The perfect family escape on Rottnest Island

Whether you’re travelling with young children or teens, Rottnest Island is the perfect place to relax and reconnect with your family.

 

With 63 secluded beaches and 20 bays to explore, you can always find a quiet spot to enjoy – great for building sandcastles, swimming, snorkelling or throwing a frisbee around. The Island is free from private cars so you can relax knowing your kids are safe walking and cycling around the Island, and for those families with buggies, you can also hop on Island Explorer bus service to discover the further reaches of the Island. There are numerous playgrounds, a cinema, mini golf and lawn bowls to keep little ones busy. No family trip is complete without getting a photo of the happiest animal on earth – a Quokka (#QuokkaSelfie)! 

Here are our top tips for the perfect family holiday on Rottnest Island.

Ferry to the island

Forget endless car journeys and “are we there yets” – you can get to Rottnest Island in under an hour from Fremantle or Hillarys Boat Harbour. The ferry ride itself is usually enough to get the kids excited and into holiday mode. There are  three operators running ferries to and from the Island – Rottnest Express, Rottnest Fast Ferries and SeaLink – so find the departure point and timetable that suits you best.


Where to stay

There are so many places to stay on the Island – from budget cabins to self-catering holiday homes. Choose from luxury stays at the new Hotel Rottnest opening later in 2020 and glamping at Discovery Parks eco-tents at Pinky Beach (reopening late September). The kids are sure to love (almost) camping under the stars, and the family tents have bunks which are perfect for two children.


Cycling

Cycling is the best way to explore the island at your own pace. There’s nothing like cycling along the wide-open road, surrounded by vibrant green bush and birdlife overhead. Every corner you turn reveals a new, sparkling blue ocean vista – guaranteed to put a smile on every family member’s face! You can bring your own bikes to Rottnest or hire them from Pedal and Flipper on the Island. Pedal and Flipper also offer bike trailers, eBikes, infant bike seats and children’s bikes – so the whole family can head off on adventures together!


Island Explorer

If you don’t fancy cycling, hop on the Island Explorer bus which circumnavigates the whole Island, allowing you to hop off whenever you see something that takes your fancy! Kids will love the journey, marvelling at the amazing scenery and hearing about the history of the Island. it’s also convenient if you have older family members holidaying with you.

Our favourite stops with kids are the Wadjemup Lighthouse, toward the centre of the Island, for amazing views across to Perth City and Cathedral Rocks where stand on the viewing platform to spot our resident marine life including New Zealand fur seals, Australian sea lions and Bottle-nose dolphins.


Snorkelling, swimming, and nature-play

Rottnest Island has 63 beaches with fine, white sand and 20 bays with crystal clear waters surrounded by protected coral reefs, which make them perfect for children to play, swim or snorkel! Our favourites for children are The Basin, Salmon Bay, Parakeet Bay and Pinky Beach. All are normally sheltered, and the water is calm and shallow for smaller children. It’s a good idea to chat with the team at Pedal and Flipper or Visitor Centre who can tell you which are the best for the day’s weather conditions.


Playgrounds

If you want to relax whilst the kids burn off some energy, grab a coffee from one of the cafés in the Settlement and head over to one of the playgrounds. There are playgrounds at Thomson Bay, next to The Bakery in The Settlement, South Thomson Bay and at Geordie Bay. Or take the kids to the Rottnest Island Fun Park where they can enjoy a round of mini golf, play giant chess, jump on the trampolines, or play some classic arcade games! 


Cinema

If you want some indoor fun, head to the Rottnest Island Picture Hall to watch a movie! There’s also a candy bar serving fresh popcorn, homemade choc bombs and drinks.


Aquaplay

During the summer months, Aquaplay Rottnest, is an absolute haven for thrill-seeking kids. You can hire sea-bikes, pedal-boards and stand-up paddle boards here so everyone can have some fun in the water.


School holidays

Every school holidays the Island offers a range of activities and tours that get kids out exploring and learning about Rottnest’s natural environment and interesting history.  The Rottnest Voluntary Guides Activity programs are published online before the start of a new school break, so check out what’s on offer before planning your trip or sign up to our newsletter to stay up to date!

Top Tips


BOOK AHEAD

Book your ferry ticket online in advance to get the best rates. However, don’t worry if you’re taking a spontaneous trip, you can also buy your ticket on the day at the ferry terminal.

BIKE HIRE

If you want to explore the island by bicycle, we’d recommend booking in advance with Pedal & Flipper. Once you arrive at the island, you can head straight there and skip the queue to collect your bike!

EXPLORE BY BUS

If you don’t want to cycle and would prefer to learn about the island from the comfort of our bus, you can buy a ticket in advance for the Island Explorer Bus Service bus service. This bus circumnavigates the island giving you the freedom to hop on and off as you please. If you like the idea of cycling but don’t want to commit, try the bike and bus package from Pedal and Flipper. You can cycle as far as you like and once you’ve had enough, just leave your bike in one of the racks around the island and jump on the bus back to the Settlement!

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