Famous for its laid back atmosphere and beautiful beaches, Rottnest Island lies just 18 kilometres offshore from Perth surrounded by the sparkling Indian Ocean. This is where the locals go to swim, surf, snorkel, fish and relax.
Surrounded by coral reefs and shipwrecks, the diving and snorkelling is out-of-this-world. Rotto is a car-free zone and hiring a bicycle is the best way to get around. There’s also the local Bayseeker bus that regularly runs around the island and can drop you at some of the more secluded beaches and surf breaks. There are 20 bays to choose from, meaning you can often find a stretch of sand all to yourself.
The island’s fascinating history is brought to life in guided tours that detail its past as a former Aboriginal prison and also its role in Australia’s World War II military defence system. Underground tunnels, the lighthouse and colonial buildings are worth exploring.
Watch out for the quokkas, the cute marsupials which were the inspiration for the island’s name. Accommodation-wise there is something to suit everyone’s budget, from beachfront villas to tent sites.
Get to Rottnest Island on a 30-40 minute boat ride from Fremantle, Perth or Hillarys Boat Harbour.