This post was originally published on the 29th April 2014 on the website Mums on the Go. With Mums on the Go closing down in March 2016 I wanted to ensure this story was preserved.
“Hello Quokka” “Quokka STOP! “Hello Quokka”
This was the conversation repeated endlessly by my 20 month old daughter, every morning and afternoon, during our week long holiday on Rottnest Island over Easter. She was absolutely besotted by these cute little native marsupials that are found in very few places other than Rottnest Island.
Conversation with a quokka
Rottnest Island, located 19km from the coast of Fremantle (WA), is a very popular holiday destination for Perth families and a popular day trip for visitors to Perth, and it is not hard to see why. Only 11km long and 4.5km wide, at the widest point, Rottnest Island is filled with beautiful bays and beaches to explore. You can swim, surf, snorkel, paddleboard or just build sandcastles all day long.
Most people will hire bikes to get around the island. The island is car free, so very safe – the only vehicles around are the local island bus and service vehicles. Our family of five had a great time exploring the island on our bikes. The little girls (aged 3 years and 20 months) sat together in a bike trailer attached to my husbands bike, my 5 year old rode a bike and I had a bike too.
Family bike riding on Rottnest Island
My eldest daughter gained the most amazing confidence after cycling every day for 5 days. She rode 10-15km each day and the speed she was going downhills at really freaked me out! Rottnest is a bit hilly, nothing much for an adult but young children may need some encouragement along the way.
Even teddies enjoy the ride!
If you tire of bike riding or playing at the beach there are plenty of other things you can do with the kids and during school holidays there are plenty of scheduled activities run by a brigade of volunteers. My girls especially enjoyed a beach-combing session, learning all about the different shells, seaweed, sponges and other bits and pieces collected along the shore.
If you are visiting Perth make sure you take a trip to Rottnest Island. If you have the time I highly recommend making it more than just a day trip if you have the time.
Flights – We flew with Qantas from Sydney – Perth. Service on our flights was fantastic and kids meals the nicest we have ever had. I met some flight attendants from Virgin on the bus from the long term carpark who tell me the Perth flights with Virgin are now MUCH better than they used to be. Bigger planes, meal service included and in-flight entertainment. I am a great fan of Virgin when flying to Melbourne with the kids so would be keen to try them out next time we fly to Perth.
To/from the airport – if you are traveling directly to/from the airport/ferry terminal I can highly recommend using a transfer service such as Go2 Transfers. With three young children it is impossible to get a taxi with car seats for all of them and with a long drive I am very reluctant to have my kids only using seatbelts or on my lap. Go2 Transfers arrived perfectly on time to collect us from the ferry terminal. Had 3 carseats already installed in the luxury 7 seater Mercedes and plenty of room for our luggage. Our driver, Shaun, was very friendly and even scored a hug from our 5 year old on arrival at the airport! Price wise – the transfer wasn’t a lot more than the cost of a Maxi Taxi (which is all we fit in) and the reliability, comfort and having 3 carseats well and truly made it great value for us.
Where to Stay
A full listing of accommodation options is available HERE. You will find everything from camping, self contained villas and hotels on offer. We stayed at Fays Bay (near Geordie Bay) which was a lovely, quiet and family friendly area. We enjoyed being away from the school holiday crowds in the main village area of Thomson Bay.
Where to eat
Self Catering – there is a general store in Thomson Bay and Geordie Bay which sells a good range of produce (at “island” prices). They offer an online delivery service which is great for the day you arrive. Simply place an order a few days before and it will be delivered directly to your accommodation.
Restaurants/Cafes/Bars – all listed here.
- I can tell you from personal experience the Bakery is a local institution and well worth a visit.
- Hotel Rottnest is a really nice pub, has highchairs, and the outdoor area has plenty of room for kids to run around and chase the seagulls.
- Geordie’s Cafe makes yummy food, has a great kids menu, highchairs and right next to a playground.
- Dome has highchairs and offers free crayons packs and colouring in to occupy the kids.
- The kiosk section of Aristos makes yummy homemade sausage rolls and it’s location next to a playground makes it a good place to grab takeaway coffee.