Posted by: Debra Kolkka | February 5, 2023

Meet the quokkas

Rottnest Island, colloquially referred to as Rotto, is an island 18 kilometres west of Fremantle in Western Australia. It is a low-lying sand island formed on a base of aeolianite limestone, once joined to the mainland around 7,000 years ago.

It is now a popular tourist destination, attracting around 780,000 annual visitors. Recently that number included us. We spent 2 stunning days on the island enjoying its many delights.

We arrived at the main part of the island following a rough ride across from Fremantle on our good friend’s boat. The area can be very windy.

There are shops and restaurants near the jetty where you can find everything you need for a great stay on the island.

We stayed at Pinky’s, a short walk from the jetty, past the lighthouse.

We were glamping for the first time.

Pinky’s beach is spectacular. I enjoyed flinging myself into that blue sea on a very hot day.

I also swam at a beach nearby called The Basin. There is a plaque at top of the beach telling the story of Willem De Vlamingh.

On 29th December 1696, Willem De Vlamingh anchored his ship, the Gleevinck, about 2 kilometres from this spot, at the beginning of his epic voyage of exploration along the Western Australian Coast.

His other 2 vessels, the Nyptangh and the Weseltje, were moored nearby. Over the next 6 days Vlamingh and his crew explored the island, apparently landing first at The Basin. They clearly enjoyed their visit, and commented especially on the fragrant trees covering the island and the presence of many large “bush rats” (quokkas). Because of the abundance of these animals, the island was given the name Rottnest Eylandt (Rats’ Nest Island).

From above you can just see the basin in the water. There is a shallow rocky shelf that drops off into a deeper basin. It is a great place to swim when the tide is low.

We took the hop on hop off bus around the island. It is an excellent way to see the whole island. The round trip takes about an hour and stops several times along the way,  where you can get off and then catch another bus. They circle every 20 minutes.

We did the complete tour, then went again and stopped at Little Salmon Bay, surely one of the prettiest beaches in Australia.

We stopped again at Geordie Bay, a sheltered spot for boats when it is windy.

The bus is an excellent way to see the island. There are no cars allowed on the island so the only other ways are walking or cycling.

There really are quokkas all over the island. They are wild, but not afraid of people and let you come close. Visitors are encouraged not to feed or touch them but they are hard to resist. The quokka is a small macropod about the size of a domestic cat. Like other marsupials in the macropod family (kangaroos and wallabies) the quokka is herbivorous and mainly nocturnal. We saw lots of these very cute animals at all hours.

Here is a quokka eating a bean.

A quokka foraging.

A quokka climbing the steps from the beach.

A quokka reaching through a fence to get some fresh leaves.

A quokka sitting on grass waiting to be admired.

We loved our visit to this gorgeous island. Thank you Paul and AnnBeth for taking us across in your boat and introducing us to Rottnest Island.

There are some videos of the lovely Rottnest beaches on my Instagram page…Debra Kolkka


  1. Visited Rotto many times when living in Perth in the 70’s. Such a lovely paradise!

    • It is a beautiful island. I love those beaches.

  2. With the opening of new accommodation over on Rotto I think it has now become an destination for locals and tourists to visit all through the year and not just a summer holiday spot. It is very scenic with gorgeous beaches and I am glad you enjoyed your stay there.

    • I’m not surprised it is popular! We deliberately waited until after the holidays to go there. It must be very crowded in peak seasons.

  3. We hired bikes and cycled round / that was many years ago !!!

    • We looked at that, but decided the bus would be a better idea. I was happy with that, it was hot!

  4. What a dreamy trip!! I’d love to see quokkas in real life. They are so cute and have the funniest expressions 🙂

    • They are very cute to watch. They are mostly busy eating.

  5. The island looks beautiful and the quokka are delightful. Thank you for sharing.

    • We loved our visit to Rottnest!

  6. Charming place and beautiful pictures!

  7. The water looks so clear & inviting especially on a hot day. The q u okkas do look cute & I love the one eating such a green bean. Your visit to the island must have been so enjoyable.

    • We had a great stay on the island. I would go back in a heartbeat.

  8. A very interesting and beautiful post; lovely little critters! Thanks!

    • The quokkas are very cute.

Leave a Reply


%d bloggers like this: