Day 3 ~ Rottnest Island

With a 7:30am ferry to catch, we were up at the crack of dawn to drive to Hillary’s Boat Harbour. Here, we picked up our ferry tickets, hired some bikes and snorkels, and jumped on board our boat – bound for Rottnest Island!

After a bumpy 45 minute boat ride, we were glad to get back on firm ground and begin our adventure. We hired a locker to store a lot of our stuff so we didn’t have to lug it around all day – looking back, this was a wise move.

Our first destination for the day was one of the most popular bays on the island. On the way there, we stumbled across our first little Quokka on the side of the road. They are definitely as cute as they look in pictures, but the one we saw was rather shy, so he waddled off into the bushes before we could take a selfie.

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A shy little Quokka

As we rode up and down a few decent hills, we were eventually greeted with the crystal clear, turquoise waters of Little Salmon Bay. We couldn’t wait to dive right in as the temperature outside was already pushing 30 degrees! We had heard rumours that the water would be a little chilly, so we came prepared with wetsuit vests to help keep us warm – and we were VERY glad we did! The water was like ice! My guess would have the water temperature sitting around 18 degrees. As it was already so hot, we didn’t hesitate to get ourselves wet.

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Little Salmon Bay

After a bit of time snorkelling and lazing around at this little slice of paradise, it wasn’t long before big waves of tourists started rolling in on the buses, so we decided to pack up and move on. We ended up riding for miles in scorching heat until we reached the western tip of the island. While the road there passed some very scenic beaches, the fly situation was getting extremely bad and was making this ride very unpleasant. We had to pull over and put fly nets over our heads – just so we didn’t go insane from the very sticky Western Australia flies! These were easily the best $5 we spent on this trip!

Cathedral Rocks was the highlight at this western end of the island, as we managed to see New Zealand Fur Seals splashing about in the water below.

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New Zealand Fur Seals swimming at Cathedral Rocks

It was now getting close to lunchtime and we were absolutely exhausted from riding up and down hills all morning in the blistering sun. Advertisements make the bike rides look like a great option at Rottnest, but if we had our time again, we’d pass on the bikes and just get the shuttle bus! It’s simply too hot and there’s too many hills on this island for this bike ride to be even close to enjoyable.

The only way back to the main settlement was to ride – so off we went for over an hour of sweaty riding and bickering with each other. Eventually, we made it back to the shops and hooked in to some overpriced takeaway food. Whilst eating, we decided that we’d lock up the bikes and buy ourselves a bus ticket to see the rest of the island.

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Bikes were a bad choice

After lunch, we jumped on the air-conditioned bus and made our way around to Salmon Bay – the equally stunning bigger brother of Little Salmon Bay. Again, we found a stretch of sand to call our own, so we lazed about in the shallows cooling off and doing a little more snorkelling.

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Salmon Bay

As the day drew to a close, we got the shuttle bus back to the jetty and waited for the final ferry of the day to take us back to Perth. We weren’t back at the apartment for long before we both crashed out after our massive day.


  • Distance Travelled: 23km (Perth >> Hilary’s Boat Harbour)


  • Rottnest Fast Ferries – $85.50 / adult for a return ticket.
  • Depart 7:30am from Hilary’s Boat Harbour – 45 minute ride to Rottnest Island.
  • Depart Rottnest Island at 6:15pm – 45 minute ride back to Hilary’s.
  • Bike Hire – $30 / adult
  • Snorkel Gear – $15 / adult

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