Rottnest island

Who really put Rottnest Island on the Map?

The first Europeans to discover the Island were Dutch navigators sailing for the Verenigde Oostindische Compagnie (VOC) also knowns as the Dutch East India Company.

The stretch of beach before you is Porpoise Bay, thought to be where Dutch Sea captain Willem de Vlamingh landed on the 30 December 1696.

Vlamingh’s encounter with the quokka earnt the Island its name. He mistakenly took quokkas for giant rats, naming the Island Rottenest, which translates to rats nest. From that point onwards the Island Rottenest appeared on maps.

However, it was some 28 years earlier when the first European landed on Rottnest Island.

On the 19 March 1658, Abraham Leeman van Santwitz explored the north-east corner of the Island and reported that it was well wooded, but difficult to anchor close to shore due to rocky headlands.

Little Salmon Bay is one of the most popular bays on Rottnest Island. It is a favourite spot for families as it is sheltered and calm and is also a great spot for snorkelling. Snorkelers can follow a snorkel trail to learn more about the different types of fish on Rottnest Island.

Little Salmon Bay is easy to get to as it is a designated stop on the Rottnest Island bus route. If you prefer to cycle, it’s only a few kilometres from the Thomson Bay Settlement. 

Simply relax and enjoy the pristine sandy white shores and crystal clear water that is on offer at Little Salmon Bay.

Wadjemup Lighthouse, in the centre of the island, was constructed in 1896. Standing at approximately 38 metres, it is the fourth tallest lighthouse in Australia and replaced the original 20 metre structure built in 1849 by Aboriginal prisoners. Three other buildings in the Wadjemup precinct, including the Signal Station, the Battery Observation Post and the Women’s Royal Australian Navy Service, are intact and linked by self-guided interpretive signage.

Wadjemup Lighthouse was constructed to assist vessels to navigate the channel between Fremantle and the island.

Visitors will be able to get a glimpse of Perth City from the location of the lighthouse, as it was built on the highest point on the Island.

West End is located on the western most Point of Rottnest Island. It is a rugged piece of coastline, which unlike the rest of the island is not so calm and peaceful. Here you can gaze across the Indian Ocean and view the magnificent waves forming, a paradise for surfers.

West End is renowned for scuba diving and for some shore fishing, but is not for the faint hearted, as this area has no protection from the elements of the ocean. Visitors can also view sea creatures in their natural habitat if they are lucky enough. Dolphins, whales and New Zealand fur seals are known to frequent the area and may come out to say hello, so make sure you have your camera ready.

West End is a long way from the main settlement area, so if you are not up for a lengthy bike ride, the Rottnest Island Discover Tour stops at this secluded location

Ricey Beach boasts a lovely stretch of coastline, comprising of white sandy shores and crystal clear water.

As you walk to the shore on the silky soft sand, you are greeted by the calm waters and tranquil sound of the ocean. It will take your breath away!

Ricey Beach is a place where you get to relax and enjoy watching your children play in the safe calm waters.

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