March 16, 2019

Phillip Island: Should you see the penguins?

Phillip Island is home to the penguin parade where hundreds of cute small penguins make their way from the sea to the hills, back to their nests at sunset.

The island has one of the largest penguin colonies in Australia making it the best place to view the penguin parade.

I’ve also seen a penguin parade on Kangaroo Island in South Australia but the numbers on Phillip Island are said to be a lot more.

The parade itself is one of the highlights of a trip to Philip Island but is it worth the trip? I went last year and have put together my opinion.

A shock upon arrival

Perhaps I was spoiled on Kangaoo Island, but the sheer number of people arriving at the visitors centre was a bit alarming.

We couldn’t get the VIP package as they had completely sold out so we decided to purchase the general admission pass which granted us access to the beach.


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Well that was after you’d gone through two gift shops. Yes two. And a cafe.

Then when the time was right, visitors made their way to the beach where there were two large amipithetre style seats for people to enjoy the view.

An expert talked through facts about the animals and the penguin parade.

No photography

One big rule at the centre was a complete ban on photography.

The reason for this is that the animals can become frightened by any flashes or noises which may put them off coming back to their nests. This is bad because it means that they won’t be able to bring food back to their young and can become lost along the way.

Before I rant further, this was explained to visitors in multiple languages MULTIPLE times. Within minutes of spotting the first penguin, a very high percentage of people had their cameras out.

One girl next to me had to be told at least three times by a member of staff as her parents watched her take photos and at one point they even directed her on how to take the best photos.

I began to grow both cranky and impatient about being surrounded by a group of people who couldn’t seem to get off their phones for a minute.

Of course, being British, the glance and tut was used rather a lot, putting me off the actual reason for being there. Seeing penguins.

Seeing the penguins

I absolutely loved seeing the penguins. It was so much fun staring out at the water and spotting the small animals come ashore.

Some would get a little worried and then go back into the water before attempting to cross the beach again.

They were so small and so precious. I just wanted to cheer them on for getting up the giant sand dune in one piece. And also ask them how they remember which nest is theirs!

When the numbers started to fade off, we took a slow walk along the boardwalk to see if we could see the animals walking to their nests.

And we did!

We kept very quiet as we heard the small penguins chirping calling out for their nests. It seemed like a lot of hard work for them!

Would I recommend it?

I mean it’s always good seeing penguins. But I think the attraction has become a victim of its own success.

Numbers definitely need to be cut in order to make it a better experience for visitors and also to ensure that visitors keep to the rules.

If there’s less tourists then it means that the staff don’t have to spend as much time telling people to stop taking photos!

Perhaps taking the VIP experience would have been better but as I didn’t take that i’m only commenting on the general admission tickets.

My opinion? Head to the centre on Kangaroo Island instead. In fact you can see the whole thing better from the cliffs on Kangaroo Island without even paying a penny and leaving the animals well alone!

To find out more about the penguins on parade on Phillip Island, visit here. All images used belong to the penguin parade website. Thanks! 

4 responses to “Phillip Island: Should you see the penguins?”

  1. Jess says:

    This is such an interesting post. I hate inconsiderate people, maybe it’s a British thing, but I honestly think there is nothing worse. I’m saving for a trip to Oz and this was on my bucket list but I think I’ll try Kangaroo Island instead!


    • Lozz says:

      Great post, but I think it’s still a good experience. Suggest you look at a mid week session that is not during school holidays.
      Kangaroo Island is an expensive exercise, so pls check that out before discounting Philip Island.
      I’m from Australia and haven’t managed to get to Kanga Island yet, it’s on the list – but so is most of the world.
      Happy travels.

      • Sophie says:

        Yeah definitely. Going during summer and at peak season definitely meant that it was packed. I did prefer the penguin experience at Kangaroo Island though. You should definitely check it out! 🙂

    • Sophie says:

      Thanks Jess. There is nothing worse and it makes me so angry! Definitely try Kangaroo Island – it’s one of my favourite places in Australia! xx

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