Rottnest, or 'Rotto' as it is affectionately known by Western Australians, is a small island situated just off the coast of Perth famous for its snorkelling, diving, surfing and swimming. A popular holiday destination for locals and visitors, Rottnest is home to some of the world's finest beaches and crystal clear bays. The semi-arid Mediterranean style climate and indigenous flora and fauna of this island, provide the backdrop to a special holiday experience.
The diversity of fish and coral species, and the numerous shipwrecks found around the Island make Rottnest Island a favourite site for divers and snorkellers. There are thirteen historic shipwrecks found here and many species of tropical fish make their home in and around the numerous reefs. Around 360 species of fish are drawn to the waters off Rottnest by the Leeuwin current and some 20 species of coral are found within the Marine Reserve, which ensures the protection of the marine environment.
Rottnest Island boasts some of the best surfing conditions in the state. Strickland Bay, Salmon Bay and Stark Bay in particular are popular for surfers and bodyboarders. The waves can often be two to three feet larger than those at Perth beaches.
The swimming at Rottnest is superb. The island has many sheltered bays and beaches perfect for a day in the water. Popular spots include the Basin, Longreach Bay, Little Parakeet Bay, and Geordie Bay. Rottnest Island is also popular site for recreational fishing. Equipment can be hired or bought at the local dive shops and the general stores.
One reason for the idyllic and relaxed atmosphere on Rottnest Island is the absence of cars. Bicycles are the popular mode of transport and can be hired on the island. There are many other land based activities available with the island's unique golf course presenting a challenge, or visitors can get educated about Rottnest on a guided tour.
Rottnest has a rich and colourful history as an Aboriginal penal colony, military installation and salt processing site. Today, this history is still very much a part of the island's appeal with tours to historical buildings, prison cells, world war two guns, and the sacred site of the aboriginal cemetery.
Other walks include tours to the salt lakes and lighthouse, as well as the popular 'quokka walk'. Rottnest wouldn't be Rottnest without the quokkas, the small marsupials which inhabit the island and were the inspiration for the island's name.
It is great to spend a few days at Rottnest, but you can still have a relaxing time visiting for a day. It won't take you long to settle into Rottnest Island's relaxed pace.
If you'd like to stay, there is a range of accommodation available on the Island to suit all tastes and budgets. Villas, units, bungalows, cabins, tent sites and youth hostel facilities can be booked through the Rottnest Island Authority. The Rottnest Hotel and Rottnest Lodge also offer accommodation. Special winter packages are available.
For more information about holidaying on one of Western Australia's premier holiday destinations, email the Rottnest Visitor Centre at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone +61 8 9372 9752.