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Penguin Island

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Penguin Island
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Penguin Island - Cities, Towns and Localities
Only 42 km or 40 minutes south of Perth off the Rockingham coast, Penguin Island gets its name from the largest colony of Little penguins in Western Australia which inhabit the island. There is a special viewing centre where you can watch the penguins close up, and staff are on hand to provide an insight into their behaviour.

The island covers an area of 12.5 hectare and is home to a diverse array of wildlife, with breathtaking marine and coastal scenery and is located less than 700 m off the regional centre and coast of Rockingham. The waters surrounding the island form the Shoalwater Islands Marine Park. Access on Penguin Island is limited to walking trails and designated beaches only, as the rest of the island is a bird sanctuary area and access is strictly prohibited.

Some of the many birds species that have been sighted on the island include: little penguins, silver gulls, bridled terns, Australian pelicans, crested, fairy and Caspian terns. The rich marine reef supports a variety of temperate and subtropical invertebrates that include molluscs, sea stars, urchins and a number of fish species. Bottlenose dolphins are very common in the surrounding waters and if you take a cruise, you have the opportunity to view sea lions lazing on nearby Seal Island.

The island has excellent snorkelling, scuba diving and surfing conditions, picnic areas, lookouts, walkways, pristine beaches and waters. Care must be taken as some of the limestone formations may be unstable due to wave action and weathering. Overhangs, caves, cliffs and weathered surfaces are prone to collapse, so for your own safety keep on the walking trails and beaches.

Penguin Island has an interesting history. From about 1914 to 1926, Seaforth McKenzie, an eccentric Canadian, lived on the island. He hollowed out several of the island’s caves, crudely furnished them and had names like ‘The Palace’ and ‘The Library’. Seaforth encouraged visitors and was crowned ‘King of the Island’ at a grandiose ceremony. Some of the caves are still visible today.

Ferry tours operate from Mersey Point, Shoalwater from mid-September to early June and leave for Penguin Island on the hour throughout the day. Ferry cost including Island admission. Call Ph: 08 9592 3464 for more information. (The above information has been extracted from information on and used with permission from the Western Australian Department of Conservation and Land Management.)

Penguin Island, 700 m from Rockingham Ph: 9592 5191

Access: the island is only open during the day, with regular ferry tours operate from Mersey Point from mid-September to early June and leave for Penguin Island on the hour throughout the day. There are also tours and cruises around the waters and islands of Shoalwater Bay. The island is closed for the rest of the year to protect the breeding penguins from disturbance.

In addition to our listed online travel guide information, contact the local tourism visitor centre for your destination for more attractions, tours, local maps and other information.

Information Centre

Fremantle Tourist Bureau

Western Australia Visitor Centre - Perth

Nearest DEC Office:
Rangers are stationed on the island and at Mersey Point.
Ph: 08 9592 5191 and on the island.

DEC's Marine Operations Unit:
is situated at 47 Henry Street, Fremantle. Ph: 08 9432 5111

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Penguin Island Attractions

The Penguin Experience: Island Discovery Centre
Details: The centre allows visitors to see Little penguins close up in an environment similar to their natural habitat, and learn about them through feedings, commentaries and displays. The penguins in this facility have either been rejected by their mothers as chicks, and raised by wildlife carers or nursed back to health after injury and would otherwise have died. As a result they have become accustomed to people and would probably be unable to survive in the wild.
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Penguin Island Other Links

• Penguin Island Community/Local Government Links
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