Affordable Luxury at Western Australia’s Rottnest Island

in Australia

Rottnest Island is a small isle located 30 minutes from the Western Australian city of Fremantle. The beachside spot is steeped in history and rich in wildlife.

The native Aboriginal tribe, the Noongar people, call it Wadjemup, meaning “place across the water.”

When they settled more than 30,000 years ago, the spot was connected to the mainland. However, around 7000 years ago the raging seas saw the island break away.

It took until 1696 for European explorers to discover this Australian paradise. Dutchman Willem de Vlamingh named the island after the rat-like quokkas he found there. Around 10,000 of the rabbit-sized marsupials live on Rottnest Island today. They are nocturnal, but you are likely to spot them as night falls. Quokkas are curious creatures and show no fear of humans. However, it is illegal for tourists to handle them in any way. The penalty is generally a $100 on-the-spot fine, although offenders may face fines of up to $1000.

Rottnest island is relatively small, measuring just 11 kilometers long and four-and-a-half kilometres wide. That means most tourists stay for just a day, although it’s possible to book accommodation and see the surrounds at a slower pace. The island boasts around 300 self-catered holiday homes, including cottages, bungalows, and cabins. However, Rottnest island is so popular that a ballot system is used during the peak summer season. It opens on the first working day of each month for the corresponding month next year.

rottnestislandIf you do snare accommodation, a stay on Rottnest is an experience to be savored. While the rooms aren’t luxurious, the peaceful way of life is a great drawcard. There are no cars, and only a few buses. Most locals and visitors walk or cycle to the island’s attractions, including beaches, golf courses, and tennis courses. Snorkeling, fishing, and diving for crayfish are all popular coastal pursuits. Volunteer guides also take tourists to some of the island’s historical sites.

Ferries run daily from Fremantle, Perth, and Hillarys. Air taxis also operate daily between Jandakot and Rottnest Island Airport.

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