SHOALWATER ISLANDS

 

HEMA map reference 74/D2

Shoalwater - Western Australia

 

GPS 32 16 37 S 115 44 09 E

 

 

 

 

Boat launching possible Swimming allowed Fishing allowed (some sites may require a freshwater license.) Sight seeing area Unpowered water craft allowed Authorised parking facilities Day use site only - no camping

 

 

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Park area 6450 hectares.

 

The Shoalwater Marine Park encompasses a chain of small limestone islands. The Park was declared in 1990 and stretches between Cape Peron and Becher Point.

The park is located near the southern suburb of Rockingham which is a popular day tip from Perth.

From September to June there are ferry tours of the islands departing from Mersey Point. It is also possible to do kayak tours of the islands during calm weather.

Two of the main features of the park are Penguin Island and Seal Island. Although called seal Island, the 'seals' are in fact Australia sea lions. All the sea lions on the island are male. They spend most of the year here before swimming north to Jurien Bay, where the females live.

The Australian sea lion is one of the rarest in the world and has special legal protection.

Another large species that lives in and around the park are bottle nose dolphins. These intelligent, playful animals can often be seen hunting fish or cruising in the bow waves of large boats. It is important to remember NOT TO FEED dolphins as it can lead to dependency and behavioural problems.

The Islands are also home to many bird species.

The underwater environment is dominated by sea grass and reefs. There is good bio-diversity here despite the close proximity to Rockingham and the large number of people using the area for recreation.

The reefs in the bay and around Cape Peron make snorkelling and scuba diving popular. Strong south westerly winds also make the area popular with sail board riders and kite surfers.

You are permitted to visit Penguin Island but landing on Seal Island is prohibited to protect both the seals and people from harm.

The reefs here are part of Australia's longest limestone reef system that stretches 450 kilometres from near Geraldton to just north of Mandurah. The reefs help to protect the coast from ocean swells with studies showing that some 90% of the energy of swells is dissipated by the reefs.

Within the marine park there are sanctuary zones where a 'no take' policy ensures that fishing activities do not have too much of an adverse effect on fish species in the area. Sanctuary zones currently exist around Seal Island and Second Rock and there is a third zone at the Becher Point end of the park.

There is a special purpose zone in the marine park that starts at the southern end of Cape Peron and continues to the northern tip of First Rock. A boat speed limit of 8 knots is imposed here to help protect seals and dolphins from boat strikes.

 

 

Best time to visit:

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

May

Jun

Jul

Aug

Sep

Oct

Nov

Dec

 

NPW Website for more information

 

 

 

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