School excursions to Penguin Island are facilitated by the state governments Department of Parks and Wildlife (DPaW) and Rockingham Wild Encounters. DPaW is responsible for the overall management of Penguin Island and The Shoalwater Islands Marine Park. The school activities which fall under their responsibility include The Penguin Experience Discovery Centre and Penguin Island Waddle.
Rockingham Wild Encounters operates the ferry service (which all students use to access the island) and vessels onboard which the Penguin & Sea Lion Cruise, Penguin Island Wildlife Cruise and Dolphin, Penguin & Sea Lion Adventure Cruises are conducted. The vessels operate within the e- class zone of the Shoalwater Islands Marine Park under two Commercial Operations Licenses issued by DPaW. Rockingham Wild Encounters holds Ecoplus Accreditation with the National Tourism Accreditation Program which is your peace of mind that we are dedicated to providing high quality and sustainable services.
The following information has been provided to assist with your planning:
Penguin Island Familiarisation Map
We suggest you take some time to look over our Penguin Island Familiarisation Map. It features Emergency Planning locations, first aid and communication posts and all the islands points of interest to assist with your planning.
Transport arrangements are the responsibility of the school. There is a set down bay just outside of our base in Shoalwater where coaches can drop students off to avoid walking through the car park. Coach parking bays are located in in the northern end of the carpark. On arrival, students can assemble on the grassed areas to the south and west of the building. There are public toilets, a playground and an outdoor shower located on the southern side of the building. Please note in wet weather, students should stay on the bus or assemble under the veranda on the north eastern side of the building until it’s time to board the ferry.
The teacher in charge is required to check in at our front counter to finalize passenger numbers and payments. They will be issued with a ticket which will need to be shown to gain entry to the ferry and activities. Our ticketing staff will make a call over the public address system to advise when it is time for your group to commence boarding. Your school group can follow the footpath behind our shop, through the gazebo and onto the jetty. Our staff will be manning the gangway onto the vessel and supervising boarding.
On the Island
There are a network of timber boardwalks from the Penguin Island jetty that lead to the Discovery Centre and all the main points of interest around the island. There is a shaded, grassed picnic area in front of the Discovery Centre with picnic tables ideal for leaving bags and meal breaks. Environmentally friendly public toilets are located a short 1 minute walk away along the boardwalk. The safest swimming beach is located directly in front of the picnic area- it’s shallow and protected from the sea breeze.
When making your away around the island, it’s important that students stay on the boardwalks or beaches to ensure that the vegetation, birds nests and penguin burrows are not disturbed. The Department of Parks and Wildlife also have a ‘No Touch or Take Flora or Fauna Policy’ which all visitors must adhere to by:
- Not touching or feeding the wildlife
- Leaving any shells, stones, bones, eggs or feathers in place (all parts of native fauna or flora, dead or alive, are protected under WA Wildlife legislation).
- Any fishing is conducted as per the WA Department of Fisheries legislation
First Aid and Emergency Planning
At Rockingham Wild Encounters gift shop there is a first aid post including a defib unit and oxygen providing equipment. A public address system is located behind the front counter and can be used to assist with communications in the event of an emergency. An emergency muster point is located at the northern end of the Mersey Point Car Park.
First aid kits including oxygen providing equipment are located onboard all RWE vessels along with lifejackets and all other lifesaving equipment required. All RWE crew are trained in Advanced Resuscitation and renew their qualification annually. They also hold current working with children clearance certificates.
First aid is also available on Penguin Island at the Discovery Centre including a defib unit and oxygen providing equipment. A public address system is located behind the front counter of the Discovery Centre and can be used to assist with communications in the event of an emergency. In the unlikely event that the island needs to be evacuated, students are to assemble on the beach next to the Penguin Island jetty and await further instructions from our crew.
Curriculum Links, Resources & Worksheets
Rockingham Wild Encounters have produced the following student resources based on the excursion activities available:
DPaW have also produced the following publications that contain resources that are applicable to marine parks throughout Western Australia including Penguin Island and the Shoalwater Islands Marine Park: