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Just a 45-minute drive south of Perth, in the Shoalwater Islands Marine Park, lies the rugged wilderness of Western Australia’s Penguin Island. Lying just 700m off the coast of Rockingham, this pristine island is easily reached by a five-minute ferry ride from Shoalwater, making it the perfect choice for a relaxed day trip from Perth.
With beautiful beaches, a colony of 1,200 little penguins and a large population of nesting seabirds, it wasn’t a hard decision to make Penguin Island my first stop on my five-week Perth to Adelaide road trip. If you’re looking for a fun day out from Perth, here’s what to expect.
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How to Get to Penguin Island
You need to catch a ferry from Rockingham Wild Encounters at 153 Arcadia Dr, Shoalwater WA 6169, where there’s a free car park onsite.
If you’re arriving by public transport, take the train to Rockingham Station and catch the 551, 552 or 553 bus from stands 9 or 10 to Penguin and Watts Rd. Plan your journey here.
Penguin Island Activities
I chose to have a leisurely day exploring the beautiful nature trails of Penguin Island on foot, but for those of you wanting a bit more adventure, you’ve got the option of joining a wildlife cruise (including swimming with wild dolphins), kiteboarding, stand-up paddleboarding or kayaking with Rockingham Wild Encounters.
Penguin Island Beaches
If you’re looking for some beach time without the crowds, you’ve come to the right place. Take a rest from your explorations by laying your towel down on whichever deserted patch of sand takes your fancy.
Penguin Island Wildlife
As the name suggests, Penguin Island is home to a colony of little penguins, in fact the largest population in Western Australia. Since the penguins are usually out at sea hunting for a nice bit of dinner during daylight hours, it’s unikely you’ll spot them in the wild unless you have a good look underneath the boardwalks and at the back of the limestone caves. To guarantee a sighting, it’s best to attend the organised penguin feeding sessions at the Discovery Centre.
The island and its surrounding crystal-clear water is also home to a whole host of other beautiful seabirds, as well as dolphins and sea lions. And just to warn you, there are a lot of seagulls. And I mean a lot!
Rugged Beauty of Penguin Island
There’s more to the island than beautiful beaches and wildlife: whilst wandering around you’ll come across seacaves and craggy coves, cliffs and rocky headlands, and a number of boardwalks and viewpoints.
Once you’re back on the mainland you can enjoy a coffee or meal at Pengo’s Café, or a picnic by the children’s playground. Click here to read about my adventures on the next stop on my Perth to Adelaide road trip, Yalgorup National Park!