Educational Experiences

Rottnest Island's education program and activities are available for School and College students visiting the Island to further their learning.

To make your planning experience easier and less stressful, we have outlined a step by step process to guide you through your journey:

Island activities and tours
Educational tours and self-guided activities are available to assist in discovering all things Rottnest Island.

Venues and accomodation
When planning check that your required accommodation and venues will be available during your excursion dates.

Transport to and around the Island
Transfers across to Rottnest Island can be booked through the ferry operators,and ADAMS buses run services across the Island. 

A range of catering options are available on the Island to suite all budgets.

Handy Extras

Self-Guided Activities

Self guided activity kits are available, each kit comes complete with all the equipment and information needed for group leaders to successfully run the activity.

Adventure Challenge Foot Race

Provide the opportunity for participants to build positive relationships with their peers by working as part of a small team while developing their awareness of Rottnest Island’s environment and history. In this quiz-based activity, teams will need to explore the Settlement area using signage and prior knowledge to provide informed answers to the questions provided.

Location: Main Settlement

Beach Clean-Up

Do your part for Rottnest Island by doing some community service. By participating in a beach clean-up you are helping us collect information about the type of debris which washes up or is left on our beaches. This information is then reported to a national registry as part of the Tangaroa Blue Ocean Care Society.

Location: A beach of your choice

Tidal Treasures

Comb the beach to discover hidden treasures left behind by the retreating waves and beach goers. Participants will develop their knowledge of coastal and marine ecosystems and the special features and adaptations of their organisms that live within or get washed up on them.

Location: A beach of your choice

Curious Quokkas

Use scientific investigative techniques to develop a greater understanding of quokka behaviour and habitat. Search for, observe, record and discuss where quokkas live, what they eat and how they spend their day.

Location: Kingstown or the Settlement

The Seasons of Wadjemup

Learn about the six Noongar seasons and the significance of the flora and fauna during each as well as their traditional uses. Students conduct an acknowledgement of country ceremony and complete a quiz and puzzle at the newly refurbished Season Shelter.

Location: Six Seasons Shelter

Museum visit

Housed in the Discover Rottnest Island's fascinating natural and cultural heritage at the Rottnest Island Museum, located in the Settlement. Group bookings essential. Max 30 people. 

Please note that the museum is closed until December 2020.


Useful websites to assist in self-guided activities on Rottnest
  • - For those who are interested in teaching students about Rottnest Island's unique and intriguing wildlife, please feel free to use our NEW wildlife website as an educational tool. All content on this website is free for schools to use for education purposes.
  • - Rottnest Island Authority has established two walking trails on the smartphone application 
These include:
  1. Colonial Buildings of Thomson Bay with an informative history of the Aboriginal history and colonial buildings of the settlement area on a 4.5km walk.
  2. Experience Rottnest Island that identifies a number of 'things to see and do' on this amazing Island that is only a short distance from Perth and Fremantle cities.
  • - Rottnest Island Authority has established a number of geocaches within the Rottnest Island reserve that complement the suite of existing finds placed by other caching enthusiasts. Rottnest Islander caches are informative and provide a further insight into the Island's environmental and historical attributes. Download the application on your smart phone or log into and view online.

Rottnest Island Water and Renewable Energy Nexus Mobile App (WREN)

  • - View Rottnest Island's renewable power generation in real time with Hydro Tasmania's Rottnest Island Water and Renewable Energy Nexus project mobile phone app.

This app will take you on a journey through the exciting renewable energy scheme that is making Rottnest Island more self-sufficient and sustainable. Use the app to explore the Island, visit the solar farm and wind turbine and discover ways to reduce your ecological footprint. Don't forget to look out for the educational signs dotted across the Island!

Tours By Request

Bickley Battery Walk

Explore the Kingstown Barracks and the site of the 6-inch guns that made up the Bickley Battery. Students will learn how the battery operated and its role as an integral part of the defence of the Port of Fremantle during World War II. The battery was part of the overall military establishment on Rottnest Island which included the 9.2inch guns at Oliver Hill and the observation post and that radio and radar facilities at the Wadjemup Lighthouse.

Duration: 1 hour

Behind the Scenes Tour by Bicycle

At the height of summer there are several thousand visitors on the Island. Throughout the whole year there is an average of about 1900 people visiting Rottnest every day. All the services for these people must be dealt with in a special way due to the Island's isolation from the mainland.

Discover how the Island's essential services especially water, electricity (wind, sun and diesel) and waste water are provided as well as other essential services.

Duration: 1.5 hours

Ghosts, Myths & Legends (Evening Tour)

Take the spooky journey with the voluntary guides and prepare to hear some thrilling tales about many of Rottnest Island's mysterious past identities.

Duration: 1 hour

Oliver Hill Gun and Tunnels

Visit the massive 9.2inch diameter gun on Oliver Hill and tour the underground tunnels to experience Rottnest Island during World War II. A guide will ensure an educational journey.

Duration: 50 minutes

Pioneers and Prisoners

Retrace the footsteps of our early inhabitants as we take you on a journey to learn about Rottnest Island in the 1800s. You will be taken on a guided walk through the historic Thomson Bay Settlement to discover the Island's rich heritage, incorporating both Aboriginal and European history.

Duration: 50 minutes

Reefs, Wrecks and Daring Sailors

Pilots were stationed on Rottnest Island between 1838 and 1903 to guide ships safely around the Island's dangerous reefs. This tour incorporates the pilot crew accommodation, the boathouse and a replica pilot boat.

Duration: 50 minutes

Stargazing (Evening Tour)

Walk to the Vlamingh Lookout where a myriad of stars can be seen. Learn about planets, stars and constellations. Times are subject to change throughout the year and will be confirmed on booking.

Duration: 50 minutes

The Changing Face of Rottnest

This tour highlights past vegetation changes on Rottnest Island over 3 eras since the Island was first explored by Europeans, including the plants that have dominated the landscape since settlement in 1831. The vegetation restoration programs that have been implemented in the period 1963 to 2005 are examined. Plantings of trees, shrubs and sedges, and the strategies for their protection, are observed and evaluated. 

This tour is conducted using bicycles and on foot, covering several kilometres. The tour concludes at the Island's plant nursery where students examine plant propagation and where they can complete an evaluation exercise.

Duration: 2 hours

Twilight Tales (Evening Tour)

Step back in time and learn about the secrets of some of Rottnest Island's early inhabitants. This evening walking tour is full of stories to surprise and intrigue you! Times are subject to change throughout the year.

Duration: 50 minutes

Wadjemup Lighthouse

Discover what goes on within the walls of a real working lighthouse and experience the breathtaking 360° views from the top.

Duration: 30 minutes

Whitecaps & Wilderness Walk

Learn more about Rottnest Island's unique environment, vegetation, animals, birds and marine environment. On this guided walk, students will explore parts of the Island's south side, from Parker Point to Little Salmon Bay, while learning about the magical coastline and hardy flora and fauna of this area, including the iconic sprey.

Duration: 50 minutes


Want to run your own activities but are looking for that perfect venue? Whatever size your group is, there is something that will suit your every need.

Activity Rooms

Activity Rooms with kitchenette facilities are also available for hire at Kingstown. These are well equipped to host your quiz, movie or games nights or any other exciting activities you have planned! 

Main Hall and Kitchenette

Located within the Barracks building itself, the Main Hall is suitable for larger groups of 100-150 people. It is close to the dining hall and is ideal for games nights or performances.

Video Room

Also located within the main Barracks building, the Video Room is suitable for smaller groups of 15-30 people. Smaller group activities are ideal in this room.

REA Building Kitchen and Lounge

A fully equipped kitchen is available for your school's personal use with adjoining lounge for relaxing or reviewing the day's activities.

Peacock Inn

Located between the Barracks and Governors Circle, this facility can cater for groups of 25-40 people. It is an appropriate venue for classroom activities or quiz nights.


Picture Hall

A large venue closer to the Thomson Bay Settlement, the Picture Hall can be used for movie nights upon request and has ample space for lectures or to carry out other activities.

P: 0412 442 683 E:

Resources and Downloads

Make your learning experience richer. Following are a list of publications about the Island’s Aboriginal history, heritage, colonial buildings, birdlife and terrestrial environment that will help you on your way. There are also a list of websites and lesson suggestions for teachers and camp leaders.


Rottnest Island It's Our Heritage publication

Rottnest Island – It’s our Heritage by RIA
Rottnest Island allows a number of layers of Western Australian history to be appreciated in the one area, including colonial, Aboriginal, maritime, military, recreational and social heritage.  This publication is intended to provide a ‘snapshot’ of the significant historic value of the Island from first discovery by Dutch navigators to current day.
This RIA Publication is available for purchase either on the Island from the Visitor Centre or by post by completing a purchasing request form

Rottnest Island Aboriginal History publication
Rottnest Island - A guide to Aboriginal history on Wadjemup by RIA
Rottnest Island is referred to as Wadjemup by traditional Aboriginal people from the Noongar language group. As custodians of the land the Whadjuk people have strong spiritual connections to Wadjemup and it remains significant to the Aboriginal community today.  This publication aims to tell the ‘untold’ story of many Aboriginal men and boys imprisoned on the Island during the 93 years it operated as a prison, while acknowledging the traditional and contemporary connection Aboriginal people have with Wadjemup. It is also a major step toward reconciliation for the Island.
This RIA Publication is available for purchase either on the Island from the Visitor Centre or by post by completing a purchasing request form.

Rottnest Island Colonial building publication
Rottnest Island – A guide to the colonial buildings of the Thomson Bay settlement by RIA
This publication provides a description of the history of the buildings of the Thomson Bay settlement on Rottnest Island and their architecture. All constructed in the 19th century and primarily of limestone, with the exception of some minor 20th century brick or timber-framed additions, the buildings – most of which are still standing today - provide visitors a step back in time to discover elements of the island’s history and industry.  This publication explains what each of the building’s purpose was and what they are now used for.
This RIA Publication is available for purchase either on the Island from the Visitor Centre or by post by completing a purchasing request form.

Rottnest Island Birds publication
A Bird’s Eye View of Rottnest Island by RIA
Rottnest Island provides an idyllic escape from the hectic routine of life on the mainland – and not just for humans. A combination of distinct habitats, lack of predators and minimal human development has enabled many species of birds, mammals, insects and reptiles to prosper on the Island. Birds in particular, have benefited greatly from this isolation. This publication, written in partnership with Birds Australia, describes the main habitats on Rottnest Island – including the coast, salt lakes, heath, woodlands and settlement - and introduces 54 bird species which live on or regularly visit the Island.
This RIA Publication is available for purchase either on the Island from the Visitor Centre or by post by completing a purchasing request form.

Rottnest Island – Terrestrial Paradise by RIA
Rottnest Island – Terrestrial Paradise by RIA
The Dutch explorer Willem de Vlamingh described Rottnest Island as a ‘terrestrial paradise’ when he visited it in 1696. He described an island covered in dense woodland with rich wildlife. Since then, human impact has drastically altered the natural features of the terrestrial environment.  This publication explores the Island’s weather conditions, geographical history, vegetation, flora and fauna including an overview of its mammals, reptiles and bird species. The provisions of water, power and waste management are also discussed.
This RIA Publication is available for purchase either on the Island from the Visitor Centre or by post by completing a purchasing request form.
Coastal Plants Perth and the South-West Region by Barbara Rowland and Elizabeth Rippey
Coastal Plants Perth and the South-West Region by Barbara Rowland and Elizabeth Rippey

Coastal Plants is a guide to the plants that grow along the Perth coastline and on the islands between Dongara and Dunsborough. There are descriptions of over 130 plant species, from seagrasses to the beautiful Boronia alata, from the mangroves of the Abrolhos islands to invasive Arum Lilies, from the giant Tuart eucalyptus to beach spinifexes. Each description yields a wealth of detail on the habits and peculiarities of not only the plants, but also some of the animal life that is associated with them.

Superbly illustrated with line drawings and watercolour paintings of each species, Coastal Plants is an important reference work on this diverse group of plants.


Fifty Years Afloat by Hugh Cameron

Fifty Years Afloat by Hugh Cameron
Fifty Years Afloat details the Rottnest and Swan River ferry boats and the men who ran them. Hugh Cameron’s interesting and well-written account of his experience in small vessels, particularly ferries in Western Australia, and on dredges in Queensland, makes a welcome addition to the published material dealing with aspects of local maritime history.


Far From Home by Neville Green and Susan Moon

Far From Home by Neville Green and Susan Moon
'Far From Home' identifies more than 3600 Aboriginal prisoners who served time on Rottnest Island. Some were associated with historic events such as the Battle of Pinjarra (1834), the Flying Foam massacre (1868), the Jandamarra uprising in the Kimberley (1892-94) and the Forrest River massacre (1926). Some travelled with the explorers John Forrest and Francis Gregory, and others, while on parole, severed on the frontiers as police assistants, pearl divers and guides for the telegraph surveys.
Accompanying the biographical listing of prisoners is a historical account of the Rottnest establishment and prison life, describing the experiences of men who were separated from their families and sent to a cold and deary island off the coast of Western Australia. For more than 370 it was a one-way journey, and today, denied the recognition they deserve, they lie in unmarked graves far from home.

Gone to Rottnest by Trea Wiltshire

Gone to Rottnest by Trea Wiltshire
Rottnest Island has iconic status for Western Australians, who have always valued it for its relaxed atmosphere and unspoiled simplicity. Gone to Rottnest tells the story of the island, tracing its transformation from a place of imprisonment to a favourite holiday destination. Trea Wiltshire celebrates the natural history and simple pleasures of the island—biking and snorkelling, diving and bird watching. Readers are introduced to the birds that will share their stretch of beach, the vegetation they will ride through when exploring the island, the fish they may catch, and the migrating whales and playful dolphins of the Indian Ocean.

Guidebook to the Geology of Rottnest Island by Phillip E Playford

Guidebook to the Geology of Rottnest Island by Phillip E Playford
Guidebook to the Geology of Rottnest Island by Philip E Playford provides a detailed account of the geology of Rottnest Island, as well as being a handy field guide to key geological localities. It will be of interest not only to professional geologists, but also to teachers, students, and members of the general public who wish to learn something about the geology while holidaying on the island.



Jack’s Island by Norman Jorgensen

Jack’s Island by Norman Jorgensen
Jack’s family is based on Rottnest Island during WWII while his father helps build an airfield. Jack and his best friend Banjo have the run of the island and a remarkable knack for getting into trouble — but as Jack says, ‘I’m not that bad, I just get caught a lot!’ Dafty, a simple but loveable young boy, dotes on Banjo and Jack. When Dafty seeks revenge against the local schoolmaster for a punishment inflicted on Banjo, life suddenly becomes more serious. This poignant, multi-layered text offers young readers a valuable insight into life in Australia during the war.
Teaching notes are also available.


Rottnest Island by Sally Keady, Illustrated by Patricia Negus

Rottnest Island by Sally Keady, Illustrated by Patricia Negus
This 69 page book covers every aspect of beautiful Rottnest Island, Western Australia’s favourite holiday place. It is an informative travel guide, history book and nature guide all rolled into one easy to read book for people of all ages. More than 100 beautiful watercolour illustrations by well known Western Australian artist, Patricia Negus perfectly captures the relaxed holiday feeling, the wide variety of animals and plants and the historic buildings of the Island. A stunning gift or souvenir for all lovers of ‘Rotto’.

Wonders of Western Waters: The Marine Life of South-Western Australia by DEC

Wonders of Western Waters: The Marine Life of South-Western Australia by DEC
Western Australia's temperate waters are alive with amazing and diverse marine life. There are leafy sea dragons resembling pieces of floating seaweed, brightly coloured sea slugs that feed on corals, crabs with pieces of algae and sponge growing on their backs for camouflage, and colourful cuttlefish that can change colour and texture in an instant.Wonders of Western Waters: The Marine Life of South-Western Australia contains descriptions and photographs, of many marine inhabitants, and gives an insight into their natural history and relationships with other plants and animals in their ecosystems.
Written and photographed by two of WA's leading underwater photographers, Sue Morrison and Ann Storrie, Wonders of Western Waters: The Marine Life of South-Western Australia is a must for divers, snorkellers and anyone with an interest in our wonderful marine life.