What do Matt Damon, Margot Robbie and Chris Hemsworth have in common? They’ve all Instagrammed a quokka selfie on Rottnest Island. Western Australia’s most adorable marsupial, known as “the world’s happiest animal” for the way it appears to smile in photographs, is only found here and in Western Australia’s southwest. As well as proving his quokka selfie skills, Hemsworth also stayed at Discovery Rottnest Island, the first accommodation to be built on the car-free island in more than 30 years.
The AUD$20 million glamping eco-resort opened in March 2019 with 83 tents adjoining Pinky Beach. They’re linked to the relaxed beach club and a guests-only pool by boardwalks that minimise environmental impact. Four tent categories range from standard (56sqm) to deluxe (98sqm), all with private en suites and furnished decks. Superior tents and above feature a simple kitchenette and eight deluxe tents have walk-in-wardrobes, double vanities and floor-to-ceiling glass doors. Five of them also boast unimpeded access to the beach, with views of the Indian Ocean.
Each tent is made from sustainable materials and is raised to harness the sea breeze (there are ceiling fans, but no air conditioning). There’s a revegetation plan in place while water, waste and energy are eco-accredited. Plush beds make for a relaxing sleep to the soundtrack of the sea, and guests can self-cater on shared barbecue facilities or dine at the all-day beach club (dinner available between October and March). Come sunset, Pinky’s Beach Club’s grassy lawn is the place to be, with Bathurst Lighthouse a stunning backdrop. Just 45 minutes from Perth via ferry, some visit “Rotto” for a day trip, but if you want to explore its 63 pristine beaches and 45 kilometres of cycling trails, best stay a while.
From US$116 per night / discoveryholidayparks.com.au
Three Beaches to Visit
Little Parakeet Bay
Soft white sand and sparkling aquamarine water make this the beach of your Australian-postcard dreams. Little Parakeet Bay is shallow, protected and surrounded by dramatic jagged rock formations.
For snorkelling, it doesn’t get much better than The Basin. It can get busy due to its proximity to the main settlement, but with barely any swell it’s ideal for kids and a relaxing dip. If you’re a confident swimmer, head to deeper water for the best of the reef.
Located at Rottnest’s westernmost point, the rugged coastline here is far from calm and protected, but has stunning views across the Indian Ocean, surf, scuba diving and fishing. Dolphin, whale and fur seal sightings are also common. Take the Island Explorer bus from the visitor centre if the cycle is daunting.