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Things to do on a Rainy Island Day

If the weather’s set to dampen your stay, take an unhurried approach and be rewarded with an illuminating look at Wadjemup / Rottnest Island.
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Stormy clouds over the island landscape
Stormy clouds over the island landscape

Wadjemup / Rottnest Island illuminates our place in nature, particularly in the winter months. The land flourishes with shades of green and the sunsets blaze in more vibrant hues of red, orange, and pink, calling visitors to take in the wonder of the landscape that surrounds you.

But it’s when the clouds roll in and the sky delivers a deluge of water that you’re truly able to embrace an unhurried approach and unwind amidst Wadjemup’s splendour.  

When the drizzle settles in, these ideas can help you revel in a rainy day on Rottnest Island, finding a sense of rejuvenation along the way. 

Take a hike 

Hiking in the rain connects you to nature like nothing else. Don your waterproof gear and some sturdy boots and head off on one of the Wadjemup Bidi trails. A network of trails spanning 45 km, there are five unique tracks catering to every hiker. Join The Hike Collective for a guided excursion or enjoy a self-guided hike along scenic stretches like the Gabbi Karniny Bidi, a 9.5 km loop that winds its way through the island’s salt lake system, and the Wardan Nara Bidi which encompasses the rugged southern coastline. No matter the trail you wander, take your time to notice the earth beneath your boots and the rain mist kissing your face — let the elements envelop you.  


Ride in the rain 

Vehicles are limited on Wadjemup, making it the ideal place to cycle — even in the rain. While hopping on a bike on a wet winter’s day might not be for everyone, those with an adventurous streak will relish a ride through the rain. You’ll be rewarded for your efforts with long stretches of empty open road, memorable views of a raging coastline, and an all-out invigorating ride that invokes all your senses as you breathe in the salty ocean breeze edged with the scent of earthy vegetation.

See the sights in comfort

If the weather takes a wet turn, bus tours are ideal to see the sights of the island while staying dry. Choose from a 90-minute tour aboard the Discover Rottnest bus tour that will take you past the most memorable locations of the island. You’ll make a short stop at West End where you can hop out and explore the rugged coastline to spot wildlife like migrating whales and long-nosed fur seals. Alternatively, opt for one of the Quokka Coaches bus tours. The Bayseeker Island tour includes stops at Wadjemup Lighthouse, Henrietta Rocks and Mabel Cove, offering glimpses of the island’s history and stunning landscapes. Ot opt for the Grand Island tour which includes the heritage icon of Oliver Hill

Alternatively, you can explore at your own pace with the Quokka Coaches Island Explorer hop-on-hop-off bus. With 19 different stops around the island, you can enjoy the freedom to explore as long as the skies remain clear, then hop back onboard if the weather takes a rainy turn.

Pause indoors 

Rainy days are the perfect excuse to press the pause button and simply spend time in your accommodation. Pull on a pair of fluffy socks, pour a glass of wine or your favourite hot beverage, and settle in with a good book in a cosy nook at your accommodation. 

Indulge in the finer things 

Sample the island’s gastronomic delights with a feast of comforting eats and beverages. Hug a warming cup of hot chocolate at Dome Cafe then head to Hotel Rottnest, an iconic pub serving delicious dishes like chilli prawn pizza or slow-roast lamb shoulder. Sip on a glass of wine from their extensive menu and feel yourself warm from the inside out. Craving comfort food to quash the gloom of the weather? Isola Bar e Cibo is sure to satisfy with pasta dishes crafted with uncomplicated Western Australian produce and a deck where you can relax and gaze out to the rain. 

Catch a movie 

Chances are you’ve never experienced the big screen from an old-school wooden deckchair in a heritage cinema. Rottnest Movies screen the latest releases in an intimate setting at the ‘Picture Hall’ where you can get lost in another world for a couple of hours — don’t forget to grab yourself some popcorn at the quaint candy bar. Make a day of it with friends or family and drop in for a hit of 80s and 90s nostalgia in the attached arcade where you can pull pinballs and play video games until your movie starts.   

Engage in history 

Welcome the rainy-day interlude and experience the other side of Wadjemup’s wonder, its chapter in history. Catch the Captain Hussey historical train or Quokka Coaches Grand Island bus tour to Oliver Hill and gain a unique insight into the island’s important role during wartime. Home to a battery of 9.2-inch naval guns built to defend Fremantle Port, the fort echoes a rich history. Join a guided tour and venture underground where a collection of tunnels were burrowed into the sandy bluff, once an arsenal for ammunition.

When you're back in the main settlement, carry on to Wadjemup Museum where exhibits dating as far back as 40,000 years hold special significance. If you have little ones in tow, head to Wadjemup Museum for Children to enjoy tales of the island's past that are brought to life through unusual artefacts, bold displays, and interactive exhibits.