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The ultimate guide to exploring Rottnest Island by bike

Couple riding bikes on Rottnest Island

With only a handful of vehicles permitted on Wadjemup / Rottnest Island, how do you get around the island? By bike of course! The island is crisscrossed by kilometres of bike paths that will take you to all the best beaches, secluded bays and lookout points around the island. Whether you ride around the whole island or explore a shorter trail, cycling is the best mode of transportation on Rottnest Island.

Child cycles past a quokka at Rottnest Island
Quokka at Rottnest Island. Image credit: Rottnest Island Authority

Bike hire on Rottnest Island

First things first, to cycle around Rottnest Island you will need a bike. You can bring your own bike on the ferry to Rottnest Island for a small transport fee. This is a great option if you are staying a few days as you only pay for the transport of your bike.

If you don't have your own bike there are a few options available to hire one for your trip. The best option is to book your bike hire with SeaLink when you book your ferry. SeaLink will have the bike ready for you on the ferry, maximising your time for exploring Wadjemup / Rottnest Island. Just pick up your bike from the crew as you disembark on the island, then hand it back to them before you board. Too easy!

If you need child bikes or you're staying overnight on Rottnest Island, your best option is to hire from Pedal & Flipper on the island. They also offer a range of bike accessories including locks, baskets and child trailers.

Has it been a while since you did any cycling? Don’t worry! For a little extra push around Rottnest Island, hire an electric bike. Or you can take advantage of Pedal & Flipper’s bike and bus package. This allows you to ride as far as you can, leave your bike at one of the bus stops and return in the comfort of the airconditioned bus.

Two young ladies with bikes on the coast at Rottnest Island
SeaLink hire bikes

Tips for cycling around Wadjemup / Rottnest Island

Now your bike hire is sorted and you’re raring to get out there. Rottnest Island is waiting to be explored! But before you take off, check out these tips for cycling around Rottnest Island.

1. Get a map

It sounds like an obvious one. But since we’re all so used to using google maps these days, we can be a bit lost when it doesn’t work. Phone reception can be patchy on the island, so download a map to your phone before you go or pick up a paper copy from the Visitors Centre when you arrive.

2. Wear a helmet

The lack of vehicles on Rottnest Island makes cycling around the island safer than your average city route. But that doesn't mean you can abandon safety altogether, accidents still happen. Wearing a helmet is required by law in Western Australia so be sure to pick one up when you get your bike hire.

Couple cycling on Rottnest Island
Cycling Rottnest Island. Image credit: Rottnest Island Authority

3. Fill up

Water fountains are dotted around near the settlement, but they dry up once you head west. Fill up your bottle at the last water fountain at Geordie Bay (if you are going anticlockwise) or Kingstown Barracks (if you are going clockwise).

4. Cover up

Most of the bike paths around Rottnest Island are fully exposed to the elements. Make sure you’re wearing adequate sun protection if you’re out in summer or a wind jacket in winter.

5. Eat up

The western side of Rottnest Island is beautifully undeveloped. That means stunning untouched beaches, but nowhere to eat! If you’re planning a mid-cycle picnic, bring your lunch with you as you won’t find much once you leave the settlement.

If you do get hungry along the way, Lexi’s out at West End and Kalli’s at Wadjemup Lighthouse are two remote locations where you can grab a bite. Both offer hot and cold drinks, snacks and ice cream.

Couple at Geordie Bay
Geordie Bay. Image credit: Rottnest Island Authority

6. Take your time

The full 22 km cycle around Rottnest Island takes about 3 – 5 hours. But what’s the point of cycling to all those beautiful beaches if you don’t have time to stop and admire them? Set off early in the day and allow as much time as possible to fully explore the wonders found along the bike routes of Rottnest Island. With plenty of hills to climb along the way, it's also worth leaving some extra time to take regular breaks.

7. Book in advance

Whether you are bringing your own bike or hiring one on Rottnest Island, make sure you book before you travel. Space is limited on the ferries to Rotto and bikes can sell out, especially in summer.

Wadjemup / Rottnest Island’s best bike trails

Whether you are a casual cycler or a regular rider, you can discover a world of wonder on two wheels.

Rottnest Island Bike Map
Rottnest Island Map

Wadjemup / Rottnest Island’s best bike trails

  • Length: 4 kms

    Time: 30 mins

    This short circular route is a great family friendly option for riders with little legs. Head out of Thomson Bay to the Basin, one of Rotto’s most popular beaches for swimming and snorkelling. Then continue along to the sheltered beaches of Longreach Bay and Geordie Bay before cutting inland between the lakes and the golf course. Enjoy the scenic views from Vlamingh Lookout before arriving back in the settlement.

  • Length: 10 kms

    Time: 1.5 – 3 hours

    Be sure to bring your snorkel gear on this pleasant loop of the southeast corner of Rottnest Island. Cycle south from Thomson Bay along the coast where you will pass top snorkelling and swimming spots. Stop at Henrietta Rocks, where you can snorkel the shipwreck Shark, and Little Salmon Bay, where you will find an informative snorkel trail. After Salmon Bay, head inland and ascend to the highest point of Rottnest Island, Wadjemup Lighthouse. Take in the views before riding down to the lakes and back to Thomson Bay.

    Bike riding little salmon bay
  • Length: 22 kms

    Time: 3 – 5 hours

    You can ride all the way around Wadjemup / Rottnest Island. Unless you're a regular cyclist, you will probably find the full ride around the island quite challenging. But you'll be rewarded by a more rugged side of Rotto, where the beaches are quieter and wildlife comes out to play. Just make sure you allow enough time for regular breaks along the way.

    Heading south from Thomson Bay, you’ll pass by the stunning snorkel and swimming spots of the 10 km ride. After Salmon Bay, keep following the trail along the coast to the West End. Stop at Cathedral Rocks where you can view long-nosed fur seals, Australian sea lions and maybe even some bottlenose dolphins. If you’re here in winter, keep an eye out for migrating whales off the coast.

    The trail then takes you past the popular surfing spot Stark Bay. As you continue the trail, there are opportunities to snorkel at Little Armstrong Bay and Parakeet Bay before you hit civilisation again around Geordie Bay. Head back into Thomson Bay and finish off the day with a well-deserved bevy at Hotel Rottnest.

With miles of (almost) car-free cycle paths, biking is the best way to explore Rottnest Island. So gear up and get out there!

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