Exploring Rottnest Island: A Guide to Sightseeing on Rottnest

The beach near Be Fremantle

Rottnest Island is a popular day trip location for visitors to Perth. It’s located just off the coast. Rottnest Island is an excellent option with plenty of things to do during your stay at the Be. Fremantle. Exploring Rottnest Island will allow you to discover some of the unique wonders of Western Australia.

This guide provides you with the best destinations for sightseeing on Rottnest Island to fully experience what it has to offer.

Thomson Settlement

The first place that you’ll most likely arrive at when traveling to Rottnest Island is known as Thomson Settlement. Most of the ferries from the mainland dock at Thomson Bay, where the main town is located. While it’s the start point for your sightseeing excursion of the island, there’s no need to rush out exploring just yet.

Thomson Settlement is home to the island’s culture and heritage. Most of the critical activity on the island occurred in and around this area. A lot of the history has been preserved. You can visit sights such as the Rottnest Museum, the Salt Store, or the Quod for a glimpse into the past. Segway tours or walking tours are a great way to experience Thomson Settlement.

The Rottnest Island Museum is a great location to begin your island exploration. It gives you the opportunity to learn more about the island’s past and provides you with more appreciation of the current state of Rottnest Island. The museum is housed in a building initially serving as an old mill and hay store. It was built in 1857 by aboriginal prisoners. The Rottnest Island Museum features artifacts and relics of the past to discover details of Aboriginal life, the first European settlement, and even marine wreck tales.

The Salt Store is located in the centre of the Thomson Settlement. In the past, Rottnest Island had a thriving salt industry thanks to the salt lakes on the island. Salt was collected and stored in the Salt Store before ultimately being transported to Fremantle. The white structure that you see is also one of the oldest buildings on the island. It was initially built in 1868 by aboriginal prisoners. It was rebuilt and renovated in 1997, where it was transformed into a gallery and exhibition centre.

Rottnest Island is a popular tourist destination today, but in the past, it mainly served as a base for prisoners. Many of these features can be seen around the Thomson Settlement. The Quod, for example, was a cell building which housed aboriginal prisoners. You can also venture nearby to the Aboriginal Burial Ground to pay respects to the people who passed away during these times.


The Basin

The biggest attractions to Rottnest Island are the beaches. While there are plenty of beautiful beaches to explore around the island, The Basin is the favorite. It’s the closest best to The Settlement but also one of the perfect beaches for enjoying in and outside of the water.

The Basin is divided into two beaches. The western shore is the smaller, yet busiest beach. The bay creates a natural swimming pool with excellent conditions for all ages to enjoy the water. It’s also shallow enough for kids to play in. The eastern beach is much bigger and has deeper waters. Both of the beaches are picturesque. For a great view overlooking the bay, climb atop the Big Hill.

Exploring Rottnest Island wouldn’t be complete without experiencing the marine life around the island. The Basin is surrounded by an abundance of coral reef. The coral reef is home to many of the most common fish in the region, including Scalyfins and Buffalo Bream. Beach facilities can be found around the beach for diving and snorkeling gear.


Strickland Bay

Go sightseeing around Rottnest Island, and you’ll inevitably arrive at Strickland Bay. Strickland Bay is ranked one of the top bays in the world for surfing. It has waves as high as three times larger than the other beaches around the island, attracting Western Australia’s best surfers. It’s a great destination for enjoying water sports on Rottnest Island, whether you’re a professional or just for leisure. In addition to surfing, bodyboarding, boogie-boarding, and stand-up paddleboarding can also be enjoyed. A unique fact about Strickland Bay is the special QR codes found on information signs and surfing huts around the bay. Scan these codes with your phone, and you’ll get access to a documentary to learn more about the surfing history of Strickland Bay.


Wadjemup Bidi

Rottnest Island is also referred to as Wadjemup, its aboriginal name. Wadjemup Bidi is a series of walking trails that were developed across the entire island. No cars are present on the island, so the primary way of getting around for visitors is by cycling or walking. These trails provide pathways to the major destinations of the island. They also offer a way to see the diverse natural landscape, with grasslands, inland lakes, and more. Walking along the Wadjemup Bidi and you may even encounter the Quokka, a native animal to Rottnest Island that can only be found here.

Wadjemup Bidi is divided into various sections to spotlight cultural and environmental features of Rottnest Island. Some of the notable sights along the 45km of trails include the Wadjemup Lighthouse, providing panoramic views at the top; several structures used during WWII, and also a viewing platform on the West End for a chance to see dolphins and whales if you arrive during the appropriate season!



You’ll have plenty of sightseeing to do during your visit to Rottnest Island. A day trip during your stay with Be. Fremantle is more than enough time to get around the island. It has a lot to offer, from its storied history to some of the most beautiful beaches in Western Australia. Rottnest Island is worth exploring.


Quokkas are a native animal to Rottnest Island. When the island was first discovered, Europeans mistook these small mammals for rats, hence the name being derived from “Rat Nest.” Quokkas are found all around the island. Rottnest Island provides the perfect environment for them to live and breed. They are one of the most protected animals on the island to maintain the population of over 10,000 Quokkas.

Taking a selfie with a Quokka is one of the iconic activities to do while exploring Rottnest Island. Many people who arrive on the island look forward to searching for the animals, but they are not hard to find. Quokkas are known to be one of the friendliest animals in the world. They will most likely approach you and have their signature smile to pose for a photo.


Experience Rottness Package – Special Offer

Enjoy the best of Fremantle and Rottnest Island with our new Be. Rottnest package.

This 3 night package offers accommodation in Fremantle’s iconic Fishing Boat Harbour precinct and a day trip to Rottnest Island!

Enjoy all that Fremantle has to offer.

  • Grab some Fish and Chips in Fishing Boat Harbour
  • Enjoy a cold drink and watch the sun set over Bathers Beach
  • ‘Do some time’ in the Fremantle Prison or
  • Explore the Maritime Museum of Western Australia

Then head over to Rottnest Island for the day with Rottnest Express…discover its pristine beaches and take your very own Quokka selfie! Book this package now.