When going to, or upon arrival most visitors hire Bicycles here...as there is no cars allowed on the Island apart from essential services..The mode of transport is by bike and because there are no cars on the islands roads they are really safe for the Children...There is a bus that does a loop of the Island and is a "hop on hop off" with an anywhere ticket available at bus station. It is really easy to find a good spot as there are numerous pristine beaches located right around the coast..as it can get very hot here a good hat is a must. Don't forget your beach towel and swimmers..
Stop off at the visitors information centre who are very helpful and will tell you all what you can do on the Island. There is a Rottenest Voluntary Guide system in place, where they run lots of free guided walks in and around the Island. Many activities including surfing, scuba diving, snorkelling and sailing. Because the Island is small rent a bike on the mainland or on Rottenest and take a trip around the island to see the spectacular scenery. Stop off at the many beautiful beaches and have a picnic or go for a swim. No cars are allowed on the island. You can rent out one of the many apartments spread across the island or stay at the hotel. I just did the day trip and l took my own bike. No much else to do except relax and l did try the green beer as l spent "St Patricks Day" on the island.. take my advice and don't touch it.. I am only sorry l did not have more time to stay longer.
During its history, Rottnest Island was a penal colony for Aboriginal people. Thirteen people are believed to have been buried in the cemetery, though the names of only seven are known :
Luke Ankerman Drowned 19th Dec 1883 Age unknown
Henry Phillips (7th B. Rifle Brigade) Died 1st Nov 1862 Age 46 years
Emily Shea Died 1869 Age 9 years
Queenie Gurney Died 3rd Nov 1893 Age 6 years 4 months
Florence Mary Storrs Died 10th May 1898 Age 10.5 weeks
Patrick William O' Donoghue Died 13th Jan 1899 Age 10 weeks
Henry Hall (Father a warder) Died Unknown Age 26 days
However, approximately 22 graves appear to be marked so there is some discrepancy between the facts that are displayed on a plaque.
These graves were those of staff, warders and army personnel based at the colony.
A further cemetery on the island contains numerous Aboriginal graves which are unmarked.
When a Dutch expedition discovered the island in 1696, they spotted "a kind of big rats" that lived there in masses. After them they named it "RatteNest", which later became Rottnest.
The "rats" are in fact a species of very small kangaroos. When sitting upright they are about 40 cms tall. Their tails are hairless and when they bend down they do indeed look a bit like rats. Nevertheless they are cute little fellows.
On the mainland this species is almost extinct but on the car-free and dog-free island they have a chance to survive.
The quokkas of Rottnest Island are very tame. This bunch of five, four adults and a half-grown joey, more or less ambushed us. We were wheezing up a steep dune on our gearless old bikes when we spotted them hopping towards us. They had obviously been waiting for someone to come along and entertain them. The little guys investigated the bikes and were happy to receive a pat and scratch.
You are most likely to meet them in shady places with some trees.
Please do not feed them. You are not doing them a favour. They will get sick from food that is not part of their natural diet.
Rottnest Island is inhabited by many species of sea and water birds. Parrots have arrived on the island, too.
The freshwater lakes in the middle are populated by smaller water birds who like the shallow and calm water. If you keep your eyes open you can spot any different kinds of birds within close distance.
The middle of the island near the lighthouse has some freshwater lakes. The colours are fascinating. One of them is a pink lake, the one next to it is bright blue. For whatever reason only one of the lakes contains the bacteria that create the pink colour.
The lakes are populated by many different species of water birds.
On clear sunny days it's hard to imagine how this island can be a threat to ships, but it is. There are several shipwrecks on the sea bottom around it. Some can be seen during a tour with a glass bottom boat or when scuba diving. Some are even visible from the shore, like this one, the trawler "Henrietta" close to the southwestern edge.
You can ride the complete island in 24Km's. There are many accessiable beaches along the way. Maps can be obtained from the tourist centre as soon as you disembark the ferry's.
Take note of the toilet and water facilities. Always bring some water, snacks and sunscreen fro the ride.
You can bring your own bike along or hire one from the ferry service or island!
Parker point has a snorkel trail that leads you to different plagues outlining the islands flora and fauna.
We went to Parker point first thing in the morning and the water was very calm. We set up in a small cove area and had the snorkel trail to ourselves!
Parker Point has some beautiful pink coral!
Where is the trail?
Walk down the stairs and to your left are some rocks, the trail is on the other side.....there are buoys that mark the area. You cant access the other side on land, so you will need to set up on the beach and swim or walk as the water is not deep.
Rottnest Island has many reefs to explore and also ship wrecks! Some reefs are accessable from the beach shore and very family friendly such as Little Salmon Bay and Parker Point Marine Sanctuary.
Other snorkel points include Fays Bay and Little Parkeet bay.
Each reef is very unqiue - some have coral, others have lots of grasses and others have the cliffs.
Snorkelling is the best in the morning when the ocean is calm, in the afternoon the swell increases and it can be choppy at times.