Rottnest Island is a fascinating place with a long history; and it is this history that provides some of the unique accommodation venues on the island. Located just 18km west of Fremantle, and covering just 19 square kilometres, Rottnest has significant Aboriginal and colonial history.
Inhabited by Aboriginal people until around 7000 years ago when rising sea levels separated the island from the mainland, there are Aboriginal artefacts across the island. Many of the accommodation facilities on Rottnest Island are within an easy walk of the walking trails across the island where you can learn more about the Aboriginal heritage and history through audio boxes and artwork.
Land grants for Rottnest Island were received in 1831 and settlement started not long after while the Boys reformatory was opened in 1881. Today, the reformatory is part of the Rottnest Lodge, while heritage properties are scattered around the island, some of the making up the accommodation on the island.
The Heritage and Heritage View cottages are a piece of Rottnest Island history, with the properties including the original lighthouse keeper’s cottage at Bathurst Point, colonial settlement cottages in North Thomson Bay and cottages built for commanding officers stationed on Rottnest Island during WWII. Some of these heritage cottages are located on Vincent Way which happens to be one of the oldest intact streets in Australia. These cottages date back to the late 1800’s so there is plenty of history and charm to discover.
The commanding officers’ cottages in Kingstown have been recently restored and these art deco buildings reflect the period with polished wooden floorboard, ocean views from a large verandah and outdoor seating.
The Governors Circle
Perfect when coming to Rottnest Island as a group, the Governors Circle Cottages compromise of 9 self-contained cottages sleeping up to 9, 13 or 18 mainly in bunks. These cottages were originally built for soldiers during WWII and include a former military hospital and Sergeants Mess.
The larger of the cottages has wheelchair ramps in place, making it a great option if you have guests who need wheelchair or mobility access. These cottages are located away from the main centre of Rottnest, but close to the Bickley Battery Heritage Trail, Bickley Bay and the Rottnest Island Airport, perfect if coming to the island for a group skydive.
The old Quokka Arms Hotel, a favourite of locals and visitors alike for years, has been re-opened as Hotel Rottnest. Like many other accommodation options on the island, Hotel Rottnest has its own history. Over 150 years old, the building was originally constructed as the official summer residence of the WA Governor in 1858 and the hotel certainly has that summer house vibe. In 1919 it was converted to holiday accommodation and opened as a hotel in 1953.
With renovations due to finish next year, Hotel Rottnest is located overlooking Thomson Bay and is a lovely 10-minute walk along the Vlamingh Memorial Heritage Trail to the Vlamingh Lookout.
Reservations are on hold until renovations are complete, but this is going to be one of the top places to stay on Rottnest Island.
Discovery Rottnest Island
Last but certainly in no way least, is Discovery Rottnest Island – glamping at it’s very finest. Located on Pinky Beach, Discovery Rottnest is a low impact, eco-friendly glamping experience that offers the experience of tent sleeping with the luxury of a beach club and resort pool. You’ll even be able to just see the city of Perth on the horizon across The Basin.
With 83 eco-sites, you can choose from the standard option which essentially gives you all the benefits of camping with the creature comforts of home, the superior tent and the superior family tent with an ensuite bathroom and kitchenette and the deluxe tent for those seeking the premium experience. There are also four accessibility tents meaning no one misses out.
If you’re after the camping experience with a little added luxury, Discovery Rottnest Island is the way to go.
Are you considering a little getaway to Rottnest Island? With all accommodation close to the Rottnest Island Airport, make sure you fit in a skydive with the team at Skydive Geronimo. It’s one of the best ways to take in the views of Rottnest Island and is an experience you won’t forget.