Would you believe, there is a place where you can see kangaroos naturally going about their lives less than one km from Perth’s towering skyline. It’s also a great place to watch the sunrise over Perth. Introducing Heirisson Island.
Every day, thousands of people enter and leave the city along the Perth Causeway Bridge over the Swan River. For many of us doing this regular commute, we barely notice Heirisson Island. It is the island between the two Causeway Bridges.
History of Heirisson Island
Heirisson Island has a rich and varied history. Long before European’s came along, the local Noongar people lived, fished and hunted around this part of the Swan River. Their deep connection with the island is just as strong today. The Nyoongar name for the area is Matagarup (meaning ‘leg deep’) and how the nearby pedestrian bridge gets its name.
About 80 years before Captain Cook landed on the East Coast of Australia, Dutch explorer, Willem de Vlamingh discovered what would become Heirisson Island in 1697.
In 1801 Francis-Antoine Boniface Heirisson became the first person to map the Swan River and Heirisson Island. He was part of a French scientific team led by Nicolas Baudin who rowed up the river in longboats from their ship, “Le Naturaliste”.
See Wild Kangaroos in Perth
Five female western grey kangaroos were released on Heirisson Island in 1998 and a mother and male joey in 2000. The kangaroos are used to people being around. Even so, being wild animals, allow them space and avoid trying to get a quokka style selfie. The best time to see them is just after sunrise or dusk before sunset. There is a fence and gate system to stop them running onto the Causeway traffic.
Two kms of walking trails around the island’s wildlife sanctuary offer stunning views of the city skyline and provides relaxing nature time. One of the best times to visit is sunrise. Shallow wetlands on the island support a variety of waterbirds.
So how do you get to Heirisson Island?
There are several ways of getting to the island.
- You can jump on your bike or do the short walk along the dual cycle walking path across the first Causeway bridge from Point Fraser.
- Bike or walk from Victoria Park over the other Causeway Bridge.
- Drive across the Causeway from Perth towards Victoria Park and take the offramp on your left to the Heirisson Island carpark.
If you are entertaining overseas or interstate visitors, Heirisson Island is a great location for showing off what is spectacular right in the heart of our city.