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If you’ve been thinking about taking off on a winter getaway that’s not too far from home, Rottnest Island could be your ideal destination.
While many tend to look north or south of Perth when seeking an escape from the city, both directions either involve getting on a plane or taking a lengthy drive. To get to the idyllic Rottnest Island, all you have to do is hop on a modern ferry at Hillarys Boat Harbour, and you’ll arrive in just 45 minutes
During the summer time, the Island becomes a hotspot for tourists and Perth locals looking to enjoy the many secluded bays and beaches. When it comes to the winter months, however, the beach loving crowd is no longer around, offering peace and quiet for a lovely, relaxing holiday.
There are many things you can see and do on the island in winter, whether you’re travelling in a group or with a significant other. Here are our top attractions and activities for a soothing winter getaway on Rottnest.
This year from August 16-18, the Karma Golf Course will be hosting the annual Rottnest Island Cup that has been running since the 1960s. Budding golf enthusiasts are welcome to watch as the club members compete and may even be persuaded to enter next year’s tournament.
If you’re more interested in hitting the green yourself, you can head out on to the 9-hole course outside of the Cup dates. In mid-2013, the course underwent a significant refurbishment that now includes multiple teeing positions at all holes to cater to golfers of all abilities.
The Rottnest Island Country Club also offers an artificial lawn bowling green if you fancy a lazy afternoon of beverages and bowls.
With such a rich and interesting history, there is much to learn about the Island. On the Oliver Hill Gun & Tunnel Tour, you’ll discover how Rottnest prepared for the second World War, with the opportunity to see the beautifully restored WWII 9.2 inch gun. There is also a maze of underground tunnels to explore with your knowledgeable guide. Tours run for an hour and operate daily.
For those who enjoy a nature walk, the Wadjemup Bidi is comprised of 5 trails that total 45 kilometres in length. Each one takes you through a different part of the Island, with the Gabbi Karniny Bidi trail being the best trail to see the Island’s unique salt lakes.
The well-marked trail takes around 3 to 4 hours to complete and is suitable for most fitness levels, featuring fairly flat terrain throughout. Scenic spots along the way include the Vlamingh Lookout, where you’ll be able to take in stunning views of the Island. Another stand-out feature is the Lakes Boardwalk, where you can walk across the salt lakes and witness the bird life.
Gabbi Karniny Bidi also takes you through three of the Island’s most gorgeous bays, Parakeet Bay, Geordie Bay and Longreach Bay. Make sure you have your phone at the ready to capture the picturesque sights.
There’s nothing quite like taking a boat out to sea and escaping from the rest of the world. The Island offers excellent conditions for boat fishing, even in the winter time, with opportunities to catch dhufish, breaksea cod, pink snapper and samson fish around the rocky reef areas.
There are marine protected waters that you must stay away from, but you can always get directions at the Visitor Centre when you arrive. You can hire a boat from Boating West and get all the fishing gear you need from either Rottnest Island Bike & Hire or the General Store in Thomson Bay.
If you got a taste for the Island’s heritage on the Oliver Hill Gun & Tunnel Tour and want to know more, you can visit the Rottnest Island Museum. Inside an old mill that was built by Aboriginal prisoners in 1857, the museum provides insight into shipwrecks, Indigenous history and European settlements.
The Salt Store is another historical building that was constructed in 1868 and is now used as an art and photography exhibition space. While the building underwent restorations in 1997, much of the original structure remains intact.
Get yourself a glass of sparkling wine and settle in for the sunset on a luxury catamaran. Charter1 run sunset sailing tours from the Island that often come with dolphin sightings. You can also create your own private charter itinerary and choose to go snorkeling or visit a more remote part of the island, depending on what you feel like!
For the ultimate relaxation experience, you can visit the Karma Day Spa. Offering a range of treatments from massages to manicures, you’ll leave Karma feeling refreshed, restored and ready to return to your normal life.
Book your trip today with Rottnest Fast Ferries.