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Studies and Research

Permits and associated fees to conduct research on Rottnest Island.
How to apply to conduct research or study on Wadjemup

With its unique marine life and vegetation that provides significant habitat to genetically distinct, conservation-listed and migratory animal species, Wadjemup is a designated Class A Reserve—and is a fascinating place to study and learn about.

The island supports a diverse natural and built environment, creating the perfect conditions for investigating a wide range of ecological, social, cultural, sustainable, and economic issues. As such, Rottnest Island Authority (RIA) welcomes scientific study and research trips to the island.

Here’s how to apply to conduct research on Wadjemup.

Included on this page

Who can conduct research on Wadjemup

Any interested party can apply to conduct research or undertake studies within the Rottnest Island Reserve.

School groups

Wadjemup is a unique and fascinating place to study and explore. Whether it’s individuals or school research groups, applying for primary and high school research trips is easy. Simply fill out the necessary form below to get started. 

General research programs

For research-related undergraduate field trips, Honours and Postgraduate candidates, or partnerships with institutions that specialise in research and conservation, the application process is more in depth than for school groups. 

You must demonstrate your research interests, and your application must include: 

  • An overview of your research proposal
  • Its relevance to the Rottnest Island Research Strategy
  • Methodology of your research
  • A research timeline
  • Relevant business or public liability insurances
  • A completed Risk Assessment for your research trip

Protecting animals and plant life

All flora and fauna within the Rottnest Island Reserve is protected, so if your research is extractive or potentially damaging in any way, you’ll need to obtain a Department of Parks and Wildlife licence.
Learn more about flora and fauna approvals

How to apply for a Research Permit

Whether you’re conducting formal research on the island, or wish to carry out your own research for education purposes, you need to apply for a Research Permit.

  • Download and fill out the appropriate Application and Indemnity Form.
  • Send it to [email protected] at least four weeks prior to your research dates.
  • Fill out and submit any other necessary permits (see below).
  • Once your research application has been reviewed, you will be notified of the outcome.


Find research accommodation at The Stables House

Stables House is a research station and accommodation facility located on the shores of Lake Herschel that can be booked for specific research purposes. 

A fully self-contained space, it features an open-plan kitchen / dining / workspace with  cooking equipment, appliances, and utensils. There is one bathroom with a toilet and shower, and laundry and drying facilities. It can accommodate a maximum of 12 people across four different rooms, and is designed to provide housing for conservation volunteers, visiting researchers, and university student groups whilst conducting fieldwork on Wadjemup. 

Things to know

  • All necessary information is included in the Information and Booking procedure document.
  • Please book The Stables House as far in advance as possible, as it can take a few days to process the booking.
  • The Stables House is strictly for the use of people over 18 only, and only for research purposes—no personal use.

Booking fees

Stables House is designed to be a low-cost, non-commercial facility, so booking charges are only applied to cover laundry, cleaning costs, and ongoing maintenance. Stables House is charged at a rate of $37 per person per night.

How to book

  • Get in touch on (+61 8) 9372 9723 or at [email protected] to make an initial booking enquiry.
  • Fill out a Booking Form.
  • Indicate your method of payment on the booking form, and make sure all payment details are filled out correctly.
  • Return a copy (preferably scanned and emailed) to [email protected].
  • You can then make your payment either by credit card, EFT transfer, or invoice.

Frequently asked questions

RIA welcomes all types of research on Wadjemup, but is most interested in research that supports the Rottnest Island Management Plan 2023-2028.

Yes. RIA does not accept research that

  • May cause harm or damage to any island wildlife, sealife, or any type of danger to island visitors, staff, or contractors
  • Is considered for political or religious gain
  • Is offensive

Your research proposal will go through a thorough review process to ensure its relevance to the island.

The process from your initial enquiry through to receiving permit approval can take up to 30 working days. As such, please submit your research application as early as possible.

Researchers can use any island site as long as it’s approved in your application.

For accommodation, The Stables House is the only dedicated facility for research groups.

Accessing The Stables House is easy. Once your booking has been approved, it’s just 1.6 km from the Visitor Centre. Head directly up Digby Drive, which then branches off to Stables Road.

To book Stables House, simply submit your application, and upon approval you can pick up the key from the Visitor Centre.