Your Guide to Hiking the Wadjemup Bidi

Hiking Rottnest Island

Whilst you’ve probably heard of cycling around Rottnest, another amazing way to experience the Island is by foot. Rottnest Island has recently invested in an Island-wide network of walk trails, culminating in the incredible Wadjemup Bidi.

The Wadjemup Bidi is a series of walk trails that take in the spectacular coastal headlands, stunning inland lakes and breathtaking attractions all over the island. The 45km Wadjemup Bidi is made up of five sections, with each unique section displaying culturally and environmentally significant landmarks to interpret and experience.

What’s in a name? The name for Rottnest Island in the Noongar language is Wadjemup , which means ‘place across the water where the spirits are’. “Bidi” in Noongar means “trail” or “track”, whilst the Whadjuk Noongar are the Traditional Owners of Rottnest Island.

These connected walk trails allow you to traverse the island either in separate stages, or if you’re keen for an epic adventure, as a whole. The entire trail is 45km, so you’ll need to spread your hike over a few days if you want to do the whole thing. There are five sections, so you can also just choose to do one or two walks during your time on the Island. 

Check out the five Wadjemup Bidi walking trails here:

Discover the Salt Lakes on the Gabbi Karniny Bidi

Distance: 9.7km loop / 3-4 hours

Where to start:  Thomson Bay

Highlights 

  • Lakes system
  • Migratory birdlife
  • Ocean views
  • Stunning beaches

This beautiful walk trail meanders through the lake systems and back along the northern coastline – offering you a taste of everything Rottnest has to offer! Check out Vlamingh Lookout for some of the best views of the Island.  As you wander through the beautiful inland lake systems keeping your eyes peeled for seasonal migratory birdlife and of course, Quokkas! Don’t miss a magical stroll along the Lakes Boardwalk which provides the facade of “walking on water”. Head back along the coast passing Little Parakeet Bay, Geordie Bay, The Basin and Pinky’s Beach before arriving back at the Thomson Bay Settlement.

Experience the Northern Beaches on the Karlinyah Bidi

Distance: 5.9km one way / 2-3 hours

Where to start: Little Parakeet Bay (stop 18) or Rocky Bay (stop 13)

Highlights:

  • Spectacular coastline
  • Native wildlife
  • Beautiful beaches

This spectacular trail strolls past beautiful sandy beaches, calm swimming lagoons and eventually, more rugged, wild parts of the Island. You’ll traverse the northern coastline, passing incredible beaches like Little Armstrong Bay and Catherine Bay. Stop at City of York to learn about the shipwreck, and then take in the serrated reef that was the cause of its destruction. Carry on past Ricey Beach, past the gorgeous Stark Bay and finish your hike at Rocky Bay.

 

Explore West End on the Ngank Wen Bidi

Where to start: Narrow Neck (stop 13)Distance: 7.6km loop / 3-4 hours

Highlights:

  • Rugged and unspoilt coastline
  • Vantage point for spotting marine life

This loop trail circumnavigates the spectacular West End of the island. The trail links Narrow Neck and Cape Vlamingh, the more remote and rugged section of the Island. Enjoy secluded beaches like Marjorie Bay and Mabel Cove before arriving at Cathedral Rocks where you can spot our resident New Zealand fur seals from the viewing platform. Stop and admire the waves crashing through the natural arch at Cape Vlamingh and keep your eyes peeled for Humpback whales and Eagles overhead.

 

Relax on Salmon Bay along the Warden Nara Bidi

Distance: 10km one way / 3-4 hours

Where to start: Rocky Bay (stop 13) or Porpoise Bay (stop 4)

Highlights:

  • Salmon Bay
  • WWII guns and tunnels
  • Wadjemup Lighthouse

This beautiful trail offers the best of both worlds, taking you from the stunning coastline of Salmon Bay, Parker Point and Little Salmon Bay through to the middle of the Island to explore the WWII guns and tunnels. Admire the huge Osprey stack at Salmon Point and keep your eyes peeled for our resident Osprey! Enjoy incredible views from the Wadjemup Lighthouse and traverse your way back past the world-class surf breaks at Strickland Bay. Don’t miss Peter Farmer’s Mammong Dreaming sculpture and listen to the story told by Traditional Owner Kerri Anne Winmar via the audio sign.

 

Uncover Bickley Battery on the Ngank Yira Bidi

Distance: 9.4km one way / 3-4 hours

Where to start: Thomson Bay or Oliver Hill

Highlights:

  • Coastal views
  • Bickley Battery
  • Train ride back to The Settlement (seasonal)

Start at the Settlement and head out towards the south east corner of the Island. As you walk this trail, you’ll enjoy impressive ocean, coastal and inland views, as well as lots of interpretational signage teaching you all about the history of Rottnest.  Enjoy panoramic views from the Jubilee Observation Post and don’t miss “Beachcomber” the first sculpture installation on the Island, made from 80 percent recycled material. This historic trail will take you to Oliver Hill to explore the remnants of coastal defence systems installed during WWII. Enjoy a guided tour if you want to know more, and for an extra adventure, head back to the Settlement on the train!

Guided walking tours

If you’re not sure where to start or like the sound of expert commentary paired with your scenic walk, why not join a guided tour with The Hike Collective? Their knowledgeable guides will show you the best of the Wadjemup Bidi in an engaging and relaxed group setting. With multiple tours to choose from, including overnight retreats, it’s the perfect adventure for both hiking enthusiasts and beginners alike.

If you’re looking to learn more about different areas of the Island, you can also join a free walking tour hosted by the Rottnest Voluntary Guides. Whether your keen to meet the wildlife or discover more about the history of the island, you’re sure to find a tour and passionate guide to suit your interests. The tours are run regularly throughout most days and are a great addition to a day trip or to enhance an extended stay. For more information, pop in to say hello to the friendly guides at the Information Booth in the main Settlement.

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