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Phillip Island Penguin Parade

Located 90 minutes drive from Melbourne, Phillip Island is well known for the beloved Penguin Parade, which takes place each evening at dusk. Phillip Island has one of the largest Little Penguin colonies in the world, with thousands of Little Penguins making the journey each night.

We decided to take the kids along so they could be exposed to such a precious natural event.


Penguin Parade – Phillip Island
Image: Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation Rangers, Kiddiehood

As the sun started to descent over the horizon, we layered the kids up in their coats and headed to the newly built Penguin Parade Visitor Centre.

The Visitor Centre has a cafe, gift shop, informative penguin displays and interactive play areas that the kids loved. I’m wondering if my son is going to be a Vet, as he did not want to leave the Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation Rangers play area, it was so well put together.

Penguin Parade – Phillip Island
Image: Penguin Parade, Kiddiehood

Ticket holders may walk down the boardwalks that lead to the beach. At the beach, there are two sets of concrete stairs separated by the viewing tower and passage for the Little Penguins to navigate through to their burrows.


Penguin Parade – Phillip Island
Image: Penguin Parade viewing area, Kiddiehood

There is a small section of the beach at the front where you can sit. The most up close and personal locations are the beach spots towards the centre of the two stands.

Penguin Parade – Phillip Island
Image: penguin burrows, Kiddiehood

The presenter shares information about the Little Blue Penguins (previously called Fairy Penguins), who are impressive birds. Tracking has found penguins covered the distance from Phillip Island to Adelaide, not bad for a bird that is 40 cm high. Small fish anchovy squid krill make up their diet. They have been recorded as diving to depths of 66 m, but 50% of dives are closer to the water surface. They are well designed for this with a white underside blending with the sky above and the blue topside blending with the sea when seen from above.


Penguin Parade – Phillip Island
Image credit: Phillip Island Nature Parks

They are social animals, when they emerged from the cold surf they huddled by the water’s edge until eventually, the group will storm up the beach to the dunes.

Once in the dunes, the night comes alive to the vocalisations. They preen each other to keep their feathers clean, well-oiled, and waterproof. Some sit alone seemingly contemplating life, and one temporary adopted my daughter as she walked along the boardwalk enchanted by her little companion. The Little Penguin stopped when she did and then walked when she did. It was a special interaction, one she will remember for a lifetime.

Penguin Parade – Phillip Island
Image credit: Phillip Island Nature Parks

Most visitors move from the beach to the boardwalk pretty quickly, if you stay on the beach, you can appreciate the penguins without the crowds.

The penguins arrive at sunset every evening, they recommend that you arrive one hour before the penguins arrive. You can download a penguin arrival time calendar for estimated penguin arrival times throughout the year. 

There is no photography or filming allowed after sunset at Penguin Parade, as penguins have sensitive eyes.

Penguin Parade
Open: Penguin Parade Visitor Centre opens at 4.45 pm
Location: 1019 Ventnor Road, Summerlands, Phillip Island
More information


We try our best to provide accurate information on kid-friendly events around Victoria but do recommend parents check details directly to confirm dates, times, prices as some details may be subject to change.

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