As almost all activities on Rottnest Island are under the administration of the Western Australian Government. It is invariably known as Rotto to the locals.
The island was used as an internment camp for Italian and German civilians in WWI.
In WWII several large artillery guns were built on the island's tallest hill. These are no longer functional, but you can take free tours to the guns and through the bunkers surrounding them.
Today the island is no longer used by the military and is a popular and relaxing getaway.
The island is sparsely covered with scrub and occasional stands of woodland, and is dominated by several large salt lakes and some low hills.
It is the bays and beaches that are the attraction on Rottnest, featuring excellent reefs and caves, for swimming, snorkeling and diving.
Flora and fauna
Quokkas are small marsupials which gave the island its name - early settlers mistook them for giant rats and called the island 'Rats Nest.'
The climate in Rottnest Island is essentially the same as that in Perth, it may be a little cooler due to its more southern location, and because it is an island.
Hire a bike from the ferry terminal and cycle around the island - this is a very comfortable and individual way, along with all the other individual cyclists. A full loop of the island is around 25km, so is an ideal cycling distance. Bike hire is around $30 per day.
Cars are not permitted, but there is also a regular bus shuttle available for traveling around the island. A day ticket allows you to stop everywhere you want. If you have enough time, make a complete trip around the island first in the morning, and then decide where you really want to stay for a few hours.
The one and only pub located on the island, called the Quokka Arms. It is right smack in the middle of where the main jetty is. Apart from that the convenient stores dotted along the island do sell a range of alcohol from wines to spirits.
Rottnest Island is completely safe. However, Rottnest Island has become notorious for its schoolies week events in November which often take place at night and can get out of hand. (There is also a massive police presence on the island during this time, as opposed to the usual 3 officers). Travelling during schoolies week is inadvisable as the peace of the island is briefly shattered.
There are wild dugites (snakes) on the island which are venomous, however these are only found out in the scrubland and are easily avoidable if you watch where you are treading.