Best Beaches, one Block
The pristine white sandy beaches that make Rottnest Island stand out in the list of most popular of Western Australian tourist destinations, need to be visited to understand why. An easy cruise from terminals in Perth and Fremantle, can take you there and return you again for an exotic day trip. Overnight stays are also an option with accommodation ranging through glamping, camping, cabins, a hotel and resort, and a backpackers. The selection of eatery options range from tasty budget treats to fine local seafood dining. Or experience affordable luxury with a full day sail to Rottnest Island from Fremantle.
Coves and stretches lure you, urging you to run into their clear blue waters, or to linger around observing other native wildlife such as seals, who you can watch at play from a viewing platform. Go deeper into the waters and snorkel with an array of colourful tropical fish. You may also spot rays, crabs, dolphins, and humpback whales in migration. Sea birds like the grand osprey eagle soar above, and many other travelling bird species which make a stopover at Rottnest on global pilgrimages, sightings of those which are rare, are also possible.
Lizards scuttle across the terrain, along with lucky happy humans, who find loads of activity interacting in nature, cycling, swimming, snorkeling, or indulging in beach time. It is possible even on some summer days at peak season to find your own private beach at times, among the 63 plus beaches circling the island!
Rottnest Island’s most well-known feature is it’s resident quokkas. It is their island! Because it’s their only island in the world, they have earned the significant level of selfie fame amassed by the cute and gentle creatures. Quokkas welcome visitors, but there are no cars on the island, just bikes, with the optional comfort of a daytime circular route bus operating on an hourly timetable.
Island of Stories
The complex and dark recorded times of human habitation on Rottnest Island will appeal to those intrigued by history. Originally named Wadjemup before Dutch explorer contact in 1696, the island’s Indigenous past is contrasting in extremes. Earliest times known may be around 6500 plus years ago, when Wadjemup was part of the mainland until sea levels rose after the latest ice-age point on the earth’s evolutionary timeline. The tribes of Nyoongar people had used the area as a ceremonial site of importance. There are stories passed along in oral tradition, of the witnessing of geological changes that are evidence of these facts, further supported by the discovery of artefacts of this age.
Then when the first European explorers stepped onto the shores of Rottnest there is no record of Indigenous people living there, and as far as known not until 1838 when significant numbers of Aboriginal people , in excess of 4000 , were imprisoned for any invented crimes, following the invasion of their lands across the water by British and European colonists almost a decade earlier. It would seem the traditional land owners were rounded up and swept out of the way to the island, with a recorded 370 dying in captivity before the prison island labour camp was closed in 1931.
Rottnest Island, or Wadjemup has a high level of importance to the indigenous population of Western Australia. As a matter of respect for their people who were buried there, it is important for Twister Travel to share this with Rottnest visitors. The island is significantly seen as a place of transition from the physical life to a paradisiacal spiritual resting place.
Here at Twister Travel, we acknowledge the first peoples whose lands we travel through, whose islands in all their wild beauty we are able to experience and appreciate.
Rottnest Island today is well cared for. By law, anyone who deliberately interferes with (including feeding) wildlife will be fined $150 on the spot under the Rottnest Island Authority Act 1987 and potentially prosecuted under the Wildlife Conservation Act 1950 with fines up to $50,000 and 5 years imprisonment.
Look out for the blue Rottnest daisy in the local wildflower season in September to November.