For Perth locals, a trip to Rottnest Island is virtually a rite of passage. Synonymous with pristine beaches idyllic natural landscapes and, of course, quokkas, Rottnest draws in Western Australians and tourists alike in droves throughout the summer months. And while the island’s breathtaking bays and beaches make it the summer holiday destination of choice here in Perth, the island has plenty to offer in the cooler winter months too.
After hopping on the SeaLink Rottnest ferry from Fremantle, I found myself on the island in just an easy 30 minutes, where breathtaking coastline, delicious food, and adorable quokkas awaited. Blessed by two glorious, rain-free days, I was able to explore the island as you would in summer, minus the crowds, heat, and peak period prices.
If you’re considering a winter visit to Rottnest, here are the best things to do during your time on the island.
Dine at Pinky’s Rottnest Island
When the clouds roll in, there’s nothing better than escaping the rain to enjoy a hearty meal and a glass of wine. After renovations to enclose the previously open-air dining space were completed in late June this year, Pinky’s Rottnest Island has become winter (and spring) ready and offers a new warming winter menu to match.
Helmed by Head Chef Marco Facchinetti, Pinky’s offers a selection of Italian-inspired dishes where local produce shines, including a delicious market fish on tomato risotto with blue swimmer crab butter. Alongside the newer additions, the restaurant serves up casual beachside classics like burgers and fish and chips, making it perfect for a hearty family lunch or cozy dinner during your visit.
If the sun decides to make an appearance, which isn’t a rarity here on the sunny west coast, be sure to soak up the rays out in the bar area with a refreshing Pinky’s Spritz. Overlooking the ocean, staff say that diners are sometimes treated to a display of dolphins playing in the waters below.
Get glamping at Discovery Rottnest Island
If you plan on doing more than just a day trip, consider booking yourself a comfortable glamping tent at Discovery Rottnest Island. Set amongst the dunes beside Pinky Beach, these luxe eco-tents are surrounded by stunning natural scenery. Featuring an ensuite bathroom, outdoor deck, and comfortable bedding (with heated blankets for a cozy night’s sleep), the tents take glamping to another level.
A Deluxe Oceanside Tent, which comes with a kitchenette, ensuite with double vanity, and large private deck with BBQ and breakfast included, is priced at around A$669 per night this time of year, during the off-season.
Discover the island’s coastline and history
Cycling or hiking around the island can be a physically taxing activity during the peak of summer. Perth heat is no joke. In winter, however, temperate conditions make Rottnest the ultimate playground to explore the island on foot or bike.
With more than 63 beaches and 20 bays, there are plenty of pristine coastlines to marvel at, and when you visit in winter, these stunning coves and beaches are almost totally unspoiled by boats, so you can take in all of the uninterrupted natural beauty.
Of course, you’ll have to pay a visit to one of Rottnest’s historic lighthouses, Wadjemup and Bathurst Lighthouses, as well as the Wadjemup Museum to learn about the island’s history.
Stop in for a coffee at Geordie’s Cafe and Art Gallery
When you’re in need of a caffeine fix, head over to Geordie’s Cafe and Art Gallery located on the northern coastline of the island. While indulging in a coffee and a sweet treat, enjoy looking at the stunning landscape paintings that hang on the cafe walls.
Make like a celeb and take a quokka selfie
Of course, what would a Rottnest travel guide be without including the classic quokka selfie? From Margot Robbie and Chris Hemsworth to Matt Damon and Hugh Jackman, a selfie with the adorable native marsupial is a must when you visit the island.
This article originally appeared on Fancy and do not necessarily represent the views of australiaexploring.com