Little Greece – one hour from Perth
I asked on Facebook, from a photo, where did it look like we were. The majority said Greece. It felt like Greece but we were only one hour south of Perth. We sat on our balcony in Greek blue chairs, geraniums growing in terracotta pots on the stonework walls and we watched the sunset over the ocean behind a limestone island.
We drove down to Shoalwater Islands Marine Park, one hour south of Perth. For those who don’t know where that is… it’s Rockingham. I know, surprising isn’t it. The coastal strip around Rockingham has been landscaped so we thought we would explore what it has to offer. The Shoalwater Islands have always been there and we have been here before but only on a day trip. Time to immerse ourselves.
We arrived at Manuel Towers at around 2pm to get the most out of the experience. I had looked at other apartments on the Rockingham foreshore but this property was the stand out for view and character.
The five-bedroom bed & breakfast is purpose built accommodation. Manuel and Ali
have poured love, sweat and no doubt tears into building this magnificent stone building. Theattention to detail is almost distracting as we looked n all the nooks and crannies. Manuel is from Spain and his flair for all things Mediterranean is evident. Ali says he collects things all the time, then uses it to create frames, pieces of art and furniture.
The lovely homemade biscuits went well with a cup of tea while we settled in. We watched the sunset over the ocean before heading to the Rockingham Foreshore for dinner. There are so many restaurants to try along this strip, it would take weeks to check them all out.
Ali makes amazing breakfasts in her commercial kitchen served in the creative communal area downstairs. It fueled us up for our kayaking adventure.
We had arranged to hire kayaks to explore the Shoalwater Islands today and had bought picnic food and some drinks. We are experienced sea kayakers, so exploring by ourselves is our thing. There are a couple of kayak hire places.
If you prefer someone guiding you, Capricorn Seakayaking and River Gods both run kayak tours to Seal Island and Penguin Island.
If kayaking sounds like too much hard work, there is the Penguin Island Ferry and Discovery Centre. For just under $30, enjoy the 5-minute ferry ride to the island, meet the fairy penguins and explore the island.
On Penguin Island there is a walk trail with great lookouts, a beach walk and lots of bird life.
Back to our kayak trip, we used the easterly wind to easily paddle over to Seal island. This is the resting place for male sea lions. They bask on the beach or in the shallows, resting up after a big fishing expedition. You can’t land on the island, as there is an exclusion zone for the safety of both humans and sea lions.
Kayaking south, we past a few more limestone islands before seeing and smelling the Pelican colony on the northern end of Penguin Island. We wondered why there were so many pelicans flying overhead. It’s because this is one of nine breeding colonies in WA.
We landed on Penguin Island beach, set up our shade umbrella and had lunch. There are good snorkelling opportunities. Especially on the eastern side, if the ocean is calm.
We paddled home with the sea breeze.
We spent some time cleaning ourselves up and relaxing before heading to another Rockingham foreshore restaurant for dinner.
Before you drive home, make sure you check out the Point Peron lookout. Many of us remember Point Peron as the school camp location. But in World War II there was a gun lookout. You can walk up the trail or climb the stairs to the 360 view, particularly of Garden Island to the north and HMAS Stirling navy base.
Perth has a series of islands off its coast. Each has its own population of isolates animals.
Rottnest Island: Home to the largest population of quokkas in the world and has dugites
Carnac Island: High abundance of tiger snakes
Garden Island: Home to a tammar wallaby population.
Seal Island: population of male sea lions
Penguin Island: Home to the largest population of fairy penguins in the WA and breeding colony of pelicans.