Is it worth visiting Rottnest Island in winter?
Perth’s favourite holiday island just got cooler
Have you ever wondered if Rottnest Island is open in winter?
Well, sure it is. Perth’s cute little, quokka sanctuary in the Indian Ocean is open all year. The summer months may be the busiest, but there are some really great reasons to visit during June, July and August too.
Let’s be honest though, a Rotto winter holiday may not include lazy afternoons sunning yourself in your swim suit at the beach.
July is the coolest month with an average daytime temperature of 15 degrees Celsius. The highest on record with the Australian Bureau of Meteorology is 23.4 on July 26, 2001 so you better bring your bathing suit, just in case.
Rottnest winters are a lot quieter than the busy summer months so if you’re looking for a peaceful escape or a romantic getaway, it may be the best time of year for you.
In this post, we’ll give you a few ideas on what to see and do on Rottnest Island in winter. So, stop wondering and start packing your bags.
Rotto winter storm watching
Rottnest Island sits quietly in the Indian Ocean, 19 kilometres from the Australian mainland. Naturally, the winter months are cooler and the weather a bit rougher, which makes for some awesome winter storm watching.
If you’re keen to be out and about in the elements, watch the waves roll in from the viewing platforms at Cathedral Rocks or West End.
Once you’re back to your dry accommodation continue storm gazing then snuggle down in front of a warm fire with a nice glass of wine or a hot chocolate. Sounds blissful.
Tip: Island Couples Retreat at Longreach Bay has wood-burning fireplaces in select guest rooms.
Grab a bargain and beat the crowds
Rottnest is busy busy busy during the warmer months. It starts in late September, when school is out for 2 weeks. Then when it’s school leavers’ week in November, it’s a little cray cray. From there, it’s a steady stream of holiday-makers until Easter.
If crowds aren’t your thing, Rotto winters are perfect. Not only are there less people, but there are often great bargains on accommodation, golf packages and ferry services.
TIP: Check Rottnest Island Authority for the latest specials.
Dive deep and explore Rottnest’s underworld
Rottnest Island is blessed to be part of the Leeuwin Current, a current that brings tropical waters, and its species, to Western Australia.
The island is surrounded by delicate coral reef; wondrous marine life and sunken shipwrecks; all things divers love to see and explore.
There are hundreds of dive sites and many shipwrecks scattered in the depths around the island. If you’re keen to see a shark, you may get your chance at Nurse’s Quarters, a cave off the coast of the West End where Grey Nurse sharks have been known to hang out.
If that’s a bit too much marine reality for you or if you’re not PADI certified, don’t worry, you can still explore Rotto’s underworld.
Off of Henrietta’s Rocks lies The Shark, a barge that wrecked in 1939. In calm seas, it’s accessible from the beach as a snorkelling mission.
There are several tour operators on the mainland (Perth) that specialise in SCUBA-dive trips and training.
TIP: Check out the videos in this post about winter diving at Rottnest Island by Ben Newsome for more inspiration.
Learn about Rottnest’s history
An island rich in maritime, military and colonial history dating back to the 17th century, Rottnest Island has many stories to tell.
Start at the Rottnest Island Museum, which used to be the old mill and hay store. The building itself is part of the penal history – it was built by Aboriginal convicts in 1857.
Inside, you’ll learn everything there is to know about the island’s shipwrecks, European settlement, and prisoner history. Entry by gold coin donation.
Other historical sites worth a visit are: Lomas Cottage, Wadjemup and Bathurst Lighthouses, Kingstown Barracks and the Bickley Battery.
TIP: Take the hop-on-hop-off Island Explorer bus and make a day of your history lesson.
Skydiving on Rottnest: Land in the sand and pretend it’s summer
We’ve saved the best for last: skydiving on Rottnest! A great thing about skydiving in Perth is that it’s never too cold. Both of our Chief Instructors are from New Zealand so they know what it’s like to jump in freezing conditions.
In Western Australia, a warm jumper and jeans is usually sufficient clothing for a winter skydive.
Of course, skydiving is weather dependant but as long as the conditions are safe to jump, we’re in the sky. And if it is a tad cold at 14,000 feet above earth, we have jumpsuits and gloves to keep you warm and comfortable.
TIP: Pre-book your skydive to avoid disappointment.
Just because it’s not 40 degrees Celsius outside doesn’t mean you shouldn’t visit Rottnest Island in winter. It just means you’ll have a different kind of holiday. Take a beanie, a warm jumper and enjoy the serenity.