Where do parachutes land on Rottnest Island?
Watch Australia’s best beach skydives from the shores of Rotto
Parachutes in the air receive a lot of attention. And while it’s exciting to see skydivers floating around the skies, it’s even more fun to watch the parachutes land on Rottnest Island’s beaches.
Whether you’re visiting Perth’s holiday island to jump with us, supporting a friend or family member during their skydive, or partaking in all the wonderful island activities (quokka-selfie, anyone?) here’s everything you’ll need to know about where the parachutes land on Rottnest Island.
Who decides where the parachutes will land on Rottnest Island?
Skydiving is a heavily regulated activity and there are many factors at play to keep it safe. That’s why there’s an allocated Drop Zone Safety Officer (DZSO) on site each day to make decisions about safety issues such as the weather and where to land the parachutes.
There are three approved beaches in which Skydive Geronimo can land parachutes on Rottnest Island: Thomson Bay, Bickley Bay, and Salmon Bay. Although it would be cool to mix it up and land on a beach at whim, it’s the onshore winds that determine where to touch down on any particular day (and it may change from hour to hour).
“The advantage of having onshore winds is to reduce the risks associated with turbulence when landing,” says Paul Morton, Operations Manager and Skydive Instructor. “That’s the number one reason why we choose the landing area on a jump by jump basis. Between the three landing areas, we have any wind direction covered.”
Thomson Bay is the first place you’ll see when arriving to Rottnest Island via ferry. The main settlement is steps away, which make this landing area easy and convenient for passengers and spectators. Being near the wharf and settlement means there will be plenty of onlookers watching the parachutes land on the sandy shores. This location is also close to the airport, which enables quicker turnarounds so we stay on schedule.
Bonus: Skydivers! Enjoy your complimentary beverage at Thomsons Rottnest, mere metres away from this beach landing location.
Best winds: East to Northwest
Let’s face it, Rottnest Island’s coastline is beautiful and we love all of our landing areas but Salmon Bay is the most visually stunning under parachute. Think perfect azure waters, white sandy shorelines, and thriving coral reef within a short walk into the sea. While coming in for a landing, you’ll see sunbathers, snorkellers, and a myriad of other visitors soaking up the tropical feels of this amazing bay. It will certainly be tempting to stay on the beach or go for a swim after your jump, but remember, it’s a 5.5km hike back to the main settlement if you choose to stay.
Downside: A longer commute back to the airport
Best winds: Southwest to Northwest
With its steep sand dunes and narrow beach, Bickley Bay keeps our skydive instructors on their toes. This is the place where our instructors hone their canopy skills to position them as some of the best tandem skydivers in Australia. Military history buffs will thrill at seeing some of the island’s most significant sites while your skydive instructor flies the canopy safely to the beach. Try to spot the Bickley Battery and nearby Kingston Barracks, which housed Army personnel during WW2 (it’s now budget holiday accommodation).
Bonus: If you want to explore this area after your jump, you can walk the Bickley Battery Heritage Trail to Kingston Barracks
Best winds: Southwest to East
Getting back to the airport after your skydive
Don’t worry, we’ll make sure you get back to the airport after your beach skydive no matter which landing zone is used. If you choose to stay at the beach where your parachute touched down, you will be responsible to get yourself back to the airport or to the main settlement for your ferry departure time.
Are friends coming to watch you skydive? Our island van has limited seats, which means we can’t always transport spectators. Our crew and passengers have priority seating; spectator seats are on a first-come-first-serve basis, so please enquire upon check-in. If there are no seats available, spectators are responsible for getting themselves to the landing beach and back to the airport, or to their chosen final destination on Rottnest Island.