Roadtrip day 26: Rottnest Island, quokka paradise of Australia

Quokkas, crystal clear water, white beaches, wildlife and bicycles, Rottnest Island is a paradise and easy to reach from the capital of the west coast, Perth.

Everyone who knows me a bit knows I’m crazy about animals. I even think that a snake is cute. I see myself ending as an old crazy cat lady living together with my English men and 10 cats, rabbits, goats and an otter #lifegoals.

Anyway, the reason why I was so excited to go to Rottnest island if you can guess it, was to meet the happiest animal in the world. The Quokka! Don’t get me wrong, Rottnest Island is much more than just a home for Quokkas but I will tell you more about that later on.

What is a Quokka?

The quokka is a marsupial and does only exist on Rottnest Island. They are probably the friendliest animals on earth who loves attention and food. They look like a big rat, who moves like a kangaroo,  with a smiley face and a little pouch. Super cute! A few years ago the Quokka became famous via Instagram. People were posting #quokkaselfies on instagram whereby they stole the heart from many many people in the world. So the goal for our visit to Rottnest island was to get a quokka selfie. Believe me, that is more difficult than you think it would be (I will tell you more about the best technique later :P).

quokka rottnest island

Rottnest Island

We booked our ferry ticket to Rottnest Island online for the next day. You can choose to either depart from Perth or from Fremantle. As we were only going for one day, we booked the earliest ferry at 7 am so we had enough time to explore the island.

rottnest ferry

The ferry arrives at Thomson Bay, this is the only settlement on Rottnest island. Here you find some restaurants, a small shop, hotels, and equipment rental. We first went to the visitor center to get a map and to get some more information about the island. The best way to explore the island is by renting a bicycle for the day. It is fun and easy going around my bike and the island is very small. The best would be if you rent a bicycle together with your ferry ticket but unfortunately, the bikes were all rented out when we wanted to book our ferry ticket. So we ended up renting the 2 bicycles at Pedal & Flipper in Thomson Bay. You pay $30 per bike for a 24 hours rental. Ed really wanted to rent a tandem but after a failed trial round I convinced him to just get 2 bicycles (I really suck in riding a tandem bike apparently).

bikes rottnest island

 After we bought enough water and some snacks for on the way in the village, we started our journey around the island. In 1 day you can cycle around the whole island and you will have time to stop along the way to swim and snorkel. I can recommend staying a night on the island as there is a lot to do, especially if you are there, like us, in the summer. There are soo many beautiful beaches, great snorkel spots and lots of wildlife.

rottnest beach

 The beaches at Rottnest island are super beautiful and the water is really clear. They have signs along the road to point out the best snorkel spots, easy! Apparently, diving is good on Rottnest as well but we didn’t try that.

rottnest island

rottnest island view

How to get the perfect #Quokkaselfie?

I was so excited when I saw our first Quokka, they are really cute and funny to watch. It’s not difficult to spot a Quokka, they are literally everywhere on Rottnest Island but the difficult part is to find a quokka who is not occupied yet. They are really curious animals, and of course, because people have been feeding them (which unfortunately happens a lot), they will come to you and try to steal some food. So to get the perfect picture, you need to find a quokka who does not have a lot of people around them.

We were cycling to the next beach when we noticed 2 very cute quokkas under a three. We stopped and finally we had some private time with these cuties. We had some dry biscuits and fruit to get them closer to us, we tried not to feed them but before we noticed it they stole the cookies out of our bag.  I think we took about 300 different photos before we were finally happy with the result. Believe me, they move a lot and the only thing they try to do is steal your food. Their nails are very sharp so I was covered in scratches after our photo session but the result was there!

So to get the perfect picture you need:

  • Some fruit or vegetables to get their attention
  • Find your “own” quokka, not one who is distracted by other people
  • Be patient
  • Enough memory on your phone to take a lot of photos

quokka rottnestrottnest island

Rottnest, wildlife paradise

Besides quokkas, you can also spot the resident colony of New Zealand Fur Seals from the New Cathedral Rocks viewing platform. When we got there, we came across a couple who told us they just swam with the sea lions. We were not sure if we were allowed, but there was not any sign saying that you are not allowed to swim. We decided to give it a go and climbed off the cliff and walked via the rocks in the water. What an experience was that! We kept about 5 – 10 meters distance of the sea lions as we didn’t want to disturb them but it was so beautiful to see them up and close playing in the water! The water here was not that clear so, unfortunately, we don’t have good underwater pictures of the sea lions. Definitely, give it a go when you are there! By far one of the best experiences ever.

sea lions rottnest


Unfortunately, if you are only going for 1 day, you have to bring back the bicycles by 3.30 pm. So after our swim adventure, it was time to head back to the main village where we had lunch and enjoyed the last hours of sun before we had to take the ferry back at 18.00 pm.

rottnest view

We both fell in love with the island and wish we could stay longer, but unfortunately, I had to go back to Melbourne for work so this day on Rottnest Island was officially the last day or our road trip in Australia. I couldn’t think of a better of our holiday! Rottnest Island, we will be back!


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