We’ve put together a list of 5 free activities you and your kids will love while you get to know this laid-back location.
1. Explore the Wadjemup Bidi
The Wadjemup Bidi is a recently completed series of walking trails that take you across the island’s unique coastal landscape, taking in its natural beauty, wildlife and rich cultural heritage. The name comes from the Noongar language of the Whadjuk Noongar people, who are the Traditional Owners of Rottnest Island. The meaning of ‘Bidi’ is ‘trail’ or ‘track’, while Wadjemup means ‘place across the water where the spirits are.’
The trail is 45 kilometres long, but broken into five sections, so you don’t have to commit to the whole thing. Each section is different from the last, showcasing the beautiful landmarks the island is known for.
2. Take a Quokka Selfie
Rottnest is framed by white sandy beaches and turquoise blue waters, but despite the dazzling coast, one of the biggest draws to the island is the adorably cute quokka.
Quokkas are everywhere on Rottnest Island. They’re considered endangered on the Australian mainland, but live in abundance on Rotto due to a lack of predators and heavy traffic. It’s estimated there are between 10,000-12,000 living on the relatively small island, so spotting a quokka is an easy feat.
These furry critters are extra special because they smile widely and often. If you look up #quokkaselfie on Instagram, you’ll see more than 36,000 posts of people sharing their memorable quokka moments.
3. Discover Underwater Snorkeling Trails
Rottnest Island comprises two worlds: the sandy beaches and lush greenery above and the colourful marine life below. Adventure awaits for snorkelers keen to discover the underwater landscape, which more than 135 species of vibrant tropical fish and 20 species of coral call home. There’s even a shipwreck on the coastline that can be easily spotted from the water’s surface.
Several of the island’s protected bays feature plaques on the seabed especially for snorkelers that share insightful information about flora and fish life. Each plaque has two handles to hang on to while you read underwater. Water conditions are generally calm, clear and beautiful, making the underwater trail easy to follow.
Parker Point Marine Snorkel Trail and Little Salmon Bay Trail can be found on the southern side of the Island. Both are ideal for viewing marine life, with snorkel trails to follow via a series of underwater plaques. To hire snorkel gear for your next trip, visit here.
4. Watch the sunset from Bathurst Lighthouse
Bathurst Lighthouse is more than 100 years old, located at one of the highest points of Rottnest Island. The light that emits at night enables boats arriving and leaving Rotto to navigate the reefs around the island safely.
While Bathurst Lighthouse is closed to visitors, it offers the most breathtaking views of the island, including Pinky’s Beach. Watching the sunset from the lighthouse is quite spectacular as the sky changes and saturates with hues of pink and orange, a stark contrast to the bright blues of the day.
5. Swim in the Basin
Thanks to its crystal-clear water and soft white sandy beach, the Basin is a favourite swimming spot. With safe shallow waters, it’s an ideal spot for young families looking to spend some quality time together. Shaded picnic areas, toilets and pine trees frame the narrow 200m-long beach that looks like it’s been perfectly sculpted out of the bluffs.
The beach has a visible reef edge and the calm waters spill over the rocks, creating small rock pools for kids to wade through and develop a love for exploring the coast and its resident marine life.
Making your way to the Basin is easy. It is only accessible by foot or bicycle – follow the signposts out of the local settlement and pass the tennis courts. To hire a bike for your trip to Rottnest Island, click here.
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