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Rottnest Island, or Rotto as it is called by the locals, is an island located 18 kilometres off the coast of Perth in Western Australia and is a must do day trip when visiting this stunning part of the world. The island boasts beautiful white sand beaches, a collection of gorgeous old colonial buildings, great restaurants, family friendly activities, and perhaps most famously, a funny little animal called a quokka.
THE CUTE LOCALS
Let’s start with the quokka. Describing them is a bit hard because they somewhat resemble a cat sized rat. However, they’re definitely not yucky like rats, they are in fact, outrageously cute thanks to their facial features which make them look like they’re constantly smiling. The island is one of the few places these wee guys survive today, and you’ll have no problem spotting them as they laze in the gardens or on the grass under the shade of a trees. While you’re not allowed to handle them, they are very tame and inquisitive so they’ll most probably come over to check you out.
GETTING AROUND THE BEACHES
Once you’ve snapped a million pics of the smiling quokka, there’s the rest of the island to explore. The ferry over from Perth drops you at Thomson Bay where most of the hotels and restaurants are located. There’s a great family friendly beach here, but we recommend you hire a bike from the visitor centre to enjoy some of the further flung beaches as the island is about 10 kilometres long. Rotto has a ring road meaning it’s easy to get from beach to beach, many of which you can have to yourself. Each of the beaches has beautiful white sand and the water is calm, clear and warm, be sure to pack your snorkel, there’s plenty to be seen under the water in rockier beaches like The Basin. If cycling’s not your thing, there is a hop on/hop off bus and even Segway tours available.
EXPLORE THE HISTORY
History buffs will love the museums and galleries housed in lovely colonial era buildings, mostly built by prisoners interned on the island, with the unique beige/white stone quarried locally on the island. Most have been converted into hotels and restaurants, however they once housed convicts, a boy’s reform school and the military. During WWII the military also constructed secret tunnels and lookouts in the hillside which can still be explored today.
EAT AND DRINK IN THE SUN
When the tummy’s grumbling, head back to Thomson Bay for a meal with a view. The iconic Hotel Rottnest has a great restaurant with views over the manicured lawns to the beach. Or if you’re a seafood fan (whether it be fish and chips or one of their famous seafood platters), Aristos is where you want to be. They also have waterfront views, and both restaurants are perfect for kicking back with a few drinks in the sun before your ferry ride home.
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