Every night at sunset on Phillip Island, dozens of steely-blue little penguins ride the waves, then waddle up Summerland Beach to their sand dune burrows. At the height of the breeding season, around 4500 penguins come ashore. The little penguin (Eudyptula minor), at around 33 centimetres tall – the smallest of the 17 penguin species – is the only species to breed on the Australian mainland, and attracts an international crowd of onlookers. Bookings are advised to see the Penguin Parade ((03) 5951 2800). Beyond Summerland Beach are the outcrops known as the Nobbies, where the views extend to Seal Rocks. Boat cruises from Cowes take you to view one of Australia’s largest colonies of fur seals. On the east side of the island is the Koala Conservation Centre (Phillip Island Tourist Road, Phillip Island, (03) 5951 2800) and the pockmarked cliffs of Cape Woolamai headland, which are home to thousands of migratory short-tailed shearwaters from late September to May.
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