If you’re feeling a little daunted about the cost of a ferry trip to Rotto but want to meet some awesome little critters, go snorkelling, chill on nice white sandy beaches and swim in clear blue waters we know just the place.
A quick 45-minute trip south of Perth lays Penguin Island, a much shorter ferry trip off the coast, and the perfect day-trip-by-the-beach location.
What Is It:
Penguin Island is a small island just 700m off the coast of Rockingham, part of the Shoalwater Islands Marine Park.
What it lacks in size it more than makes up for in wildlife wonders, home to a colony of over 1000 Little Penguins, along with dolphins, sea lions and heap of other aquatic life.
Where Is It:
Like we said, it’s just 45 minutes in the suburb of Shoalwater, part of Rockingham. The easiest way to get there is set your maps to Rockingham Wild Encounters, who are also a good start for your ferry over to Penguin Island, or a bigger boat cruise to explore the Marine Park proper.
Ferries run every hour from 9am-3pm every day and you can get tickets that also include a visit to the Discovery Centre on the island that gets you up close and personal to the island’s namesake.
What To Do:
Penguin Island itself is public land, and as such there’s no charge to be on the island, and it’s yours to explore!
Outside of visiting the Discovery Centre, the island is a fantastic place to spend the day by the water swimming, snorkelling and even surfing when the conditions are right.
The Penguin Island Board Walk Trail is a 1.5km loop that takes you around the island, with a few different lookout points where you’ll likely see birds of the flying variety (pelicans and other nesting seabirds are also fans of the island).
Rockingham Wild Encounters offer different boating experiences outside of just the ferry trip over, including swimming with wild dolphins, sea kayak tours, kite surfing and more.
If you clock the island quick enough, Point Peron just around the corner is another fantastic snorkelling spot before the wind comes in.
What Not To Do:
Walk over. While you technically can walk across the sandbar to get to Penguin Island, authorities strongly suggest using the ferries. Conditions can change quickly, there are sometimes strong currents and quick tidal changes can leave you in a dangerous situation.
Leave rubbish. The island doesn’t have any bin facilities, so make sure you take home whatever you take with you – as always, leave only your footprints!
The island is closed from June to mid-September to stop humans from disrupting the penguins’ mating season.
If you REALLY love penguins and want to make Penguin Island home for your special day, you can even GET MARRIED on the island.
Make sure you go exploring to find the little natural “spa” – a cute hole in the reef that makes for some excellent Gram action.
Cover photo by Rockingham Wild Encounters