About Wadjemup Bidi - Rottnest Island
The Whadjuk Noongar are the Traditional Owners of Rottnest Island (Wadjemup). As such, the name of this 45 kilometre trail network takes in both cultural and environmental significant landmarks reflects this heritage. The word "Bidi" in Noongar means "trail" or "track".
Rottnest Island is Western Australia's very own Island getaway, featuring a casual atmosphere, picturesque scenery and some of the world's finest beaches and bays, is located just 19 kilometres off the coast of Fremantle.
It’s a special place for Western Australians and a popular destination for interstate and international visitors. Mediterranean-style climate and indigenous flora and fauna of this Island provide the backdrop to a special holiday experience.
As an A Class Nature Reserve, Rottnest Island preserves and protects its natural beauty; spectacular flora, abundant marine life and wildlife and many unique species.
Rottnest Island's famous marsupial, the Quokka, can be seen around the Island particularly in the mid to late afternoon. During the autumn and winter months (March to August) young joeys may be seen peaking from their mothers' pouch and come spring (September to November), bravely hopping around exploring their new world.
See the osprey nests known to be over 70 years old at West End - Fish Hook Bay. Osprey’s mate for life and return to their nests, adding more to the stacks every year. This majestic raptor has a 1.5 meter wing span. Its scientific name Pandion cristatus, is derived from Pandion, a mythical king of Athens.
Around 35,000 migrating Humpback and Southern Right whales linger in the calm waters around the Island. In April each year they head north to feeding grounds while on their return trip during September to December, the whales and their newborn calf’s spend much of their time playing in the protected Rottnest waters gaining strength and learning all that young whale needs to know before returning to the colder southern waters. You can often see them from the Island itself, with the West End platform providing a prime viewing location.
The New Cathedral Rocks viewing platform allows you to get closer to the resident New Zealand Fur Seals colony without disturbing them whilst they flip and play together in the bay and enjoy basking on the rocks.
Salt lakes occupy ten per cent of the area of Rottnest Island. Many of them - including Lake Baghdad, Lake Vincent, Herschel Lake, Garden Lake, Government House Lake and Serpentine Lake - are permanent and have surrounding beaches. Other lakes such as Pink Lake, Lake Sirius, Lake Negri and the twin Pearse Lakes may dry out in summer. The Gabbi Karniny Bidi explores the unique salt lakes.
The White-striped Freetail bat flying over the Settlement at night – recently discovered as the second mammal species living on the Island. Rottnest also has 3 species of frogs - the moaning frog (Burrowing frog), the motorbike frog (Western Green Tree frog) and squelching frog (Sandplain froglet). The Tree frog is quite restricted in its distribution, whilst the moaning frog and the froglet are usually associated with low-lying areas, freshwater swamps and seeps.
Protected by several marine sanctuary zones, Rottnest Island is home to 135 species of tropical fish as compared to the eleven species recorded off the metropolitan coastline. The tropical current often brings visitors to our waters such as the Green turtle. Watch for stingrays which often cruise the shallows of Thomson Bay.
You may also spot a pod of Bottlenose Dolphins feeding & surfing in Salmon Bay.
Prior to separation from the mainland, Rottnest Island would have had the same range of plants found today on the adjacent mainland, where around 1,500 native species flourish. It is believed that Rottnest Island was separated from the mainland approximately 7,000 years ago.
The sea-level rose, cutting the island off from the land mass. Exposure to salt and wind eliminated hundreds of species at that time so that today there are only about 140 indigenous species left on the Island. However, fossil remains show that tuart, marri, jarrah, banksia and she-oaks once grew there. The native plants that remain are well adapted to the predominantly nutrient poor soils, along with the salty and often windy conditions.
The vegetation of Rottnest Island is dominated by the prickle lily (Acanthocarpus preissii) and feather speargrass (Austrostipa flavescens) heath community, which occurs in areas previously dominated by woodland. Over 60% of the Island is covered by this heath assemblage, with the summer-scented wattle (Acacia rostellifera) forming a closed scrub in association with the heath.
The woodland community on Rottnest comprises Rottnest Island Pine (Callitris preissii) and Rottnest Island Tea Tree (Melaleuca lanceolata). Prior to European settlement in 1831, over half of Rottnest Island was covered in large areas of woodland. European settlers quickly changed the landscape of Rottnest. Land was cleared and tracks made. Firewood was gathered, especially for the salt works, and the Island was repeatedly burned. Aboriginal prisoners often used fires as an aid in hunting quokkas. At present, approximately 4% of the Island is covered by scattered relic stands of woodland.
Along the coastline plants such as beach spinifex (Spinifex longifolius), the aromatic coastal rosemary (Westringia dampieri), coastal sword-sedge (Lepidosperma gladiatum), seaberry saltbush (Rhagodia baccata), and thick-leaved fan-flower (Scaevola crassifolia) can be found. On the salt lake shores an array of salt-water tolerant plants such as samphires, grey salt bush, and sedges can be found.
A well-known flower native to Rottnest Island, the Rottnest Island daisy (Trachymene coerulea subsp. coerulea), is actually a member of the carrot family, although it resembles a true daisy in its form. Fields of these bright purple flowers appear in spring and areas of Rottnest are transformed into carpets of purple. Although the daisy can be seen in most areas of the island, the dune areas behind Henrietta Rocks and Parker Point are especially attractive.
In addition to Rottnest Island's native woodland species there are many introduced varieties such as Norfolk Island pines, Moreton Bay figs, Aleppo pines, olive trees, palm trees and tuarts. Other introduced plants include two varieties of onion weeds that are primary colonisers, and hare’s tail grass (Lagurus ovatus).
The Rottnest Island Authority has been undertaking woodland restoration on Rottnest since 1963. Woodland restoration activities include seed collection, propagation, planting and weed control. In earlier years, tree species not naturally occurring on Rottnest such as tuart (Eucalyptus gomphocephala) and coastal moort (Eucalyptus utilis) were planted in large stands. Apart from these stands not being representative of the natural habitat, many of these non-native species are not suited to the Island’s harsh conditions. Species such as tuart have high water demands and as a result put additional pressures on Rottnest’s limited groundwater supply.
Since 1995, only the two tree species native to the Island, Rottnest Island Pine and Rottnest Island Tea Tree, have been planted. Woodland restoration on Rottnest to date has predominantly involved planting within fenced restoration areas in order to exclude quokkas from grazing on the seedlings.
A range of accommodation is managed by the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions. Stay in stunning ocean view accommodation and charming heritage cottages or enjoy life's simple pleasures with a relaxing stay in bungalows, cabins or the campsite.
Hotel Rottnest has 18 fully serviced, beautifully appointed modern rooms all with air-conditioning. There are four Premium Bayside Rooms have spectacular views over Thompson Bay and the external courtyard provides all guests with a relaxing oasis.
With six types of accommodation to choose from and space for as many as 246 guests, Karma Rottnest is versatile enough to fulfil a wide variety of guest needs. Karma Rottnest offers a choice of quality hotel style apartments, suites with private facilities and lower priced rooms. Also enjoy the Governor's Sports Bar, Riva Restaurant and relaxing poolside bar.
Transfers across to Rottnest Island can be booked through one of the two ferry operators. Rottnest Island ferry companies provide transfers to the island from Perth City, North Fremantle (Rous Head), Fremantle (Victoria Quay) and Hillarys Boat Harbour in Perth’s north. Rottnest ferries take approximately 25 minutes from Fremantle, 45 minutes from Hillarys Boat Harbour, or 90 minutes from Perth's Barrack Street Jetty.
Taking your own boat is the perfect opportunity to experience the island’s many coastal activities at your own pace. Western Australia has the highest per capita boat ownership in Australia and Rottnest Island is a destination favourite. Regulations and guidelines are in place to preserve Rottnest's unique environment and to ensure the safety of those enjoying the Island and its waters.
Travel to Rottnest Island by air and you'll enjoy incredible visibility and stunning views of the southern beaches and the breathtaking island itself. Please note that the airport landing fee may or may not be included in your flight fares (please check with your chosen operator and see information on landing fees below).
The 5 sections of the 45km Wadjemup Bidi are:
Ngank Yira Bidi - Uncover Bickley Battery (9.4km/ one way approx. 3-4hrs): Completed in December 2013, this section traverses the south east corner of the Island - Thomson Bay to Oliver Hill. Approximately 9.4km in distance, you'll explore the remnants of Coastal Defense systems installed during WWII.
Gabbi Karniny Bidi - Discover the Salt Lakes (9.7km/ loop approx. 3-4hrs): Starting from Thomson Bay Settlement and heading west out of Digby Drive, this section meanders through the lake systems including a magical stroll along the Lakes Boardwalk which provides the façade of “walking on water”.
Wardan Nara Bidi - Relax on Salmon Bay (10km/ one way approx. 3-4hrs): Walk along the coast of Salmon Bay and then cross through to the middle of the Island to explore the WWII guns and tunnels. Take in panoramic views from Wadjemup Lighthouse and then continue west to the world class surf break at Strickland Bay. Learn a bit more about Rottnest Island's surfing history by watching a short documentary accessed by scanning the QR code located on the informative sign or inside the surfing hut at this location. The Wardan Nara Bidi was proudly supported by the Rottnest Foundation working in partnership with BHP Billion.
Karlinyah Bidi - Experience the Northern Beaches (5.9km/ one way approx. 2-3hrs): Beautiful long sandy beaches and calm swimming lagoons within the reef; there will be a favourite spot for everyone. Enjoy the excitement of rugged sections of trail, but be aware of seasonal access in high seas.The Karlinyah Bidi was proudly supported by the Rottnest Foundation working in partnership with BHP Billion.
Ngank Wen Bidi - (UNDER CONSTRUCTION - Trail profile will be uploaded when open) Explore West End (7.6km/ one way approx. 3-4hrs): 1 km walkable - full trail coming soon! A marine wildlife haven! New Zealand fur seals can be seen from the viewing platform at Cathedral Rocks. The West End boardwalk is a great place to spot dolphins, and the seasonal migration of humpback whales!
Supported by great organisations
Trails are free and bring so many benefits to our community by providing opportunities to have fun, get fit, socialise, explore and challenge yourself. But they also have to be managed and maintained which only is made possible through terrific sponsors, donations and/or volunteering.
Wadjemup Bidi Tourism WaWadjemup Bidi Tourism Wa
Guns and TunnelsYou can follow the defence heritage trail, as part of the Rottnest Wadjemup Walk Trail, over to the H2 gun and take in the breathtaking 360 degree views.
Wadjemup Lighthouse postcard perfect!
Trails on railsNumerous sections of the Wadjemup Walk Trail traverse the historic train lines that pattern the Island landscape.
City Of York Bay
Cathedral Rocks Seal Viewing PlatformThis site was opened to the public in 2013 and what a hit it has been. The composite fibre lookout is perfect platform to watch the seals playing in the water below. Free to use binoculars allow you to have a closer look. The site is complimented with a beautiful piece of artwork by Fleur Marron, a local artist.
Directional SignageThe trail is marked with grey directional markers that display an osprey and directional arrow showing the way
Woman of WarInterpretation dresses the walls of the historic buildings at Bickley Battery, taking visitors on a magnificent visual journey!
Parakeet Bay is worth a visit. Crystal clear waters, that are very family friendly.
Bickley BatteryBickley Battery has recently undergone refurbishment. The Buildings are safe for visitors to enter and get a real feel for the views that the servicemen would have had.
One extreme to anotherTen minutes; that is all it takes to get from the sweeping white sands of Porpoise Bay to the breathtaking, Samphire fringed, Lake Serpentine. This is a great spot for bird watching too!
The rocky outcrops between City of York Bay and Ricey beach - take care and mind your step! Use the road to get from City of York to Ricey beach in wild weather.
Historic pastThe first section of the Bickley trail is dotted with interpretation about the Islands Military past.
Spectacular Salmon Bay
Peaceful Rocky Bay. Seasonal fluctuations deposit and remove seaweed from its shores.
Old meets newThe Rottnest Island Authority are working on formalising beach access ways to popular spots. This minimises erosion and retains conservation value of the areas. You can easily snorkel the Shark Wreck just off the shore at Henrietta Rocks!
With the right ocean conditions you may be treated to a show like this, with many flocking to this exceptional surf break on the Wardan Nara Bidi.
Endless vistasBench seats have been installed along the trail in areas where walkers may wish to sit and take in the view that little bit longer.
Beautiful Guichenotia ledifolia in full bloom in spring
Pied oyster catcher on the take off
Osprey stack at City of York bay (remember not to approach the stacks)
Stay a whileWhy not take a picnic and lunch on the beach? Make sure you carry plenty of fluid with you. It can get hot out here!
Ricey Beach access upgrades are proving popular!
The BasinThe Basin is a popular swimming spot. There are also toilets, showers, changing facilities and shade.
Ramp down to paradise at Ricey Beach
Salt LakesThe Rottnest Island’s 200ha of Salt Lakes cover a 10th of the surface area of the Island. They are hyper saline and can become as much as seven times saltier than the surrounding ocean in the height of summer.
Ragged formationsThe limestone surrounding the Island is ever changing and is very much in the hands of Mother Nature. It is incredible that vegetation can establish in the slightest of crevice and then spends a life gripping on to these highly exposed formations.
Catch some rays in private bays!This little nook is one of the Islands hidden gems. The limestone formations in the rock are incredible and the waters are calm and protected by the surrounding reef.
The snorkelling at Parker Point is nice and sheltered, with plenty of marine life to be seen.
Flocking terns on Stark Bay. Try not to disturb wildlife, but these guys will generally take flight, dance around together and then move 50 metres up the beach.
Porpoise BayThis section of the trail is subject to inundation during high tide events. Walkers can follow the bitumen road and re-join the trail in time to traverse through the woodlands to the salt lakes.
Bottlenose dolphins are very common! Keep your eyes peeled.
Mammong sculpture by artist Peter Farmer. You will find the sculpture on Strickland Bay.
Seat in the sunThere are lots of resting spots along the way. Sit on a bench seat and absorb the sprawling landscapes, or find a shaded spot under a tree, either in the shade or the sun!
Keep your eyes peeled for bottlenose dolphins, who regularly play in the inshore waters along the trails.
Fire in the hole!Visitors can actually stare down the barrel of the H1 gun up at Oliver Hill. This 9.2inch gun was never fired in anger. You can enjoy a tour of the Oliver Hill guns and tunnels accompanied by one of the highly knowledgeable Rottnest Island Voluntary Guides.
Stark Bay stunning tranquil turquoise waters.
The Rottnest Daisy in full bloom!
Pied Oyster CatcherThe west end of the Island is a wildlife paradise. As well as marine life you regularly get critters wandering around the shearwater nesting areas! Keep your eyes peeled for king skinks, osprey eagles, pied oyster catchersand many more!
UribesDid you know that there are numerous shipwrecks around the Rottnest Island reserve. You can even snorkel some of them. Plaques have been located next to the wrecks as well as onshore to indicate their locations as part of a 'wreck trail' concept produced by the Western Australian Museum in association with the Rottnest Island Authority.
Work hard play hardThe area seen here was home to the parade ground back in the days the army inhabited Rottnest Island. Alas, it was not all work in this area; the soldiers were allowed to play cricket on the parade ground too!
Cape VlaminghThe view from Rottnest Joy flights of the Island are absolutely spectacular. This snap was taken from the plane looking back east over the Island. It gives you a good understanding of the "West End" and where the Ngank Wen Bidi goes.
Follow the trail markers along your journey
Spring has sprungRottnest is bathed in a sea of daisies come spring. The Trachymene caerulea, also known as Blue Lace Flower, is a Lovely, sturdy small annual shrub with attractive long-stemmed soft blue to mauve flowers in pin-cushion shaped clusters.
Crested terns on Stark Bay
Revegetation along the trail is increasing habitat for our precious wildlife, whilst also increasing amenity.
A walker picking their way between City of York Bay and Ricey beach
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