Rottnest Island: The Tourist guide + Tips on how to #quokkaselfie

#quokkaselfie !

Writing this post to celebrate the quokka’s birthday on 15th September, HAPPY BIRTHDAY QUOKKAS!! (still not sure why is it this day but it’s still a great day to celebrate these cute and tiny creatures!)

If you’re heading to Perth, Rottnest Island is DEFINITELY somewhere you need to go to find these cute quokkas that you see on the internet when you search #quokkaselfie. These little marsupials are described as ‘the world’s happiest animal’ because in nearly every selfie they are in, they always look so happy and joyful. Regardless, most people will advise you to go to Rottnest Island for more than a day to fully experience the beaches and water the island has to offer, but for those of you who only have a day and are quite *relatively* limited in mobility, there’s always hop on hop off buses instead of renting bicycles there! (FYI, the buses are cheaper than the bicycles)

Anyway, since we went with my family, we couldn’t cycle around the island, so we decided to get the hop on hop off bus for $20/pax. We took the 9am ferry from B-Shed Fremantle, and reached Rottnest Island at around 9.30am. Be warned that the ferry can be a little rocky, so if you’re prone to seasickness, do pop a motion sickness pill, or check out our post on the different remedies for motion sickness!

The bus comes every 30 minutes, and you can get your bus ticket either online or at the island when you get off the ferry. If you’re looking for those cute quokkas, don’t take the bus yet. Head straight to the settlement area, where all the cafes and restaurants are at. That’s where you’ll see the most number of wild roaming quokkas because they are more accustomed to humans and are less likely to run away. Generally, it’s harder to spot the quokkas once you’re further into the island as quokkas are nocturnal, and they usually hide before you can even spot them.

iPhone X selfie quality!

There are around 19 stops where the bus will drop people around the island, and if you don’t intend to get off the bus, it takes around an hour to do a loop back to the settlement area. Since most people will only be on a day tour, it’s virtually impossible to alight at every stop on the island, or even have the time to snorkel without missing your return ferry. Here are the *more* important stops you should see on Rottnest Island:

Henrietta Rocks

Stop 3: Henrietta Rocks – soak up the beauty of the beaches on Rottnest Island and take photos there!

Little Salmon Bay

Stop 6: Little Salmon Bay/Salmon Bay – Perfect for snorkelling, or you can also take photos on the beach and find the Osprey’s nest!

Wadjemup Lighthouse

Stop 8: Wadjemup Lighthouse – If you love lighthouses, and if you have the time. If not, it’s ok to skip it as you can take pictures from the bus.

New Zealand Seals at West End

Stop 11: West End – MUST GO. DEFINITELY MUST GO. You might be able to see some New Zealand seals in the water! And maybe even whales if you’re lucky! 😉

I’m not saying that the other stops are not interesting. This is a quick version of exploring the island if you’re short on time and intending to go for lunch at the settlement area (main area) or the ‘Meet the Quokkas’ tour, which starts at the main area too. I highly recommend the tour (which is free, of course) where there will be a volunteer who will take you on a short walk to find the quokkas and share more about the story of how the quokka remains populated on Rottnest Island even till this day. There are a few timings for that, so do check the day’s tour timings before planning your trip 🙂

There are also many food options at the settlement area, such as Subway, DOME, the Rottnest Bakery etc. The food is around the same price as the mainland so you don’t have to worry about bringing your own food!

Some things to note:

  • These creatures are cute, but remember not to touch them as it will cause distress, and you might even be fined by the Rottnest Island Authority.
  • Never EVER feed them human food because it is crazy toxic for them and we wouldn’t want these quokkas to have a frown on their faces 😦
A happy quokka!

Moving on to the most important part: tips on how to take a quokka selfie! As much as the quokkas look friendly, they might bite if they feel threatened. Don’t be like that little boy who got bitten by a quokka on the brows! (YES, it happens) It takes a little while to perfect the #quokkaselfie, but here are the steps I would recommend:

  1. Approach the quokka slowly. If he moves away, it means he wants to be alone. Leave him be and find another one.
  2. When you’re approaching the quokka, (preferably) use a selfie stick and hold your camera close to the ground, where it’s nearer to the quokka. Well, good angling makes the quokka look seemingly closer to you in the photo. You wouldn’t want to scare them off or stress them by going too near to the quokka. 😉
  3. Keep your smile there and just SPAM THE PHOTOS. Really. You can delete the photos after. But just take as many photos as you can and one of it will turn out amazing. A smiling quokka, a laughing quokka, or even an eating quokka always brightens up the photo 🙂

And that’s it! Enjoy your time at Rottnest Island and go crazy with all the #quokkaselfies !


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