Stand anywhere along Perth’s turquoise coast, look west and you’ll see the shimmering silhouette of Rottnest Island on the horizon. Home to 20 bays, 63 secluded beaches and an endemic population of probably the friendliest marsupials in Australia, Perth’s car-free getaway has been put firmly on the map by a man with an uncanny ability to corral quokkas.
- The quokka is a marsupial that has been labelled the happiest animal in the world.
“I think Rottnest has by far the best beaches in the whole of Australia. I’m serious! There are too many to count, like paradise postcards and if you cycle out of the settlement you can have them all to yourself. Quokkas are the main reason I keep going back to the island. At least thirty times now and they’ll always put a smile on your face. It’s hard to describe the feeling of seeing a quokka in person. You’re awestruck because your brain cannot comprehend that such an animal exists. Too cute to be real, but they’re real!” – Allan Dixon
- Quokkas are native to Rottnest Island in Western Australia, and can live for as long as 10 years.
- Terri Hatcher and Hugh Jackman are just two of the famous people who have ticked off this famed wildlife encounter.
Since Allan started the Instagram craze, visitation to the island from nature lovers has surged with visitors wanting to add the adorable holiday snap to their Instagram memories.
- Quokkas live in a paradise with 83 beautiful bays and beaches.
- Quokkas are very clever animals and can learn tricks, gestures...and even simple commands!
- Rottnest Island is home to a permanent population of just 300 lucky people, including one teacher!
- The world's most popular quokka selfie was taken by Roger Federer at the Hopman Cup in 2018, and was liked 540,000 times!
- Nearly 700,000 people visit Rottnest Island each year. Needless to say, we love it too!
Because they’re so trusting, care needs to be taken when posing with quokkas for a photo. Using a selfie-stick is a good idea, allowing you to stay a respectful distance.
General Manager of Environment on the island, Holly Knight says you don’t actually need to approach a quokka – if you sit and wait one will undoubtedly come to you to say hello.
“The easiest place to get a selfie is in the main settlement,” she says. “The best time to see them is at 4pm or 5pm. At dusk lots of them come out into the heritage common, a green space where the bakery is. Quokkas love grass.”
Knight says the quokkas in the open Thompson Bay areas are the friendliest while others may be camera shy.
“We try to stop people from going off the beaten track and into bushes to find a quokka; in doing so they trample some of our native flora or head into snake territory. We advise keeping to the prescribed paths and not approaching the ones out in the reserve because they’re very wild and timid.”
It also goes without saying that you should never touch or feed a quokka, and be sure to maintain a safe distance from mothers and their young.
Originally published on justanotherdayinwa.com