Secluded bays, a childhood memory and a daring escape, Rotto locals reveal their special places and favourite things to do on Rottnest Island.
Favourite spot: Fish Hook Bay
Jackson, Crew member, Rottnest Express
“Hands down, my favourite spot at Rotto is Fish Hook Bay on the western end of the island. The fact that you can only access it by boat makes it all the more special. We used to come here as kids so I have great memories of snorkelling, boating and splashing around. The colour of the water, the fish and marine life are extraordinary! The bay is part of a protected sanctuary zone so it’s strictly a ‘look but don’t touch’ experience.”
Unique experience: Pioneers and Prisoners walking tour
Glynn, Voluntary Guide, Rottnest Island
“One of the most fascinating things about Rottnest is its history and you can learn all about this through a historic walking tour of the old buildings in the Settlement area. They have some great stories to tell. For example, there is the old pilot building on Thomson Bay where small crews would row off, often in rough seas, to guide the ships into the safe harbour at Fremantle. Also, back in the days when Rottnest was an indigenous jail and labour camp, prisoners would often sleep in a cave out near Bathurst. As the story goes, one evening, some of the prisoners made a daring escape. The guards had tied them around a tree. They burnt the tree down, unshackled themselves and rowed back to the mainland.”
Learn more about the island on a guided walk with Rottnest’s voluntary guides. Walks are everyday and are free of charge. The meeting point is near the Information area next to the Salt Store on the Thomson Bay promenade. Check the noticeboard for daily times.
Favourite spot: City of York Bay and Marjorie Bay
Nicola, The Lane Café
“I’ve lived on Rottnest for 4 years. I think the area around the City of York Bay is pretty special. Marjorie Bay is really lovely too. You can go for a 20-minute bike ride and feel so alone. Everyone talks about the southside but I think the west is underrated. I love the idea of being so close to home but also so far away, it’s what makes the island so special.”
City of York and Marjorie Bay are located on the wilder, western end of Rottnest, easily accessible by bike, e-bike or scooter, or via the hop-on, hop-off Explorer bus that travels around the island.
Favourite spot: The West End
Walter McGuire, Go Cultural Tours
“I love the West End of Wadjemup because you gaze into the great vastness of Maaman Wardan (Father Ocean) to where the sea meets the sky.”
Walter and his business, Go Cultural, offer a series of indigenous walking tours to culturally significant places on Wadjemup, as well as other sites in the metropolitan area such as Goomup (Elizabeth Quay), Goologoolup (Yagan Square) and Karrgatup (Kings Park). You can learn more about Go Cultural here and book a tour here.
Favourite spot: Salmon Bay and Parker Point
Colin, Bus Driver, Rottnest Explorer
“I’ve been working at Rottnest for 13 years and there are so many favourites. For me, it’s gotta be Salmon Bay. It’s a long white shady beach, clear water, no weed and not too many people either. There’s great snorkelling just around the corner too in Little Salmon Bay and Parker Point.”
Salmon Bay and Little Salmon Bay are on the southern side of Rottnest Island. They are an easy 20-30minute cycle from the main Settlement area or you can take Colin’s bus (the Explorer) which operates a hop-on, hop-off service around the island.