This Perth Explorer and Rottnest Island combo ticket allows you to see the very best of the region. Enjoy a city hop on hop off bus tour and a return cruise transfer to Rottnest Island with Rottnest Express. Travel on consecutive days or split the tickets up and use them anytime within a two-week period. Duration: 2 days (approx.)
Best price guarantee: If you find this tour elsewhere at a cheaper price, we will beat it by 10%. Some conditions apply. There are no booking or credit card fees when you book this tour with The Big Bus tour and travel guide.
The Perth Explorer and Rottnest Island combo ticket is a great value way to see a lot of the Western Australia capital in a very short space of time.
The package — which includes a 48-hour hop on hop off bus tour ticket with Perth Explorer and a return cruise transfer to stunning Rottnest Island with Rottnest Express — can be used on consecutive days (in either order) or split up and used separately at any time within two weeks. For the purposes of this review I’m opting to use them back to back, and it’s a whirlwind weekend as I revisit some favourite inner-city spots like Kings Park and walk the shores of beautiful Rottnest for the first time.
Perth Explorer’s double-decker hop on hop off tour bus departs from the Barrack Street Jetty (the older sibling of the stunning Elizabeth Quay redevelopment). I start the day by staying on board for the entire 11-stop circuit, which takes about two hours. It’s a good way to see everything on offer, before deciding where to hop off the bus and explore in more detail.
Stop four is Crown Perth and Burswood Park, and on my second circuit I decide to hop off and take a look inside. Sadly I miss out on trying my luck in the casino due to the dress code (no beachy sandals ladies).
Our next stop is The Perth Mint, and I buy a ticket from our driver for $18. It includes a guided tour of the mint to learn about the history of gold prospecting in Western Australia, and a live ‘gold pour’ (the making of a bar of gold). The demonstration turns out to be surprisingly exciting.
I continue on my second lap. There are three Kings Park stops, and a stop at Watertown — Perth’s outlet shopping hub. The tour ends in William Street just before five o’clock. It’s perfect timing for an early dinner at Jaws Sushi on Hay Street.
Day 2: Rottnest Express
I make my way back to Barrack Street Jetty the following day, and my travel dreams come true as I spy the Rottnest Express ferry. This is something I’ve always wanted to do. I’m a little early, so I head off in search of a light breakfast, before joining the boarding queue.
The crossing takes two hours, including a short stop in Fremantle. As we approach Rottnest Island, the energy levels on board go from super sleepy to mega excited.
As you step off the boat and onto the dock, the island’s holiday vibe is palpable. I have three hours of free time to tick the boxes of my Rottnest (known locally as ‘Rotto’) wish list: a) quokka selfie, b) tour by bike, c) swim at beautiful beach, and d) lunch.
I start in reverse order at Thomsons Rottnest — a welcoming waterfront eatery that offers a diverse menu and a focus on quality Western Australian produce. My meal is delicious.
At Pedal & Flipper there are rows of bicycles in all sizes available for hire. I rent a bike for three hours for $30. Bike rentals are also available on the ferry but they sell out quickly. I set off in search of jaw-dropping vistas — and quokkas!
Not far from Thomson Bay (the main town) I spot a group of the gorgeous Rotto natives. I approach with caution. They’re adorable but they are wild animals, so treat them with respect. I get my selfie with the furry marsupials. Three ticks on my list with two hours to go. Winning.
I don’t have time to do the entire island so I make a plan to go to Parker Point. However, at a crossroad, two dripping bikers say, ‘Go to Salmon Bay — clear water, perfect beach!’ I do — and it is. The beach is full of enviable holiday scenes: visitors relaxing, swimming and snorkelling. Entering the sea is like stepping into a freshly cleaned pool, minus the chemicals. I float gently in the calm water and let my cares drift away.
A mix of sadness and gratitude fills my heart as I board the return ferry home. This Perth Explorer and Rottnest Island combo ticket is a fantastic way to explore the city and its surroundings. The highlight for me was Rottnest Island, but city slickers may think differently. The experience really does offer something for everyone.
Jennifer Morton is a freelance writer and photographer. The Canadian expat has lived all over Canada, New Zealand and Australia. She also spent six months working on a cruise ship in Europe. When Jennifer is not writing about travel, you may find her lounging on the beach, fishing with her son, sipping coffee at a cafe, reading a book or zooming in on a beautiful scene. She’s also likely to be boarding a plane — or jumping out of one.