The penguin parade is one of the most popular tourist attractions near Melbourne. People flock from all over the world to watch the wonderful sight of a whole horde of little penguins returning to their burrows from the sea at night. Watching the fairy penguins is a great way to spend an evening, whether you’re a visitor or a long-time Melbourne resident.
Our little penguins are, as you might have guessed, the smallest species in the world. Of course, this also means that they are officially the cutest. You may have heard them referred to as ‘blue penguins’ because of their distinctive plumage, or ‘fairy penguins’, because of their size. They live along the South Australian and New Zealand coasts, although they spend most of their time during nesting season fishing out at sea, only returning as it gets dark. They’re like cute, funny little Melbourne commuters, going out to work during the day and returning home to their neighbourhood in the evening.
How to See Them
The people who run the reserves at Phillip island are world experts in this wonderful species and have won countless awards for their ethical approach to eco-tourism. They believe it is important that lots of people get the chance to witness Philip Island’s blue penguins, but they take care not to disturb the penguins in their normal day-to-day patterns of behaviour. Visitors are arranged on the dunes at sunset to watch the penguins come onto dry land. You are encouraged to stay quiet and avoid using flash photography. That way, the penguins will barely realise they have an audience and you will get a great, close look at them as they waddle up the shore to their burrows. If you would like to find out more about the penguin parade, visit the Phillip Island Reserve website.
Our special Penguin Parade coach tours leave from Melbourne and arrive at the reserve approximately 90 minutes later. You can choose the full Penguin Parade Tour, which also takes you to Maru Koala and Animal Park on the way, giving you a chance to meet (and even pet) some other native wildlife. Or, if you are in a hurry and just want to see penguins, you can take the express option, arriving at Phillip Island just before the show. Whatever option you choose, you will love watching our famous little penguins return home after a hard day’s fishing.