Explore Rotto By Foot: 5 Rottnest Walking Trails You Need To Hike

Rottnest Walking Trails
See the Rottnest Island like never before with The Hike Collective's walking tours.

Explore Rotto By Foot: 5 Rottnest Walking Trails You Need To Hike

See the Rottnest Island like never before with The Hike Collective's walking tours.
Rottnest Walking Trails
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See the Island like never before with Rottnest walking trails and tours with The Hike Collective.

Rottnest Island, the iconic island home to the famous quokka, pristine beaches, and glistening waters, perfect for snorkelling and swimming the lazy days away. This popular car-free and care-free holiday destination has gone through some exciting changes in recent years, including the addition of a 45-kilometre trail network, completely separate from the bikes and busses of the main roads.

The name, “Wadjemup Bidi” comes from ‘Bidi’ in Noongar meaning ‘trail’ or ‘track’ while Wadjemup means ‘place across the water where the spirits are’, which is the Noongar name for Rottnest Island.

This Rottnest walking trail network is broken down into 5 sections, each with a unique opportunity to discover the island like never before. We partnered up with the Island’s only walking tour operator, The Hike Collective, to bring you the lowdown on the most interesting hiking trail network to hit Western Australia and what you need to know to explore the island by foot.

Uncover Bickley Batter (Ngank Yira Bidi)

This is a 9.4km one way trail traversing the south east corner of the Island from Thomson Bay to Oliver Hill. It is the perfect trail to discover and explore the remnants of the coastal defence systems that were installed during WWII on the Island, exploring the abandoned buildings that now provide information on the Islands role in the defence of the WA coastline.

After the ‘walk’ down memory lane, the trail transitions into a rugged southern coastal dune system heading to Henrietta Rocks and Porpoise Bay. The less populated spots are great for an ocean dip or relatively undisturbed picnic. To finish this trail, the opportunity arises to explore Oliver Hill with incredible views over the Rottnest Island Settlement. From here you can catch the Island hop on hop off bus, or join onto one of the other trails within the network for a longer trail experience.

Discover The Salt Lakes ( Gabbi Karniny Bidi)

Next on the list is this 9.7km loop of the Islands Lakes and Bays. Also starting from Thomson Bay settlement, this trail provides a neat little inland hike, including a magical stroll along the Lakes Boardwalk which safeguards the significant samphire communities below. The journey takes walkers to Vlamingh lookout, before weaving between the lakes, which occupy 10% of the Island’s mass.

Some of the best bays of the Island are highlighted in the second half of this section of the trail network, with the stops of the turquoise waters of little Parakeet Bay, Geordie Bay, Longreach Bay and the famous Basin. We recommend sticking around Geordie Bay for a coffee or lunch, or pack your snorkel and beach towel to fully embrace The Basin.

Relax on Salmon Bay (Wardan Nara Bidi)

Another one-way trail, this section makes up 10km of the network and takes walkers along the coast of salmon bay and across to the middle of the Island to explore the tunnels and guns of WWII, and the Wadjemup Lighthouse before heading west to the world-class surf break at Strickland Bay. To access this section, you will need to either bus, or hike out to Porpoise Bay Bus stop, and the same again at the other end from Narrowneck bus stop at completion.

Experience the Northern Beaches ( Karlinya Bidi)

If beaches and bays are your thing, then this is the section for you. At 5.9km, this short and sweet one-way trail will deliver the goods with long sandy beaches, calm swimming lagoons and a hint of rugged Island beauty. This ‘bridge’ section of the trail connects the Salt Lakes and the West End sections together.

With the excitement of the ruggedness of this trail also comes the increased danger and season closure due to high seas during the winter months. Our favourite spot to sit and reflect on this trail is at the City of York Bay, where you can deep dive (pun intended) into the history of the numerous shipwrecks of Rottnest Island and the famous story of the City of York Shipwreck.

Explore The West End (Ngank Wen Bidi)

If wildlife and awe is your thing, then this is the section that can’t be missed, as one of the most incredible coastal hiking trails on offer. Enjoy the fantastic 7.6km loop at the western End of Rottnest Island, with the West End boardwalk allowing incredible views out over the most western Edge of Australia, as well as cute encounters with the New Zealand fur seals from the

Cathedral Rocks viewing platform. Hit the island at the right time of year (between August and November), and you will come face to face with the majestic gentle giants, the humpback whales, as they migrate north. To get to this trail, you will need to hike, bike or bus out to narrowneck.

Want to see the best of the trail network on one of the Islands most exclusive tours on offer? Join The Hike Collective for a unique take on the Island on one of their day tours, or live the luxury life with a three-day all-inclusive trail retreat weekender.

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