Skip to main content

One day itinerary for the wild at heart

Rottnest Island wildlife guide to hiking, whale watching, and snorkeling.
3 minutes
Something of a naturalist, you’re here for one reason: a wild encounter. And while you’re on this Class A Reserve, the Rottnest Island wildlife will offer abundant opportunity – just follow us.

9 am hike the Ngank Wen Bidi

If you truly want to see the island’s wild side, there’s only one way to do it — on the Wadjemup Bidi. This series of walking trails will take you to coastlines (and natural wonders) you can’t access by road, and the Ngank Wen Bidi is the one you want. Take the Quokka Coaches Island Explorer bus from the main settlement and disembark at Rocky Bay (stop 13) to begin your walk. The 7.8 km loop will take you to the island’s West End, where a whole host of characters — playful long-nosed fur seals, graceful ospreys, and even dancing humpback whales — await. Be sure to pack your binoculars. 

Not up for the hike? Hop aboard the Quokka Coaches Bayseeker Island Tour (get your ticket online in advance or at the main bus stop ticket kiosk). Complete with commentary, this almost two-hour bus tour covers plenty of the island’s wildlife hotspots including Henrietta Rocks, Cathedral Rocks, and Cape Vlamingh. 

12 noon picnic lunch

There’s no need to rush back to the settlement; in fact, we recommend you stay and enjoy a picnic lunch with a view. An assortment of fresh, mouthwatering goodies are available in the main settlement. We recommend making your selection in the morning before venturing out for the day. Then, armed with a delightful selection of food and beverages, you’ll be ready to stop in at any serene spot that takes your fancy to enjoy lunch while basking in the beauty of the landscape.

1 pm Adventure boat tour and Rottnest Island whale watching

A thrilling afternoon awaits, as you’ll be boarding the Eco Express for the 90-minute Adventure Boat Tour. This fully commentated boat tour circumnavigates the island, taking you along the coastline at speed, only slowing to spot long-nosed fur seals at Cathedral Rocks. For a shorter option, hop on the 45-minute Thrill Boat Ride. 

If you’ve timed your visit for the end of the humpback whale migration (which occurs from August to December), then your high-speed boat tour could include views of the island’s visiting troupe of acrobats, the pods of majestic humpbacks are a breathtaking side show to your journey. Earlier in the season, you’ll still be able to spot the whales from various coastal lookouts as you explore the island.  

If you’re here after the whale migration ends, don’t fear, the island is teeming with marine life year-round. Head to Pedal & Flipper Hire for snorkelling gear and spend the afternoon getting up close and personal with the incredibly diverse array of life under the water instead. We only ask that, like any guest, you be conscious of your host’s home. Coral can be easily damaged and if so, it can take years to recover.

Some of the best snorkelling spots include Little Armstrong Bay, Little Salmon Bay, Parakeet Bay, and Parker Point. If you follow the snorkel trail at Little Salmon Bay, there are a series of underwater plaques with information about all the magical marine life around you.


Staying overnight?

Lace up your boots, we’re joining The Hike Collective for their 12 km Lakes and Bays Guided Hike. You’ll traverse spectacular coastal headlands and encounter many natural wonders before heading inland — right for the island’s rugged heart and its network of salt lakes.

Keep an eye out for the signage you find along the way to discover how the lakes were formed, what makes them pink, and why they’re considered such a unique ecosystem. And pack those binoculars again… the lakes are particularly popular with birdwatchers, and you’re about to find out why.