If you are ever in need of a high dose of cuteness, I have found the perfect solution for you. The quokka is truly the most adorable animal on the planet. So incredibly cute and funny, it's impossible to stop taking photos of them. The ultimate goal for many is to take that quokka selfie, but evidently without harming or disturbing the animal. I was lucky enough to spend an entire day surrounded by quokkas on Rottnest Island.
I discovered them by accident, during my trip around Australia, and I am so glad I did. I can't wait to go back and have some more quality quokka time.
“Just wait around, and the quokkas will come and check you out”
They are so cute, you don't want to leave
When you step off the ferry, you automatically enter into "quokka selfie mode". It's the main reason for coming to this island, which is situated off the coast of Perth, Western Australia. You might not see them right away, but they are there, and there are plenty of them around. They are funny, lovely, very approachable, and luckily very well protected.
Interacting with quokkas
Although quokkas are not generally afraid of people, and getting close to them is easy, any form of physical interaction is strictly forbidden. No touching, picking up or feeding is allowed. There are hefty fines for touching, mistreating, and abusing a quokka: up to A$50,000 and a prison sentence up to five years! There are news reports of people being fined A$11,000 for kicking a quokka. Why anyone would want to harm these beautiful animals, is beyond me. A quokka selfie is allowed as long as you don't touch or disturb the animal.
Then, carefully, take that quokka selfie
Luckily, there is no law against being close to them, as long as the initiative comes from them. I just sat on the ground and after a while, they would just hop towards me. Don't worry, they will come to you: they are very curious creatures. So you will have plenty of opportunities to take that quokka selfie. The one you see in the photo got very friendly with me and even started licking me! You cannot touch the quokka, but apparently, there are no laws that prohibit them from touching you!
It is just the most adorable animal on the planet, they are so much fun to be around.
Some quokka background
The quokka is a small marsupial, like a tiny kangaroo or wallaby, but the size of a small cat or dog. They are herbivorous and allegedly nocturnal. However, there are plenty out and about looking for food, during the day. Their habitat is confined to a small area of the western coast of Western Australia. Some populations live on the mainland but most live on small coastal islands such as Rottnest Island. Around 10,000 are believed to be living on the island. Numbers on the mainland are steadily declining but are more stable on the islands. Their only predators on Rottnest Island are snakes. Quokkas are not shy of humans and will interact with them, especially if they can score some food (however, feeding is strictly prohibited!)
How to get to Rottnest Island
Rottnest Express and Rottnest Fast Ferries offer multiple ferry sailings per day. You can either depart from Freemantle or Perth. The 10 km (18 mi) crossing from Freemantle takes 30 min, from Perth (Hillarys) it takes 45 min. Check out the companies' websites for times and prices. On arrival at Rottnest Island, you can visit the visitor center for information and guided tours.
More interesting animals
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