Relaxing on Rottnest
Rottnest Island, a small secluded island off the coast of Fremantle, Perth, is packed with pure Western Australian charm. With picturesque white sandy beaches, an abundance of sunshine and a large helping of exotic animals, Rottnest is a truly magical place to cycle.
A short 25 minute ferry ride away from the hustle and bustle of the city and with a population of just over 100 people Rottnest has fantastic unspoiled coastlines perfect for cycling escapes. With no private cars allowed on the island, two wheels is the greatest way to get around.
Ride: Cycling on The Island
Since private cars are banned from the island, the terrain has become a cycling haven and destination to tick off the holiday list for many across Australia and indeed around the world. There are two main forms of getting around the 19k island; by shuttle bus or by bike. With temperatures often reaching close to 40°c in the height of summer, a shuttle bus is an option for those who want to stay out of the sun. However, it can get hot and sticky inside the bus and you may miss out on the authentic views, as certain routes are off limits for anything other than bikers or walkers. Cycling the perimeter of the island with a cool breeze in your hair can also be a very relaxing experience, with a sense of freedom attached.
There are plenty of bicycle hire facilities on the island, with a day hire pass at $30 (around £15). Pretty reasonable for a once in a lifetime opportunity to spend the day of cycling in what feels like paradise! Biking around the island can be done in a few hours, and with over 60 beaches to discover a bike can add the convenience with each bay just a short pedal from each other. Hiring a bike or indeed bringing your own gives you the opportunity to spend your day how you want to with no restrictions in the form of bus schedules or drop off points. Perhaps the biggest advantage of this is that when cycling you have the power to stop pedalling when you want to take in the atmosphere and even capture the breathtaking views on camera.
The island has cycle routes with some of the most surreal panoramic views in Australia. The island is particularly environmentally conscious and so cycling around the island will help you to do your bit for reducing your CO2 footprint whilst simultaneously immersing yourself in nature. Clifftop cycle routes along the island act as the perfect lookout point, with 360° views out to the Indian ocean.
The island of Rottnest is an oasis of wildlife and a haven for nature lovers. Something unique separating Rottnest Island from mainland Australia and particularly the rest of the world is the wildlife. It is the place to go to get up close to Aussie wildlife. This is partly because the island is the only place in the entire world where the adorable Rottnest native Quokka can be found living naturally and undisturbed in the wild. As the smallest members of the macropod family, Quokka’s appearance can be somewhat described as a large rat mixed with a small kangaroo. But don’t let the rat part put you off, the Quokka is absolutely adorable and pretty friendly too!
In April each year around 35,000 humpback and Southern Right whales can be seen migrating past the island and returning back between September and December. Little Salmon bay is the place to look out for wild pods of Bottlenose dolphins feeding or playing in the surf. As if you needed any more persuasion to come to the island, it isn’t everyday that you get to watch migrating Bottlenose dolphins, humpback whales, fur seals and sea lions whilst enjoying a leisurely bike ride.
There are a number of choices of accommodation both on and off the island. You can choose to come to Rottnest for the day and stay in a hotel or apartment in the city of Perth or surrounding suburbs such as Fremantle where there is more to do. Alternatively if you wanted to stay on the island longer, there is a range of options from budget to premium accommodation. With a range of camping sites and cabins to the island hotel and the Karma Rottnest luxury hotel style apartments, the island accommodation caters for all.
With 63 beaches and 20 secluded bays, you will be spoilt for choice and be sure to find a quiet place to relax on the island. Which beach you visit on the island will depend on what you want to do. Little Salmon Bay is not only a good spot to catch a glimpse of dolphins but the crystal clear waters of the bay are an underwater playground for the vast coral reefs and tropical fish that inhabit the bay. Perfect conditions to get up close to the wildlife and snorkel in.
Colebatch Ave, Rottnest Island WA 6161, Australia
Although the island is small, there are still four restaurants that are perfect for evening meals. Whilst the bakery, handful of cafes and the small local shop will give you enough choice for lunches on the island. Aristos waterfront cafe-restaurant specialises in fresh seafood and provides a relaxed atmosphere and views around the island and back to the mainland.
However if you are only visiting the island for the day then I would recommend the short journey from the island and into the city for a meal out at least once is a good idea. Perth is the largest city in the whole of Western Australia and has a huge cafe culture. Perth offers so much when it comes to food and it is here that you will find a variety of restaurants serving a range of multicultural dishes, seafood restaurants and more.
Drink: The Aviary Rooftop Bar
The Aviary Perth, Level 1/140 William Street, Perth WA 6000, Australia
As with food options on the island, there are limited places to drink on the island itself as it is so small. Again, heading into the cosmopolitan capital city of Western Australia, Perth is where you will find an abundance of rooftop bars looking out over the city.
If you are looking for somewhere to drink when in the city then an obvious choice would be the largest rooftop bar in Perth, The Aviary. This rooftop restaurant and bar provides a warm friendly atmosphere accompanied with views over the city skyline. Open from 11am until late, the colourfully decorated rooftop is the perfect suntrap and even has day beds to relax on.
Written by: Ella Jenkinson