Penguin Parade, Phillip Island Nature Park

The Penguin Parade is one of Australia’s most popular tourist attractions – and rightly so. It is a  magical experience to sit on a beach with darkness closing in around you, surrounded by excited whispers of a crowd, and peer out to sea, watching for small, wild creatures to appear. Suddenly,  there they are, bobbing on the waves. As the little penguins cross the beach and waddle towards their burrows, you can walk beside them along a boardwalk, almost close enough to touch.

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Contact details

Phillip Island Nature Park

1019 Ventnor Rd, Ventnor; (03) 5951 2800

Don't Miss

■ The visitor centre interpretive displays. Allow time to look around before you view the penguins.

■ Consider adding on the educational eco-tour which commences about one-and-a-half hours before  penguin viewing; tickets available where you purchase your viewing tickets.
■ Don’t forget to fit in dinner as well! There are lots of eating options in Cowes, and a limited range of  fast food in the visitor centre.

Fabulous Facts

Penguins have evolved into swimming birds instead of flying birds. Their wings have become flippers  and they can zoom along underwater, angling their flippers to propel themselves forward.  Furthermore, while other birds have light-weight, often hollow, bones to help them fly, penguins’  bones are denser and heavier to help them dive. Australia’s little penguins, the smallest penguins in the  world, weigh a whole kilogram. This is three times as much as a magpie, though magpies are 10 centimetres taller!

Insider Tips

■ This is a night activity involving huge crowds and lots of waiting outdoors, usually in the cold.  However, the penguins are worth the effort!

■ Pre-purchase your tickets by phone or online.
■ If possible, opt for the more expensive Penguins Plus option which gives you entry to a special  viewing platform.
■ Penguin arrival time varies considerably depending on the season. Winter means an earlier night, but  summer is not such a chilly wait!
■ If sitting on sand and waiting for an hour sounds impossible for your family, consider turning up late  and just watching from the boardwalk as the penguins head for their burrows.
■ When you purchase a ticket to the Penguin Parade, you might want to buy the Three Parks Pass  which gives you savings on entry to the Koala Conservation Centre and Churchill Island as well.
■ Bring binoculars, warm jackets, scarves, hats and gloves, and insect repellent, just in case, as you’ll be sitting outdoors at dusk.
■ Bring plenty of activities, food and drink to keep the little ones occupied because you will have to sit  and wait in one spot for up to an hour before the penguins appear.

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