Home' Traveller : Scoop Traveller WA 018 Contents Rockingham insider
Region size: 261sqkm
Distance from Perth: 39km
So close to home, and yet, it feels
so far away. Home of aquatic
activities a-plenty, stretches of
white sandy beach, gorgeous
parklands and sheltered bays,
Rockingham is an ideal day trip
for the family. For animal-lovers,
plentiful birds, dophins, seals
and penguins are sure to delight,
and you’re guaranteed a penguin
spotting at the Discovery Centre on
Penguin Island during their thrice-
daily feedings. For thrill-seekers,
Safety Bay plays host to some of the
wildest wind and kite-surfing in
the State, as well as dive wrecks for
scuba divers, and there’s plenty of
breeze for sailors, too.
REASONS TO GO
Unsurprisingly, Penguin Island plays
host to the penguin – the smallest
species around – the aptly named Little
Penguin. But don’t expect to just hop
over to the island and see them – these
wee guys are incredibly shy. The best
place to catch them is at the discovery
centre on Penguin Island at their regular
feedings. But you might get lucky and
see them under the boardwalks. While
these boardwalks have been built to
preserve their habitat, Aaron Heath at
Rockingham Wild Encounters says if
you hear a penguin ‘bark’, look under
the boardwalk and you might just catch
one while it’s at home.
Having worked at Wild Encounters as a
tour guide and now director for 12 years,
Aaron Heath has had many interactions
with the dolphins off Penguin Island.
“I’ve done a swim with well over 100
dolphins... so many you could barely
see water,” he says. Having learnt to
read their body language, he’s able to
get close – he’s been mere centimetres
away while they were sleeping. Yes,
dolphins sleep, taking only 15 to 30
seconds of nap time, floating to the
top so their blowhole is exposed and
powering down half of their brain as
the other half remains on standby
– and they switch sides each time.
Bird fanciers, take note: there are
more species of bird around here than
most people realise. The osprey, an
impressive bird of prey, is found off
Shoalwater Bay, and Mike Clitheroe,
a tour guide at Rockingham Wild
Encounters, says he’s found a nesting
pair on Gull Rock, at the end of
Shoalwater Bay. “Exploring Shoalwater
is a must,” says Mike. “It’s one of the
only marine parks in the State and very
well protected. The best way to get
there by far is from the water, either
by boat or kayaking. The waters are
shallow and quite calm, and there’s an
abundance of wildlife to see.”
JUn JUL aUG seP oCt noV
Our most southern suburb, it’s only 40
minutes to a beachside break at
Rockingham, which offers white beaches
and sheltered bays. International visitors
love it – it’s full of creatures great and
small, including penguins, sea lions,
dolphins and birds galore. At such a close
drive from Perth, it’s a fantastic place to
take the kids for a day out.
enJoy... amazing wildlife up close and
personal, beautiful sunsets, lovely picnic
spots and barbecues on the foreshore.
• 80,000 residents
• 1200 Little Penguins
• Home town of actor Sam Worthington.
• Home town of current local Hollywood
favourite Sam Worthington.
• Largest penguin breeding colony in WA.
• Dutch explorer Willem de Vlamingh
is believed to have visited Rockingham
more than 300 years ago (in 1696).
• Rockingham was the third colony to
be settled in Australia – and the first
CLimate Day temperatures of 18oC in
July, up to 26oC by November. Rainiest
month is July (153mm average).
Things to do | July to December 2010.
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