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Rottnest Island

Rottnest Island Wadjemup Walk Trail Project 

The spectacular 50 kilometre Rottnest Island Wadjemup Walk Trail will greatly enhance the Rottnest Island experience and become a major environmental, cultural and tourism show piece for Western Australia. The Trail will be made up of 5 sections, each boasting unique experiences. Each unique section is rich with culturally and environmentally significant landmarks to interpret and experience.

Please ensure you bring sufficient drinking water, keep to trails and beware of snakes in terrestrial areas. In the case of an emergency, dial 000 for assistance.

The first completed sections of the long awaited 50km Wadjemup Walk Trail are:

Wadjemup Walk TrailThe Bickley Bay Walk: Completed in December 2013, this section traverses the south east corner of the Island - Thomson Bay to Oliver Hill. Approximately 9.4km in distance, you'll explore the remnants of Coastal Defence systems installed during WWII.

The Lakes Walk: Starting from Thomson Bay Settlement and heading west out of Digby Drive, this section meanders through the lake systems including a magical stroll along the Lakes Boardwalk which provides the façade of “walking on water”. The Lakes Walk- Boardwalk

The remaining section of the Lakes, Little Parakeet Bay to the Settlement, via the North Eastern corner of the Island, will be complete by June 2015.

Salmon Bay Walk: You can now walk from Oliver Hill to Wadjemup Lighthouse along the newest section of trail!  There is also a link from Oliver Hill to Salmon Bay, where the Rottnest Rangers are currently constructing a new beach access! This will be open by mid-December 2014.  

The Rottnest Island Wadjemup Walk Trail Project aims to protect, preserve and raise awareness of both the environmental and cultural values of Rottnest Island. As a major tourism and conservation initiative, it will involve the development of a trail network that will provide an exploratory narrative for visitors, connecting Rottnest’s beautiful natural features to its cultural history in an environmentally sustainable manner. It should set the benchmark for sustainable coastal interpretation.

The development of a cohesive network of walking trails aspires to control and manage the access of visitors traversing the Island, while encouraging visitors to appreciate the cultural significance, multiple histories and environmental dynamics of the Island. This is key to ensuring the reduction of ad hoc access which has caused significant environmental degradation of the surrounding coastal formations and vegetation. The integration of interpretation and trail design must communicate the diverse values of the Island to ensure visitors continue to respect and protect the Island.

The project has been designed in a manner that allows for the majority of the trail to be constructed in small stages, utilising efforts from volunteer and community groups, and Aboriginal youth training schemes. Other more complex sections may need to be constructed by contract labour adhering to engineer designs.

The Rottnest Island Wadjemup Walk Trail Project is focused on achieving sustainable management to facilitate the following objectives:

  • Reduce human impact on the coastal dune systems
  • Rehabilitate erosion areas
  • Create opportunity to improve visitor yield and numbers
  • Create opportunity to communicate educational and sustainable management messages
  • Protect the visitor from coastal risk issues
  • Enhance visitor experience
  • Create training, employment and business opportunities

For more information on how to become a sponsor or to donate to this project, please visit

Current Progress

The Lakes Walk – Project Sponsor and Partner, Department of Sport & Recreation, supported by Lotterywest and Rottnest Foundation.

The Lakes Walk starts from Thomson Bay Settlement and heads west out of Digby Drive. Elevated panoramic views can be experienced from Vlamingh Lookout located only 500m from the settlement (accessed next to the European cemetery). The walk then continues past Lake Herschel and meanders through the lake systems. Visitors are taken across the southern edge of Lake Vincent via a 110m boardwalk that provides the façade of “walking on water” having been designed to be walkable during the highest winter water levels. Following Pink Lake Road, the walk heads for Little Parakeet Bay and continues along the coastline all the way up to Bathurst Lighthouse and then ends back in the main Settlement in a looped design.

The Lakes Walk is a Class 3 trail, suitable for most ages and fitness levels. It is 9.2 km in length and will take an average user between 2-4hrs to walk. It is particularly attractive to day visitors due to its close proximity to the main settlement.

This project was co-funded by a successful $100,000 grant received by the Rottnest Foundation volunteer organisation, from the Department of Sport & Recreation, supported by Lotterywest. The implementation of this project was a collaborative effort between the Rottnest Island Authority, the Rottnest Foundation and other affiliated Rottnest community groups, namely, Scouts WA, Rottnest Society, Winnit Club and Conservation Volunteer Australia who volunteered 984 hours to plant 4845 trees as part of this project. Passionate Rottnest Nursery volunteers helped to propagate these trees for use on the Island.

The Bickley Bay Walk

The Bickley Bay Walk opened in Dec 2013. It takes you from Thomson Bay to Oliver Hill, traversing the Defence Heritage Trail at Kingstown, the picturesque Henrietta Rocks and experiencing the diverse birdlife, migratory and resident shorebirds, of Serpentine Salt Lake. The trail is 9.4km long and should take the average user from 2 to 4 hrs. In 2014 other sections of the trail will begin to link from the existing walk taking you further to outer parts of the Island.

You will be able to walk from Thompson Bay to Oliver Hill in the morning,  where you can partake in a highly informative guided tour of the WW2 Guns and Tunnels. Following this you could head to Salmon Bay to have your picnic lunch, then work off the sandwiches with a cross country trail to Wadjemup Lighthouse (which you may climb if the Guides are on duty). To round off the day, make your way back through the Lakes Walk to catch the amazing colours of the dipping sun on the salt lakes before a well-deserved cool drink overlooking  the stunning Thomson Bay.

West End Boardwalk – Project Sponsor and Partner, Rottnest Foundation 

The first segment of the Rottnest Island Wadjemup Walk Trail, the West End Boardwalk, was completed and opened by the Minister Hon. Dr Kim Hames in February 2012. The West End is a popular site for visitors to Rottnest Island. The project aim was to remove the old boardwalk and replace it with a low maintenance, low impact, and engineered design using sustainable materials including recycled plastics. The project minimises the boardwalk’s footprint to reduce impacts on nesting shearwater birds whilst providing a recreational experience. Interpretive signage, binoculars for whale and bird watching opportunities and lookouts were installed to meet visitor expectations. 

Little Parakeet Bay
– Project Sponsor and Partner, Rottnest Foundation and Department of Environment and Conservation (Department of Parks and Wildlife, as of 1st July 2013)

The work carried out at Little Parakeet Bay was designed to reduce impacts on coastal dunes and reduce visitor risk by formalising coastal access to the bay’s 2 beaches and through rehabilitation of the surrounding sand dunes with native vegetation. This was achieved by removing the old steps, creating a new formalised access route and installing 2 new sets of stairs. These were built using composite fibre and stainless steel materials. The composite was chosen as it offers high strength, low weight, and durability, as it is not prone to corrosion, rot or shrinkage as other more traditional materials used in the construction industry. This project was completed and opened in December 2012.

Henrietta Rocks – Project Sponsor and Partners, Coastwest, Rottnest Society and The Winnit Club 

Henrietta Rocks is a popular site due to its vistas and snorkeling opportunity that allows for the exploration of the historical shipwreck just offshore. The once informal, highly eroded access way was formalised using a series of tiered composite and stainless steel stairs; which were designed to minimise impact on the fragile surrounding dune system. The area surrounding the stairs was revegetated and water re-direction and erosion control measures were installed. Interpretative signage was installed at 2 locations, displaying information on the “Shark” Shipwreck and the surrounding ecosystem. Additional facilities were installed, including: seating, new bike racks, an enclosure for waste and recycling receptacles, and vegetation screening to enhance visitor experience. This project was completed February 2013.

These projects were greatly assisted by hundreds of volunteer hours and funding from project sponsors and partners.

Rottnest Island Wadjemup Walk Trail Project Information

An exciting opportunity exists for organisations to align themselves with the development of the most significant recreational opportunity on Rottnest Island in the foreseeable future. The Rottnest Island Authority, together with the Rottnest Conservation Foundation (The Rottnest Foundation), is seeking to partner with corporations to support the funding and implementation of this benchmark project. If you are interested in becoming involved please visit

Rottnest Express 2014 Sponsorship Achievements!

Rottnest Island Authority & The Rottnest Foundation co-signed a sponsorship agreement with the Rottnest Express ferry service provider to sponsor volunteer ferry fares to help build the Wadjemup Walk Trail in 2014.

Rottnest Express Sponsorship covered 365 return ferry fares which enabled 6839 hours of volunteer support from 7 different volunteer groups to help implement the Wadjemup Walk Trail project.

Volunteers participated in seed collection, plant propagation, tree planting, revegetation maintenance, dune restoration and fencing removal as part of the Wadjemup Walk Trail project.

Volunteer Groups that Rottnest Express Sponsorship supported in 2014 include: the Rottnest Foundation, Rottnest Society, Conservation Volunteers Australia (CVA), CVA Indigenous Green Corps, Scouts, Venturer Scouts & Nursery Volunteers.

This contribution valued at $28,105 reduced the Rottnest Island Authority’s cost of hosting volunteers to Rottnest, freeing up funds to go directly towards implementing the Wadjemup Walk Trail for the Island.

The Rottnest Island Authority, Rottnest Foundation and associated volunteer groups greatly appreciate the support that Rottnest Express has shown to this project.

For more information on the Wadjemup Walk Trail and ways to contribute to the project, please visit The Rottnest Foundation website.

Rottnest Island Wadjemup Walk Trail Project Documents

The following Rottnest Is Wadjemup Walk Trail Project Documents can be accessed below:

Rottnest Island Wadjemup Walk Trail Concept Report (43 MB)

Rottnest Island Wadjemup Walk Trail Site Development Plan (12MB)

Rottnest Island Wadjemup Walk Trail Sponsorship Opportunity  (968 KB)

Rottnest Island Wadjemup Walk Trail Proposal DVD