Garden Island (Perth), Western Australia

Approximately 10 km long by 1.5 km wide, Garden Island is a large island situated off the coast of Rockingham. 

sunset over garden island perth
Sunset over Garden Island, Western Australia

Although there are parts of the island that can be accessed, a majority of Garden Island is home to the Royal Australian Navy’s largest fleet base called HMAS Stirling.  Garden Island is linked to the mainland via a causeway bridge.

An insight to Garden Island, Western Australia

Where is Garden Island?

Garden Island is located approximately 5 km off the coast of Rockingham in Western Australia.

Can you drive onto Garden Island?

No, you can not drive onto Garden Island.  Public access to the island is limited to those that have a boat/and or private vessel.

Although there is a causeway over to Garden Island, only those that work at the Navrl Base are able to drive over to the island.

Can I take my boat to Garden Island?

Yes, you can take your boat to Garden Island, however as the island is primarily a Navy base, access to the island is restricted and certain rules apply.

There are a couple of boat ramps that provide good access to Garden Island and also Carnac Island.

These boat ramps are:

  • Woodman Point boat ramp
  • Point Peron boat ramp

Due to the position and length of Garden Island, the east side of the island is the most protected from the elements as the island breaks up the onshore swell and wind.  Hence, you’ll find most boaties on the east and northeast sides, especially when the conditions aren’t ideal.

Can the public access Garden Island?

As Garden Island is controlled by the Department of Defence, access to the island is limited and certain rules apply.  With this in mind, there are only sections of Garden Island that the public can access.

Fishing at Garden Island

Due to the surrounding reef structures around Garden Island, you won’t be disappointed when casting a line.  On the east side of the island in the shallower waters, you’ll find typical bread and butter species such as herring, whiting, flathead, garfish, and tailor.

If you head out to the deeper waters on the island’s west side, you will likely come across bigger species such as pink snapper, baldies, and the elusive dhufish.

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Scuba Diving and Snorkeling Garden Island

If you’re keen on a snorkel or scuba dive around Garden Island, then weather permitting, the west side of the island provides some pretty good options.  During the cray season, you’ll also find a number of crays moving in and around the island to occupy the reefs.

As always, if you’re diving or snorkeling around the area ensure you follow safety regs and ensure you display a dive flag so other boaties in the area know your whereabouts.

Can you stay on the island?

No, you are not permitted to stay on the island and due to regulations, you must leave the island when the sun goes down.  However, if you have a boat there is nothing stopping you from mooring up and staying overnight.  

During the summer months, there are often a number of boats that do this as the size and shape of the island (particularly the northeast end) provide ideal conditions for mooring overnight.  However, as always, if you choose to do so, always check the forecast for the morning to ensure you don’t get caught out by different conditions in the morning.

Also, there are a number of shallow reefs that surround Garden Island so be sure to watch out for these.

Islands nearby to Garden Island

Not far north of Garden Island is a smaller island called Carnac Island.  If you’re out that way and feel like exploring, Carnac Island is well worth the visit, especially if you’re keen to swim with some seals!

Further out past Garden Island and Carnac Island is Rottnest Island which is another popular destination for Perth boaties and tourists visiting Perth.

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