1019 Ventnor Rd,
Summerlands VIC 3922
I’m a self confessed penguin lover and relish the excuse to get down to Phillip Island to see the Penguin Parade. It’s about an hour from our place so whenever we have friends or family come to stay, a visit to the penguins usually makes the cut.
That said, this was the first time we’ve been since Missy Moo was born. Omg game changer! Death and injury is all around haha.
*Photos are not permitted throughout the penguin viewing areas so any pretty photos you see here I’ve stolen from their website or random places on the Internet*
You start by entering through a big building with some educational bits and pieces, food, toilets (with change table) and a massive gift shop. If you’ve forgotten your coat, hat, jumper etc they’ve got you covered.
After you are kitted up with snacks and warm weather gear you can head down the slow ramped boardwalk towards to beachside seating arena. This is the cheapest ticket available. See the website for more premium packages.
On the beach you will see hundreds of tiny fairy penguins waddling into shore for the night. They travel in little penguin packs and occasionally fall over. They’re adorable.
We were a bit late to the beach area this visit as we had just hosted Missy Moo’s birthday party that afternoon (what a hectic day!). Luckily this wasn’t the end of the world, it just meant we started up the back. Ideally you want to sit as close to the beach as possible. Failing that, sit wherever you can and move closer as other people attending have had enough.
After you’ve watched the tiny packs of penguins roam in off the beach for a while, you will head back towards the information centre – back the way you came. Now, however, under the boardwalk are all those tiny penguins you saw coming in off the beach. You will see them up nice and close (within a metre), behind some wire fencing. There are lots of places to view and even when the place is crowded there is still plenty to see.
Then it is back into the gift shop for some oversized Australiana and penguin themed souvenirs. Granny got Missy Moo this awesome penguin cushion. Ridiculous, but oh so soft!
The good stuff.
Lots of little videos and windows to look through for kids in the information centre before you get to the real deal.
Oh so cute! So much nicer to see them here rather than at the aquarium or the zoo. It’s amazing how not fussed they were by having a toddler (ok my toddler) shout “boo” and “come on penguin, come” at them. She was quite insistent they come too, with some leg slapping like you do to call a dog over!
Well staffed, lots of people to help out everywhere.
Things to note… (not areas for improvement as usual because these things won’t change, but you just need to keep them in mind)
The penguins come in at sunset. Obviously in Winter this might be closer to 5pm. Last night (mid February), they came in at 8:42..we were back in our car at about 10:30 and were pretty much the last to leave. If your child is a 7pm bedtime kid (you lucky duck), maybe go in the cooler months.
The steps that make up the beach seating are steep and can be a little slippery…oh and they’re made of nice soft concrete. Totally thought she would fall and smash her head a few times….maybe pack a helmet? Kidding. Just be mentally ready for the child trying to get to the penguins via the stair case of doom.
The wire fences aren’t very toddler proof. If you have a climber, an escape artist, or a poor listener you might struggle to keep them from falling through the fencing onto the penguins. It won’t be easy for them to get through, but a few minutes unsupervised and i reckon it’d be toddler vs penguins…on like Donkey Kong.
The penguin parade is a busy attraction, any night of the year. No real way to avoid this, just be mentally prepared.
Overall we had a really fun time. If you haven’t been before I’d highly recommend a visit…. just be prepared for general toddler mayhem! 9/10.. Probably 10/10 if you had a slightly older child.
Oh, and don’t forget to check your car on the way out!