New trail offers wild side of Rotto

Photo of Angie Tomlinson

Get familiar with the country cousins of Rottnest Island’s settlement quokkas on the island’s newest walk trail.

A newly opened trail on Rottnest Island takes walkers along sandy beaches and through rocky coves with the opportunity to get up close and personal with the island's wildlife.

Opened just a few weeks ago, the 5.9km Karlinyah Bidi trail traverses the island’s northern reaches.

The trail passes the protected waters of Little Armstrong Bay, takes in the views from Catherine Bay, the reef at City of York, rugged Ricey Beach, and the terns at Stark Bay before ending at Rocky Bay.

Walktrail Coordinator Eilidh Graham said there was usually plenty of wildlife to spot along the way.

“Quokkas of course – but the wilder/country cousins of the habituated settlement ones – always scrounging for a feed; the jet-black dart of a king skink; and as the weather warms up dugites waking from their winter sleep,” she said.

Birds to watch out for include the magnificent osprey, red-capped robin, rainbow bee-eater and if you are lucky, the iridescent blue of a kingfisher.

The walk takes one to three hours and has a difficulty grade four, best suited to experienced bushwalkers with a mixture of long areas of sandy beach, rocky flat surfaces and hardened sandy surface. 

Ms Graham said whilst the rugged sections of trail offered excitement, walkers should be aware of seasonal access in high seas.

The newly opened trail is part of a bigger picture for Rottnest. It is one of five sections of the 45km Wadjemup Bidi expected to be completed about March to April next year.

Bidi in Noongar means trail or track and the Whadjuk Noongar are the traditional owners of Rottnest Island.

Ms Graham said each section of the trail boasted culturally and environmentally significant landmarks to interpret and experience.

The project aims to raise awareness of both the environmental and cultural values of Rottnest Island.

The five sections include the 9.4km one-way Ngank Yira Bidi completed in late 2013. This section traverses the south-east corner of the island from Thomson Bay to Oliver Hill, allowing walkers to explore the remnants of coastal defence systems installed during World War 2.

Starting from Thomson Bay Settlement and heading west from Digby Drive, the 9.7km Gabbi Karniny Bidi loop meanders through the lake systems.

The beauty of Salmon Bay can be explored with the 10km one-way Wardan Nara Bidi section which cuts towards Oliver Hill and onto the Wadjemup Lighthouse.

The last 7.6km one-way section, Ngank Wen Bidi, currently has 1km of walkable trail with the remainder still being worked on.

Ms Graham said this section was a marine wildlife haven with New Zealand fur seals to be seen from the viewing platform at Cathedral Rocks and the West End boardwalk allowing walkers to spot dolphins and the seasonal migration of humpback whales.

See Trails WA for details.