Just a 5 minute ferry ride across Shoalwater Bay Penguin Island and the surrounding Marine Park are home to a range of wildlife including Dolphins, Sea Lions, Pelicans and a colony of Fairy Penguins, the 'little Penguin".
Between 1914 and 1926 Penguin Island was inhabited by an eccentric Kiwi, some say Canadian, named Seaforth McKenzie who left his house in New Zealand one morning to go to work and didn't come home. There is no clear answer as to how he found his way to Western Australia and the islands of Shoalwater Bay but it is known that he lived in the Limestone caves on eastern side of the island, loved poetry and was known as 'the King of Penguin Island'. He left in 1926 to return to his wife and 6 children back in New Zealand.
Penguin Islands sheltered inlets are popular with boating enthusiasts and fishermen
Rockingham Wild Encounters operate a ferry too & from the island as well as a number of cruise options and activities including Sea kayaking and Kite Boarding lessons.
Ferry and glass-bottomed boat tickets need to be purchased on the mainland from the Wild Encounters Gift Shop. Ferries depart for Penguin Island on the hour from 9 Am to 3 PM and return from the island on the hour 10 minutes from 10.10 AM to 3.10 PM and, the last trip, at 4 PM.
A walk on one of Penguin Island's beaches will often be rewarded with sightings of Dolphins, Seals and even Whales
During peak season additional services may be scheduled with departures every 20 or 30 minutes as required.
Penguin and Sea Lion cruises are conducted in a glass-bottomed boat and full or half–day Dolphin swim cruises are also available.
In 1987 the Department of Environment & Conservation built a Discovery Centre on the island, designed both as an educational facility and a sanctuary for injured Penguins or those unsuitable for release back into the wild. Penguin feeding sessions are held in the centre daily at 10.30 AM, 12.30 PM and 2.30 PM, conducted by Departmental Rangers who are available to answer visitor's questions.
A network of timber board-walks criss-cross the island and provide great opportunities to view the countless sea birds that nest in the vicinity and get up close, but not too close, to the islands Pelican rookery.
Penguin Island's Pelican rookery is a mass of birds
The down side to Penguin Island is the cost. At $14 for everyone aged over 3 years the basic ferry ticket seems a bit excessive for a 5 minute trip but that cost pales into insignificance when compared to the price of the activities.
A 45 minute glass-bottomed boat cruise will set you back $36.50 for adults or $27.50 for children and the 90 minute Dolphin, Penguin and Sea Lion cruise will cost $85 adults and $50 for children.
A swim with Dolphins experience costs $205 for all ages and a Sea Kayak Tour $169.