Embark on a journey of discovery as you explore some of Wadjemup / Rottnest Island’s iconic sights on foot.
From beautiful blue beaches to stunning lookouts, fascinating history and an array of fun activities, there’s something for everyone within walking distance from the main settlement. Whether you’re short on time, prefer to stay close to the settlement, or you don’t have access to a bike or bus pass, it is so easy to get around the island by foot. Here is our guide to making the most of your day.
Known for its safe, calm waters that are protected from the south, southwest and west winds, Pinky Beach is a sheltered bay with ideal snorkelling conditions for beginners. With the historic Bathurst Lighthouse providing a spectacular scenic backdrop, it’s also the best spot on the island to watch a golden sunset.
If you’re feeling in need of refreshment while you’re here, just up the stairs you’ll find Pinky’s Rottnest Island. It’s the perfect place to refuel with delicious food and a variety of drinks.
A bucket-list beach thanks to its naturally hollowed out reef, The Basin is one of the most popular beaches on the island. Take a dip in the protected waters or put on your mask and snorkel to discover another world below the surface with an array of colourful fish, as well as beautiful purple, pink and brown shades of coral.
Before you make your way to The Basin, swing by the General Store in the main settlement to stock up on all your barbeque essentials. Once you arrive at The Basin, take advantage of the BBQ facilities provided to cook up a delicious lunch amidst the scenic surroundings.
If you’re feeling energetic or particularly enjoying your scenic stroll, continue on from The Basin to find one of the island’s most popular family beaches. It’s well worth the extra steps with its tranquil water that glitters in the sun. You can also spot a variety of fish species and even the occasional stingray gliding over the seabed. If you’re up for further exploration, Fay’s Bay and Geordie Bay are just a short distance away from here.
Mushroom Rock Lookout
In Bathurst, wander out to Mushroom Rock Lookout where the platform extends out over the ocean. On clear sunny days, the mirrored blue ocean stretches out towards the mainland where you can see the Perth skyline in the distance.
8-minute walk with a small hill
Just outside of the settlement, a rewarding uphill walk brings you to Vlamingh Lookout. Surrounded by vibrant bushland, prepare to be immersed in the symphony of nature while taking in the network of serene lakes stretching in front of you. In addition to breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape, the lookout features a monument which pays homage to Willem de Vlamingh, the renowned Dutch sea captain who christened the island "Rottnest Island”. This Dutch name, translating to 'rat’s nest,' originated from his misconception of the island’s plentiful quokka population as giant rats.
Rottnest Island Golf Course & Clubhouse
Tucked away just behind the hustle and bustle of the settlement, you’ll find this hidden gem that boasts a 9-hole golf course nestled in tranquil bushland. There’s also a pristine putting green, relaxed lawn bowls green and a buzzing clubhouse with free pool and lawn games, casual drinks and live music. It’s the ultimate destination for a fun but chilled day out.
Mini Golf, Arcade Games & Movies
Mini golf, arcade games, deckchair movie theatre, homemade choc bombs – Rottnest Movies & Mini Golf is the island’s hub of nostalgic entertainment. Challenge your group to a round of mini golf surrounded by the native flora and fauna of the island. Or, be transported back in time with a variety of classic arcade games. If you’re staying overnight, you can settle in to catch the latest movie releases in the heritage-listed Picture Hall, all while indulging in fresh popcorn and more from the candy bar.
Quokka Spotting at Garden Lake
Just a short stroll from the bustling energy of the main settlement you’ll find a moment of peace at Garden Lake. Surrounded by trees and a field of grass and samphire, this secluded spot is one of the best places to see quokkas roaming about in their natural habitat. Wander along the boardwalk, which offers the perfect view at a respectful distance. Stay quiet, give them plenty of space, and you’ll get to witness these incredible creatures in their natural state.
Rottnest Island is an aquatic wonderland and calls out to ocean lovers far and wide. Whether you’re eager to visit snorkelling spots, treat yourself to a seafood feast, or seek out thrilling adventures, the island has it all. All tours conveniently depart from either the fuel jetty or main jetty in Thomson Bay and can easily fit in to any day trip.
Step aboard the iconic sunshine-yellow catamaran with Charter 1 for a day of swimming and snorkelling, or opt for a serene sunset sail if you're staying overnight. Treat your taste buds to a sumptuous sea-to-plate experience with Rottnest Cruises. Join the experts at Rottnest Snorkel for a guided tour or embark on a thrilling ride with Eco Express for some wildlife spotting. Or choose to glide above the shimmering waters by parasail with Cicerello’s Jet Adventures.
Keen to stay dry as you explore and learn more about the island? See the sights with ease on with Paul’s Eco E-Bike Tours or zip around on a Segways WA tour. Join an award-winning Go Cultural Aboriginal walking tour for an opportunity to deepen your understanding of this island’s significant history. Or discover insights about the island today on a free walking tour that focuses on the wildlife, heritage and sustainability of the island with the Rottnest Voluntary Guides.
Take a leisurely one-minute stroll to delve into the fascinating history and cultural tapestry of Rottnest Island at the Wadjemup Museum, housed within the historic Old Mill and Hay Store.
Explore exhibits ranging from 40,000-year-old artefacts to stories of the island’s Aboriginal prison history, alongside whale bones and an outdoor sculpture garden showcasing the works of WA artists. Until June 2024, you can also immerse yourself in the latest exhibition, Surf’s Up Wadjemup, to learn the personal tales of the island’s surfing pioneers through visual and interactive displays.
Once you’ve wandered through the Wadjemup Museum, meander across the Heritage Common lawn towards the Wadjemup Museum for Children. This charming space serves as a kid-friendly portal to the island’s past through artefacts, displays and interactive exhibits.
For those with a keen interest in maritime history, no visit is complete without a trip to Pilot Boathouse. Built in 1859, the building was used to secure the boats used by the pilots who guided ships safely through the dangerous reefs around the island to Fremantle. Today, you can see a replica pilot boat, get a glimpse of the pilot’s daily life with historical photographs, have a go at tying knots and chat to the helpful Rottnest Voluntary Guides for extra facts.
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