When you think of Rottnest Island normally you picture world class beaches, quokkas and getting around the island on a bike, but did you know there is an extensive network of walking trails that will give you access to some of the remotest parts of the island?
It’s a network that also provides walkers an important insight in Rottnest Island’s cultural history and its time as an Aboriginal-only prison camp between 1838 and 1931, while paying respects to Rottnest Island’s Traditional Land Owners.
What Is It:
The Wadjemup Bidi (Wadjemup is the Noongar word for the island and Bidi means trail) is a recently constructed trail network that lets you explore the entire island on foot. There are five colour coded trails that link up at certain points and each trail has its own character.
Exclusively for walkers, you can explore areas of the island that you can’t normally access on the bike paths or roads with some stunning locations and beaches all to yourself. That’s not to say that you don’t visit some of the popular spots on the island with the network covering all the big ticket places like Pinkyís and Salmon Bay.
Where Is It:
Located 21km off the coast from Fremantle, Rottnest Island is accessible by the two ferry operators that offer services from Fremantle and Perth. If you’re feeling a little fancy then there are light aircraft operators that will give you a birdís eye view of the coast before dropping you off at the island’s airport.
Two of the walking trails start from the main settlement, where you will find the large Wadjemup Bidi trail head, while the others conveniently start or finish at one of the many bus stops located around the island so getting to and from the settlement is just a matter of waiting for the next bus.
What To Do:
With five walking trails to explore…walk!!!! Each trail has it’s own unique character and every one will show you something different. From exploring the island’s WWII history on the Ngank Yira Bidi to getting up close to the inland lake system on the Gabby Karniny Bidi to being in awe of the wild western side of the island on the Ngank Wen Bidi.
One great aspect of the walks is that they quite frequently visit some of the best beaches on the island so if you enjoy a snorkel then make sure to attach for flippers and snorkel to your bag. The Wardan Nara Bidi takes you past a trio of great snorkelling spots in Parker Point, Little Salmon Bay and Salmon Bay. The Karlinyah Bidi takes you to Little Armstrong Bay where you’ll have a sheltered cove to leave your gear while you go say hi to the fish.
It will take several day trips over to the island to explore the whole network and it’s worth taking your time to enjoy a snorkel or a swim or just admire what a beautiful place Rottnest is.
What Not To Do:
Having the privilege to explore some of the remotest parts of the island, it is important that you respect the island and don’t wander off-trail. The island is an important breeding place for a lot of bird populations so trampling their nests by heading off track is a big no.
While getting a Quokka selfie is fun thing to do because they’re just so cute, they are still wild animals so respect their space and don’t handle, touch, feed or water them.
More like this:
5 Great Day Hikes in Western Australia
The Best Multi-Day Hikes in Western Australia
The Best Waterfall Hikes in Perth
Perth’s Best Secret Hikes
The Best Doggo-Friendly Hikes & Walks Around Perth
About the author:
Mark (The Life of Py) is a Perth based outdoor enthusiast that loves exploring the trails of Western Australia in his free time. When he isn’t out taking photos he is busy planning the next adventure. See more of his content HERE.