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Fabulous Beaches of Rottnest Island (Part 1 of 2)

Perth . 2015 . May 1


This post is part of our Perth Trip Report and Itinerary. Do check out the full itinerary and our reviews here.

Rottnest Island - one of the most beautiful island that we have ever seen.  If you are a lover of the sun and the sand and find yourself in Perth, why not consider spending one day at Rottnest Island, a land of spectacular, unspoiled beauty.



However, Rottnest Island can be a very expensive day trip out of Perth City.

The return ferry ride from Fremantle to Rottnest Island for 2 adult travellers costs up to AUD$160, and this is not inclusive of the Island Explorer Bus tickets which cost a further AUD$40 for 2 persons.


For details on how to get to Rottnest Island from Perth City, read our article here.


We took the very first ferry from Fremantle to Rottnest Island, so that we could spend more time on Rottnest Island.  I ended up having to spend some time at the Visitors Centre to recuperate from the very tumultuous ride across the Indian Ocean to get to Rottnest Island.


Remember to get your Island Explorer Bus tickets from the Visitors Centre.  There are also automated machines on the island to purchase tickets.

 
Get ready to meet the little guys who are responsible for giving Rottnest its name.  Rottnest is a literal translation of ‘Rat’s Nest’.

 
Although these cuties look like rats of an extraordinarily large size (more like the size of a small cat!), they are actually a species of marsupials that are native to Rottnest island, called quokka. Observe them for a while and you will see the quokkas hopping like a miniature kangaroo. Yes, they are actually more related to the kangaroos and wallabies than to rats!


The Island Explorer Bus starts from Thomson Bay where the Rottnest Express docks at, but it takes a little walking further inland to find the terminal bus stop.  Buses run in one direction only - clockwise.  There are 19 Island Explorer bus stops in the entire Rottnest Island, and as buses run quite infrequently, you will need to plan ahead and pick the few places that you would like to alight at.


Based on our experience, it is only possible to fit at most 3 stops on Rottnest Island within the span of a day, given the infrequency of bus services. Of course, if you plan to stay overnight at Rottnest Island, there is always the option to do so, but accommodations tend to be limited and expensive, and they definitely do not look very desirable.

Little Salmon Bay (Stop 6) 

This was our first stop at Rottnest Island, but we nearly didn't get down the bus because we had initially wanted to go to the next stop (stop 7).  Fortunately we did get down on the spur of the moment and what a great choice it proved to be.

Tip:  Stop 5, 6 and 7 on the Island Express bus system are relatively close to each other.  If you do not mind a bit of walking, stop at Stop 5 and walk down to 6 and 7 while enjoying the view along the way.  Catch the bus again at Stop 7 to get to your next destination as the next stop (Salmon Bay at stop 8) is a far distance away.  

Little Salmon Bay was virtually secluded in the morning when we got there.  We had the beach to ourselves for a long while, and it feels great to have a piece of private beach even if it is just for a moment.



If you are a snorkelling enthusiast, Little Salmon Bay could just be the place for you,. Because of its sheltered position on the island and the gentle waves that comes in, it is relatively safe to venture into the crystal clear water.


We even did a bit of mild hiking, climbing up the small slopes to get an aerial view of Little Salmon Bay.

Looking back at the main road from which we dropped off from the Island Express Bus.


Be very very careful when hiking across the terrain.  We would have stepped on this amphibious fish if I wasn't looking at where I was going.  Other than an unsuspecting fish, who knows if there are poisonous snakes lurking in the bushes!


Wished I could stay at this beautiful and serene spot forever.

 
At the top of the hilly terrain.  We found what would have been a blow hole, but as the waves were gentle, there was no water coming out of it.


However, it was fun to peep through the blow hole and see right to the bottom of the sea bed as the water was crystal clear.


Do you see what I see?  Hint: look carefully at the rock structure.


Answer:  I see a dog’s head looking out at sea!


The view from the top is always better.  Well worth the effort to make the short hike.  See what I mean when I say it is a good spot for snorkeling.


As the day progresses, more and more visitors made their way to Little Salmon Bay.  Which was the signal for us to move on to our next stop!


We took a 5 minute walk to stop number 7 on the Island Explorer service and you will notice the lighthouse in the far side as you travel.

 
Though not as beautiful as Little Salmon Bay (stop 6), it is nevertheless still a very quiet and charming place, and one of the best places to see the lighthouse of Rottnest Island.


No fishing allowed at this zone.  Not a good place to go swimming or snorkelling either, because of the treacherous rocks and strong waves at this beach.

Salmon Bay (Stop 8)

As compared to the quiet solitude of the last stop (Little Salmon Bay), Salmon Bay is a much more popular destination with visitors to Rottnest Island.


Most people come here in groups for a picnic and a dip in the water, and you’ll probably meet with many young families here.  Not the kind of place that I would like - it reminds me of overcrowding in Singapore.


The Rottnest Express which provides ferry services from Perth to Rottnest Island also offers a package deal that includes bike hire.  Those who are feeling a bit more fit can consider this package rather than taking the Rottnest Island Explorer Bus which comes rather infrequently.


Join us next in our next article as we travel to Cape Vlamingh and Cathedral Rocks (Stop 11).

This post is part of our Perth Trip Report and Itinerary. Do check out the full itinerary and our reviews here.


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