Coastal activities at Rottnest Island
Rottnest Island is Perth's premier island destination and offers a smorgasbord of coastal activities including boating, fishing, swimming, surfing, diving and snorkelling.
Come and see for yourself why Rottnest Island beaches were 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.
Home to some of the finest beaches and bays in the world, visiting Rottnest Island will be an unforgettable holiday experience. With a choice of over 63 secluded beaches and 20 bays, you will be spoilt for choice.
Some of our popular beaches and bays include:
- Cape Vlamingh
- Fish Hook Bay
- Geordie Bay
- Little Armstrong
- Little Parakeet
- Little Salmon Bay
- Parker Point
- Ricey Beach
- Salmon Bay
- Stark Bay
- Strickland Bay
- The Basin
- West End
Boating at Rottnest Island
Western Australia has the highest per capita boat ownership in Australia, and Rottnest Island is a favourite destination for 'boaties'. Regulations and guidelines are in place to preserve Rottnest's unique environment and to ensure the safety of those enjoying the Island and its waters.
Anyone entering the Rottnest Island Reserve, including the marine reserve, is required to pay an admission fee as a contribution to the conservation of the Island and the provision and upkeep of facilities.
You can find all you need to know by visiting the Boating information section.
Swimming beaches on Rottnest Island
Rottnest is home to many sheltered bays and beaches perfect for swimming. Popular spots include The Basin, Little Parakeet Bay, Little Salmon Bay, Longreach Bay and Geordie Bay.
If you are in a hurry to get into the water, you can virtually get off the ferry and enjoy the sheltered beach of Thomson Bay, which is popular with families and includes a roped off area for swimming.
The Basin is the best known swmming spot on the Island, with shallow and clear waters, and only 10 minutes from the main settlement.
Swimmers at Longreach, Geordie and Little Parakeet Bays enjoy safe swimming areas roped off from moorings, and all within a short stroll to accommodation, cafes and shops.
Other popular swimming areas to the south of the Island include Little Salmon Bay, Salmon Bay and Nancy Cove.
Why not just hop on the Island Explorer bus service and let it take you to your own secluded beach.
Surfing at Rottnest Island
Rottnest Island is a hot surf spot for locals with some of the best surfing conditions and most consistent breaks in Western Australia. Popular surf spots include The Rotto Box, Riceys Beach, Stark Bay, Strickland Bay, The Basins Ledge and The Fruit Bowl between Catherine Bay and City of York Bay, Chicken Reef in Salmon Bay and Transits in Thomson Bay.
Strickland Bay, Salmon Bay and Stark Bay in particular are popular breaks for surfers and bodyboarders. In fact, Strickland Bay has been ranked in the top 50 breaks in the world. Rottnest Island is a popular surfing spot for Perth locals, with various reef breaks on both sides of the Island including Radar Reef, Cathedral Rocks and Chicken Reef. Waves off Rottnest can often be two to three feet larger than those at Perth beaches.
Surfers should use designated pathways when accessing surf spots, to help protect fragile dune vegetation. Please take care with food and rubbish, and dispose of unwanted material in bins provided. A guide to the Island's surf breaks is available for purchase from Rottnest Island Visitor Centre.
Surfing competitions are staged at Rottnest Island (view the Calendar of Events) and the Offshore Boardriders Club holds local competitions during winter.
Wave conditions vary considerably depending on wind and swell, so check the latest weather forecast before heading over. Local waters forecast and latest swell can be found at the Bureau of Meteorology.
Check out popular surfing website for recent surf photos, updates on surfing conditions and where to surf according to wind direction and swell:
Diving at Rottnest Island
Rottnest Island Pedal & Flipper are now doing dive tank refills. For more details call 08 9292 5105.
The diversity of fish, coral species and shipwrecks in the waters around Rottnest Island make it one of the most fascinating dive sites to be found in such close proximity to a capital city. Dive operators based on the mainland conduct day trips and dives at Rottnest Island.
Please take care when diving around coral as it is easily damaged and may take many years to recover. Note that spearguns and handspears are not permitted in the Marine Reserve.
See the marine life section of the site for more information about what you can expect to see on a dive in the Rottnest Island Marine Reserve.
Several private diving charters operate from the mainland but can be arranged to pick-up and drop-off divers from Rottnest Island. Between September and April each year, Charter 1 offers a variety of dive packages aboard their 43ft Catamaran SV Capella (private charter only).
Snorkelling at Rottnest Island
The diversity of fish, coral species and shipwrecks in the waters surrounding Rottnest Island make it one of the most fascinating snorkelling destinations to be found in such close proximity to a capital city. Popular snorkelling spots include The Basin, Parakeet Bay, Parker Point, Little Salmon Bay and Little Armstrong Bay.
A snorkel trail can be followed at Parker Point and there are also plaques on location at Kingstown Reef, with many other reefs around the Island offering great viewing opportunities. A very useful publication on snorkelling at Rottnest Island is available from the visitor centre.
Snorkel sets can be hired from Rottnest Island Pedal & Flipper, located just behind Hotel Rottnest.
Rottnest Express and Charter 1 offer guided snorkel tours off Rottnest Island. Explore natural underwater sculptures alongside hundreds of fish without the hassle and crowd of the beach.
Please take care when snorkelling around coral as it is easily damaged and may take many years to recover. Note that spearguns and handspears are not permitted in the Marine Reserve.
See the marine life section of the site for more information about what you can expect to see snorkelling in the Rottnest Island Marine Reserve.
Fishing at Rottnest Island
Rottnest Island is a very popular site for recreational fishing. The fish found in Rottnest waters can be classified into three categories: reef dwellers, seagrass inhabitants, and migratory species. The abundant seagrass meadows around Rottnest serve as a nursery for juveniles of many fish species, and are home to species such as the Cobbler and Long-headed Flathead. Migratory fish species that can be found around Rottnest include Australian Herring, Tailor, School Whiting, Skipjack Trevally ("Skippy") and Sea Garfish. Fishing gear can be hired or bought at Rottnest Island Bike & Hire and the General Store in Thomson Bay.
Download Rottnest Island Fishing Guide
Download Recreational Fishing for Rock Lobster Guide 2014/15
Department of Fisheries regulations covering licenses and bag limits apply on Rottnest Island, visit the Fish WA website for more information.
Spear fishing is prohibited within specific boundaries of Rottnest Island. If you are carrying spear guns or gidgees on board your vessel and are within the boundary they should be dismantled, unloaded and stowed safely onboard the vessel. Spear guns and gidgees are not permitted on the Island. Penalties apply.
Net fishing is prohibited in the Marine Reserve, please check out the Rottnest Island Sanctuary Zones page for details. Fisheries Department regulations covering licenses and bag limits apply on Rottnest Island, visit the Fish WA website for more information.