Perth’s very own island getaway is just a short 40minute ferry ride from Fremantle. Welcome to the absolutely beautiful Rottnest Island holiday paradise. This little island has a circumference of 25km. There are no cars allowed and the preferred method of transport is by push bike. There is a bus that services the island’s bays, beaches and attractions for those that don’t want to ride.
The beaches at ‘Rotto’, as the locals call it, are stunning, some of the best in the world. Having visited the most beautiful beaches in other amazing places around the world including the Galapagos Islands, Sardinia in Italy, Brazil, Bali, Greece, and Queensland, I can say with authority that Rottnest’s beaches are up there with the best of them. So beautiful you just never want to leave.
Rotto is a very family friendly holiday spot. Accommodation is fairly basic – camping, cabins, chalets and villas – all very basic and the word luxury does not describe any of them. Yet during peak season, it is expensive to stay. There is also the Rottnest Island Hotel and the Rottnest Island Lodge. The Hotel has recently been refurbished and one can expect to pay upwards of $300 per night for a room without ocean views.
In the past we have stayed in the villas that line Geordie Bay – they are basic but have everything you need – a balcony to look out at the stunning bay, a kitchen equipped with the essentials, bathroom and a choice of two or three bedrooms that sleeps four to six people. In peak season, a villa for six people will set you back about $2000+ for one week.
This time however, we chose to stay at the Lodge. Entertainment Book members, which I am, receive a discount.
The Deluxe room – which we upgraded to once we checked in and decided we didn’t like the Palm Court room – cost $290 per night with a discount. It has a lovely view over the lake, is spacious, has a king size bed, flat screen TV, bar fridge, a modern bathroom and a great shower. Yes, it’s expensive, but it is one hundred times better than the Palm Court room that was once a boys reformatory in 1890. I did nick name it Cell Block B because it was so much like a prison room!
The discounted rate at the Lodge for a Palm Court room was $210 per night. As you can see from the photos, it is a bit grim. The rooms are dated, stuffy, small, and not that cheap really. There is no view, no balcony or outside space, and neither of us wanted to spend more than 5 minutes in it. Our room also had a smell to it that was all but pleasant.
Zorba didn’t care how much extra we had to pay, he just wanted out of the Palm Court room. I couldn’t blame him really.
Once we moved into the Deluxe lakeside room, he declared, “Now I feel like I’m on holidays and I’m excited to be here!”. As long as the Greek is happy!
Native to Rottnest are Quokkas, little marsupials that are part of the rodent family. They are super cute and they are everywhere. They are quite used to tourists and often join in for breakfast!
There are also beautiful birds of all descriptions and some fairly friendly peacocks.
Breakfast at the Lodge offered the standard hotel buffet fare – bacon, scrambled eggs, poached eggs, tomato, baked beans, toast, fruit, cereal, juice, and filter coffee and tea.
There is a pool at the Lodge too – which is little and during our two-night stay, it was always packed. With beaches as stunning as those on this little island, I couldn’t understand why you would want to sit almost on top of people around a little pool.
The beauty of Rotto is that there really isn’t that much to do except beach it, sleep, eat, and rest. There are tennis courts, a 9-hole golf course, an old war canon, a couple of lighthouses and some surf on the east side of the island. It’s just so relaxing and so so so picturesque. The beauty for families is that kids can ride their bikes without traffic fears and because of days filled with swimming, riding and exploring, kids wear themselves out and fall into bed at the end of the day. Every parent’s dream!
Eating out options are fairly limited and none of the options are really worthy of much comment. The Hotel pub has great views and a cool vibe, but the food there is average. Aristos seafood is also ordinary. The bakery is a ok and there’s a wholefood cafe that is quite good. Simmos ice creamery has opened up and next door is Lane cafe that serves proper barista made coffee. There is also a Dome. The general store is well stocked and prices are marginally more expensive that those in Perth. Self catering is the way to go.
Yes, Rotto is expensive in peak season, but it’s also an awesome holiday that is devoid of too many choices, and that makes a stay on Rotto simply relaxing. I love it.