Never met a Quokka? Get ready to head to Rottnest Island! It is thought that around 10,000 Quokkas reside on Rottnest Island, making it the largest colony in Australia. Very small populations are also living in the south-west forests of Western Australia near Northcliffe; they are listed as vulnerable so if you are ready to get into the Quokka selfie craze there are a few things you need to remember to keep these critters safe.
History of the Quokka Selfie
The selfie craze started around 2013 with a Huffington Post article describing the Quokka as the world’s happiest animal. Since then, thousands of people have been sharing their Quokka selfies on their social media feeds with the hashtag #quokkaselfie, including celebrities like Margot Robbie, Roger Federer and Hugh Jackman.
These social media feeds are also believed to have contributed to a good rise in people travelling to Rottnest, with visitation rising from 490,000 in 2013 to over 660,000 in 2017.
One great thing about this selfie craze is that the awareness of Quokkas has risen, and wildlife groups have been able to harness their popularity to do more wildlife education on how to interact with the furry animals.
Where to Find Quokkas on Rottnest Island
Quokkas can be found almost everywhere on the island, however being nocturnal they are mainly active at night, preferring to rest and sleep in the shade during daylight hours. The settlement areas of Rottnest have a high number of Quokkas visiting because there is food and water readily available to them. You won’t have to search too hard though. Quokkas are rather friendly and are used to being around people – they might even greet you as you get off the ferry.
Taking a Quokka Selfie
Because the popularity of the Quokka selfie has exploded in recent years, and the population of Quokkas has become quite accustomed to humans, we have some tips on how to get the best Quokka selfie, while still keeping the animals, and yourself, safe and healthy.
1. Let the Quokkas come to you – and they will. It’s just a matter of being patient and sitting still and quiet. It won’t be long before one of the critters comes up close.
2. Head out in the early morning or early evening. Because Quokkas are nocturnal, they do most of their hunting for food from dusk to dawn.
3. Don’t feed the Quokkas. As cute as they are, and as much as they are looking around for food, providing them with human food and drinks is bad for their health. You certainly don’t want to be responsible for making a Quokka unwell.
4. Most importantly, don’t touch them. These animals may look happy, but they are still wild animals that may bite if they feel threatened.
Beyond the Quokka Selfie
If you’ve gotten yourself a selfie or two with one of Rottnest Island’s Quokkas, it’s time to head off and explore the rest of the island – and there is certainly something for everyone here! For the adrenaline junkies, book yourself in to jump out of a perfectly good plane with Skydive Geronimo. See Rottnest like you’ve never seen it as you free fall for up to 66 seconds, and then land on one of the island’s beaches. Choose from a range of heights to leap from, and don’t forget to add a video or photography package so you can show off to your friends.
For a more relaxing experience, or to come down from your skydiving high, book a glass bottom sea kayaking tour. Paddle in secluded bays that are inaccessible via land and boat, as you peer into the ocean below, seeing the marine life, coral and reef formations that call the oceans around Rottnest Island home.
You can also simply take in the island on foot, by following one of the many walking paths around the island, across coastal headlands and past inland lakes that have existed for hundreds of years. With 45km of trails, you certainly won’t be lost for a path to take.
Follow the footsteps of Chris Hemsworth, and book yourself a stay at Rottnest Island, get a Quokka selfie or two, and explore everything the island has to offer.