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Wildlife Region

Shoalwater Islands Marine Park

Shoalwater Islands Marine Park

The Shoalwater Islands Marine Park is located off the coast of Western Australia, near the town of Rockingham, approximately 40 kilometres south of Perth.

Declared in 1990, the Marine Park encompasses over 6,600 hectares and stretches between Cape Peron and Becher Point. The reefs that run through the region are part of Australia's longest limestone reef system that stretches 450 kilometres (280 miles) from Geraldton to just north of Mandurah. These structures formed from sand and limestone deposits over millions of years, are an essential mechanism to protect the region's shorelines, with 90% of the energy from swells dissipated by the reefs.

Within the marine park are several islands including Seal Island, Shag Island, Bird Island and Penguin Island. These islands are critical breeding grounds for seabirds and home to colonies of Little Penguins, Australian Sea Lions and approximately 200 resident Bottlenose Dolphins.

Seagrass meadows are abundant in the marine park and contribute to the outstanding water quality and provision of habitat and food for marine mammals, fish and marine invertebrates. Above the water, vegetation on the islands includes beach spinifex, coastal pigface, coastal wattle and Moonah and Banksia species.

Penguin Island is designated as a conservation area, highlighting its importance for wildlife conservation. The island's protected status helps safeguard its diverse habitats and the species that rely on them, including the Little Penguins, seabirds, marine mammals, and more. Conservation efforts in partnership with the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation & Attractions (DCBA), aim to minimise human impact on the island while promoting environmental stewardship and education.

Featured operator

  • Featured operator

    Perth Wildlife Encounters

    Perth Wildlife Encounters has been offering the opportunity to swim with wild Bottlenose Dolphins across the Shoalwater Islands Marine Park since 1989. Terry Howson, a native of Rockingham, pursued his childhood dream of swimming with wild dolphins, dedicating a year to study the dolphins. After months of observation and interaction, Terry developed a dolphin swim project that offered a truly wild dolphin encounter, without feeding or disturbing their natural environment. 

    As the reputation of Rockingham dolphins grew, Terry focused on improving and expanding the business and the organisation...

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