Introduction to Wadjemup - Rottnest Island

Rottnest Island (Wadjemup in the local Whadjuk Noongar language)  situated 19 km away from Freemantle Coast and 33 km away from Perth, is a gem that stands out for its numerous beautiful and glistering beaches, as well as the place that holds one of the largest Quokka population in the world.

By measure, the island is only 11 km long by 4.5 km wide, and 19 km2 in area. Despite being sized-humble, Rottnest Island offers up to 63 beaches, 20 bays with 135 species, and countless corals to visitors who want to soak themselves in the beauty of mother nature. Besides the water, there is also approximately 45 km of walking trails and 22 km of cycling paths and roads for others that want to get their steps done for the day while enjoying the vibrant scenery. 

Cultural information 

Wadjemup translates to “the place across the water where the spirits are". To the Traditional Owners, the Whadjuk Noongar people, Wadjemup is a resting place of the spirits and the memorial space of Aboriginal men and boys whose bodies rest beneath the sand of the land. Wadjemup also keeps a spiritual and cultural connection to the Traditional Owners, the Whadjuk Noongar people. 

  • Traditional name: Wadjemup (pronounced Wad-jem-up)
  • Indigenous Peoples: Whadjuk Noongar people
  • Traditional lands: Whadjuk Nyoongar booja country
  • Traditional languages: Whadjuk Noongar language 
  • How to say g’day in Noongar: Kaya
  • Oliver Hill Road, Rottnest Island Western Australia 6161, Australia


Transport to Rottnest Island

In order to reach Rottnest Island, you will need to come to Perth first. From Perth, travelers can choose between sea or air travel.

  • Sea travel: Ferries will take from 25 minutes to around 90 minutes, depending on where you catch the ferries from. Available ports that depart to Rottnest are Barrack Street Jetty (Perth), Rous Head (North Fremantle), Victoria Quay (Freemantle), and Hillarys Boat Harbor. All harbors are accessible by public transport, cars, or taxis.
  • Air travel: private charter flights and helicopters are available as alternatives. You can reserve a scenic flight, which will add extra travel time, to experience the breathtaking scene from above.

What's good to eat in Rottnest Island

The island has several options, from seafood, and chips to fusion dishes and bottomless brunches cooked and served by the locals. The uniqueness lies within the view you will be savoring your favorite dishes with. The cool breezes and the sound of the sea will accompany and enhance your experience in Rottnest Island.

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    Information about accommodation in Rottnest Island

    There are plenty of choices for you to choose from. If you want a closer-to-nature experience, eco-tents and tents at the campground are the perfect options. Eco-tents also have premium upgrades for people who want a more private, comfortable experience. Other available options are resorts, hotels, dorms, and self-contained accommodations such as beach-front units, cottages, bungalows, and cabins. 


    Best things to do in Rottnest Island

    • Beach hopping

    Given an impressive number of beaches wrapped around by the Indian Ocean, bays and coastals, beach hopping is a no-skip to most travelers, especially if you’re a beach-lover. The beaches here are often known for being crystal-clear, to the point that you will be able to spot some sea creatures around while you're there. The possibilities are endless: you can swim, dive, snorkel, or even just a quick sun-bathe under the warm sunray. A large number of beaches also means it is not challenging to secure a secluded and quieter spot for your relaxation. 

    • Quokka spotting

    With approximately 10,000 quokkas living in Rottnest Island, you will most likely spot at least one of the world’s happiest animals  while you're moving around. When noticing one, or more, you can take a quick ‘selfie' with them. Just remember to allow them some space and lower your volume so the little friend won't be startled. 

    • Exploring the Aboriginal history and culture

    If you want a journey through the Aboriginal past of Perth, opt for a Wadjemup Aboriginal Walking tour guided by the local Whadjuk people. The 60-minute tour will take you through buildings, infrastructure like Goologoolup (Yagan Square), Goomup (Elizabeth Quay), and cultural artifacts that will unveil the history of Wadjemup - the Aboriginal name of Rottnest Island. 

    If you want a more immersive glimpse into the Whadjuk culture, welcoming and cleansing ceremonies are highly recommended. 

    • Welcome to Country: the loremen - the traditional people of the region will do a Welcome statement and a song will be sung in the Noongar language accompanied by a ‘kylie’ (boomerang). 
    • Smoking Ceremonies: a cleansing ritual where you will be guided to walk through a smoke infused with the aroma of the traditional Australian bush. The ritual is time-honoured and will be accompanied by the Whadjuk Noongar traditional song and interpretations.