A Different Kind of Treasure Hunt on Penguin Island

It took a bit of time and some luck, but we found them.

There are about 1,200 fairy penguins who call Penguin Island home. So, it seemed reasonable to think we’d spot at least a dozen of the irresistible creatures waddling around this 31-acre park near Rockingham. Yet, these little guys are experts at playing hide-and-seek. When they aren’t in the water swimming or fishing, they’re staying cool in their cave-like nests.

The island’s Discovery Centre provides information and the chance to view a handful of fairy penguins up close who were abandoned as chicks or recovering from injuries. While they are entertaining, it’s not as rewarding watching captive birds frolic in an indoor wading pool as it is to encounter them in nature.

We walked around much of the island. There were no wild penguins to be seen. Then down near the shore we turned toward a rocky overhang. Nestled in the crevice about 15 meters away was a penguin family. That sighting was like finding a treasure—fleeting yet lasting.