Skip to main content

The top five lookouts on Wadjemup / Rottnest Island

When you journey to the peak of a destination, the landscape unfolds below (and beyond) you. Experience the views of a lifetime from these five island lookouts.
5 minutes
Cathedral Rocks lookout
Cathedral Rocks lookout
Wadjemup / Rottnest Island is a place of rich beauty. Without the availability of private vehicles, most choose to travel under their own steam, walking, cycling, or hiking from one inspiring vista to the next. 

This island sits in wonderful opposition to most destinations. Like most of us, you have likely driven at a crawling pace across multiple kilometres of slippery gravel road to reach a mainland lookout. These breathtaking viewpoints are few and far between, so those seeking that quiet moment of awe must travel to find it. Here, you are surrounded by them. And they call you to view the landscape, and your connection to it, from new heights.

 

Getting there
You can access each lookout by bus, bike, or foot. Before you set out on your discovery, make sure to get a map and some advice from the Visitor Centre in Thomson Bay.

1. Vlamingh Lookout

 

What you’ll see: Inland vistas, 360-degree views, a network of salt lakes. 

How to get there: 10-minute walk or a five-minute cycle from Thomson Bay, through the main settlement and up a small hill.

As a Class A Reserve, Wadjemup’s inland landscapes are thriving with unique wildlife and native flora. Once you step away from the coast, multiple ecosystems await you, from wetlands to lush bush and wind-blown shrubland. Vlamingh Lookout is the perfect vantage point to gaze out over Wadjemup’s internal vistas. Named after the navigator, Williem de Vlamingh, who landed on Wadjemup in the 1600s, the lookout features a monument with a central sundial and inscription. You’ll have panoramic views of the island’s rocky headlands transforming into bush dotted with pink-tinted salt lakes. 

2. Cathedral Rocks & Cape Vlamingh viewing platforms

 

What you’ll see: Open ocean views, long-nosed fur seals, migrating humpback whales (from August to December).   


How to get there: 35-minute bike ride from Thomson Bay to Cape Vlamingh, then two minutes from there to Cathedral Rocks. You can also take a 30-minute bus ride from the main settlement.

Wadjemup’s West End is more remote, with the wind blowing ocean spray and seaweed scents and the scrubland growing rugged beside the path. Cathedral Rocks and Cape Vlamingh are impressive lookout spots in this part of the island, where you can become a voyeur to the natural world. 

Cape Vlamingh is the most exposed part of Wadjemup, at the western point of the island. Stand at the lookout and watch the writhing sea, with the knowledge that there’s only ocean in front of you — until Madagascar. Wildlife encounters are the highlight at Cathedral Rocks, as a colony of long-nosed fur seals live just below the lookout and often flip and play in the water. In late winter to early spring, this is also where you can best see the impressive humpback whale on its annual migration. 

 

 

3. Jeannie’s Lookout 

 

What you’ll see: Remote bays, rocky coastline, and tropical reef visible from shore. 


How to get there: 20-minute bike ride or an hour’s hike from Thomson Bay.

A clear, cool day is the time for a revitalising bike ride along the coast of Wadjemup. Follow one of the many sealed roads which criss-cross the island and pause at each stunning beach that’s laid out before you. Jeannie’s Lookout is a beautiful stop on your short afternoon ride and the ideal destination for a decent hike. The viewpoint looks out over Jeannie’s Pool, a small cove of rocky shores where the turquoise water reveals an intricate reef system below the surface. 

4. Mushroom Rock Lookout

 

What you’ll see: The ocean impacting the coastline, uniquely shaped rocks, a bay of boats.


How to get there: 10-minute walk or five-minute cycle from Thomson Bay.

Staying at Wadjemup encourages you to slow down and take in the quiet moments. Like a refreshing early morning walk to a beachside lookout, thermos of tea in hand. Or a sunset wander on the way back to your accommodation. Mushroom Rock Lookout is conveniently nearby, in Bathurst, with a platform that protrudes out into the sea. On sunny days, the mirrored blue ocean stretches out calmly, while cool weather fronts bring frothy dark waves and impressive ocean displays. To one side of the lookout, you can see yachts and speed boats moored in the shelter of Thomson Bay.

5. Wadjemup Lighthouse

 

What you’ll see: The Perth skyline across the ocean, panoramic views, bird’s eye perspective of the island.


How to get there: 20-minute bike ride or an hour’s hike from Thomson Bay

Although not technically a lookout, the view from the top of Wadjemup Lighthouse is the most spectacular on the island. Take the tour, and as you ascend the stairs 38 metres to the top, hear about the engineer who imagined everything from desert pipelines to island lighthouses, and learn how the strange prisms and pendulums create light for lost sailors. Out on the windblown platform, Wadjemup is laid out beneath you, all the way from green shrubland to the weaving line of the coast. In the distance you can see the outline of Perth over the Indian Ocean. 

Don’t get tunnel vision when travelling to our well-known lookouts — the other side of Wadjemup is best experienced through independent exploration. Be open to discovering your own unexpected vistas while hiking or cycling the trails.