Australia’s Protected Penguins Parade
Did you know one of the world’s biggest colonies of Little Penguins is in Australia? They are just one of the amazing creatures you will see if you travel to Phillip Island Nature Park, a rugged wildlife park near Melbourne.
You don’t need to go all the way to Antarctica to find penguins. Visit Phillip Island, near Melbourne, Australia to see hundreds of them emerge from the ocean as they return home to their sand dune burrows every day. Phillip Island is home to one of the largest Little Penguin colonies on earth and it’s a pure joy to visit.
Little Penguins are so named because of their diminutive stature. At only one-foot tall, they’re the world’s smallest penguins and the only permanent penguin residents in Australia. They spend all day out in the ocean diving for their favourite foods — fish and squid — and “parade” home to the delight of spectators.
Phillip Island Nature Park offers a range of viewing options for the daily penguin parade. Depending on your level of interest and the amount you’re willing to spend, you can choose from seeing the penguins:
- close up, on a viewing platform,
- from an elevated viewing tower in a high penguin traffic area of the beach,
- by sitting farther back and taking in the penguins from tiered seating.
If the short glimpse of the blue-and-white birds isn’t enough before it gets dark, you can also book a tour that includes use of night-vision technology.
According to Phillip Island’s Penguin Information Calendar, the penguin population is at its highest from October to January. The penguins hit the beach at dusk, but it’s a good idea to arrive an hour early to make sure you get there on time, which also provides an opportunity to peruse the park’s interactive educational displays.
Though the penguin parade may be Phillip Island’s star attraction, it doesn’t have to be the only highlight of your trip. Walk along the boardwalk at the Nobbies Centre to see an offshore Australian Fur Seal colony and nesting seabirds. Or you can take a seal-watching cruise to get a closer look. If cuddly koalas are more your thing, you can choose to book a tour to see them as well.
Aside from wildlife, there’s also some history to explore. Take a bridge over to Churchill Island Heritage Farm to see live cow milking, blacksmithing, sheep shearing and working dog demonstrations. Visit farm animals young and old including horses, highland cattle, sheep and peacocks.
Phillip Island has done a great job preserving the past and protecting the natural world.