Rottnest Island is a very popular site for recreational fishing due to the abundance marine wildlife. The fish found in Rottnest waters can be classified into three categories: reef dwellers, seagrass inhabitants and migratory species.
The abundant seagrass meadows around Rottnest serve as a nursery for juveniles of many fish species, such as the Cobbler and Long-headed Flathead. Migratory fish species found around Rottnest include Australian Herring, Tailor, School Whiting, Skipjack Trevally ("Skippy") and Sea Garfish. Fishing gear can be hired or bought at Rottnest Island Bike & Hire and the General Store in Thomson Bay.
To maintain a sustainable supply of fish for the future, all recreational fishing must adhere to the Department of Fisheries regulations with regards to Licenses and bag limits apply on Rottnest Island. For information and guidelines visit the Fish WA website. Spear fishing is prohibited within specific boundaries of Rottnest Island.
If you are carrying spear guns or gidgees on board your vessel and are within the boundary they should be dismantled, unloaded and stowed safely on-board the vessel. Spear guns and gidgees are not permitted on the Island. Penalties apply. Net fishing is also prohibited in the Marine Reserve, so please check the Rottnest Island Sanctuary Zones page for details. Details of these restrictions can also be found on the Fish WA website.
The diversity of coral species, fish and shipwrecks in the waters around Rottnest Island make it one of the most fascinating dive sites to be found in such close proximity to a capital city. For this reason, many dive operators based on the mainland conduct day trips and dives at Rottnest Island.
Please take care when diving around coral as it is easily damaged and takes many years to recover. Also please note that spearguns and handspears are not permitted in the Marine Reserve.
Refer to the marine life section of the Rottnest Island Authority website for more information about what you can expect to see on a dive in the Rottnest Island Marine Reserve.
Several private diving charters operate from the mainland but can also be arranged to pick-up and drop-off divers from Rottnest Island. Between September and April each year, Charter 1 offers a variety of dive packages aboard their 43ft Catamaran SV Capella (private charter only).
Rottnest Island Pedal & Flipper also now offer dive tank refills. For more details call 08 9292 5105.
Rottnest Island has some of the best surfing conditions and most consistent breaks in Western Australia. Popular surf spots include:
- The Rotto Box
- Riceys Beach
- Strickland Bay
- The Basins Ledge
- Chicken Reef - Salmon Bay
- Transits - Thomson Bay
- The Fruit Bowl - between Catherine Bay and City of York Bay
Strickland Bay, Stark Bay and Salmon Bay are popular for surfers, stand up paddle boarders and body boarders. Strickland Bay has been ranked in the top 50 breaks in the world.
Rottnest Island also has various reef breaks on both sides of the island which include Cathedral Rocks, Radar Reef and Chicken Reef. The waves off Rottnest Island are often two to three feet larger than those at Perth beaches. For more information visit the Rottnest Island Visitor Centre on Rottnest Island.
Surfers should use designated pathways when accessing the surf spots to help protect dune vegetation.
Rottnest becomes a spot for surfing competition during the winter months, attracting events such as HIF Pro AM#2 and Offshore Boardriders Club also hold competitions. For Event details and more information, visit the Rottnest Island Authority website events calendar.