The only way to get to Rottnest is by boat and the only boats that go there (unless you have your own and permission to land there, ditto your own plane) is the Rottnest Express or the Hillarys Ferry (Hillarys does not run in the winter)
The Rottnest Express boats leave from Perth city centre, down by the Bell Tower, and from Fremantle ( BShed, Victoria Quay) Prices range from $74.50 for an adult (children $10 to £60) from Perth or $59.50 from Fremantle (children $7 to $50) Concessions are available for O.A.P.s and there are Family tickets available on both routes which offer big savings. Check the website for details and sailing times & Tuesdays is discount day.
There are five ways to see Rottnest Island (6 if you sail around it) There is good old fashioned walking, you can hire a bicycle, take the tourist train up to Oliver Hill or there is the Bayseeker bus that just goes round and round all day stopping at some of the best beaches and sightseeing spots. The best way to see it is from one of the airplane trips around the island from the airfield. There are no cars except maintenance and ranger vehicles as this a class 'A' reserve.
I opted to cycle around the island, it took most of the day because I kept stopping to take photos, admire the views and paddle in the crystal clear waters to ease my aching legs. It was a great way to see the wildlife, mostly quokkas, Kings skinks & a few snakes, the longer you spend here the more you will notice, knowing where to look helps a lot too.
Bikes can be hired when you book your ferry crossing or on arrival from the cycle hire shop, I'd opt for the former as it saves time but it costs $30 a day for adults, remember to take plenty of sunscreen and water with you, I left early one chilly morning and within a few hours it was roasting hot.
"Rotty "as it is called locally (Australians tend to abbreviate everything) also known as"Wadjemup" by the indigenous aborigines is only a small Island but well worth a visit.
Located just 18 kilometers ( 11 miles) off the coast of Fremantle and to get there the Ferry is a good way to do it as it is fast and also very comfortable. Ferries go from either Perth or Fremantle..I was in Fremantle and took the ferry from there.
The Island of Rottnest is a small Island of only 11kilometers by nearly 3 at its widest part. The only vehicles on the Island are local busses and service vehicles. The best way to get about is to rent a bicycle upon arrival. There are many pristine beaches and coves located here with clear blue water for swimming and snorkelling.
Rotto receives over half a million visitors a year, of which the vast majority arrive by ferry. So, as you might expect, a range of service providers have set themselves up to service this lucrative market and your challenge is to choose the one that best suits your personal requirements.
When deciding which ferry company to travel with, I would recommend that you should take into consideration both where your travelling from/to and whether you want the ferry ride to be just a journey or part of the tourist experience.
Let's deal with your point of departure first. Ferries to Rottnest run from Fremantle, Barrack Street jetty in Perth and Hillarys (a northern coastal suburb). At the time of writing (November 2011), ferry services were run by Boat Torque/Rottnest Express, Hillarys Fast Ferries and Oceanic Cruises. In all honesty, there's not a lot to choose between them pricewise (unless one is advertising a particular special deal) so usually the deciding factor is the convenience of the departure times.
The majority of people would travel to Rotto from Fremantle, which is the shortest journey. If you're staying in Freo, this is obviously very convenient, and even if you're not, it's a short, cheap and convenient rail journey from the main station in Perth to Fremantle, from where you can walk to the ferry terminal in a few minutes. The journey from Perth is much longer as the ferry has to travel the length of the Swan River to Fremantle before heading over to Rotto, so this obviously involves more travel time and greater cost. The Hillary's option is also a fairly short trip but is not all that attractive for tourists unless you happen to be staying in this area.
Next, what do you want out of your ferry trip?
If it's just the shortest, quickest, cheapest transfer to and from the island, then the Freo option is almost certainly for you, and this is the option favoured by most locals. Ditto the Hillary's option if you're staying up on the northern coast.
However, if you are new to Perth, then don't underestimate how lovely the boat trip down the Swan is. This gives you an entirely different perspective on the city and allows you to rubberneck at the jawdroppingly opulent riverside properties: most trips also provide some sort of commentary that is usually informative and highly amusing in a typically 'tongue in cheek' manner. It is possible to take cruises on the Swan River between Perth and Freo that will give you the same experience, but if you're planning to visit Rotto anyway, then why not consider combining the two (with a considerable resultant saving, as these things don't come cheap)?
The only warning that I would offer if you decide to take the ferry from Barrack Street is that it adds at least two hours onto the round trip. This could make for a very long day - especially if you have small kids in tow - and may also eat into the time your have available to enjoy Rotto, especially if making an early morning start isn't your forte. However, particularly if you're lucky enough to be staying overnight on Rotto, the positives may well outweigh the negatives - as with all travel options, it's all about making an informed decision!
Want to work on that beach body before you put it on display? Well, why not hire a bike and work on that toning en route for the beach?
There can surely be very few places in the world that are better to explore by bike than Rotto. Because it's fairly flat, a little pedal power will get you a rather long way, especially if you have the prevailing sea breeze at your back!
Secondly, worrying about traffic is a moot point, since the only vehicles allowed on the island are the circular bus and a limited number of vehicles operated by the Rottnest Authority and other service providers. This makes it absolutely ideal for families to cycle together, even if they have quite young children.
If you have your own bike, then you have greater flexibility as you're not tied to the bus timetables. Fortunately Rotto is still a pretty honest place, so you can just leave your bike by the roadside when you reach a beach or some other location of your choice and know that it will be there when you return: no lugging it everwhere with you because of security concerns, as might be the case elsewhere.
But above all, it's just such an exhilarating and appropriately ecofriendly way to travel on an island that represents the very best of affordable, family-friendly outdoors experiences. Just make sure that you slip, slop, slap (slip on a shirt, slop on the sunscreen, slap on a hat) before you venture out, or else you risk being burned to a crisp!
On a practical note, locals obviously bring their bikes with them (these are transported free of charge on the ferry). Otherwise bikes can be hired in Thomson Bay - see the website below for more details - and bike hire includes locks and safety helmets (which are compulsory). Perhaps just bear in mind that this is a very popular option, so if you're planning to visit in peak season, it's worth booking your bikes in advance to avoid disappointment.
Hillarys Fast Ferries have return journeys to Rotto. This trip is more of a luxury one and costs more but I recommend it. They also have complimentary transfer pick up right from your hotel in Perth or Scarborough so it is convenient and may work out cheaper than the other one I mentioned above.
The Rottnest Express offers a ferry service to the island from three points within the greater Perth area including Barrack St Jetty (Perth), Victoria Quay (Fremantle) and Northport (North Fremantle).
There are various ticketing options available, some including accommodation options for Rottnest Island. Check the website for more information.
The quickest ferry route to Rottnest departs from the port in Fremantle, just behind the train station. There are also direct ferries from/to Barrack Street Jetty in Central Perth.
The ferries take you to Thomson Bay. If you want you can explore a bit of the island on foot. However, the island is small but not that small, and if you walk you will stay in the most crowded areas around Thomson Bay.
To get further around, rent a bicycle. This can already be done before departure in Freo - the bikes will then be transported on the same ferry as you - but there are several bike rentals in the vicinity of the boat jetty in Thomson Bay. Wearing a helmet is compulsory in Western Australia, helmets can be obtained at the bike rentals.
Don't underestimate biking the island... The island is small but most parts are covered in dunes and you go up and down, up and down, up and down. On a plain bike without gears, best against the wind, this can become tough.
Ferry's are a quick way to get to Rottnest Island.
Ferry companies included Oceanic Tours, Boat Torque and Rottnest Express. Ferry ports are located in Freo, Hillary's and Perth. From the c-shed Freo the journey is 30 minutes. Ferry passes include the island entry fee. There are packages available.
For $12.00 you can bring your own bike to the island. Weekends are very busy and be sure to arrive early for a seat.
We take Rottnest Express from the C-shed on the Fremantle wharf. You can pre-book your tickets online and they are normally $50 return for an adult.
Rottnest Express also have packages where you can hire a bike and snorkel gear. We take our own bikes but it is worth enquiring about as it may save you time then to have to line up and hire a bike on the island!
Hire a bike to ride around the island and eplore it 63 beaches!
$23.00 for full day hire with emergency road side assistance if you get stuck. Or bring your bike over on the ferry for $11.00.
Ask for a bike with a basket. It means you can carry water and food quite easy whilst riding around the island. It is an extra $3.00.
The airport on Rottnest is only 800kms from the Visitors Centre. The flights depart from Jandakot Airport south of Perth and if you need to transfer to Perth’s domestic airport afterwards, they can arrange a transfer aircraft at a very reasonable cost. Once you arrive on Rottnest there is a free shuttle bus which runs past the airport every 30 mins. Your luggage, if staying on the island, can be picked up by your accommodation and transported for you.
Rottnest Air Taxi can fly at any time although in winter the latest is at 5.30pm. These are small planes and so can only take a small amount of luggage and definitely not bikes and surfboards. Flight time is around 12 mins.
This ferry company operates on a daily basis in Summer from Fremantle (B Shed) and Perth (Barrack St). Their vessels are catamarans. The first ferry departs Fremantle at 8.30am through to 5.00pm from Dec to April, from Perth from 8.45am through to 4.00pm and on the return, from Rottnest from 9.15am through to 6.00pm. There is a more restricted timetable during the rest of the year. They offer packages if you wish to combine them with other tours on the island.
There is a 20 min train ride which will take you on a guided tour to Oliver Hill to view the guns and tunnels. The whole tour lasts about 2 hours. Along the way you will travel by the Bickley Swan, Bird Observation Boardwalk and through the woodlands. Your volunteer guide will inform you about the military museum and the guns and ammunition and through the tunnel system. Tickets for this tour can be bought at the Visitors Centre.
These are a great little buggy for the little ones or even not so little ones. If you take your own bike then you can just hire the trailer to attach or you can hire both the bike and trailer together.
On the road leading behind the Quokka Arms Hotel is the Rottnest Bike Hire. They carry around 1,300 bikes as well as the required helmets and accessories such as baskets, baby seats or even a rack for your surfboard. Helmets, locks and a repair service if your bike breakdown is all included in the daily rental. They also have tandem bikes and child trailers. There is a bond on all the rentals which is refundable on return. They have a daily rate and hourly rate.