Rottnesst is located off the west coast of Australia, near the mainland of Perth. It has an area of around 19 square kilometers and a population of less than 500 people, although it is estimated that around 15,000 people are found on the island during peak season, or around 780,000 per year. The island is known by a few different names, including Wadjemup, which is the name given by the local Noongar, and also Rotto, which is a more generic, anglicized short form for the region.
History and formation of Rottnest Island
Rottnest Island, along with others in the area, was formed around 7,000 years ago. At the time, it was theorized that sea level rose and cut off this peripheral land from what is now mainland Australia.
Artifacts indicating human activity in the area have been found and date back over 30,000 years. In the 17th century, the island was visited by Dutch sailors, and at that time no other occupants lived on the island. In 1696, one of these Dutch explorers, Willem de Vlamigh, landed on the island and nicknamed it “the rat nest island” – rottnest – because of the large population of Quokka rodents. Later, in 1829, the British established the Swan River Colony which over the years included a penal colony, military installation, and internment camps during World War II. It was common in Australia at the time. Many of these colonial buildings can still be seen on the island.
Wildlife of Rottnest Island
The main part of the island is native forests, made up of three main species: Rottnest Island Pine, Rottnest Island Tea Tree, and Acacia Rostellifera. At the start of colonization, the landscape was mostly forested, but agriculture and bushfires cleared much of what was once dense forests. In order to attempt regrowth and restoration, a reforestation project has been set up, including an island nursery. Other plants on the island include Rottnest Island Daisy, Sea Rocket, Beach Spinifex, and Wild Rosemary.
The best-known animal on Rottnest Island is the quokka, for which the island was indirectly named. A quokka is a small, rodent-like marsupial with little native habitat. On top of that, there are healthy populations of Australian sea lions and southern fur seals that inhabit beaches and coastal areas. Other marine animals include bottlenose dolphins and other cetaceans, migratory humpback whales, southern right whales (occasionally) and a large population of blue whales, particularly in the Perth Canyon area.
Other aquatic creatures like lobster, crayfish and other crustaceans, coral and a wide variety of fish can also be seen here. The island’s reptiles include the southern blind snake, dugite, royal skink (Egernia kingii), bobtail, marbled gecko, west coast ctenotus, and Burton’s legless lizard as well as three species of frogs. : the wailing frog, the western green tree frog and the frog sign.
Bird species are also abundant, both on the coast and among the island’s shallow salt lakes. These areas provide important nesting areas and, as such, these parts of the island are designated as important official areas for the conservation of birds.
Visit Rottnest Island
The main way to get to the island, especially for tourists, is by ferry or air taxi. About 70% of all visitors to the island come for day trips only and travel on ferries from Fremantle, Perth or Hillarys. For those staying overnight, however, there are The Hotel Rottnest, The Rottnest Lodge, Kingstown Barracks, or camping and cabin options at Caroline Thompson.
The island has significant limestone and coral reefs, and diving is one of the most popular activities here. Lots of fish and lobster can be seen below the surface. Likewise, the snorkeling trail at Parker Point is a very popular option, as it features underwater plaques and information as you explore the seas. Rottnest Island Wrecks are also a popular destination, which is a museum exhibit featuring information on various wrecks in the area. Beautiful beaches, rich reefs, wildlife, and warm weather make Rottnest Island a great option for visitors to the area looking for a day trip, or anyone looking to get away from it all and slow down. the rhythm on a quiet island in the sun.