Carnac Island: Everything you need to know

Sea Lion Carnac Island
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Everything you need to know about Carnac Island can be summed up in two words – sea lions!

This well-known tourist spot has visitors flocking to the island every year to enjoy up-close and personal, unforgettable experiences with the bustling wildlife.

What is Carnac Island?

The Carnac Island Nature Reserve (Ngoorloormayup) is home to rare Australian sea lions who use the area as a resting spot, along with an array of marine life in the waters around it, including bottlenose dolphins.

An important breeding spot for a variety of local seabirds, including Little Penguins and a variety of vulnerable Tern species, it’s also home to a large population of tiger snakes – so many that David Attenborough filmed there for part of a documentary!

Where is Carnac Island?

Located 10km off Fremantle between Rottnest Island and Garden Island, Carnac is a 45-minute sail or a short powered boat ride from the Fremantle Boat Harbour through Cockburn Sound, making it the perfect spot for a summer day trip.

What to do on Carnac Island:

Bustling with local bird colonies, this is a birdwatcher’s heaven and an ocean lover’s dream as Carnac Island provides the perfect calm conditions for a range of water activities including snorkelling, diving, paddleboarding, kayaking, and fishing.

The sheltered bay on the eastern side of the island provides protection from the southwest swell, which results in some spectacularly calm water that’s the perfect spot to encounter a sea lion.

The best way to get a proper wildlife experience is by booking a tour, with a number of cruises operating to the island daily.

It’s the perfect way to spend a summers day lounging on the boat deck, snorkelling with the gorgeous marine life and watching wild bottlenose dolphins chase the waves.

Carnac Island Sea Lions
Carnac Island off the coast of Perth, only accessible by boat, where the male seals come to rest.

What not to do:

Sea lions are wild creatures who can become aggressive so it’s important to keep a safe distance.

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While it would be cute to introduce your land dog to the sea dogs, there’s understandably no pets allowed on the island.

When on the island, stay clear of nesting areas to not disturb the birds and don’t venture inland past the beach because as we mentioned above, the island is home to one of the world’s most deadly snake species, the tiger snake.

If travelling by private boat, it’s important to observe all island rules and regulations, including not exceeding speed limits and time restrictions (only day trips allowed).

Sea Lion at Carnac Island

Anything else?

Carnac Island Nature Reserve is the perfect place to relax and embrace the unbeatable scenery, but visitors need to remember that this is a special place for local wildlife and to treat the island and its inhabitants with respect.

Image Credit: Shutterstock