Once upon a time, Rockingham was considered a coastal getaway the same way in which we view places like Lancelin or Busselton. Combine Perth’s seemingly endless urban sprawl with buyers’ desire for something more affordable, and all of a sudden Rockingham is just an extension of the metro area; the centrepiece among a number of newer locations dotted along the Kwinana freeway. However, despite this rapid change in identity, most of what made Rockingham a visitors destination in the first place still remains. Only difference being that it’s accompanied by all the infrastructure and services which makes a town you can call home!
We’ll start with the obvious. Rockingham is home to some great suburban beaches. Shoalwater and Palm Beach offer clean, calm water with solid fishing if you’re up early enough. It’s also full of other wondrous sea life like seals, dolphins and stingrays. All of which pop by the shore regularly, all too keen to be friendly and mingle with the humans.
Of course, there's also the famous Penguin Island. A beautifully maintained nature reserve just off the coast, it is home to the Little Penguin, one the northernmost penguin populations in the entire world. While authorities often advise against walking across the low tide in the mornings, ferry services are affordable and frequent, and there’s more than enough room to dock your own vessel. If by chance the islands is closed for breeding season, or you simply can’t be bothered crossing the water, there’s also the picturesque Cape Peron which provides a popular reference point for hikers and joggers.
It’s also been claimed that coastal living makes a person happier, and a morning walk along any of these beaches goes a long way toward proving this. You’ll be hard pressed to find a local that doesn’t give you a polite “morning!” as you walk past. The community minded attitude of the people that live here is a hallmark of the area, and something that is harder to come by these days as people bounce around from suburb to suburb.
The construction of the Mandurah train line has connected Rockingham to the rest of Perth with ease. The station is located centrally with several connected buses taking you throughout the area. Just a stone throw away is Rockingham City shopping centre; a well-established department store even before Rockingham’s population boom, it has undergone a number of redevelopments and rivals any other department store in the Metro area. There’s also the recently redeveloped Rockingham Hospital, along with a host of schools and educational institutions, including a Murdoch University campus.
Entertainment and Leisure
Rockingham’s perpetual vacation feel even these days demands an array of venues for partygoers, families and retirees alike. There’s the old classics like the Swinging Pig; Rockingham’s favourite pub, home to an excellent beer garden which takes full advantage of the warmer months. If you’re after something a bit trendier, then Pink Duck and Rustico Tapas Bar provide great settings right on the foreshore with the kids able to come along no problem. For those who don’t like to burn daylight, there’s a skate park, golf course, and last but certainly not least, more fishing than you’ll know what to do with! One good morning and you’ll be buying up the best equipment to compete with your fellow fisherman in no time.