A fun day trip activity for the whole family. Rockingham is a town 45 minutes away from Perth, it is known as " your aquatic playground". Penguin Island, Seal Island and Garden Island are nearby as part of Shoalwater Island Marine Park. To make the most of our trip, we booked a cruise with Rockingham Wild Encounters.
They also offer a swim with wild dolphins program which looks like a fun activity to do with the kids when the weather is warm. We went on the Shoalwater Safari Cruise, which take us to see dolphins, sea lions and penguin all in 90 minutes boat trip.
I would recommend this activity on a warmer day because it is quite windy on the cruise. The cruise took us out in the open water to search for wild dolphins along the bay area of Shoalwater Marine Park. Dolphins usually come up for feeding and we spotted 8 or 9 dolphins swimming along the bay. It was amazing to see these wild creatures swim freely but yet close to our boat .
They were so playful, the kids enjoyed watching them go up and down the water. Our captain speed up the boat to make waves for the dolphin to play. They jumped up and down chasing those waves, swimming on their side and doing their tricks for us.
We were entertained and amazed by these group of wild dolphins, you would think they have been trained to put on a show. After all the excitement from the dolphins, the cruise took us to Sea Lion Island (you can only get there by Wild Encounter cruises).
This island is a home of 28 male Australian sea lions. They were so friendly to come down from the island and swim by our cruise, and play around and put on a show for us. Most of them stay on the Island laying around soaking up the sun. It is a beautiful small island with birds and sea lions. What an amazing sight to see.
I have never seen as many species of birds as this island, they were all hanging out, roaming around and being themselves on this preserved island only for them. No one is allowed put their foot on this island, it is a protected area. The cruise then took us to Penguin Island where you can get off and walk around, have a picnic or take pictures from one of their many lookout points.
There are 3 feeding time for the penguins; 10.30am, 1.30pm and 2.30pm. I will have to warn you that you will not see penguins playing around Penguin Island. The best place to see them is at the Discovery Centre on the island. They are so cute.
The tour guide told us that during the day, all the penguins are out in the water swimming around or they are binding the brush area. We did see so many birds, lizards and lovely little chicks all over the Island. You can tell that they all feel safe and relaxed on the Island. It is a good feeling to know that we can preserve nature and they can be themselves around us without any conflicts. We don't have to destroy their habitats to make tourist attractions, these creatures can feel at home and be comfortable around us.
The cruise did show us around the marine park area and another small island where you can see a sea eagle nest and tree roots from many many years ago. It was very educational tour for our children as well. They learned so much about the marine park, dolphins, sea lions, birds and penguins and their habitat. After the Penguin Island which was the last part of our cruise, we went back to the mainland via a 5 minute ferry ride.
We truly enjoyed the our cruise experience, what an exciting trip. I love how the staff onboard give you so much information about the area and the animals. I would recommend the cruise to everyone with kids. They will love it. Before we leave Rockingham, we went to check out a waterfront tapas restaurant Rustico. It is a Spanish tapas restaurant and bar. You order food you like to try in a small portion. We try their garlic prawn, rainbow trout, and chicken empanadas. They were tasty and delicious. Our children enjoyed their kids menu of potato cheese omelete and cheese quesadilla. The kids meal comes with churros (Spanish doughnuts) with chocolate dip. We could not stop eating. At the end we were pleased with food and service here. Don't forget to try their sangria - it is to die for. We have had so much fun in Rockingham. We would definitely come back to visit this town again.