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Monique Ceccato, travel writer

Rottnest Island, Western Australia

If you don’t believe that Australia boasts some of the best beaches in the world, you probably haven’t been to WA. Take Rottnest Island, a postcard-perfect parcel of land just a short ferry ride from Perth, all translucent blue seas and white sandy coves. The car-free island is famed for its marsupial locals – quokkas – and with luxe new accommodation options it’s fast becoming a mecca for the A-list, too (think Isla Fisher and Sacha Baron Cohen; Hugh Jackman; and the Hemsworths). Go for a day trip or turn it into a lengthier escape – just follow these inside tips from travel journalist and “Rotto” regular Monique Ceccato. 

Prettiest bay

Photography by @ospreycreative

Little Salmon Bay

“There’s no shortage of beautiful beaches on the island, but Little Salmon Bay is something truly special. Along the southern coast of the island, this spot is protected from the afternoon north-westerly winds and is the perfect spot to enjoy a quick dip or a bit of snorkelling. The natural gap in the reef makes for some brilliant turquoise water for the ‘gram too.”

Wheel power

Blue crush

Pedal and flipper

“Rottnest Island is famously car-free so the easiest way to get around is with a bit of pedal power. Pick up a bike for the day, pack some snacks, and explore the further reaches of the island. Don’t forget your bathers!”

Bedford Ave, Rottnest Island

Decadent cruising

Catch of the day

“This is easily the best half-day tour you can take from Rottnest Island. Start the day off with some cray pot pulling and eat your fresh catch on board for lunch. There’s no better way to enjoy a seafood feast (crayfish, prawns, fish, octopus, and more) than on the ocean, with one of Rottnest’s exquisite bays as your backdrop.”

Thomson Bay Fuel Jetty, Rottnest Island

Afternoon drinks

Pinky’s Beach Club

“Just behind the dunes of Pinky’s Beach is the easy, breezy, open-air Pinky’s Beach Club. There’s plenty of lawn to stretch out on, and a banging list of pink beverages (roses and signature gin cocktails) to indulge in. If you’re lucky, you’ll catch a DJ or some live music while you’re there too.”

Strue Rd, Rottnest Island 

Stunning sunset

Golden hour

Pinky’s Beach

“There’s a little bench halfway down the staircase from the Bathurst lighthouse and it’s the most magnificent spot to watch the sunset. It looks west across Pinky’s Beach as the sun illuminates the whole bay. Depending on what time of the year you’re on Rottnest, there may even be whales breaching on the outer limits of the bay.”

Beachside diner

Rottnest Hotel

“It’s a crime to head to Rottnest and not pay the Rottnest Hotel a visit. The beer garden that looks out on Thompson’s Bay is a total vibe, and the menu boasts everything from Shark Bay whiting and prawns to Amelia Park lamb and pizzas. The pub is also well known for its friendly quokkas. You can admire them, just don’t share your meal them.”

Thompson Bay, 1 Bedford Ave

Where to stay

Luxe lounging

“It’s only just opened its doors and it’s already the place to be on Rottnest Island. It’s chic, it’s breezy, and it’s right on the water at Thompsons Bay. Up until now, there hasn’t really been an option for a luxury stay on laid-back Rottnest.”

Corner Welch Road and McCallum Ave, Rottnest Island

For the thrill seeker

“If you’re not content you’ve seen all there is to see on Rottnest, I recommend seeing it from the sky. Get your thrills as well as a bird’s-eye view of the colourful waters that surround the island, the pink salt lakes, and those beautiful white sand beaches. This one isn’t for the faint of heart!”

Brand Way, Rottnest Island
The high life

The fine print

How to get there
Rottnest Island is a short ferry ride from Fremantle, Perth City or Hillarys on the Rottnest Express, Rottnest Fast Ferries or SeaLink Rottnest Island.

Getting around
Hire a bike on arrival: easy trails wind around the entire 19-square-kilometre island. Alternatively, you can hop on and off the Island Explorer Bus, which visits all the main attractions.

Wildlife warning
“The quokkas are the island’s most famous inhabitants,” says Monique (in fact, #quokkaselfies returns a cool 28.7k results on Instagram). “They’re friendly little creatures, but the ones in town will bite if you try and touch them (they think you have food). Also, don’t feed them!”

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