Ngank Yira Bidi, Rottnest Island
The Ngank Yira Bidi is a 9.4km walk on Rottnest Island, an A- Class reserve, situated just 18km off of the coast of Western Australia. The walk boasts impressive ocean, coastal and inland views. Interpretational signage compliments the trail; telling the underlying tales of Rottnest’s past, present and future.
About the Trail
Ngank Yira Bidi is part of the greater Rottnest Island ‘Wadjemup Bidi'. The trail is a major new recreation and conservation initiative that will be implemented in sections over a six year timeframe, which started in July 2013. It involves the construction of a ~45km network of trails that will provide an exploratory narrative of the Island’s environment, connecting you with the beautiful natural features, abundance of wildlife and rich cultural history that the island has to offer. There will be five primary walks linking facets of the islands diversity. The alignment of the trail was designed to allow walkers to hop on and off of the Islands bus services between sections.
Ngank Yira Bidi explores many significant historic military sites as well as diverse landscapes from coastal headlands and bays, to woodlands and inland lakes.
Ngank Yira Bidi starts in The Settlement, Thompson Bay (where the ferry arrives at the main jetty) and meanders through the south west corner of the Island through Bickley Battery and up to Oliver Hill. Traversing the Defense Heritage Trail out at Kingstown, the walk ventures west towards the picturesque Henrietta Rocks, where there is an old ship wreck that is easily accessible from shore.
The Henrietta Rocks beach access structure, installed in 2012, gives easy access to walkers and beach goers and acts as a perfect vantage point to view the striking turquoise surrounding ocean and the snorkelers exploring around the wreck.
At this point the walk continues on along the beach and then takes a inland turn heading north into the centre of the Island. You will pass the Rottnest Island air strip and arrive at the beautiful Serpentine Salt Lake where you can expect to experience a diverse range of birdlife, both resident and migratory.
The peaceful walk along the lakes edge will take you up to Oliver Hill, where you can explore the 9.2inch Word War II gun. There are Rottnest Voluntary Guides on duty 364 days of the year; for a small fee guides can lead you through the underground tunnels, divulging the mesmerizing history that the deep dark depths of the shafts contain.
After you have completed your tour, or had a spot of lunch taking in the 360 degrees view, you may wish to relax on your journey back to the Settlement on the Rottnest Island train "Captain Hussey" (check the train schedule before you leave the settlement, as it may be on a restricted service in off peak times. Also be aware that the train can be busy during peak periods and it is recommended you get your ticket before you set off). Or you may wish to continue your adventure, heading back to the coast through the woodland heath, to uncover the splendor of Salmon Bay.
Need to Know
Perth's idyllic island playground, Rottnest is just a short ferry ride from the mainland and a world away from city life. For such a tiny island, this car-free and carefree Class A reserve packs a lot of pleasure into a day. Getting to 'Rotto', as the locals affectionately call it, is a breeze. Just 19 kilometres off the coast, ferries depart regularly from Fremantle, Perth's Barrack Street Jetty and Hillarys Marina. You can opt to arrive in style by helicopter or air taxi, or even cruise across in your own boat. On its shores, 63 stunning beaches, 20 beautiful bays and many coral reefs and wrecks invite you to enjoy some of Australia's finest swimming spots, snorkel trails and surf breaks. And on dry land, you'll meet the cutest mini marsupial, found only in Western Australia, the world famous quokka, as well as many unique plant and animal species. With no cars on the roads, riding is the best way to get around, with bicycle hire available at the ferry terminals and on the island. If that's too much effort, you can hop on and off the Bayseeker Bus which regularly runs around the island, dropping you off at some of the more secluded beaches and surf breaks. More family fun in the form of golf, tennis, shopping and guided tours can be found in Thomson Bay, as well as cafes, restaurants and takeaway options. Tours on land and sea offer insightful experiences, from wildlife encounters with quokkas, seals, ospreys and whales, to history and cultural tours bringing Rottnest's colourful maritime, convict, colonial and World War II heritage vividly to life. A stroll through the main settlement is a journey back in time as you pass by some of the early colonial cottages, including the Salt Store and Lomas Cottage, dating back to the mid-1800s. Many of the grand buildings and quaint holiday cottages commissioned by Perth's Governor in the nineteenth century are still a favourite among holiday-makers today, including the restored Hotel Rottnest and beachside villas. Alternatively, the old barracks are a good budget option for camping and backpacking.