At the end of August we took a half day tour to Philip Island to watch the Penguin Parade. We had booked the tour through Viator online, as it was half price – normally around $150 & included fish n’ chips for dinner & access to Penguin Plus – access to better viewing platform. We left the city at about 3pm with the tour operator AAT Kings, and made our way out to Philip Island about 1.5 hours drive from Melbourne. On arrival we had about an hour to spare before we had to be down at the viewing platform, so during this time we had our fish n chip dinner & walked around the tourist information centre. We then made our way down to the viewing platform, and when we arrived there we took our seats and waited for the guide to give us some information on the penguins we were about to see. The platform overlooked a cove bay, and whilst waiting we saw a few kangaroos hopping around.
The penguins at Philip Island are the smallest of the penguin species, and it is estimated that around 3o,ooo live on Philip Island. They are about 30cm in height, weigh around 3 lbs, and live on average for 7 years. As they have very sensitive eyes, you cannot take photos at the Penguin Parade, as it can scare them and make them sick. We waited til around 6.30pm, and then we saw the penguins start to emerge from the water. Out they came in groups of around 30-40, waddling along the beach & over rocks. We sat and watched as about 6 different groups made their way up the beach, and towards the viewing platform, then along past the viewing platform through the conservation area to the numerous burrows. It really was a sight to be seen. Although we could not take pictures I have attached one below from the Philip Island Nature Parks Australia website & yes this is really what we saw. All in all we had a good time at Philip Island…..would I recommend the tour….I would probably recommend hiring a car and combining this with a stay on the island or a roadtrip of the Mornington Peninsula, or at least a day with stops along the way at the beautiful countryside on the drive from Melbourne.