20 Sep 2021
With 63 different beaches, dozens of idyllic bays and so many food and beverage options to explore, one day on Rottnest Island is hardly enough!
However, if a day is all you have, a day on 'Rotto' is always a day well-spent - especially by bicycle. Here’s our recommended 1-day itinerary for a whirlwind trip to Rottnest!
Make your way to B Shed in Victoria Quay, Fremantle to catch the early morning ferry service to Rottnest Island. Arriving early at the terminal will mean you’re more likely to secure one of a limited number of all-day parking spots for $10 per day at Wilson Parking. Alternatively, you can arrive at Fremantle Station by train as early as 5:45 am from Perth, then walk the 850m to the ferry terminal. The ferry journey to Rottnest Island is approximately 30-minutes long.
Ferries depart daily from Fremantle, Perth and Hillarys on the mainland to Rottnest Island. Catching a ferry is the most affordable way to travel but you can also travel by air! Read our Quick Guide to Rottnest Island to learn more.
Hop off the ferry and take a moment to breathe in the natural beauty that surrounds the island! If this is your first time to Rotto, savour it - you’ll never get a moment like this again.
Your first stop should always be to the Rottnest Island Visitor Centre - a 5-minute walk from the jetty. Here you’ll find all the information you need for your day and friendly staff ready to help out with tours, bike hire, and even mooring rentals. Card and coin-operated lockers are also available for hire.
Two minutes away is Dome Cafe on Colebatch Avenue, where breakfast awaits. Dig into a hearty hot brekky and get your caffeine fix before heading back out for a full day of adventure.
Getting around Rotto by bike means you’re going need one! Pedal & Flipper is Rottnest Island’s largest bike rental facility. Able to cater to a range of mobility types (pedal bike, electric bike, tricycles, and electric gophers), baby seats and cargo bikes are also available.
Hop on your chosen treadly and make your way back towards the Rottnest Island Visitor Centre and then to Wadjemup Museum (formerly Rottnest Island museum) to learn about the island’s culturally diverse history.
Following a $1 million upgrade in 2020, the museum houses a range of exhibits including artefacts that date back 40,000 years. The museum’s displays are developed in partnership with the Rottnest Island Wadjemup Aboriginal Reference Group and tell the story of the island from its history as a penal colony, natural history, as well as its art and culture.
For those who like a little adrenalin in their mornings, Rottnest Express offers an exhilarating 90 minute Eco Adventure Tour which gives passengers an unforgettable up-close encounter with the island’s wild-side. Explore rugged coastlines, see fur-seals at Cathedral Rocks and keep your eyes peeled for the dolphin’s and osprey that also call Rottnest home.
After you’ve gotten an understanding of the island’s history and felt the ocean spray in your hair, head inland towards Wadjemup Lighthouse, which is a 15-minute ride away. On the way, you’ll pass by Vlamingh Lookout, which is well worth a quick stop to soak in some of the most picturesque views of the island.
Once you reach the lighthouse, which stands at the highest point of Rottnest and offers an uninterrupted view of Perth, a quick refuel is definitely called for. Kalli’s on Rotto - the coffee stand near the lighthouse - has great coffee, toasties, and muffins to keep your energy up for the rest of the afternoon.
After this well-earned break, head back down the same road you came up (Digby Drive) but this time, take the first left onto Defence Road for a rest stop at Pink Lake. Aptly named, the water's pinkish colour is caused by naturally occurring algae. Add it to your instagram story before continuing north along Defence Road past Lake Sirius, Lake Negri, Lake Baghdad and Lake Vincent.
From here you’re only a 10-minute ride away from lunch at Geordie’s Cafe & Gallery - a charming little eatery and art space that’s been a favourite on the island since it starting serving seafood, gourmet burgers and a range of delicious salads. Take the time to digest these treats before exploring the nearby Little Parakeet Bay and Geordie Bay, which are both scenic hotspots and well worth a post-lunch dip.
Once you’ve crossed these off your list, your next stop should be The Basin. One of Australia’s most beautiful beaches, an hour or two here could be the exclamation mark on a beautiful day on Rottnest. A natural aquatic amphitheatre with shallow waters and kid-friendly waves, it’s a great spot for a swim after your efforts on the bike. Relax in The Basin’s crystal clear waters or explore its visible reef that punctuates the bay.
Next, it's time to treat yourself to a late-afternoon snack or beverage at Pinky’s Beach Club. A contemporary beachside restaurant and bar inside the Discovery - Rottnest Island property, Pinky’s Beach Club overlooks the beautiful Pinky Beach Bay. With the Bathhurst Lighthouse setting off the scene in the background, Pinky’s is a gorgeous sunset spot to wind down in after an eventful Rottnest day.
Wishing you had more time? Book a stay at Discovery - Rottnest Island and take your time to explore the entire island
Of course, a day at Rottnest Island wouldn't be complete without a close encounter with the world’s happiest animal, the quokka!
Once you’ve had your fill at Pinky’s Beach Club, head back towards the Rottnest Island Visitor Centre near Thomsons Bay Settlement and you’ll easily find a local population of quokkas happily exploring the grounds. Early evenings are the best time to see these nocturnal marsupials and while quokkas are adorably cute and friendly, touching or petting them is not permitted for the safety and protection of both you and the quokkas themselves.
Bucket-list item complete, from Thomsons Bay Settlement you can now make your way back to the Rottnest Island jetty just in time to catch the last ferry back to the mainland!
To extend your time on this little patch of paradise, consider a weekend glamping experience on Discovery Rottnest Island. Check out our deals today!