Rockingham's catch-cry is 'where the coast comes alive', and it certainly lives up to this claim. The pristine islands and reefs of the Shoalwater Islands Marine Park offer an incredible array of marine encounters, from penguins and dolphins to dive wrecks and snorkel trails. And beyond, the beautiful beaches and clear blue sea are playgrounds for fishing, surfing and sailing.
An easy 40-minute drive or train-and-bus ride south of Perth brings you to the seaside town of Rockingham, where you'll find opportunities for adventure and relaxation in equal measure.
With pods of dolphins regularly visiting these coastal waters, it's a great opportunity to tick your wish-list and swim with wild dolphins. If you'd prefer to stay dry, you can watch these playful creatures from the comfort of the viewing platform as they ride the bow beneath your feet.
Their neighbours on Penguin Island are just as cute, and just a short ferry ride away. Here, you'll get to meet some of the island's 1,200 fairy penguins, who make up the largest colony on Australia's west coast. At the interpretive centre, penguin feeding and expert commentary are conducted daily, at regular intervals, and the Penguin Express will get you there from the mainland between 9.00am and 3.00pm.
The penguins share their home with 50 species of seabirds, including the largest colony of pelicans in Western Australia. It's an important nesting, feeding and roosting site for many of these birds, and you can learn more about their island-hopping life at the interpretive centre. You can also jump aboard the glass-bottom boat for a 45-minute cruise of nearby Seal Island to view the rare Australian sea lions.
Back on the mainland coast, keen divers should make a bee-line for Point Peron, a shallow shore dive with great visibility, while bathers in search of blissful relaxation will find it in the sheltered waters of Cockburn Sound.
To shop, dine and stay ocean-side, head for Rockingham town and choose from a good selection of restaurants, cafes, bars and accommodation options ranging from luxury to budget.