If you’re looking for the best place in the centre of Perth to see wild kangaroos – head to Heirisson Island, quite possibly Perth’s best-kept secret!
Enjoy a free day out watching kangaroos chilling, get some great photos of the roos and the views, and enjoy the relaxing atmosphere less than a kilometre from Perth’s skyline!
Whether you’re visiting Perth on holiday or you’re living in Perth – Heirisson Island is a great day out for all – young and old.
Plus it is the easiest place to see kangaroos in Perth: it is so convenient to get to! Here’s all you need to know about the Heirisson Island kangaroos in Perth!
Where Can I See Wild Kangaroos In Perth?
There are a few places to see wild kangaroos in Perth, but Heirisson Island is the best place!
It is located right in the centre of Perth (within walking distance from Elizabeth Quay or you can hop on the free bus) so it is very convenient to reach.
Plus, it’s free to see the kangaroos here, it’s never crowded, there are lovely views overlooking the Perth skyline, and you can stay as long as you want!
How Many Kangaroos Are There On Heirisson Island?
There’s a handful of western grey kangaroos on the southern part of Heirisson Island.
In 1998 five female kangaroos were released onto the island, and in 2000 a mother and male joey were released, so there is a total of 7 kangaroos here at Heirisson Island. Whilst I was here I saw 6 of them!
Where Is Heirisson Island?
Heirisson Island is an island located in the middle of the Swan River – the main river running through Perth.
Heirisson Island acts as a crossing point of the Swan River between Perth’s north bank and south bank.
The Causeway Bridge crosses Heirisson Island from East Perth and Victoria Park, and Heirisson Island is the island in the middle of the bridge that connects these two foreshores.
What’s fascinating is that every day thousands of people drive over the Causeway Bridge over the Swan River and they have no idea they are passing over this lovely island that is home to a handful of kangaroos!
How To Get To Heirisson Island
Heirisson Island is easily accessible by bus, car or by walking. Here are the different ways you can get to Heirisson Island:
- You can walk to Heirisson Island from Elizabeth Quay and Barrack Street – it is a lovely 3km walk along the Swan River through Langley Park along the pedestrianised path, walking amongst palm trees with stunning riverside views.It should take you around 40 minutes to walk, but it’s an extremely beautiful walk – one of the best in Perth so you may want to take your time!There’s also a cycle path running next to the footpath all the way so you may even want to ride a bike here!
- You can get the free city bus Red CAT from Perth Station to Trinity College.The Red CAT will take around 10 minutes and runs very frequently, up to every 5 minutes during the week and up to every 10 minutes on the weekends.The Red CAT will take you past the Perth Mint and near St Mary’s Cathedral. From Trinity College it’s then just a short 1km (15 minute) walk to Heirisson Island.
- Alternatively you can drive across the Causeway from Perth towards Victoria Park and take the turning on your left to the Heirisson Island carpark. The car park is always open and it is free to park here.
When Is The Best Time To Visit Heirisson Island?
Always the best time to see kangaroos anywhere in Australia is in the early morning and late afternoon – specifically the couple of hours after sunrise and the couple of hours before sunset.
When it is too hot in the middle of the day the kangaroos are often sleeping, or lie amongst the bushes to protect themselves from the sun.
Therefore it’s best to go see the kangaroos at Heirisson Island either very early in the day, or in the late afternoon. I visited a couple of hours before sunset and managed to see the majority of the kangaroos.
I do know people that have gone to Heirisson Island in the middle of the day though when the weather is cooler and they have seen the kangaroos!
Seeing The Kangaroos At Heirisson Island WA
The main attraction at Heirisson Island is without a doubt the colony of western grey kangaroos that live here! You will find the kangaroos on the southern part of the island.
A fence and gated area separates the kangaroo area from the rest of Heirisson Island, to ensure the kangaroos don’t get out and onto the busy road nearby!
The kangaroos in Heirisson Island are used to seeing people around and so most of them aren’t too bothered about humans. Some of them will even come up to you or just lie in the grass next to you and some will let you pet them!
That being said, never feed them human food (it isn’t allowed and can be really bad for their digestion and lead to health problems), and remember they are wild animals so give them their space if they need.
Of course it goes without saying, dogs are not allowed within the fenced kangaroo area.
If you’re a Perth local or you’re visiting from overseas and have never seen a kangaroo before (or like me, you’ve been living in Australia for years but it never gets old going to see kangaroos!), Heirisson Island is a great place in the centre of Perth that is definitely worth visiting to spend an hour or two!
Check out the cutie having a good old scratch!
Can You Walk Around Heirisson Island?
Yes, in fact, walking is the only way to get around Heirisson Island! The island is 28.5 hectares big (an area of 285,600 m2) and is easy to walk around.
Within the kangaroo wildlife sanctuary area there are 2 kms of walking paths around the island to enjoy, that offer lovely views of the city skyline.
There are also a few benches where you can sit and relax and take in the views – and maybe even spot some dolphins going past if you’re super lucky!
The walk is very easy and flat, with a few sandy patches here and there, but it is possible to bring a baby stroller!
What Else Is There To Do At Heirisson Island?
Besides spending time with the kangaroos and enjoying the walking paths around the island, Heirisson Island is a great place to get away and relax away from the crowds, as well as enjoy some nature close to the city.
There are barbecues and picnic tables on the other side of the island that have nice views across to the Optus Stadium (you can reach them by walking under the bridge), as well as a playground for the children to enjoy at Heirisson Island so you can definitely make an afternoon out of your trip!
Toilets are near the car park if you need them!
Heirisson Island is also a great place to watch the sunrise over Perth if you can wake up early enough! This is also one of the best times to visit as you’ll be able to see the kangaroos as well as get some great sunrise photos of the city!
The statue of Noongar leader Yagan is also located on the island.
History of Heirisson Island
Long before the Europeans came to Perth the Indigenous Noongar people lived around this area of the Swan River, fishing and hunting to survive.
They had a deep connection with the island, and it was an important crossing point and hunting ground for them.
Their name for the area is Matagarup – meaning ‘leg deep’, as the area was once surrounded by mud flats and the Noongar people were able to cross the river in leg-deep water.
You’ll see a statue of the Indigenous Noongar warrior fighter Yagan in the kangaroo enclosure. Yagan led resistance to European settlement in the early years of the Swan River Colony.
This is the same Yagan that Yagan Square in Perth’s CBD is named after.
Heirisson Island is named after the French sailor Francis-Antoine Boniface Heirisson, who in 1801 became the first person to map the Swan River and Heirisson Island.
The sailor was part of a French scientific expedition aboard the Naturaliste, led by Nicolas Baudin
This is despite the Dutch explorer Willem de Vlamingh in 1697 discovering what would later become Heirisson Island.
Where Else Can You See Wild Kangaroos In Perth?
You’ll find lots of wild kangaroos at Yanchep National Park, about 45 minutes drive north of Perth (entrance is $15 per vehicle), as well as in the Perth Hills to the east of the city.
Again, the couple of hours just after sunrise and just before sunset are the best times to spot them.
If you’re looking for more places to visit in and around Perth on day trips, check out:
A day trip out to the Perth Hills and The Swan Valley to visit the wineries is also a great way to spend a day in Perth:
What Type Of Kangaroos Are In Perth?
The kangaroos in Western Australia are predominantly the Western Grey kangaroos.
They look similar to the Eastern Grey kangaroos that you’ll find on the East Coast of Australia – particularly in Jervis Bay, except the Western Greys sometimes have some extra white markings on their face!
Heirisson Island is a fantastic place to visit when in Perth! It’s the easiest place to get to in Perth to see wild kangaroos, and it makes for a great free day out! The whole family will have fun enjoying the kangaroos here!