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.
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.
There are so many places to stay on the Island – from budget cabins to self-catering holiday homes. Choose from luxury stays at Samphire Rottnestand glamping at Discovery Rottnest Island eco-tents at Pinky Beach. The kids are sure to love (almost) camping under the stars, and the family tents have bunks which are perfect for two children.
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!
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.
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.
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 Family Fun Park where they can enjoy a round of mini golf, giant chess, or play some classic arcade games and retro pinball machines!
If you want some indoor fun, head to the Picture Hall to watch a movie! There’s also a candy bar serving fresh popcorn, homemade choc bombs and drinks.
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.
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!