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“Delightfully old-fashioned tourism” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Penguin Island

Penguin Island
Corner Arcadia Drive and Penguin Road | Rockingham/Shoalwater Bay area, Rockingham, Western Australia 6169, Australia
(08) 9591 1333
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Visit Penguin Island like an insider
$68*
and up
Ranked #2 of 27 things to do in Rockingham
Certificate of Excellence 2014
Activities: Viewing wildlife
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Attraction details
Owner description: Located in the spectacular Shoalwater Islands Marine Park, just 45 minutes south of Perth is Penguin Island- a beautiful, unspoilt nature reserve home to WA's largest colony of little penguin as well as dolphins, sea lions, stingrays, pelicans, ospreys and more. Visitors can see the penguins being fed by rangers at the Discovery Centre. It's also fantastic for swimming, snorkelling, having a picnic or just enjoying some of the best coastal scenery in Perth. Rockingham Wild Encounters operate an hourly ferry service to Penguin Island (it's only a 5 minute ride), glass bottom boat cruises of Shoalwater Bay and adventure style cruises to watch the local dolphins and explore more of the marine park. Sea Kayak Tours and Kite boarding Lessons are also available.
Useful Information: Activities for young children, Activities for older children
Cambridge, United Kingdom
Top Contributor
78 reviews 78 reviews
11 attraction reviews
Reviews in 26 cities Reviews in 26 cities
80 helpful votes 80 helpful votes
“Delightfully old-fashioned tourism”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 20, 2013

Superb island, beautifully kept, idyllic if you're a penguin! Worth taking the trip out to Seal Island to see dolphins if they are around, and the seals which are on the beach. The island has no amenities - its an old-fashioned place where, oddly enough, you go to see penguins, not buy ice creams and so on. Worth a walk to the other side of the island. Be warned though, the ferry over to the island, a ten or fifteen minute is a stunningly expensive rip off at over $170 for a family of 5 - the only reason not to give this top marks.

Visited December 2012
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PenguinIslandLocal, Manager at Penguin Island, responded to this review, March 8, 2013
Hi there thank you for your review of Penguin Island!
I just would like to clear out that the ferry is only $12 return with unlimited rides during the day. You must have taken our Penguin and Sea Lion Cruise package which is $36.50 per adult and includes unlimited ferry rides, penguin feeding at the Discovery Centre on the island and a 45minute cruise around the marine park to see the Australian Sea Lions on Seal Island.
Thank you for your great advice about no facilities and the 'old fashioned' description (I like it!). I hope to see you on our ferry again soon!
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Perth, Australia
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
3 attraction reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
“Penguin Island”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed February 16, 2013

Great place but where are the penguins on the Island except in the tourism/visitor place if the penguins come out at night why closing the ferris so early?!

Visited November 2012
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PenguinIslandLocal, Manager at Penguin Island, responded to this review, March 8, 2013
Hi there, thank you for your feedback. Little Penguins spend most of the daylight hours in the water, feeding on fish, and they come back a couple of hours after sunset. The ones that stay on the island (usually juveniles waiting to be fed) will hide away from humans and from the heat. You can find them under the broadwalks and steps all over the island. Please note that you need to keep a 5m distance from a penguin, not use flash on your camera and no feeding. The penguins that you will see being fed at the Discovery Centre are rescued penguins and are not suitable for release.
Regarding why closing the ferry so early. The penguins living on the island (about 1000 of them), are very shy and will not come up on land if they see someone on the beach. This means a risk of stress and drowning to the Little Penguin. It will be impossible to have customers on the beach waiting for the penguins, they will not come up! This is very different from how Philipp Island is run, but please remember that their population and island are much bigger. And this why it called Penguin Island and not Human Island!
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Nottingham
Senior Contributor
30 reviews 30 reviews
11 attraction reviews
Reviews in 20 cities Reviews in 20 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
“Hide and Seek”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 16, 2013

This was our fourth visit to Penguin Island, and as always it's an enjoyable day out if the weather is good.
We arrived late morning and caught the ferry over for the first time - its a pleasant 5 minute journey.
On our previous visits we have been early enough to walk (relatively safely) across the sand bar, (although there are signs saying not to do this many people do!)
We just spent half a day wondering around the island taking in the wonderfu scenery, immersing ourselves in the nature of the small island, and of course trying to spot the penguins nestling under the boardwalks as we circuited the island.
Worth the visit each time, even if you only have a few hours to spare.

Visited December 2012
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PenguinIslandLocal, General Manager at Penguin Island, responded to this review, February 17, 2013
Thanks for your great review on Penguin Island and very nice to hear that you are a repeat visitor : )

Just a word of advice for others who are reading this review in regards to 'walking to the island'. Although there is a history of people wading across the sandbar, you should be aware that there are inherent risks involved with this. Every year our company rescues hundreds of people attempting to make the crossing. In Dec 2010, 2 brothers from an Indian family drowned after walking off the edge of the sandbar. This tragedy was widely covered in the media and prior to this we have had several close calls where our staff have had to perform CPR.

We are often asked by visitors if they can walk to Penguin Island, or, if it's safe to cross the sandbar? Risk management of the sandbar is the responsibility of the Department of Environment & Conservation (DEC), their advice is that crossing the sandbar is hazardous and recommend that visitors catch the ferry and our staff are obligated to reinforce this message. No other advice can be offered for liability reasons.

Unfortunately, there are several reviews on Trip Advisor which promote 'walking to the island' and are counter productive to the safety message that DEC promotes. These reviews are often written by locals who have adequate swimming skills and a good understanding of our local weather and ocean conditions and how they can affect the sandbar. Many visitors we rescue are interstate and international visitors who don't have the local knowledge or swimming skills required to safely cross the sandbar. If you are considering this, some factors you should think about include:

1. The depth of water over the sandbar varies according to tide and weather conditions which can change quickly. On average the depth is around waist deep and there are some sections which can be chest deep or more, so, although people describe 'walking' it is more accurate to describe it as 'wading'.
2. The length of the sandbar is 850 metres. It's a long way to swim if you get into trouble, especially when it's windy and rough.
3. Many visitors get into difficulty attempting the return crossing to the mainland. We get a regular sea breeze in summer which makes the water very choppy. In the afternoon when the sun is lower it also increases the glare which makes it very difficult to see where the edge of the sandbar is. Once they step off the edge into deep water, the sea breeze will push them further away from the sandbar which becomes a very dangerous situation for people with poor swimming skills.
4. Although many of the people we rescue are international visitors with poor swimming skills, we also rescue locals who remember crossing the sandbar as kids. The sandbar is a dynamic feature that is constantly moving and changing, so people who have crossed the sandbar before should not assume that it will be the same each day. We also rescue a lot of locals who attempt the crossing with children who have gotten into difficulty and don't have the necessary skills to recover.

We have provided this information in the interest of visitor safety. Penguin Island is a beautiful place for everyone to enjoy and everyone is welcome regardless of how you access the island, however, think carefully about your own swimming ability and the factors discussed above if you're considering crossing the sandbar. Please be safe and catch the ferry- we don't ever want to have a repeat of the tragedy of Dec 2010.
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Mandurah, Australia
Senior Contributor
34 reviews 34 reviews
8 attraction reviews
Reviews in 15 cities Reviews in 15 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
“Magic days outing”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 16, 2013

Magic scenery, loved the tour and a great place for a swim and have a picnic lunch. All visitors to WA should spend time here.

Visited February 2013
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PenguinIslandLocal, General Manager at Penguin Island, responded to this review, February 17, 2013
Hi Lou. Thanks for the great review and rating of Penguin Island. Glad you enjoyed it and hope you visit again soon : )
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Melbourne, Australia
Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
8 attraction reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
“Escape from the crowds - Penguin Island”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 14, 2013

Penguin Island is so accessable and you can be secluded or amongst swimmers to your hearts content. There are planty of different areas to suit your abilities from surf, to snorkel, to swimming to bird watching! Indeed the birds are friendly enough to come and watch you! Bring your water, picnic, hat and sunglasses and escape the city for a few hours!

Visited January 2013
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PenguinIslandLocal, General Manager at Penguin Island, responded to this review, February 17, 2013
Thanks for your great rating and review of Penguin Island. We're glad you enjoyed it and hope you visit again soon :)
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