On a warm sunny Saturday at the end of October 2012, my husband and I took our 5 year old grandchild to Penguin Island, a 5 minute ferry ride off the shores of Rockingham
We arrived at the carpark a couple of minutes before 9am, so there were plenty of parking spots and we were just in time to get tickets for the first ferry. Tickets are $12 each, even for the littlies once they turn 3, so a bit pricey for bigger families and then more again to get into the Discovery Centre, which I think is a must if you want to see the penguins.
The island itself is quite lovely; clean clear water, safe swimming areas, caves, fantastic rock formations, birds of all kinds, million dollar views…
We took a picnic with us as there are no shops on the island and the grassy shaded area had plenty of room for all, though it was somewhat crowded for short periods.
There were no steps from the picnic area down to the beach when we were there, but it was only a short walk along the boardwalk to get to the clean, clear, shallow water. Possibly there are usually steps there, as there was a *caved in* area in front, fenced off with orange tape. The eco toilets are not too far from this area and were clean and looked well maintained, so that was nice. Lots of kids looked like they were having fun climbing the trees and searching out the skinks that didn't seem to be too afraid.
It is a shame that the penguins aren't as easily seen as when I was a kid but the ones in the Discovery Centre were cute and worth paying to see and hear the talk about them. Walking around the island on the wooden boardwalk did allow us to see many other types of bird and it was fun to try and see how many different ones we could see. I had never seen a seagull egg or chick until this trip.
I'd like to go again and would recommend it to others but be aware that it will cost you. One thing I didn't like after paying $55 (3 people, ferry plus Discovery Centre) was having to have $2 coins for the binocular things at the northern end near the pelicans. We didn't have $2 ,so didn't get the benefit but it would be nice if people didn't have to pay extra for this.