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Rottnest Booking Tips : planning to scuba dive Rottnest Island and more Bucket List experiences

water next to the rock
Rottnest Island's iconic lighthouse looking over a stunning beach

Rottnest Island’s iconic lighthouse looking over a stunning beach – captured by Salty Dragon

Get the most out of your Rottnest booking, island day trip, overnighter or eco tour. We have you covered with some Island extras and local tips you might not know about.

Where do you start?

Tourism Australia has a fantastic Guide to Rottnest, and have developed a “Plan your Trip” tool that lays out all of your usual travel, eat, stay choices to help with your Rottnest booking research.

Stay tuned though, this article shares some local secrets you won’t find in tourist guides. If you are looking for our favourite Rottnest dive sites, keep reading, they’re coming.

Remember, Rottnest is a class A Reserve so take only photos and leave only bubbles.

Get more out of Rottnest

Yes, taking the Ferry to Rottnest is hands down the most economical option to get you from A to B and you should absolutely check it out. If you’re anything like us, you might be a little time poor. If this is you, why not make even the “Getting to Rottnest” part of your break an adventure?

For around $180 per person, you could cruise to Rottnest on your very own boat taking 12 passengers or 8 divers, with skipper, snacks and lunch included.

Your Skipper and guide can talk you through their Rotto recommendations while you keep an eye out for whale and dolphin or lounge on the sun deck. The price includes boat use after you reach Rotto too, cruising at a leisurely pace along the Rottnest coast to places you cannot otherwise explore from the land.

My personal favourites are making a morning stop for scuba diving and snorkelling at the various shipwrecks from the 1800s and saying hello to the resident sea lion colony when they’re in town.

Rottnest - Pair of frolicking Sea Lion

Pair of frolicking Sea Lion

Why not see ALL of Rottnest at once and fly?

A light plane for up to 4 people will soar from Jandakot airfield to Rottnest island for around $295. If you travel light this is a fantastic option to take in the impressive views and arrive or leave in style. There are also helicopter and lunch package options through and

If you’re going to fly, we recommend flying on the way there to give your stay that “whole island” perspective and so you can dive the rest of your stay. If you plan to fly home, remember to plan a no dive day before you fly back.

Pelican floating on the ocean at Rottnest on a sunny day

Pelican at Rottnest Island captured by Salty Dragon

Can I hire scuba equipment or dive gear at Rottnest?

Because Rottnest is an island with no car hire options, logistics for travelling with your own dive gear can be challenging and even if you brave the ferry with everything or choose to hire a tank from the Rotto hire shop, the Pedal and Flipper, how are you going to get out to the best locations? Or know the site risks and conditions? If you prefer a full-service scuba experience check out Bucket List Diver.

The Bucket List Crew will pick you up from Fremantle or Rottnest for a double dive day with lunch included and take you to the two best sites of the day. Prices start at around $160 +equipment hire to dive guided at some of Rotto’s most spectacular sites.

Passengers can relax or kayak while divers explore and best of all, you don’t need to plan to carry around your dive tanks and weights for the rest of your trip.

Moonshine II

Moonshine II captured by Vehement Digital Concepts

Sky diving anyone?

For around $370 you can experience a free fall over this Class A reserve with a tandem jump from 10,000 feet. even offer a full proposal package! (hint hint).

I need to get my #Quokkaselfie

Rottnest and the locals will remind you of the importance of protecting and respecting the wildlife and the environment at Rottnest. This is particularly important to remember when you meet the cutest Rotto residents, the local Quokka colony.

Even Chris Hemsworth went out of his way for a happy snap with the smiley, furry rodents and you can too. You can’t miss them. We love this #Quokkaselfie guide put together by

A Private charter can complete your Rottnest booking. Boutique Cruise, Dive and Charter can include a walking tour of our favourite Quokka hot spots and gorgeous locations to take in the view.

Mother and Baby Quokka captured at Rottnest Island booking office by Salty Dragon

Mother and Baby Quokka captured at Rottnest Island booking office by Salty Dragon

What if I want to truly escape?

Have you ever really escaped? Been gently rocked to sleep with nothing but the sounds of nature and the ocean to greet you as you fall asleep and wake up? If you want to truly escape, we recommend including an overnight stay on Moonshine II.

A sparkling school of buffalo Bream also known as silver drummers

A sparkling school of buffalo Bream also known as silver drummers at Rottnest Island, captured by Salty Dragon

No Rottnest trip would be complete without a Dive, so here are …

The Bucket List Diver top 5 Rottnest Island dive sites:

Opera House (advanced Only)

This 30+ meter dive is always a treat with stunning overhead environments and light pouring through. It is not uncommon to see a shy grey nurse shark or two among the giant schools of bullseye fish. The gorgeous colourful coral and sponges are a treat and on your gradual ascent you might be lucky enough to spot a smooth or southern fiddler ray.

Southern Fiddler Ray sitting on the sandy bottom of a Rottnest bay. His disruptive pattern of brown blotches and spots help with camouflage.

Southern Fiddler Ray sitting on the sandy bottom of a Rottnest bay. His disruptive pattern of brown blotches and spots help with camouflage. Captured by Salty Dragon

Crystal Palace

Also known as Crystal caves, this is an eye-opening experience suitable for all certification levels. Under water canyons and shelves are home to Western Blue Devils, Dhufish and Buffalo Bream.

If you’re a Macro photography fan, when the conditions are just right you can night dive here and your guide will point out the perfect coral homes where you can spot the tiniest of colourful crustaceans.

Crystal Palace, deep blue ocean with sunlight pouring through. Silhouettes of two divers can bee seen in the sunlight.

Divers exploring the wonder of sunlight pouring through at Crystal Palace, Rottnest

Three Wrecks

This site off the East coast of the island has something for everybody, the expected 3 shipwrecks dating back to the 1800’s are covered in kelp growth which often hides the prettiest Nudibranch and occasional wobbegong shark.

A short swim away from the wrecks you’ll find gorgeous swim-throughs. Pay attention to the ceiling as you glide through these. The shaded areas protected from the sun are where you’ll find the most colourful coral and sponges.

All of the attractions are located close enough to fit shipwrecks and stunning scenery in to one dive with the right guide.

Shark Cave (advanced only)

Also known as the Nurse’s quarters to locals, Shark cave’s main attraction is the endangered Grey Nurse Sharks. These creatures are breath taking to watch as they glide effortlessly, paying their audience no attention. Because of the depth advanced or deep certifications are required. This site is also very exposed so if you get the chance, take it! The weather forecast doesn’t often let you plan to get here.

Endangered Grey Nurse Shark cruising past

Endangered Grey Nurse Shark cruising past photographer Salty Dragon

Roe Reef

This is one of my personal favourites and I know I have mentioned swim throughs and overhead environments before, but these take the cake for their scale. At around 16 meters deep, everyone can enjoy the towering limestone columns and ledges often hiding crayfish and cuttlefish. Behind the main cavern you’ll find a steep crevasse full of glittering schools of pomphret. Not to be missed.


Want to recommend another Rottnest Bucket List experience? Let us know contact the author