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Where to See Dolphins in Perth

Home > Perth > Animals and Wildlife | Nature | Outdoor | Lists
by Tom (subscribe)
Getting lost is the easiest way to have fun!
Published June 20th 2013
Watch, photograph or swim with dolphins
No matter how much or little people care about the environment everyone has a soft spot for dolphins. Mandurah may have just been dubbed "Dolphin City" but many don't realise Perth has its own bottlenose dolphins right here in the Swan River and along our beaches. These places will give you the best shot of seeing them.

Blackwall Reach
A little bit of common sense will tell you this is possibly the best place to watch dolphins not only in Perth, but in WA. It's close to the river mouth, very deep and has lots of spots to herd large schools of fish (of which there are lots in the area).

Dolphin, Perth, Swan, River, Blackwall, Reach, Fremantle, Bottlenose, Common
Bottlenose Dolphins herding a school of mullet

If you spend a few hours here between 10am and 5pm I can all but guarantee you'll see at least one pod of dolphins - I had seven hours of non-stop dolphins today (which put an end to my fishing aspirations) including two cubs. At one point there were six dolphins jumping out of the water within an arms length of me.

Perth Water to Matilda Bay
The Narrows bridge is a natural funnel for anything wanting to traverse the river which - like Blackwall Reach - means lots of fish in a confined space.

Dolphin, Perth, Swan, River, Blackwall, Reach, Fremantle, Bottlenose, Common
There's a baby dolphin with them too!

Your best chance of seeing dolphins here is around 4pm to sunset and to look around the Transperth ferry channel.

Unfortunately Barnetts mosquito pool has made visits less frequent so just down Mounts Bay Road around Matilda Bay you may have better luck - I have seen many playing around there around sunrise.

Deepwater Point
The shallows along the bank of the Canning River are a haven for many fish species but halfway between the Canning and Mt. Henry bridges is a spot where the banks drop off steeply which all fish eventually have to travel into.

Dolphin, Perth, Swan, River, Blackwall, Reach, Fremantle, Bottlenose, Common
Locations of the river dolphins

Deepwater point is a very nice picnic spot with a cafe, barbeques, boat launching facilities and plenty of shaded green grass. This makes for an ideal spot to set up camp for the day to watch the day roll by and hope there's an unlucky school of fish close to a horde of hungry dolphins.

Hillarys Beach to Ocean Reef
The ocean north of Hillarys Marina is littered with rocky outcrops and therefore a huge abundance of marine life. The north rock wall makes an ideal viewing point but it is best to move closer to Ocean Reef to increase your chances.

Dolphin, Perth, Swan, River, Blackwall, Reach, Fremantle, Bottlenose, Common
So many dolphins!

It's not only dolphins you are likely to see here. Big sharks and rays love the area as do many larger fish species. The stretch of coastline is an awesome spot to paddle along if you're looking to get up close to our aquatic friends.

Penguin Island
You can actually swim with the dolphins here. Yes, that's right, there is a cruise operating from Penguin Island in Rockingham that will take you up close to their local population of dolphins.

Dolphin, Perth, Swan, River, Blackwall, Reach, Fremantle, Bottlenose, Common
Dolphins underwater in Rockingham

The dolphins usually love the company and have been known to stay around humans and play with them for hours. If that doesn't excite you you're a lost cause. Swimming with dolphins is something everyone should have on their bucket list.
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Why? We all love dolphins
Where: Perth
Your Comment
On a bike ride a couple of months ago we followed a school of dolphins from Deepwater Point to Shelley foreshore, watching them clear the water with Seaworld-style jumps and flips, amazing!
by Claire Ritchie (score: 1|39) 1975 days ago
My favorite memory of Perth is the first time I saw a humpback whales tail. I was at Leighton beach just north of Fremantle.
by Jody Kimber (score: 2|882) 1976 days ago
Lucky you! Seeing dolphins, no matter how frequently, is always special.
by Katy Holliday (score: 3|1133) 1975 days ago
Great article. What a wonderful place we live!
by MaggieVP (score: 2|582) 1975 days ago
You will be extremely lucky if you see a dolphin in the Hillary's,Ocean Reef area these days. They used to be common.
by Stabl (score: 0|2) 1706 days ago
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