I love animals and I love animals in the wild even more so when I saw that going to see wild penguins in their natural habitat was an option whilst visiting Melbourne I jumped at the chance. I booked 2 tickets for this attraction through Viator for £95.18 (which included a 50% discount). The little penguins are the smallest species of penguin in the world growing on average to 33cm (13inches) in height and the largest colony in the world, approximately 32,000 live on Phillip Island.
Transport from our hotel in Melbourne was included in the price of the ticket. We were picked up at 2.00pm (middle of September) and driven in a comfortable coach through Melbourne and the surrounding countryside down to Phillip Island, taking around 90 minutes. We arrived on Phillip Island and our bus driver took us to see the Phillip Island Grand Prix circuit which is now famous for Superbike and Supercar championships (if you’re into that sort of thing).
We arrived at the Phillip Island Visitor Information Centre and were handed tickets for the parade and for a meal in the cafe, we had fish and chips and a soft drink each. There are a couple of gift shops in the Visitors Centre allowing us the opportunity to buy souvenirs, which we did. We were asked to make our way out just before sunset. Our ticket was for the Penguin Plus Viewing Platform (only holds 150 people) which allowed us to get closer to the beach where the penguins would appear from the sea on the way back to their burrows. If you decide that this is something you would like to do please remember to wrap up warm especially in Australia’s winter months as you are outside and at the mercy of the elements for quite a while.
The ranger gave us a full explanation of what to expect and as the sun set, we started to hear what sounded like ducks quacking! This is, in fact, the penguins in the sea making their way ashore. Lighting is minimal and photography is not allowed at all as it can damage the penguin’s eyesight. However, having sat through sunset our eyes became accustomed to the dim light. We watched hundreds of little penguins emerge from the sea and waddle along the sand to their burrows, where they feed their young with their day’s catch of anchovies and pilchards. This sight was truly magical and something that will stay with me forever.
As we were not allowed to take pictures I bought a lovely little reminder of the evening……