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Rottnest Island (Wadjemup)/Australia

Introducing Rottnest Island (Wadjemup)

'Rotto' has long been the family holiday playground of choice for Perth locals. Although it's only about 19km offshore from Fremantle, this car-free, off-the-grid slice of paradise, ringed by secluded beaches and bays, feels a million miles from the metropolis.

Cycling around the 11km-long, 4.5km-wide car-free island is a real pleasure; just ride around and pick your own bit of beach to spend the day on. You're bound to spot quokkas on your journey. These are the island's only native land mammals, but you might also spot New Zealand fur seals splashing around off magical West End; dolphins; and, in season, whales. King skinks are common, sunning themselves on the roads until you draw near – and then they're just as likely to scuttle into the path of your bike as they are to scuttle in the opposite direction.

Snorkelling, fishing, surfing and diving are also all excellent on the island. In fact, there's not a lot to do here that's not outdoors, so you're better off postponing your day trip if the weather is bad. It can be unpleasant when the wind really kicks up.

Rotto is also the site of annual school leavers' and end-of-uni-exams parties, a time when the island is overrun by kids 'getting blotto on Rotto'. Depending on your age, it's either going to be the best time you've ever had or the worst – check the calendar before proceeding.

In early September, the annual Rottofest immerses the island in two days of music, film and comedy.