If you find yourself in the beautiful state of Victoria in Australia, Phillip island penguin parade is an experience you can’t miss out!

Located just 85 miles south of Melbourne, Philip Island is mostly famous for its legendary race track that hosts the MotoGP every year. However, Philip island is also home to the largest colony of little penguins in the world!

The penguins

Australia is home to such a unique and wide variety of wildlife. Yet, it may come as a surprise to some that a species of penguin call this place home.

Little penguins of Phillip Island
The little penguins

As the name might suggest, the “little penguins” found in Australia and also New Zealand are the smallest variety of penguin in existence. Being able to see these amazing birds up close in such big numbers is truly amazing.

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How to get there

If you are staying in Melbourne, the Philip Island penguin parade is around a two-hour drive from the city. If you’re from the UK this might sound like a long way away but in Australian terms, this is just down the road!

Route from Melbourne city

If you are venturing from the city, it’s a good idea to make a day of it as there are many other things to see either on the way or on the island itself.

The penguin main event starts during the evening so there is no rush to get there early in the day. Other attractions on the island include the race track, many beaches where you could try out surfing, or even the Koala reserve where you have the opportunity to see more native Australian wildlife.

If you don’t own a vehicle or fancy car sharing, you can book a tour from Melbourne where the whole day will be arranged for you.

The penguin centre

The penguins begin their return home to their burrows at sunset every evening. Obviously this time changes from week to week so make sure to check sunset times before making any plans.

You are advised to arrive an hour before sunset, this allows you time to look around the centre where you can learn more about the penguins.

Lots to learn at the Penguin Parade centre

When the time draws closer you then make your way along the boardwalk to the viewing platforms. Here you can make yourself comfortable and wait for the penguins to make their way out of the ocean and up past the viewing platforms to their burrows in the dunes behind you.

We would advise finding a seat, or seating on the sand close to the side. As the penguins walk either side of the viewing platforms this will allow for a better view of the parade.

Waiting for the Penguins at the Philip Island penguin parade
Prime seats on the beach waiting for the penguins

What to take

make sure to also take warm clothing as it can get chilly when the sun finally goes down. A blanket is also useful to either wrap up or use to sit on the sand if you find a spot at the front.

As the ocean is quite far away from the viewing platforms, it can be hard to see the penguins at first, so if you have any binoculars, they would be useful to see the little penguins as they first come out of the water.

The long stretch of beach where the penguins arrive out of the water

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Adult tickets cost $26.60 AUD (£14 / $18 US). This may sound quite expensive but it is a once in a lifetime experience and worth every penny.

Day trips from Melbourne to the Phillip Island penguin parade will set you back around $115 AUD (£61 / $79 US). This would include entry to the parade, transport and entrance to another wildlife park.

Hi, we're Matt & Lorna. Two travellers on one path hoping to share some of our experiences with you.

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