WILDLIFE ENCOUNTERS & PRISTINE LANDSCAPES
The Unique Nature of Rottnest
As an A Class Nature Reserve, Rottnest Island preserves and protects its natural beauty; spectacular flora, abundant marine life and wildlife and many unique species. With a variety of nature based activities from free guided walking tours to dive charters, Rottnest offers plenty of opportunity to experience more nature. As well as these suggested nature based activities read more about Rottnest Island's Flora and Fauna.
- Admire the fields of Rottnest Island Daisy flowering near Green Island during spring. Also known as the blue lace flower, this native is actually a member of the carrot family and has become a very popular ornamental garden plant.
- Spot a pod of Bottlenose dolphins feeding & surfing in Salmon Bay (north).
- Join the Discovery Tour and see osprey nests known to be over 70 years old at West End - Fish Hook Bay. Osprey’s mate for life and return to their nests, adding more to the stacks every year. This majestic raptor has a 1.5 meter wing span. Its scientific name Pandion cristatus, is derived from Pandion, a mythical king of Athens.
- Look out for Banded Stilts, Crested Terns and Red-capped Plovers on the Lake Herschel and Lake Baghdad. Crested Terns have a shaggy black cap of feathers on their head which people say looks like Elvis Presley on a bad hair day.
- Listen out for the White-striped Freetail bat flying over the Settlement at night – recently discovered as the second mammal species living on the Island.
- Join a free walking tour to discover more about Rottnest Island's famous marsupial, the quokka.
- Hear the distinctive nightly calls of our 3 species of frogs - the moaning frog (Burrowing frog), the motorbike frog (Western Green Tree frog) and squelching frog (Sandplain froglet). The Tree frog is quite restricted in its distribution, whilst the moaning frog and the froglet are usually associated with low-lying areas, freshwater swamps and seeps.
- Keep an eye out for geckos at night around your unit (Marbled gecko and Spiny Tailed gecko).
- Snorkel with 135 species of tropical fish as compared to eleven species recorded off the metropolitan coastline. The tropical current often brings visitors to our waters such as the Green turtle.
- See pelicans and stingrays cruising the shallows of Thomson Bay.
- While walking the West End Boardwalk, keep an eye out for burrows in the sand. These are actually the nests of Wedge-tailed shearwaters commonly known as ‘muttonbirds’ and can be up to two meters deep.
Walking Tours and Trails
Join one of the many free Walking Tours which depart daily. With the Rottnest Island Voluntary Guides, journey back in time to discover the Island’s prison history, daring sailors and the treacherous coast which claimed 13 ships.
Grab hiking boots and a water bottle to venture out on a Walking Trail including the West End Boardwalk and Vlamingh’s Heritage Trail. Once you enter the interior of the Island you will discover an amazing ancient landscape. Pink salt lakes, rolling sand hills and weathered trees sculpted by hundreds of years of ocean winds are home to a unique assortment of flora and fauna. View more.
Rottnest Island's famous marsupial, the quokka, is uncovered in this informative walking tour. With an educational focus, this walk leads participants to the quokkas natural habitats and imparts some interesting facts about this iconic animal.
During the autumn and winter months (March to August) young joeys may be seen peaking from their mothers' pouch and come spring (September to November), bravely hopping around exploring their new world. View more.
Vlamingh Lookout and Salt Lakes Walk
Learn about the remarkable agriculture, industry and exports carried out by the early inhabitants of Rottnest. Walk past the Old Colonial Buildings of the Settlement on the way to the lookout. View the natural beauty of Rottnest and the salt lakes from this vantage point. View more.
Rottnest Island Discovery Tour is the Island's most popular coach tour and includes full commentary from knowledgable coach captains on many aspects of the Island's unique history, environment, heritage and wildlife. Wadjemup Lighthouse and the West End are two of the highlights of this popular tour. The 90 minute tour departs daily from the Main Bus Stop. View more.
Around 35,000 migrating Humpback and Southern Right whales linger in the calm waters around the Island. In April each year they head north to feeding grounds while on their return trip during September to December, the whales and their newborn calf’s spend much of their time playing in the protected Rottnest waters gaining strength and learning all the things a young whale needs to know before returning to the colder southern waters. You can often see them from the Island itself.
Join the Eco Express for a 90 minute journey to the Island’s wild side. The Eco Express completes a full circumnavigation of Rottnest Island, offering passengers an unforgettable experience including the majestic Humpback whales during September to November and the delightful antics of the New Zealand fur seal colony out at Cathedral Rocks. View more.
Eco Adventure / Whale Watching Cruise
For a leisurely afternoon or exhilarating sailing experience, board the catamaran Capella. Glide along closely to the amazing Humpback whales during their migration, drop anchor at a sheltered bay for a refreshing swim, paddle on glass bottom kayaks or stand-up paddle boards. Dropping the cargo net off the stern, recline in the water whilst Capella sails slowly back to Thomson Bay. Charters 1 departs from Rottnest Island at 1.15pm daily (limited availability on weekends). View more.
Charter 1 can guide you through historic shipwrecks, humongous underwater caverns and shoals of fish on a variety of dive packages aboard their 43ft Catamaran SV Capella. View more.