Cruising with Dolphins and Chilling with Penguins
Seal and Penguin Island Tour
On a beautiful Saturday in Rockingham, Western Australia, we headed off across the crystal clear waters of the Shoalwater Islands Marine Park, as guests of Rockingham Wild Encounters, for a delightful cruise to Seal Island and Penguin Island on a quest to find dolphins, sea-lions and penguins.
As we cruised across to visit Seal Island, our skipper and guide noticed a pod of male Bottlenose Dolphins so they diverted to give us a fantastic close-up photo opportunity and viewing of these charming mammals.
As we reached Seal Island, we were delighted to see many Australian Sea-lions basking on the beach with an audience of dozens of pelicans. Due to strict conservation and safety rules, no people are allowed on the island, but our skipper was able to negotiate a close viewing and we were thrilled to see many juvenile sea-lions frolicking in the clear water near to us.
When all guests had completed their photographs, we cruised past several rocky outcrops and islands, home to many water birds including the Osprey, to reach Penguin Island, home to over 1000 Little Penguins. (yes, that is their name) This is Western Australia’s largest colony of these sweet little birds which are the smallest species of penguins in the world
Once on Penguin Island we had free time to explore, swim, hike, snorkel and relax. We visited the Discovery Centre to have a close view of the Little Penguins as during the day they are either away from the island feeding or else sleeping in the numerous hutches or rocky outcrops. Scheduled feeding times at the Discovery Centre give a wonderful opportunity to learn more about these birds and see them closely.
Having visited Penguin Island many times as a child and then as a parent, bringing our children here for memorable day trips, I was keen to explore the small island , sunbathe and swim in the ocean. An Eco trail takes you across the island and there are numerous viewing platforms with panoramic views. The western side (ocean side) is quite rugged with superb architectural limestone outcrops as well as hidden beaches with wonderful snorkeling reefs.
Safe, shallow beaches perfect for families are located on the Eastern side of the island.
We enjoyed a few hours of swimming and relaxing on the white beaches with a picnic lunch and then were ready to head home on the hourly ferry.
Penguin Island is a fantastic day trip and is an easy 45 minute drive from Perth and then a short ferry ride from the mainland. We would thoroughly recommend the 90 minute cruise to Seal Island and Penguin Island for an informative and fun day for all ages. Just remember that the island is a nature reserve and therefore has no shops or facilities other than toilets and drinking water so bring a picnic to enjoy!
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