Rottnest on a Budget
My Top 5 Tips on Traveling to Rottnest on a Budget
Last year I got back from a year traveling around Australia in a Troopy (one of the best things I have ever done FYI) and I still think that Rottnest Island (off Perth, Western Australia) is one of my favourite places in the world. The beaches are spectacular and there are awesome little quokkas everywhere that are so cute (the bakery and pub are also pretty dam good).
Another thing that makes rotto so unique is that there are no cars on the island, only buses and ‘service vehicles’, so to get around most people ride bikes, which is so much fun and good for you too. I have so many awesome memories of family holidays on Rottnest as I was growing up (and hazy memories of school and uni leavers haha ).
The only problem with visiting Rotto is it is so bloody expensive!!! Just coming for a day trip will set 2 people back over $130 for return ferry tickets from Fremantle, and if you want to leave from Hillary’s it will cost you $180!! And that’s without staying the night! If you decide to spend a few nights there (which I highly highly recommend), the average cost of a 4 bed chalet or bungalow will cost you around $200 – $380 per night (depending on location & season). The Hotel and Lodge’s prices are also through the roof, for a studio room you are looking at $285 – $400 PER NIGHT, for 2 people!!!!!! Crazy
Rottnest is too amazing for people to miss out on. It needs to be affordable for everyone, not just the lucky ones who have high incomes or are good at saving money (or have won lotto – wouldn’t that be nice….). So I wanted to share my tips so anyone can do it.
Here are my top 5 tips for traveling to rotto on a budget. I will put more info for each tip with the photos:
- Stay at the campground – it is up there with the best located campsites in Australia!
- Use discount codes / vouchers when buying ferry tickets. The RAC are amazing for this.
- Take your own bike & snorkelling gear.
- Spend your time doing free activities (trust me you won’t get bored!).
- Take your own food and drinks.
Here is a little price breakdown I put together using prices from the various websites. It really shows how affordable Rottnest can be. Note that this doesn’t include food, drinks & other activities:
BEFORE APPLYING TIPS:
Total cost of 4 nights on rotto for a family of 4 staying in a 4 bed ‘standard’ chalet during the holidays and hiring gear over there. Keep in mind an ‘ocean view’ unit is almost double the price:
Accommodation ~ $215 per night = $860
Return Ferry Family of 4 = $190
4 Day Bike Hire Family of 4 = $204
4 Day Snorkel Hire Family of 4 = $130
TOTAL COST = $1384
THIS IS NOT AN AFFORDABLE OPTION FOR A LOT OF PEOPLE
AFTER APPLYING TIPS:
Total cost if 4 nights on Rotto, staying at the campground, using RAC ferry discounts and taking your own gear:
Accommodation $38 per night = $152
Return Ferry Family of 4 = $125
Cost to take 4 bikes on ferry = $60
Cost of taking your own snorkel gear = $0
TOTAL COST = $337
TOTALLY AFFORDABLE, especially for a place I am proud to say is one of my favourite places in the world.
- STAY AT THE CAMPGROUND
Stay at the campground!! It is $37 a night and you can have 2 tents (or 4 swags) and a maximum of 6 people per sight. If you have 6 people that is $6.16 each per night!! Bargain! The campground is awesome and literally the other side of the dunes to a spectacular beach. The facilities include water, picnic tables, hot showers, BBQ’s and a camp kitchen (with power points). There is a laundry nearby which is handy if you are there for a few days. There is no fridge in the camp kitchen so make sure you bring an esky, ice is available from the General Store. You don’t have to worry about carting all your gear to & from the ferry, it is picked up & delivered for you for free.
2. USE DISCOUNT VOUCHERS WHEN BUYING FERRY TICKETS
Are you a member of the RAC or know someone who is?? Get them to buy your ferry tickets online for you. You can get a return adult fare for $50 (usually $66) and child for $21 (usually $30). You can even get a family pass for $125 (usually $190). This really helps! I have been a member with the RAC for about 10 years and only just discovered this.
3. TAKE YOUR OWN BIKE & SNORKELLING GEAR
OK so it might cost you $15 to get your bike brought over on the ferry but an adult will be paying $30 for 1 day or $45 for 2 days to hire a bike from the island, so it is worth it. It is free to take your own snorkeling gear. You can also spend time in rotto without bikes, as there are numerous buses that can take you to any of the main beaches and attractions on the island. I just recommend taking a bike because it is so much fun riding around (and you can work off the beers and jam donuts you surely will be consuming).
4. SPEND YOUR TIME DOING FREE ACTIVITIES
Spend your time doing activities that are free, such as cruising around on your bike, checking out the amazing beaches (there are 63 beaches and 20 bays on Rottnest), snorkeling, going on hikes around the salt lakes, fishing, reading a book on the beach, playing cards, relaxing.
How amazing are all these things and all free!
5. TAKE YOUR OWN FOOD & DRINKS
As with all your luggage and camping gear, all boxes of food and drinks will be delivered to where you are staying on the island (except alcohol, unfortunately you will have to carry this yourself). If you are organised before you leave you will save so much money because food and drinks are not cheap on the island (there is a General Store and numerous places to eat out). Just remember if you are staying at the campground that you will need to take your own esky as there is no fridge in the camp kitchen (and also ensure any food is sealed in containers as the quokkas and crows love to get into any food lying around!).
MAKE SURE YOU VISIT THIS BEAUTIFUL PLACE
Rotto is the best! Even on the windiest days you will find a beautiful protected bay. There are so many things to do and so many opportunities to relax, away from the city and no traffic – just stunning beaches, cute quokkas and (generally) friendly happy people to have a chat too. Use any money you save from following these tips to treat yourself to a beer and pub meal at the Rottnest Hotel, one of the best pubs ever! I really hope these tips have been helpful and I would love to read your comments with any other tips or just to say hi.