Skip to main content

Visitor Experience

See what initiatives are in place to improve every visitor’s experience.

Enabling a better visitor experience

Wadjemup / Rottnest Island has a distinct appeal. Its unique environment, animal life, and crystal clear waters make it an iconic tourism destination both locally and internationally.

A key focus of the Rottnest Island Management Plan (RIMP) 2023-28 is to attract a broader range of visitors. Diversifying the visitor base across new markets helps balance demand between the slower seasons and peak seasons, ensuring sustainable growth in visitation, boosting revenue, and improving engagement across the entire island.

To do this, Rottnest Island Authority (RIA) is planning a range of initiatives to enhance the visitor experience. These include new accommodation, hospitality, and entertainment options to stimulate and boost visitation year-round, and create a more resilient island visitor economy.

Bathurst Lighthouse
Bathurst Lighthouse

Nine key initiatives to improve visitor experience

Maintaining and enhancing the visitor experience is a critical part of managing the island. The funds RIA use to do this are generated by ongoing work providing accommodation services through Stay Rottnest, bike and recreational hire options via Pedal & Flipper Hire, and retail offerings within the island’s Visitor Centre. So by upgrading these facilities, RIA are able to build a stronger experience from the ground up.

These are the key initiatives RIA is driving as part of the RIMP to help improve the experience on the island—for everyone. To upgrade amenities and facilities across the island and enable a better and more accessible visitor experience.


Key initiatives

RIA's vision is for Wadjemup to be a destination of national and international significance, known for its recreational, environmental, and cultural heritage. So with this in mind, a key focus of the RIMP 2023-28 is to implement efficient and effective integrated marketing strategies to target new state, national, and international visitor segments.

These new strategies will take current global tourism trends into account, and focus on targeting new global markets, which will increase visitation in the shoulder periods and slower seasons. RIA aim to broaden our local efforts, too, and put plans in place to increase access for the wider WA community. RIA also aim to increase engagement and connection through digital platforms, foster the number of events and activities planned, and ultimately use these new experience to encourage visitors to explore more areas of the island.

Key outcomes

  • Sustainable visitation growth
  • Create a diversified and appropriate visitor base

Improving the visitor experience is a fundamental goal of all the RIMP 2023–28 strategic focus areas. So RIA's aim is to implement improvements throughout the entire visitor journey — from the initial planning and booking stages to the arrival and interaction with the island and its businesses. By fostering ease and satisfaction at these key moments, RIA aim to ensure an overall positive and enjoyable holiday experience.

To achieve this, work will continue to facilitate new tourism product offerings, and improve the facilities, amenity and customer service on the island. This follows work already completed, with the first stages of the Island Gateway Project upgrading the island’s main entry point.

Key outcomes

  • Improve the visitor experience
  • Improve visitor amenity
  • Improve the value perception of the island experiences and service

To enhance the appeal of the island and cater for increasing visitation demand, RIA's goal is to continue to diversify the island’s accommodation offerings. A focus will be the sustainable growth of accommodation options, funded by both private and public investment, with consideration given to other key initiatives of the RIMP.

Already in the works are The Lodge Wadjemup redevelopment. RIA is also exploring expansion of accommodation precincts, both for visitors and island staff.

Key outcomes

  • Complete The Lodge Wadjemup redevelopment
  • Private sector investment in acommodation and recreation facilities for the Golf Course precinct / Mt. Herschel, in accordance with the Rottnest Island Land Use Plan, to improve land utilisation
  • Progress for accommodation and ancillary development which may be in the South Thomson Bay, North Thomson Bay, and Bathurst precincts
  • Increase commercial lease premises let to quality tourism businesses
  • Facilitate new staff housing to support new visitor accommodation operations

RIA operate most of the island’s accommodation through Stay Rottnest, which is a principal source of revenue, from budget cabins and low-cost campsites to mid-range villas and units across the island. To ensure these facilities remain in good condition, one of the key initiatives is to adopt a phased capital funding approach to support a staged refurbishment of all accommodation. The works proposed will renew and refresh the short-term rental offerings, creating a new and improved range of accommodation that you’d expect of a world-class holiday destination. .

Key outcomes

  • Improve aesthetics and function of accommodation options
  • Increase guest satisfaction, comfort, and safety
  • Maintain and improve key revenue source and its financial sustainability

Part of improving Stay Rottnest involves upgrading affordable accommodation options in central settlement areas. Aspirational options for additional accommodation developments include infill at Bathurst, North Thomson Bay, and South Thomson Bay. RIA is also aiming to improve the camping and cabin-style offerings currently available and identify future sites for affordable accommodation in the designated mixed land use areas within the settlement.

Key outcomes

  • Increase affordable accommodation for overnight visitors
  • Improve campground facilities

The historic Kingstown Barracks hostel and dormitories are important heritage assets and play a key role in making the island accessible to visiting groups, schools, and guests seeking entry level accommodation.

In 2022, RIA commissioned architects to develop a design vision for the Barracks. It’s a vision that embraces the island’s unique military heritage, while also providing a contemporary feel, with high quality landscaping to improve the amenity and presentation of the area.

Key outcomes

  • Improve facilities for school groups
  • Restore and celebrate the unique heritage of Kingstown Barracks

New and innovative commercial operations are critical to enhancing the visitor experience by providing a diverse range of fun and engaging leisure activities. These operators not only attract visitors but also create job opportunities and serve as valuable education platforms about the island’s natural assets and cultural heritage.

RIA aim to attract new progressive businesses, including recreational and Aboriginal cultural tourism experiences. Each year, RIA releases an Expressions of Interest (EOIs) that calls for new recreational and leisure  businesses to commence on the island. Under the current RIMP, RIA plan to release a new round of EOIs to further boost the island’s offerings and enhance its appeal. 

Having these high quality businesses on the island contributes significantly to its success as a tourist destination, so RIA aim to engage companies that can demonstrate a positive contribution to improving the visitor experience, a sustainable business model, compatibility with management objectives, and site suitability.

Key outcomes

  • Secure experienced, sustainable, and viable commercial operators to provide fun and engaging new recreational activities and amenities
  • Enhance the visitor experience

Pedal & Flipper Hire is RIA's bicycle and recreational equipment hire business on Rottnest Island. It’s open year-round, offering over 2000 items for hire, from bikes and trailers to snorkelling equipment and mobility assist devices. Increasing visitor demand means a focus is needed on upgrading the Pedal & Flipper Hire retail space. To support this, RIA plan to introduce a new inventory management system and enhance online booking, while developing new products to improve the visitor experience.

Key outcomes

  • Flexible and future-focused hire facility to meet growing and changing demand for bikes and other e-rideables

RIA is committed to ensuring that people with a disability have equal access to Wadjemup. And while there are a number of accessible toilet and shower facilities available, as well as mobility equipment, there’s always room to improve. RIA is continually exploring opportunities to improve access to a wide range of suitable equipment, particularly to provide access to the marine environment. This includes scoping facilities to allow users to access beach wheelchairs 24/7.

A key focus is ensuring that everyone in the community is able to access, use, and enjoy Rottnest Island and the associated facilities and services provided.

Key outcomes

  • Improve accessible tourism at Rottnest Island’s services and facilities

Strategic alignment

The key visitor services and public programs RIA provide on Wadjemup work towards the KPI of improving visitor satisfaction. This in turn contributes to the mission of increasing the number and diversity of visitors to the island, by providing products, services, and experiences that reflect, sustain, and preserve its unique location, environment, and cultural heritage.