Best time to travel to Western Australia

Quokka, the World's Happiest Animal in Western Australia

The world's smallest marsupial, the quokka, lives on the Rottnest Island and is considered to be the world's happiest animal

Best time: April–December

Quokka, the World's Happiest Animal
Quokka, the World's Happiest Animal
Quokka, the World's Happiest Animal
Quokka, the World's Happiest Animal
Quokka, the World's Happiest Animal

Actually, the island was named after this animal. Back then, they were mistaken for large rats by a Dutch visitor who named the island the "rat's nest" in Dutch, which later became Rottnest. The island still is the main place of the quokka's habitat. There are around 12,000 quokkas on Rottnest and 14,000 in the wild in general. So it's quite easy to spot them here.

Quokkas are very social and not afraid of humans. Just like racoons, they scavenge for food and most likely will take treats from tourists. But you should remember that they are vulnerable and giving them food could be harmful. In fact, you're not even allowed to touch them according to Australian law.

Although you are allowed to take selfies which quokkas won't mind either. Because of their irresistible smile and charm, they got the status of the happiest animal in the world. However, every year a few dozens patients, especially children, are treated in the Rottnest Island infirmary for quokka bites.

Quokkas breed from January to August and their babies, called joeys, live in their mothers' pouch for six months, so if you come between April and December you can even spot some few-months-old quokka babies.

Practical info

When is the best time to visit Rottnest Island to see quokkas and their babies?

To spot the quokkas and their joeys, it's best to visit Rottnest Island from April to December, when the weather is cooler, and the landscape is lush and green. During the breeding season, you may encounter baby quokkas living in their mother's pouch for up to six months. It's a perfect time to explore the island and have an unforgettable experience with these adorable animals. Show more

Where is the main habitat for quokkas in the world and how many are there?

With about 12,000 of them living on Rottnest Island off the coast of Western Australia, it's the main habitat of quokkas. There are also an estimated 14,000 quokkas in other parts of Western Australia. However, they're a vulnerable species, and quokkas are only found in a few locations globally, which makes Rottnest Island the ideal place to observe them. There's no better way to immerse yourself in nature and learn about these fascinating creatures. Show more

How did Rottnest Island get its name, and why is it associated with quokkas?

Dutch explorers named Rottnest Island Rattennest or 'rat's nest,' due to the quokkas' resemblance to rats. As the years passed, it became known as Rottnest Island due to the corruption of the original name. Today, it's recognized worldwide as the most striking location to see quokkas, and many tourists flock to its shores each year to experience the island’s beauty and see its unique fauna and flora. Show more

What makes quokkas known as the world's happiest animal, and how do they interact with people?

Quokkas are known as the world's happiest animals because of their smiling faces and social personas. These friendly creatures are not afraid of humans and are easy to spot and photograph alongside. However, according to Australian laws, tourists must refrain from feeding or touching them as it can be harmful. The bite of a quokka can lead to infection, and it is best not to touch them to avoid problems both for tourists and these loving animals themselves. Show more

Can tourists feed or touch quokkas, and what are the consequences of doing so?

Under Australian laws, tourists are not allowed to touch or feed quokkas. Feeding quokkas can disturb their natural eating habits, leading to health problems. Moreover, they're vulnerable creatures, and handling them can cause them distress, trauma, and even physical injuries. Many tourists take selfies with quokkas, which is perfectly acceptable, but it would be best to avoid coming too close to them. It's all about respecting the animals and preserving them for future generations. Show more

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Last updated: by Eleonora Provozin