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Phillip Island Penguin Parade, 1019 Ventnor Rd, Summerlands, Phillip Island

HOT: Phillip Island Penguin Parade, Phillip Island

If you’re visiting Phillip Island the one must-do attraction is the Penguin Parade. For decades every night little penguins have returned home at sunset to one of the largest penguin colonies in Australia and I remember seeing them as a child myself.

Now there’s a way to appreciate this natural wonder without having to cower on a cold beach and jostle with thousands of other people for a good position.

Phillip Island Penguin Parade, <a href=

The experiences are called Penguins Plus and Underground Viewing and we were invited to try them out. It’s like being upgraded to a first class flight (not that I ever have) – once you’ve done it once you just can’t go back to Economy any more!

Phillip Island Penguin Parade, 1019 Ventnor Rd, Summerlands, Phillip Island

Underground Viewing allows you to view the penguins in the comfort of an underground bunker. It’s sheltered from the wind and the cold and the best thing is that the windows are at ground level, which means you can see the penguins waddle past right before your eyes.

For little kids this is the best way to see the penguins – indoors, undercover and out of the elements. No whining about being cold and crowded, a keeper talk before the first waves arrive on shore and great up-close views of the little penguins.

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Phillip Island Penguin Parade, 1019 Ventnor Rd, Summerlands, Phillip Island

The penguins arrive at sunset every night, which means in summer that’s as late as 9pm. Our kids are normally in bed much earlier than that so to be honest we only stayed for about 20 minutes before leaving as they were begging to go to bed. You can still follow the penguins to their burrows as you head up the boardwalk to the visitor centre and carpark. I’d love to come back when the kids are a bit older, or even in winter when the penguins start arriving by 5:30pm, so we can really make the most of the experience.

Phillip Island Penguin Parade, 1019 Ventnor Rd, Summerlands, Phillip Island

If you purchase a ticket to Underground Viewing it also allows you access to the above-ground stand, a viewing tiered deck with views of the water and the beach. However, note that Penguins Plus tickets only permit access to the stand and don’t allow you access the underground area. Both ticket types are limited in number so you won’t be fighting for a view. 

Click here for more places to go with kids in Phillip Island.

HOT tips:

  • Penguin viewing starts at sunset, which means it’s around 5:30 in winter and 9pm in summer;
  • Arrive 1.5 hours before for the best car parking spaces and to beat the arrival of tour groups;
  • There’s only stand where you can get hot food so eat before arrival. The tour groups all tend to eat there so once they arrive there are massive lines for dinner;
  • there’s a second stand where you can get coffee, snacks and ice creams;
    Wear warm clothing and a beanie and scarf, even in summer – the beach wind is freezing;
  • No photography of the penguins;
  • boardwalks provide wide pathways for prams and there’s pram parking at the penguin viewing stands;
  • small baby change room including microwave available; and
  • free parking on site.
cropped Kristyna Hess Lockdown Portraits x

Joyce Watts is a former intellectual property, IT and media lawyer turned serial entrepreneur.

As well as being the founder of TOT: HOT OR NOT she helps businesses with their SEO, email marketing & social media as BrightSmart.com.au; she owns an online bike store CycleStyle.com.au and develops and produces creative experiences for families via WheelieGoodFun.com. She used to publish another popular lifestyle and food blog called MEL: HOT OR NOT The decisive guide to Melbourne.

She lives in inner-city Melbourne with her husband, two children and seven bikes.

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