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Rottnest Island

Encounter Unique Wildlife

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.

Rottnest Island DaisiesRottnest Island Daisies

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 Bottlenose Dolphins

Spot a pod of Bottlenose dolphins feeding & surfing in Salmon Bay (north).

OspreyDiscover Osprey nests

See the 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 wild birds

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 for the distinctive nightly calls of bats and frogs

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.

Rottnest also has 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

The geckos are plenty at night around your unit (Marbled gecko and Spiny Tailed gecko).

Snorkel with 135 species of tropical fish Underwater

Protected by several marine sanctuaries, Rottnest Island is home to 135 species of tropical fish as compared to the eleven species recorded off the metropolitan coastline. The tropical current often brings visitors to our waters such as the Green turtle. Watch for stingrays which often cruise the shallows of Thomson Bay.

West End Broadwalk

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.  

Cathedral Rocks viewing platform

See the New Zealand Fur Seals play amongst their colonies from the NEW Cathedral Rocks viewing platform. Ride to West End and Cathedral Rocks by bike or jump on the Island Explorer bus.

Wadjemup Walk Trail

Walk the 3 completed sections of the spectacular Wadjemup Walk Trail. Once complete, The Wadjemup Walk trail will be made up of 5 sections, 50km in total, and each boasting unique experiences. Each section is rich with culturally and environmentally significant landmarks to interpret and experience. For the most recent updates on the Wadjemup Walk Trail.

Quokka WalkQuokka Walk - join the free walking tour!

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. Find out more.

Vlamingh Lookout and Salt Lakes Walk - join the free walking tour!

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. Find out more.

Whale Watching

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.