Over the years I’ve been lucky enough to travel to some beautiful places all over the world, but honestly, there’s nothing like West Aus!
When I was overseas, I’d meet people and they’d tell me they only travelled to the East Coast in Australia. So I’d ask, “Why did you not go to Perth?!?”. They often replied with something about it being too far away and spread out with not much to do.
This is where I tell them about Rottnest Island. If you’ve ever been to Rottnest, locally known as Rotto, you’d know how absolutely pristine and untouched this island is. I spent a couple summers living here and absolutely loved it! If you’ve never been before, here’s everything you need to know.
Let’s say you’re flying over from the East Coast. Once you land, you’re about 30-40 minutes away from Fremantle, where the Ferry to go over to Rotto docks. If I were you, I’d spend a day exploring Fremantle town as there are plenty of quirky and cool cafes: Mostly Sometimes, Milk Belly, Ootong & Lincoln, Hush, Moore & Moore and Bread In Common just to name a few. Along with these cafes are some really cool bars, record stores, op shops and The Esplanade, which is a nice park to chill, people-watch and skate.
Spend a night in Freo if you will, book a vibey little Air BnB. Book your ferry to Rotto the night before, if not a few days in advance if it’s the busy period (summer/school holidays). This island is situated roughly 20kms off the Coast of Fremantle, which equates to about a 30 minute ferry ride on a good day. The ride over is quite smooth, but once that sea breeze comes in come the afternoon it may get a bit rough on the way back.
So, how do you even go about a Rotto trip? Alright let’s start with how long you’d go over for. Look if I could, I’d spend a couple nights there, so you’ve got more time to explore, but even one night is fine too. The beauty of this place is that you can do just a day trip, jump on the first ferry in the morning and hop on the last ferry on the way back. Let me warn you – a day trip will certainly take it out of you because you will exploring all day long.
So, what to pack? If you’re heading for a couple of days then obviously pack a bag of clothes. If you have a bike, then take that over and make sure you book it to go on the ferry, if not you can hire one over there. There’s no cars on Rotto unless you work on the island. There is a bus that goes around, but I’d highly recommend riding to get out of the main town and explore all the amazing, secluded beaches. Be sure to grab a snorkel and fins and then you’re basically good to go!
Take some snacks that will keep you going along with some water because once you leave town there’s no other shops to stock up on. If you don’t take food over, that’s no worries at all… there’s a general store there along with a bakery, Subway, a couple pubs and a few other little restaurants. So you’re spoilt for choice.
Now what? It’s an Island, so you can head in any direction. So, keep an eye on the wind forecast because depending on the direction, you’ll be able to find a nice protected spot which is super important. So for me I like to start my day in town with a coffee once we hop off the ferry, then I’d jump on my bike with a few mates and head to the south part of the island – first stop is Little Salmon Bay followed by Salmon Bay. If you’re feeling a surf then hit up Strickland Bay and if you’re feeling game then head out to West End to see some seals and the furthest point of the Island. It’s about this time that the sea breeze comes in and it’s time to head to the North Side of the island. Along here I’d hit up Little Armstrong Bay, Parakeet Bay, Little Parakeet Bay, Long Reach and the tourist hot spot – The Basin.
After a day of beach hopping you’ll be feeling a little parched so head to the General Store and grab a carton of Cocobella to hydrate while you watch the sunset over the island and then head back to the mainland with a well-deserved nights rest ahead.
So, if you’re ever in Perth hit me up and I’ll happily show you around or direct you to some epic spots!