Sea Lions in Jurien Bay & a day trip to Rottnest Island
Is there a better way to break up two back-to-back weeks of work in Perth than with a weekend of sunshine, saltwater, and some very friendly sea lions ? No.
Getting to Jurien Bay
Jurien Bay is located on the Indian Ocean, an easy 2.5 hour drive north of Perth. It’s a small fishing village with an IGA (grocery store) and a population of under 2000 people.
Where to Stay
We planned this trip a few weeks in advance, and because it was the Labour Day holiday weekend, it was really difficult to find anywhere to stay. There were a few AirBNB’s, but everything was booked so we wound up at the Jurien Bay Motel Apartments. The location was great and our second-floor one-bedroom unit was spacious and clean.
Swimming with the Sea Lions
- The first trip departs at 7:30 and is back before 10 and goes to Whitlock or Boullanger Island.
- The second trip goes out around 10 and is back around 12:30 and goes to Sandland Island.
Both trips are about 15 minutes from the marina, and we lucked out with calm seas. All trips were great, but the tip to Sandland had the trifecta of great conditions, few people in the water, and a very inquisitive group of sea lions.
In terms of a ranking of places to swim with Australian sea lions, we rank Jurien Bay tops, following by Baird Bay and then Port Lincoln. None of these places are bad, per se, but Jurien stands out because there are no crowds and the sea lions spend a lot of time interacting with you. You are supposed to keep your distance and not touch them, but apparently the sea lions do not have the same rules for humans.
Here’s some video that shows just how chill they are.
If you are in the area, it is worth a short drive south for some amazing grilled lobster at Cervantes Bar and Bistro.
After a few days with the sea lions in Jurien Bay, we headed back to Perth for a day trip to Rottnest Island. We stopped for a quick drives around the Pinnacles. Still want to come back here at night at some point.
Getting to Rottnest Island
Rottnest Island is located 18k (11 miles) off Fremantle and easily reachable by ferry. We had limited time and I was keen to see the island from the air, so we took a flight there and the ferry back.
We booked through Rottnest Air Taxi, who has frequent flights and will circle around the island for good views before landing. Flights depart from Jandakot Airport and take about 15 minutes.
For our return ferry, we booked with Rottnest Express due to the schedule. It was pretty windy, but the boat was stable and the journey back to Fremantle was a quick 40 minutes.
One Jam Packed Day in Rottnest
We timed our flight so we arrived before the first ferry to avoid the chaos at Pedal and Flipper. It was a short walk from the air strip to the Settlement, and it was already bustling at 8:45. We’d booked bikes online, but because it was a holiday the e-bike upgrades were first come first served. Luckily there were still a few left when we arrived.
E-bikes obtained, our first stop was Dome for a much-needed coffee. This is also where we saw our first quokka (yes, inside the cafe). The weather was colder than expected, so our next stop was the general store to find a jumper/sweatshirt.
Our pilot recommended a clockwise tour of the island, so we headed to the south coast of the island and then west. The island is extremely clean, and it is hard to believe you are a short ferry ride from Perth. We took a few detours and ended up cycling approximately 30km (18 miles) by the end of the day. Very glad that we upgraded to the e-bikes!