A few weeks ago I got to meet two bloggers for coffee at the iconic Indiana Tea House in Cottesloe beach. Iris was coming from Braunschweig, Germany to Perth to get married to her sweetheart of 19 years and I offered to meet up with her and Grace, another Perth blogger that I also follow but had yet to meet. We had an enjoyable couple of hours getting to know each other.
|Grace, Iris and her partner Ingo|
Iris had traveled around Australia and been to Perth a few times already, but she had yet to visit Penguin Island, so I offered to take her and Ingo there the following week.
I picked them up at South Perth after my morning working shift and drove about 48km to Shoalwater, near Rockingham from where the ferry to Penguin Island departs.
Tickets cost $22 which entitles you to the short 10min ferry ride and entry to the Penguin Discovery Centre to see the penguin feeding.
|The Penguin Island ferry awaits|
|People crossing to the island on foot|
There is a sand bank from Shoalwater to Penguin Island and many people crossed the short distance on foot (about 700mt) but a few years ago some people were caught in the high tide when returning and died, so there is a sign saying not to cross, but I see some people still take chances.
We were in time to watch the last feed of the day at 2,30pm, and eagerly awaited while watching the antics of the penguins. Some just looked at us with curiosity, others swam rapidly around the pool....
The "Little Penguins", "Blue Penguins" or "Fairy Penguins" in this island are the smallest of the species with about 33cm height, and they are found in the southern coast of Australia and New Zealand.
The island has around 1200 penguins that go out to sea to fish before sunrise and when they return after sunset they hide in burrows in the island. They are very shy creatures or maybe just cautious.
|There are 17 species of Penguins|
|Hello there - these two penguins look at the people watching them|
|These penguins playfully swim laps around the pool|
There are about 12 penguins in the Discovery centre, which were rescued due to injury. Some of them when rehabilitated are returned to the wild, but they have discovered that others get so used to the feeding of "dead fish" that when once they introduced live fish to the pond, most were actually scared to go into the water, and the ones that went in, actually swam away from the fish. So they certainly wouldn't be good candidates to be released into the wild as they wouldn't know how to catch their food.
Little Penguins can live up to 20 years in captivity, but only around 8 years in the wild.
The island is closed from beginning of June to middle of September, when the penguins
|The little cream "house" like structure to the right is where penguins hide. There are loads of these through the island|
|Aren't I so cute?|
Swimming and snorkeling are allowed, and there is a shaded picnic area with tables and benches close to a small beach ideal for children to swim, while the parents relax. There is no coffee shop in the island, so bring your own food or get a supply on land next to the ticketing office in Shoalwater.
There are other longer tours available, such as a Penguin and Sea Lion tour, dolphin tour, sea kayak tour, and tickets can be purchased at the Shoalwater counter.
|The picnic area at Penguin Island (photo from net)|
The island is covered by wooden boardwalks and you should not deviate from them to protect the environment. There are some fabulous lookouts too over the ocean and towards land.
|The boardwalks and quiet beaches|
|At the end you can see the pier from where we catch the ferry|
We saw a lot of recently born birds still with soft down, and the Pelicans were also breeding at the top of a cliff, with the access to them boarded up, so that they wouldn't be disturbed.