Reasons to come to Western Australia don’t have to be big. They can be small, too. Around 21 inches, in fact (the average length of an adult quokka’s body). Found only in Australia’s South West corner, quokkas are one of Instagram’s most iconic creatures, famed for their photogenic side.
Often described as being the world’s happiest animal, thanks to their cheeky, toothy grins, quokkas are most easily spotted living a sun-soaked existence on their own treasure island, Rottnest, just offshore from Perth. During the day, they sensibly tend to take it easy, relaxing in the shade and maybe munching on some delicious bark, grass, stems, flowers and leaves every now and then. By night, these nocturnal types get a little livelier and go exploring.
Be sure not to offend a sensitive little quokka by pronouncing its name wrong. Repeat after us: ‘kwo·kuh. Feel free to practise in front of your bathroom mirror before heading to Rottnest Island, which also offers prime snorkelling, sailing, fishing, tours galore and plenty of other wildlife-spotting potential. In fact, the island is an A-Class Reserve, renowned for its high conservation and community values. Take note: don’t ever try to touch these little critters or bully them or other wildlife into a photo shoot, as they’re actually sensitive types and you could earn yourself a fine from the local rangers
Four fun facts about quokkas…
Quokkas were first found by Willem de Vlamingh, a Dutch sea captain who described them as being ‘a kind of rat as big as a cat’. How rude!
Quokkas are marsupials and macropod family members, just like wallabies and kangaroos
Quokkas carry their babies in a handy pouch on their bodies.
Despite their tiny size, quokkas show little fear of humans – hence the wealth of quokka selfies on the Internet.
So, isn’t it time you saw quokkas in the flesh? Start by heading to Perth: Australia’s sunniest city. This beachside beauty boasts the shortest flight from the UK; just five hours from Singapore, you can explore bushland in the heart of the city and get a taste for Australia’s seaside living, brunching by the Indian Ocean. Perth is also fast growing, with new bars, restaurants and hotels popping up around the city’s waterways. The sun shines almost year-round, so whether you’re visiting the friendly quokkas on Rottnest Island, dining in the latest rooftop restaurant or catching a game of ‘Aussie Rules’ at the Optus Stadium in scenic Burswood Park, you can expect blue skies above.