Shoalwater Islands Marine Park, together with its island nature reserves, encompasses over 6,000 hectares and stretches from Garden Island’s causeway to the southern tip of Becher Point. Here, you can add diving, snorkelling, swimming with dolphins, kayaking and wildlife cruises to your itinerary.
As well as being one of Western Australia’s most important protected marine areas, the locality has extensive cultural significance to the Noongar people of the region. In the Dreaming, the park’s Penguin Island was part of a giant crocodile called Yondok who was torn apart in a fight with Waugal, the Rainbow Serpent.
Within this pristine habitat of shallow lagoons and rocky shores are dolphins, sea lions and penguins and many species of seabirds. If you spot a sea lion lounging on the shores of Penguin and Seal Island, chances are it’s a male resting up after foraging for squid, lobster, crabs and fish.
Penguin Island is perhaps the park’s most well-known destination. The entire island is only 12.5 hectares in size and, at just 600 metres o Mersey Point, is easily accessed by Perth Wildlife Encounters‘ hourly return ferry service.
Visitors are attracted by the safe, sandy beaches and the island’s most famous inhabitants: the penguins. The smallest of all penguins, Little Penguins are the only species to live permanently in Australian waters and are also referred to as Blue or Fairy Penguins. They are most highly adapted birds in the marine environment; their wings have evolved into flippers and their feathers are water-resistant.