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Essential Rottnest Packing

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by Shannon Meyerkort (subscribe)
Writer. Storyteller. Author of Brilliant Minds: 30 Dyslexic Heroes Who Changed Our World (Affirm Press, 2022). Find out more at
Published January 1st 2019
Pack like a pro
So, you have scored a week on Rottnest and are now trying to decide what you really need to pack. It's tempting to pack everything as most ferry companies generously give you two bags per person and then deliver them straight to your accommodation – but in reality, you will probably only end up using 1/3 of what you bring.

image S. Meyerkort

When we have travelled to Rotto during the summer months with our three kids, these are the things we find absolutely essential:

Inside thongs: sand is a fact of life at Rottnest and if you want to avoid it in your bed, you need a pair of clean inside thongs. Put them on after you shower or wash your feet at night so you can slide those clean tootsies straight into bed without having to walk through the sandpit that used to be the floor.

Pegs: if you're swimming every day, you will have a rotating series of bathers and towels on the line. Some units may have a few old pegs hanging about, but it's easiest to just bring your own.

Spare bath mats/old towels: when you wash all the sand off in the shower, it has to go somewhere – usually the floor! The tiny bath mat provided will be pretty gross after the first couple of nights so it's wise to bring some from home. No point bringing your inside thongs if the bath mat you're standing on has enough sand to cover the Sahara.

image S. Meyerkort

Eye mask: most units have curtains but no blinds, so if you or your kids are used to sleeping in the dark, an eye mask is an option to keep out all that pesky early morning sunshine.

Champagne bottle stopper: if you think the bottle will last that long…

Toilet paper: two rolls will be provided, which lasts about five minutes for our family of five.

image S. Meyerkort

Box/bag for wet sandy swimming gear: if you're taking flippers and snorkels as well as your towels and goggles, a box or bag that you can designate the 'wet sandy stuff box' will be appreciated. Bring some occy straps so you can tie it to the back of your bike.

Torches: there isn't much lighting to speak of once you're out of the settlement, so if you're planning a night ride or walk, make sure you have lights on your bikes or at least some torches so you can see where you're going.

Bin bags: two will be provided but it's always good to have more on hand, and they come in very handy for bringing home wet sandy bathers and towels.

Takeaway containers or snaplock bags: not only useful for leftover food, but helpful for holding shells and anything else your kid collects on their travels.

Card games and board games: being on Rottnest is a great way to disconnect and get back to basics, and if that means bringing your favourite games to play during those quiet afternoon hours then you will be glad you did. Explore some of the new card and dice games or travel versions of board games that don't take up much space in your suitcase.

Baby powder: while it's useful for any chafing caused by excess riding and walking, baby powder is also really helpful in removing dry sand. Try it – it's a thing!

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Why? Pack only what you need
When: anytime
Where: Rottnest Island
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