Rottnest Island, Western Australia travel guide and things to do: Nine must-do highlights

THE ONE FERRY RIDE

"Rotto" – the immensely popular island playground for Perthites – is well-serviced by comfortable high-speed ferries operated by Rottnest Express from the B-Shed Terminal at the Port of Fremantle. The journey across to the island from the coast takes just 25 minutes but don't rush: if you haven't visited charming, heritage-rich Fremantle before do factor in some time there for a bit of pre-departure exploration. See rottnestexpress.com.au

THE ONE BOAT TOUR

Not for the faint-hearted when the Indian Ocean swell is well and truly up, the well-run Eco Express high-powered adventure boat tour, also operated by Rottnest Express, is an excellent and speedy way to gain a true sense of this unique island and its marine life. You'll visit a seal colony at spectacular Cathedral Rocks and between September and November you can spot migrating humpback whales. See rottnestexpress.com.au

THE ONE MARSUPIAL

<i>Roger Federer meeting the locals in 2017.</i>

Roger Federer meeting the locals in 2017. Photo: Supplied

During a visit to Western Australia a few years ago, tennis champ Roger Federer put the quokka firmly on the world map of cute creatures when he took a selfie with one. These animals coexist well with humans and while they tend to dominate the attention of visitors Rottnest is also home to plenty of other less-hyped wildlife, including native birds and marine life. See rottnestisland.com; westernaustralia.com

THE ONE SELFIE

Go ahead and take a selfie with a quokka, but don't be a quokka-botherer during your visit, and do maintain a respectful distance. In fact, check out the guide, "how to take a quokka selfie" on the Rottnest Island website, which includes tips on allowing the furry, smiley creatures to come to you, not enticing them with food or water and not patting them. Quokka are, after all, wild animals and Rottnest Island is their home. See rottnestisland.com

THE ONE LUNCH SPOT

Weekend lunches at the refurbished Hotel Rottnest Bar & Bistro on Rotto are typically crowded yet convivial affairs. It's a genuine Western Australian dining and accommodation institution, overlooking picturesque Thomson Bay. Somehow it all seems to work well enough and the pub's also a good opportunity to commune with the eclectic mix of sandgropers who flock there. The food and wine aren't half bad, either. See hotelrottnest.com.au

THE ONE FORM OF TRANSPORT

Motorised vehicles on Rottnest are limited to the small population of workers who care for the island. Although visitors can get around on the Island Explorer bus, bicycles are the main means of transport. There is an abundance of bike paths and, even though it's mostly flat, there's always the opportunity to take an easier-on-the-calves four-hour electric bike tour. See rottnestisland.com

THE ONE CAFE

You don't need to forego the pleasures of the mainland on Rottnest Island, with a branch of Dome, a coffee-purveying chain founded in Western Australia, right in the midst of the main village. What's more, the spacious Dome cafe here, just a short walk in the main village close to the jetty, is located in an attractive old-style bayside building. See domecoffees.com

THE ONE BAKERY

If you're heading over to Rottnest for the day, as is the case for most visitors to the island, you'll be doing so from the historic port city of Fremantle. Make a real day of it and rise early to squeeze in breakfast at Bread in Common, one of Australia's best and most authentic artisanal bakeries. It operates out of a beautifully-restored old warehouse building with Hansel and Gretel, two hand-built ovens. See breadincommon.com.au

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THE ONE HOTEL

Ideally you'd factor in a night or two on Rotto, rather than undertake a rushed day trip. Accommodation on the island, however, is relatively limited, even though a new glamping-style facility has recently opened. Either way, you'll need a base in Perth. One of the best choices also happens to be among the newest – the chic QT Perth hotel, which is right in the centre of the CBD. See qthotelsandresorts.com; discoveryholidayparks.com.au

ONE MORE THING

First-time visitors to Perth can be surprised at just how choppy the Indian Ocean can become, even in fine weather conditions, and including to, from and around Rotto.

Anthony Dennis visited as a guest of Tourism Western Australia, QT Perth and Rottnest Express. See westernaustralia.com

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