The small, breathtaking island of Rottnest Island is just 19 kilometres from Perth. Anna, a backpacker who travelled to Australia on the Working Holiday Visa, reveals why you should visit Rottnest Island and why it is so special.

How to get to Rottnest Island?

It was a wonderful day. We took the Rottnest Express, the ferry that connects Perth, Freemantle, and Rottnest Island. A round trip from Freo costs 45.50 AUD (a little more expensive than from Perth) plus 18.50 AUD Island Admission Fee. We left Fremantle in the morning and arrived 30 minutes later. It was love at first sight! We had known that the island would be very idyllic, but what we saw then exceeded all our expectations.


How do you move around on the island?

Cars are banned from Rottnest Island, your visit will be very different compared to other places. Buses and a few service vehicles are exempted. This means you have to rely on your own feet or a bike. You don’t have a bike? No problem. You can rent bicycles on the island. Since there is only one bike rental though, prices are relatively high (30 AUD per day, 88 AUD per week).

Piece of advice: You can reserve the bike in advance when you are booking the ferry ticket. As soon as you arrive by ferry, you can immediately grab the bike and cycle off. The costs are about the same.
The tour across the island is 22 kilometres long. I thought it would be a piece of cake. With a helmet on my head and full of anticipation, we set off. It quickly became clear: It won’t be that easy. The island is full of hills and serpentines. For someone like me, who does not do sports and had not been sitting on a bike for more than 10 years, it was a real challenge. The breathtaking scenery and incredible beaches made up for it all though.

rottnest island cycling

Our route

The first stop was at The Basin – a small, beautiful, natural pool. Then we went to Cape Vlamingh, where the wild landscape marks the end of the western Territory. There is so much wildlife: you will surely encounter snakes, iguanas, and other reptiles.

We continued to the east. We made a short stop at the incredible Little Salmon Bay – a true paradise: white sand and crystal clear water that shimmered turquoise. It’s hard to put into words how beautiful it was there. We went for a swim, said hello to a few fish and had a well-deserved nap on the beach.
Back in the only village of the island, we went for a little stroll. We saw the famous Quokkas, who enchanted us with their friendly smile. The little animal looks like a mixture of a kangaroo, a rat, and a squirrel.

A beautiful end of the day! We took the bikes back and took the ferry back to reality.

rottnest island


  • Thomson Bay: The harbour and the only village in the city
  • The Basin: A great natural pool
  • Little Armstrong Bay: Lonely Beaches
  • Cape Vlamingh: Stunning scenery
  • Little Salmon Bay: Snorkelling and one of the most beautiful beaches in Australia

Take with you

  • Lots of water. There are shops in Thomson Bay, but prices are a lot more expensive than on the mainland
  • Snorkelling gear
  • Solid shoes
  • Camera

Have you ever been to Rottnest Island? Share your experiences with other backpackers!

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Updated on the 04/12/2019. Initially published on the 02/02/2019.

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