Experts in Australia, New Zealand & South Pacific

The ultimate Phillip Island penguin guide

Posted 27 December 2017
Australia is full of spectacular wildlife and unique encounters that cannot be experienced anywhere else in the world, and the Phillip Island Penguin Parade is one of our personal favourites.

Every evening at sunset, thousands of adorable little penguins emerge from the ocean and happily return from a day of fishing to the safety of their homes in the sand dunes, as human spectators gaze on. There are a variety of ways to enjoy this natural wonder first-hand, so to help you to choose the experience that will suit you best, we've created the ultimate guide.

General Viewing

Popular with the locals and great for those on a tight budget, the general viewing ticket offers a large viewing stand perched on the edge of the beach, where bystanders eagerly gather to watch the penguin colony emerge from the ocean and waddle up to the safety of the sand dunes. Austravel recommend upgrading to the Penguin Plus to ensure you escape the large crowds and busy atmosphere and make the most of your penguin experience.

Arrive one hour before penguin arrival time (sunset).

Guided Ranger Tour

Enjoy a commentary through your personal headset, with an expert ranger taking you on an informative journey through the heart of the penguin colony. Continue your evening at the main viewing stand and admire the penguins as they waddle along the shore and to their homes in the sand dunes.

Each tour has a specific departure time, talk to your Travel Designer about your ticket.

Penguin Plus

Our recommendation, the newly renovated viewing platform offers a more personal experience. With a much smaller seating area, blended in to the surrounding coves and next to the penguin pathway, this ticket level gives you an up-close viewing as the adorable penguins pass by. Be sure to enjoy a stroll along the boardwalks for a closer look at the penguin’s homes.  

Arrive one hour before penguin arrival time (sunset).

Underground Viewing

Located underneath the Penguin Plus viewing platform, you can admire the little penguins at eye-level as they waddle along the penguin pathway and past the window, with the more curious penguins stopping to say hello. Once you've finished viewing them from below, head to the Penguin Plus viewing platform above after the main crowds have dispersed and you'll have the chance to take a seat and continue to watch the cute penguins waddle back for the night. With a maximum capacity of just 70 people, you can enjoy this experience in comfort.

Arrive 30 minutes before penguin arrival time (sunset).

VIP Tour

Enjoy the brilliant Penguin Parade in style on the VIP tour, especially ideal for the cooler months of the year (Jun-Aug). Start your evening with a delicious snack and drink, before being escorted by your ranger to the VIP Skybox, elevated above the beach for unspoilt views as the penguins emerge from the waves. Grab the binoculars and join in the nightly penguin count with the head ranger, a very special experience. 

Arrive one hour before penguin arrival time (sunset).

Ultimate Adventure Tour

This tour is perfect for both adventure and nature lovers, who love to go off-the-beaten-track and into the heart of the real action. Venture away from the main viewing platforms and on to a separate, secluded beach, with no lights or distraction to the huge penguin colony that return here every evening at sunset. Once perched on the sand, you are given night vision scopes to spy on the wild penguins as they waddle past your feet and headphones to ensure you hear the commentary. With a maximum capacity of 12 in your group and a chance to walk through the centre of the penguin colony, there is a reason this tour is named ‘ultimate’.

Arrive one hour before penguin arrival time (sunset).

Opening times: The Penguin Parade visitor centre is open from 10am daily, apart from 2pm on Christmas Day.

So, whether you'd like to watch the penguins from afar or face-to-face from a secluded beach, we can assure you that every experience is just as wonderful.

Nobody home?
Don't worry! Little Penguins spend around 80% of their life in the ocean.