Rotto visit records smashed

The West Australian - - NEWS - Dy­lan Ca­porn

Rot­tnest Is­land con­tin­ues to draw crowds, with visi­tor records smashed in the last fi­nan­cial year.

De­spite age­ing in­fra­struc­ture and the per­ceived ex­pense of trav­el­ling to the is­land, more than 647,000 peo­ple went to Rot­tnest last fi­nan­cial year, the an­nual re­port of the Rot­tnest Is­land Author­ity has re­vealed.

The fig­ure is a record, up 5.9 per cent from last year’s fig­ure of 610,000 peo­ple.

Vis­i­tors are also leav­ing the is­land im­pressed, with the tourist spot get­ting an all-time high sat­is­fac­tion rate of 97 per cent.

Driv­ing the trend is in­ter­est in the is­land’s quokka pop­u­la­tion, a spokes­woman for the author­ity said. “Quokkas are syn­ony­mous with Rot­tnest and the in­ter­est in them con­tin­ues to grow,” she said.

The friendly, furry crea­tures fea­tured in more than 22,000 self­ies, the re­port found. Of the 647,000 who vis­ited the is­land, more than 325,000 were day trips while the venue also at­tracted 476 wed­dings, 214,000 boat moor­ings and 87,000 bike hires.

But the is­land is fac­ing “sig­nif­i­cant chal­lenges” with its age­ing in­fra­struc­ture, which the author­ity said would ben­e­fit from an im­proved as­set man­age­ment sys­tem.

The author­ity also had to re­place ceil­ings in 22 units af­ter a par­tial col­lapse of two dur­ing a storm lead to an is­land-wide in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

The re­port also told the story of “Steve”, a quokka who es­caped to the main­land in Jan­uary.

It was sus­pected he had been in a bin on the is­land when the rub­bish was trans­ported by barge to Perth. De­spite the es­tab­lish­ment of a pub­lic hot­line to re­port sight­ings, Steve re­mains at large.

This week, a new ferry ser­vice, set to al­low an ex­tra 700,000 pas­sen­gers a year to the is­land, was an­nounced.

Travel liftout

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