One of the must things to do around Melbourne is to visit the Phillip Island. If you are an animal lover like me, then this is the place to be. I was super excited when I realised that we could go and see these amazing cute little penguins. My mother was visiting me in Melbourne and as she loves animals too, I decided to take her on a Penguin Parade tour.
For things to do in Melbourne city, read my post Things to do in Melbourne.
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About Phillip Island..
Phillip Island is the place where one can watch the Little penguins return home after a day of fishing in the ocean. It is a popular one day trip from Melbourne. The viewing of penguins is known as Penguin Parade. One can see these penguins from a platform that is built by the Phillip Island Nature Park.
The island is home for the biggest and largest penguin colonies in Australia. It is estimated that there are around 32000 penguins on the island.
The best time of the year to visit Phillip Island is during the summer season (November to February). During your visit, ensure to wear warm clothes even in the summer season. It gets extremely cold. And the best time of the day to visit Phillip Island is during sunset as that is the time when the penguins return home after a long day of fishing.
Note: No photographs are allowed while viewing the penguins at the parade. However, photographs are allowed at places where the penguins have already returned to their homes (but definitely without flash as the flash light tends to hurt the penguin’s eyes).
About the Little Penguins
As the name suits the penguins aptly, they are just 33 centimetres in height and weighs only about 1 kilogram. They are the World’s smallest penguin species. Their features include the dark blue feathers at the back with white feathered belly. They nest in colonies along the coast and are found only in southern coast of Australia and New Zealand.
Another place to view these penguins is St Kilda beach in Melbourne. There are occasional penguin sightings during sunset. Note: These sightings are not run by any tour or agency.
Even though as tempting as it looks, DO NOT try to touch these penguins. It is against the rules and also it is not good for the penguins.
How to get to Phillip Island?
Phillip Island is about 140 kilometers from Melbourne and takes only 1 hour 30 minutes to drive. There are FREE parking spaces at the venue. This is a cheaper option to visit the Phillip Island.
- Booking of Penguin Parade is done on the Phillip Island Nature Park website.
- Cost: AUD 26.60 per adult.
Guided tour from Melbourne
The tour takes around half a day and spending 2 to 2.5 hours at the viewing place. The tours include the transportation from and to Melbourne. I visited Phillip Island a few years ago and the details of the tour that I took are:
- Provider: Great Sights.
- Tour Name: Penguin Parade.
- Tour pickup: Crowne Plaza, Melbourne.
- Cost: AUD 99 adult.
Look out for deals on the Groupon website. Sometimes the tours are given at half price.
Even though reaching Phillip Island through public transportation can be tricky, it is still possible. There are three modes of transport that is required. One way to reach is:
- Take the train from Melbourne city to Frankston. The train journey is about 1 hour.
- Then change at Frankston to take a train to Stony Point. The train journey is around 35 minutes.
- At Stony Point, take a ferry to reach Cowes.
The other way is to take a bus from Melbourne city to Phillip Island. Beware that this is a very long journey and you may have to stay in Phillip Island for a night.
It is definitely exhilarating experience to watch these penguins return home at sunset. The Little penguins are the prime example of cuteness and I would definitely recommend this experience.
For other one day trips from Melbourne, refer the section – One day trips from Melbourne.