bus that runs between the main accommodation areas on the island.

Rottnest Island, Western Australia

By Bike
Exploring Rottnest by bike is also very popular, particularly when you’re staying a bit longer than just one day. If you have your own bike, you can bring it on the ferry across to Rottnest. If you need to hire one, you can do so from either of the ferry services before boarding or from Rottnest Island Pedal & Flipper.

Rottnest Island, Western Australia

By Foot
The main settlement is very walkable and even has two playground areas for kids. We walked from the main settlement to The Basin back again via Pinky Beach and the lighthouse.

If you’re after a more challenging walk, try the Wadjemup Walk Trail, which is made up of five sections (50km in total).

Where to stay
While we took a day trip to Rottnest Island, there are lots of accommodation choices should you wish to stay longer.

Rottnest Island, Western Australia

Getting there
There easiest way to get to Rottnest Island is the ferry. The ferries book up fast in popular seasons so be sure to book well in advance.

Rottnest Island ferry companies provide transfers to the island from Perth City, North Fremantle (Rous Head), Fremantle (Victoria Quay) and Hillarys Boat Harbour in Perth’s north. Rottnest ferries take approximately 25 minutes from Fremantle, 45 minutes from Hillarys Boat Harbour, or 90 minutes from Perth’s Barrack Street Jetty.

Rottnest Island, Western Australia

Rottnest Express
Phone 1300 467 688
Departs from Fremantle and Perth City
Bookings and Deals

Rottnest Island, Western Australia

Rottnest Fast Ferries
Phone +61 8 9246 1039
Departs from Hillary’s Ferry Terminal
Bookings and Deals

Rottnest Island, Western Australia

More info on getting to Rottnest Island.

Rottnest Island is also accessible by personal boat and airplane.

Rottnest Island, Western Australia

When travelling around the island, try the new, free Rottnest Island mobile app.

Sold on seeing Rottnest Island? Get more info on their website.

Rottnest Island, Western Australia

Rottnest Island, Western Australia Rottnest Island, Western Australia Rottnest Island, Western Australia Rottnest Island, Western Australia Rottnest Island, Western Australia Rottnest Island, Western Australia Rottnest Island, Western Australia Rottnest Island, Western Australia Rottnest Island, Western Australia Rottnest Island, Western Australia Rottnest Island, Western Australia Rottnest Island, Western Australia Rottnest Island, Western Australia Rottnest Island, Western Australia
Rottnest Island, Western Australia Rottnest Island, Western Australia
Rottnest Island, Western Australia Rottnest Island, Western Australia
Rottnest Island, Western Australia

There is so much more to see and do in Perth. Get lots of info and tips from Experience Perth.

Our ferry trip to Rottnest Island was thanks to Experience Perth and Rottnest Fast Ferries. We covered all other costs ourselves. All opinions are our own. 

Christine Knight
Christine is the editor of Adventure, Baby!