Rottnest Island is a camping haven with beautiful turquoise waters, golden beaches, and supervised campsites. Many people like to camp by driving their own motorhomes or campervans to a campsite. But is this allowed on Rottnest Island?
You cannot take a campervan or any other vehicle to Rottnest Island, as it’s considered a Class A reserve. The Rottnest Island Authority (RIA) regulates the number and use of motor vehicles to preserve the island’s assets. You can only use vehicles sparingly for work.
In the rest of this article, I’ll explain why vehicles aren’t allowed on Rottnest Island, the primary mode of transportation, and what you should do if you need a vehicle on the island.
Why You Can’t Take Your Campervan To Rottnest Island
The Western Australian Government’s Minister of Land can classify any area as a protected reserve by order. Depending on two factors, these lands are classified as Class A, B, and C reserves. According to the Western Australia Government, reserve tenure is applied to land that:
- Holds intrinsic community value or is of high conservation value that should be preserved and maintained for the benefit of future generations.
- For core business/service delivery needs of general sector State agencies and local governments.
These land classifications are usually applied to areas with high community or environmental value. Class A reserves are the most highly protected, while Class C reserves are less protected.
The Western Australian Government has classified Rottnest Island as a Class A reserve. This classification means that all plant and animal life on the island is protected by law.
If you look at it logically, it’s easy to realise that cars could ruin the plant and animal diversity of the island. Although the island has dedicated roads, the noise and air pollution caused by a large number of vehicles will negatively impact the island’s wildlife and biodiversity.
Thus, the Rottnest Island Authority (RIA) regulates the number and use of vehicles on the island. There’s a set number of buses that move through the island all day, but the main mode of transport on the island is bicycles or walking. Tourists are encouraged to use their own bicycles or hired ones to travel around the island.
Because of this strict regulation of vehicles, campervans, caravans, and other motor vehicles are not allowed on Rottnest Island. Vehicles are only allowed for work purposes, and you have to apply for a permit to drive before you’re allowed to bring your vehicle.
What Is the Main Mode Of Transport On Rottnest Island?
As a Class A reserve, Rottnest Island is completely closed to all motor vehicles. Only a few regulated vehicles like public buses and some cars for work are allowed on the island.
The main mode of transport on Rottnest Island is bicycles or walking. There are plenty of bicycles for hire, and you can even bring your own, provided it adheres to the RIA’s regulations. Apart from bicycles, you can also take the bus that runs all day.
What To Do If You’re Disabled And Need A Vehicle
If you have a disability that prevents you from using bikes or walking, there are quite a few options for getting around.
If you’re wheelchair-bound, you can use any of the following facilities:
- Wheelchairs and electric scooters for hire.
- Wheelchair-accessible shuttle bus to and from the ferry.
- Rottnest Island Accessibility Buggy (a petrol-powered golf cart).
Let’s take a look at each option and how to book them in the sections below.
Wheelchairs And Electric Scooters For Hire
If you’re wheelchair-bound, you can book the use of wheelchairs or electric scooters online. These bookings must be made at least a week before you arrive on the island. By booking in advance, you give the island authorities enough time to arrange for your transportation.
Rottnest Island also has buses with wheelchair accessibility. Even getting to the island is easy through the Rottnest Express.
The Rottnest Express’s Star Flyte Express barge is equipped with wheelchair-accessible areas. All passengers with wheelchairs are asked to book tickets on The Star Flyte Express.
The Star Flyte Express departs from Barrack Street in Perth and Rous Head in North Fremantle.
The Accessibility Buggy is a petrol-powered golf cart. This buggy is available for wheelchair users in the company of a carer.
You must apply for the Accessibility Buggy at least a week in advance. The carer must also apply for a permit to drive on the island so they can drive the buggy.
You can contact Pedal and Flipper to book the Accessibility Buggy.
Apart from the services mentioned above, anyone with disabilities can also use tour buses with wheelchair accessibility and/or bring service dogs and guide dogs to the island.
Since Rottnest Island is a Class A reserve, pets of any kind are not allowed on the island. However, licensed service dogs are allowed, but you should inform the Rottnest Island Rangers before you arrive. You can contact them at (08) 9372 9788.
Camping On Rottnest Island
Many people enjoy camping at Rottnest Island, despite not being able to bring a campervan.
Rottnest Island has one main camping area containing 43 campsites where you can pitch your tent. This campground is just a short distance from Pinky’s Beach, a popular beach destination on Rottnest Island. This campground also has a communal kitchen area open to all guests.
To book a site in the campground, you can make an inquiry via the Rottnest Island website.
According to the Western Australia Government, Rottnest Island has been classified as a Class A reserve. This classification means that all plant and animal life on the island is protected by law.
Since plant and animal life is protected on the island, motor vehicles are strictly prohibited. Thus, you cannot take a campervan, caravan, or any other vehicle to Rottnest Island.
If you want to camp at Rottnest, you can book a site at the campground. Anyone with disabilities can also make use of their vast resources for accessibility.
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