This Gorgeous, Hidden Island Has The Largest Population Of The Happiest Animal On Earth

Some people take vacations to see ancient architecture. Others prefer a relaxing, tropical shore. Maybe you're a fan of road trips across the United States. Then there are those of us who want nothing more than to visit an island full of adorable animals. Look, the world is hard enough, so wouldn't it be a lovely idea to get on a boat, travel to an island, and visit some furry cuties? 

We're not talking about Pig Island in the Bahamas or Ōkunoshima, the bunny island in Japan. However, those places will probably be next on any animal lover's vacation list. No, today we're referring to the happiest little creature you've ever seen — the quokka. These small marsupials look like they're smiling! Just look at the picture above and prepare yourself for the vacation of a lifetime on Rottnest Island, aka Wadjemup, in Australia. Held by the Whadjuk Noongar people, the custodians of this beautiful island, there is much to do and explore. 

Rottnest Island is a nature preserve, but you can vacation there, and it's easy to get to. The name means "Rat's Nest," as 17th-century Dutch explorers thought these were large rats. Sure, rats that look like they're about to burst into a spontaneous musical number. Let's talk about what to do on Rottnest Island, what you need to know, and, of course, the quokkas. 

Here's what to know about the quokka

As soon as you finish grinning at the picture above, let's talk about the adorable quokkas (called Kwoka in Noongar) on Rottnest Island, which has one of the largest quokka populations in the world. These cute little fuzzy-wuzzies have no natural predators on the island, and you'll find them pretty much everywhere. Please keep in mind that despite their friendly appearance, they are still wild animals. Don't feed them because they can get sick, and don't touch them. But do take all the pictures because they're ridiculous in the best way. If you visit in August, you can see joeys in their mama's pouches; in September, they'll be skittering around on their own. 

Quokkas are nocturnal, so you may see them napping during the day and starting to stir later on. It's the perfect reason to stay overnight. Even if you don't, there is a short walk five minutes from the main bus stop, and they're usually there. You can also see them nesting at the base of the Wadjemup Lighthouse, which you can climb. You'll never have cuter Instagram and TikTok posts in your life.

What you can do on Rottnest Island

Getting to Rottnest Island is pretty easy. You can take a seaplane or a boat, but it's a mere 30-ish minute ferry ride from Fremantle, with slightly varying times from Perth and Hillarys Boat Harbour. The island is mostly car-free, but you can bring a bike, take a tour on a hop-on-hop-off bus, or a tour with an Aboriginal guide. There are accommodations for those with mobility issues, so ask when you book the ferry. Plus, there are about 28 miles of trails to explore, and many of them have quokka to see. 

This lovely place has white sand beaches with crystal clear water, perfect for aquatic sports. If you're an experienced surfer, this is a great spot (particularly West End, Stark Bay, or Strickland Bay, where they often have competitions). If you're newer, you can try Mary Cove or Chicken Reef, though remember to bring your own gear. 

This is the perfect water for snorkeling, with around 400 different species of marine life. You can take snorkeling tours with a guide (great for groups with some beginners) that will even take you to shipwrecks. If you stay on the island, you have a lot to choose from, even though it's only 6.8 miles long. There are campsites, cottages, cabins, and bungalows to rent, as well as hostels and dorms (the latter two are alcohol-free).