The dos and don’ts of scoring that photo with Rottnest Island’s star attraction.
If Rottnest Island isn’t already part of your WA travel plans, lock it in now and get your selfie stick at the ready: you’re about to witness the cutest marsupial in town, the ever so sweet and camera-ready quokka.
Often described as the ‘happiest animal in the world,’ these adorable creatures are endemic to Western Australia and somewhat famous. If you haven’t heard of them, first of all, how’s that rock you’ve been living under? And secondly, you’re in for a treat.
About 650,000 visitors head to Rottnest each year to bask in the sunshine and explore this island playground. However, thousands of tourists also come for the chance to post ‘selfies’ on social media with the friendly creature, including some famous faces – Hugh Jackman, Roger Federer and Margot Robbie, anyone?
While most quokkas love the attention and don’t mind photobombing your ultimate Instagram-worthy shot, there are a few expert tips and tricks that can come in handy. So to help you maximise your time (and selfie) with the quokkas, we enlisted the help of an expert.
Shane Kearney, acting general manager at the Rottnest Island Authority of Environment, Heritage and Parks has shared his tips and tricks on how to get the ultimate experience with their resident quokkas in an ethical and sustainable manner.
“Quokkas are fairly trusting, [and if you are] patient they will happily come to you,” he says.
“They are naturally nocturnal, so you’ll generally find them in the morning and early evening year-round, especially around the settlement precinct.”
As for capturing the perfect photo? “[Be sure] to use a selfie stick to maintain a respectful distance for both human and animal safety,” he continues. “If you happen upon one that is camera shy, do not attempt to feed them with food or water. It changes their behaviour and [food that is not in their natural diet] can potentially make them ill.” Kearney also stresses the importance of disposing your rubbish and riding your bike with care around the island.
But his overall recommendations for ensuring the ultimate experience? “Get your smile and camera ready, enjoy the moment and [let the quokkas] come to you.”