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Seven thrilling experiences on Wadjemup / Rottnest Island

We’re rounding up seven of the best heart-racing, blood-pumping, breathtaking experiences on Wadjemup / Rottnest Island. Are you in?
5 minutes
Eco Express Adventure Boat Tours
Eco Express Adventure Boat Tours

Adrenaline junkies, thrill-seekers, daredevils… whatever you go by, your quest for the elusive ‘rush’ has brought you here. And you are in the right place.

Wadjemup / Rottnest Island is not often top of mind when seeking adventure, but these seven experiences have the power to transform the island’s calming, peaceful landscape into the terrain for aspiring (and veteran) adventurers.

The all-terrain adventure on Wadjemup is worth its salt — and we’ve got plenty of that for you, too. The 19 km journey from the mainland is an opportunity to gear up for a day (or a long weekend) of adventure. But you don’t have to travel just by boat…

Adventure by air

Scenic flights

Nothing raises the heart rate like a trip to the skies. Skip the ferry over to the island and take a private helicopter or fixed-wing aircraft for a rush hour like no other.

Rottnest Air-Taxi, Air Charters West, Fly Rottnest, Swan River Seaplanes and Corsaire Aviation all offer flights from the mainland to the island, but if you’re partial to the ferry (and who isn’t), Rottnest Air-Taxi also operates 10, 20 and 35-minute joy flights from the island.

Skydiving

Keen to take things one step further? Meet the Skydive Geronimo crew at the island’s airport, just a five-minute bike ride from the settlement, and experience the beauty and liberation only a free fall over one of the world’s most pristine landscapes can give you.

Test your courage with your choice of dive from 10,000, 14,000, or a jaw-dropping 15,000 ft for more than 60 seconds of fall time. However high you choose to go, the ensuing glide over the island will give you a moment to take it all in before landing you on the welcoming sands of Bickley Bay, Thomson Bay, or Salmon Bay. It’s the fast life, in slow motion.

The striking reef patterns and brilliant blues below will render even the most high-spirited adventurers speechless. In the cooler months, you might even get a birds-eye view of one of the island’s greatest spectacles — the annual humpback whale migration.

Deep-sea encounters

Adventure boat tours

Venturing to the water’s edge, there are thrilling, high-speed boat tours that give you a marine experience like no other. Rush through the island waters at adrenaline-inducing speeds and get up close with the weathered coastline and secluded bays. There are 45 or 90-minute rides available via Eco Express Boat Tours and, if you board between September and November, you’ll have another opportunity to spot a migrating humpback whale out at sea.

Surfing

For those chasing a blue water high, Rottnest Island is home to some of the best surfing conditions and most consistent surf breaks in Western Australia. Strickland Bay has even been used as the location for international, national, and state-level surfing competitions. There’s also Stark Bay and the Rotto Box at West End, as well as various softer breaks, including Mary Cove and Chicken Reef.

The pull of the Indian Ocean surrounding Wadjemup on all sides means the waves here are often two to three feet larger than those on the mainland. Big enough to test the nerve of even the most fearless among you. For insider tips from Justin Majeks from Surfing WA, read our full island surfing guide.

The Leeuwin Current coming from the state’s toasty north keeps the water relatively warm year-round (four degrees warmer than the mainland on average), and visibility is better in the cooler months than any other time of year.
Diving and snorkelling 

Rottnest is renowned for its quokkas but dive a little deeper and things really get interesting. A host of fascinating coral communities, reef caves, and shipwrecks surround the island, home to a collection of tropical fish species and even the occasional visiting green turtle or eagle ray. 

If you’re more comfortable closer to the surface, Rottnest Snorkel operates three-hour guided snorkelling explorations through some of the island’s more sheltered snorkelling sites. Their tours are open to all ages and experience levels.

If you would like to choose your own adventure, then snorkel sets, wetsuits, dive tanks, and refills are available at Pedal & Flipper Hire (the on-island hire store). Some of the best spots for snorkelling include Salmon Bay, Geordie Bay, Fay’s Bay, and Parker Point; while Crystal Palace (off Parker Point) and Cathedral Rocks are both impressive dive sites, and Shark Cave (West End) provides a thrilling experience for seasoned divers.


Boots-on exploration

Segway tours

Gliding around the island on a Segway is a relaxing way to take in the island sights, but we’re taking you off-road for this adrenaline-fueled ride. Segway Tours WA operates a 90-minute Fortress Adventure Tour that will take you off the well-worn path and right into the island’s most spectacular and secluded spots. You will navigate through the off-road adventure zone before delving deep into the island’s fascinating military history that surrounds you.

Explore Bickley Battery, Kingstown Barracks, and the Jubilee Hill Observation Post as well as the wilder beauty of Paterson Beach and Henrietta Rocks.

Hiking

Last, but by no means least, is one for the classic adventurer. The Wadjemup Bidi (‘bidi’ meaning ‘track’ in Noongar) is a largely undiscovered wonder, and it really comes into its own in the cooler months. West End becomes a haven for migrating marine life, hunting ospreys swoop overhead, and in early spring, pockets of Rottnest Island daisy begin to flower.

The island’s series of trails will take you from spectacular coastal headlands right into the rugged heart of Wadjemup. It’s almost 45 km long in its entirety and is split into five sections, so make sure you get a map from the Visitor Centre before you embark on your hike.

If you prefer a guided walk, The Hike Collective offers a range of award-winning, all-inclusive hiking journeys of varying distances on the island. The Rottnest Voluntary Guides Association also offers free walking tours — simply head to their information booth located next to the Salt Store building in the heart of the settlement.