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Rottnest Island  Western Australia

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Rat's Nest? That's what Dutch explorer Willem De Vlamingh called this small island ('Rotte-nest') 18km west of Perth. He mistakenly thought the small marsupial creatures that inhabit the island - now known as quokkas - were common rats.

Although unoccupied when Europeans arrived, there is evidence that Aboriginal peoples had settled on the island 7,000 years before. Ironically it was used as an Aboriginal prison during the late 19th century. The island was an internment camp during WWI until 1917 when it was proclaimed a reserved area.

Today the island is visited by nearly half a million tourists each year who come to see the sandy beaches, walk the heritage trails for sightings of fairy terns, bottle-nosed dolphins and quokkas and discover the heritage listed wrecks around Charlotte Point.

While there is accommodation on the island, Rottnest Island can be visited on a trip from Perth by ferry.

Festivals - Rottnest Channel Swim (February), Rottnest Swim Thru (December)

Things to do

  • Quokka sighting - about 1 km south of Settlement (the major town on the island) or around the salt lakes
  • Rottnest Museum - in Settlement, with displays charting the maritime and environmental history of the island
  • Swimming - at The Basin on the northern coast of the island where the waters are protected by an outer reef
  • Underwater Discovery - heritage listed wrecks along Charlotte point. Take the glass-bottomed Underwater Explorer
  • Wildlife watching - at Cape Vlamingh for shearwaters, bottle nosed dolphins and fairy terns and humpback whales in winter
  • Visitor Information Centre - Settlement





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