Best Way To See A Quokka On Rottnest Island
Just about everyone who heads off to Rottnest Island wants to get themselves a selfie with these cute critters.
It was arguably Roger Federer’s Instagram post of the tennis champ and his cute little playing partner that launched these quirky mammals into the social media stratosphere, and now everyone wants a piece of quokka action.
But where do you go on Rottnest if you want to meet the quokkas? Truth is, these little smiling superstars are found almost everywhere on the island, so you won’t have to travel too far for your unforgettable wildlife encounter.
They are primarily nocturnal, but the lack of natural predators on the island has brought them out into the open in the daylight too. They don’t love the heat, so when the temperatures rise, you’re likely to find them seeking shelter in the shade beneath the trees.
Quokkas are also plentiful and with their population estimated at between 10 000 and 12 000, you’re bound to come across at least a couple of these curious critters during your island visit.
Your best bet for a sighting is around the Settlement area where the pub, bakery and restaurants are, and that’s because there is lots of water and food available there. That said, people are urged NOT to feed the quokkas – however cute they are or how beseechingly they look at your brekkie or your burger – because they are plant-eaters and human food can be extremely harmful to them.
They are fairly tame and friendly, but remember not to touch them. According to the brochure ‘Protecting our Local Wildlife’ published on the Rottnest Island website, quokkas have been known to give a nasty bite plus they can carry diseases like Salmonella, so patting them is a no-no.
These are the best places to see a quokka on the island:
- The Settlement around the bakery, beach, the hotel and restaurants
- The bicycle parking area near Porpoise Bay
- Under the trees on the hill up Wadjemup Road towards the lighthouse
- Near Garden Lake
- On Defence Road, just past Digby Drive
Quokkas hop along the ground, sitting up on their hind legs to look around and they can also climb trees if need be. When you see one, the best way to get up close is to approach it gently and carefully without making any sudden movements. They’re also naturally curious little things so if you stand still, they may even come to you.
Quokkas are classified as a ‘vulnerable’ species and are protected by law, so bear that in mind when you’re pursuing the perfect pic. And if it’s a selfie you’re after (duh!), a selfie stick is a definite asset and be prepared to get down low, low, low as they’re only the size of a cat!
All the previous suggestions for the best ways to see a quokka have been terrestrial, but there’s an even better view that no doubt the legend Roger would be envious of …and that’s an aerial one. When you jump out of a plane 10 000 feet above Rottnest Island, you get a spectacular perspective of the island and its surrounds – and you may even spot one of its famous furry friends as you float gently back down to earth!
Skydive Geronimo is a highly experienced Perth skydiving operator and you can find out more about their range of exciting Rottnest Island tandem skydives by visiting www.skydivegeronimo.com.au.
And while Skydive Geronimo rewards every client with a complimentary drink to celebrate their awesome achievement, the company strongly discourages anyone from giving the quokkas a drink or food or touching them because they are very mindful of the need to protect the island’s fauna and flora.
The company has a built a reputation on ‘high flying’, but sustainability and animal welfare are also high on their agenda. They encourage all their clients to read the information on quokkas on the Rottnest Island Authority’s website (Rottnest Island Wildlife | Quokka) so that they know how best to interact with these cute creatures in order to preserve their future (and avoid a nasty bite themselves!)