Meet the most adorable animal on the planet: the quokka
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. I was lucky enough to spend an entire day surrounded by quokkas on Rottnest Island.
“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 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 plenty of them. 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 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.
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 a selfie with a cute quokka. 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 main land 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 main land 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 leave 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' website for times and prices. On arrival at Rottnest Island you can visit the visitor center for information and guided tours.