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Winter island nights: where to go and what to do

You’ve just spent a lovely winter’s day exploring the island; but as the sun slips below the water, your island experience is just getting started.
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When the last ferry makes its way back across the water, there’s a unique atmosphere to Wadjemup / Rottnest Island that starts to stir.

Winter days are already short enough, so why not extend your island visit with an overnight stay? Rather than rushing to the ferry, you can relish all that’s on offer from the early evenings and into the night.


As the days get shorter and colder, the skies surrounding the island often become brighter and bolder. Pick up a pre-made cheeseboard and a bottle of local red from the General Store in the main settlement or from Geordie Bay and watch the sky glow from the comforts of the courtyard, deck or balcony of your accommodation. Or, slip out into the evening with a thermos of hot tea to enjoy the sky-show from a different vantage point.

Best sunset spots:

Bathurst Lighthouse and Pinky Beach: Find yourself a spot at the base of this iconic lighthouse and experience uninterrupted views over the vast Indian Ocean. Pinky’s Rottnest Island is close by for a warming meal and drinks with a delightful view.

Vlamingh Lookout: Here, you’ll have panoramic views of the island’s rocky headlands transforming into bush dotted with pink-tinted kabikarning (salt lakes). During winter, the revitalising winds add a level of thrill to the experience.

Garden Lake: Capture sunset views of the salt lakes and Wadjemup Lighthouse from one vantage point. The shadows and sunset hues over the still waters make for a show-stopping spectacle.



Remember to bring a torch
When exploring after dark, remember to bring a torch with you as there are no lights at Vlamingh Lookout. If you have children joining you, ensure they are always supervised.


There’s something so mesmerising about watching the flames of an open fire flicker. As dusk descends on the island, make your way over to Bayside Bar and find a fire pit for you and your fellow travel companions. When seated in a circle around the sand, you can’t help but let the conversation flow.

The indoor fireplace will also be roaring next door at Hotel Rottnest. Grab a drink and some hearty pub fare as you cheers to a day well spent and to an enjoyable evening to come.


Going out: In addition to Hotel Rottnest, there are plenty of other options for a warming winter feed. Geordie's Cafe & Art Gallery and Frankie’s on Rotto are family-friendly favourites, offering classic spreads in a cosy environment.

For refined flavours, look no further than the Italian fare served at Isola Bar e Cibo or the South East Asian eats available at Lontara. Both venues are fully enclosed and heated during the winter to keep you cosy while you watch the waves lap the shores of Thomson Bay.

Staying in: Make a heart-warming meal for your loved ones with fresh, local ingredients that can be picked up or ordered online from the General Store in the main settlement or from Geordie Bay. Plan ahead and place an order worth $30 or more for free island-wide delivery to your accommodation, so you can be ready to cook up a storm as soon as you arrive.


Bundle up and bring everyone out for a spot of stargazing when the night sky fades to dark. Away from the strong city lights, the skies above Wadjemup sparkle. Simply step outside your accommodation to see the nightly show or make an evening of it by setting up a spot at Vlamingh Lookout. Pack a thermos and take in the natural wonder of Wadjemup in winter.


Put the phones aside and stir up some good old-fashioned competitive spirit. Come prepared and bring a deck of cards and your favourite board game or two. There are also some board games available to buy at The General Stores. That way, if the winter weather is making itself known, you and your group can bunker down and battle it out.


After a day exploring in the cool air, come and curl up in front of a good movie in the heritage-listed Picture Hall. Rottnest Movies & Mini Golf run favourite films and brand-new blockbusters throughout the winter season for weary wanderers to while away an evening. Don’t forget to swing by the candy bar first for some warm, buttery popcorn!


Slip into the slow rhythms of the island with a spot of simple fishing at sunset. The catch of the evening from the sheltered Geordie Bay jetty can range from herring, tailor, whiting, and silver bream.

Meanwhile, Hotel Jetty at Thomson Bay is home to plenty of potential lightweight catches, making it an ideal spot to bring the little ones with a hand line. The lights of the jetty also attract squid in large numbers, which makes for quite the after-dark display.



Staying safe when you’re fishing
It’s important to be prepared for changes in the weather and ocean conditions while you’re fishing, and wearing a lifejacket if required. Also, if you have children joining you, ensure they are always supervised.