Phillip Island is home to approximately 32,000 breeding adult Little Penguins.  These cuties are only 33cm tall, and weigh around 1kg. But despite their small stature these penguins know how to move! Climbing, jumping over rocks, waddling up steep cliffs and persevering to get back to their burrow which can be over 1km away.  They will steal your heart!

The Phillip Island Penguin Parade is the perfect location to watch the Little Penguins up close.


Little Penguins are the smallest of all penguin species


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Penguins, penguins everywhere!

When visiting wild animal attractions it can be hit-and-miss whether you will actually see anything. But you will definitely see Little Penguins at the Phillip Island Penguin Parade! Generally over 2,000 Little Penguins are recorded per evening but this varies over the year.


LEARN | The Penguin Foundation website has excellent Fact Sheets and information.

SUPPORT | Can’t make it to the Penguin Parade but want to support these amazing creatures? Consider a Donation or Adopt a Penguin!

WATCH | Live Penguin TV is available via the Phillip Island Nature Parks website.


Little Penguin. Image courtesy of Penguin Foundation Phillip Island

More than penguins

Whilst the main attraction is no doubt the Little Penguins, the boardwalks offer a wonderful opportunity to spot wallabies, birds and echidna.

There is strictly NO PHOTOGRAPHY at the Phillip Island Penguin Parade. All photos in this blog post are courtesy of the Phillip Island Penguin Parade App which has an image library if you wish to see more photos. 

Little Penguin
Penguin on sand

When do the Little Penguins arrive?

The Little Penguins return from ocean feeding at sunset but won’t leave the water until they feel it is dark enough to do so safely. Even a full moon can provide unfavourable light conditions and scare the Little Penguins from waddling up the beach!

Arrival times are available on the Penguin Parade website, but generally during the summer months the penguins won’t be visible until around 8.00 pm and can be as late as 9.00 pm. This makes it a late night with small children, or those who don’t enjoy late nights.

In late autumn and winter, the Little Penguins arrive around 5.30 pm – 6.00 pm making it an earlier night which might suit you better.


READ | Visiting the Phillip Island Penguin Parade in winter post.

Penguin sunset

When to visit

Spring and summer are the peak periods for the Phillip Island Penguin Parade (along with school holiday and public holidays), but the number of visitors drops in winter. You will have better viewing locations and more room to move around watching the Little Penguins along the boardwalk.


READ | Best time to visit Victoria

penguin parade viewing

Advice for a trip to Phillip Island Penguin Parade

Bring something to sit on

You are not allowed to stand in the seating area, so even if the seats are totally saturated you will have to sit. Which means a very wet and cold bottom! Bringing something to sit on will also be more comfortable, as the seats are very hard.


Rug up

The temperature drops quickly so bring warm clothes.



You can’t bring a stroller/pusher down into the seating area, they have to stay at the top. You can either leave the stroller and bring bubs with you to sit down, or stand with the stroller and still have a view of the beach. This might be an inconvenience if you were planning to use the weather covers etc on the pusher but you don’t want to stand up.


Walk around

At the start, you sit in the seating area and watch the Little Penguins make the dash from the water to the safety of the sand dunes. This is really cute, but the best way to see the Little Penguins is to walk around the boardwalks and see them scurrying through the vegetation and hanging out near the burrow entrances.


Book tickets

Pre-purchase tickets to avoid disappointment, and look at the option of getting a multi-parks pass if you plan on visiting other attractions on Phillip Island. There is an option to purchase tickets for the Penguin Plus ($60 for adult, vs $27 for general admission) which is a viewing platform that provides closer access to the Little Penguins. However, once the Penguins have come up from the water you can walk around and view them in so many places that I don’t feel you need to spend the extra money. You will literally see hundreds of Little Penguins!


Stay the night

We really enjoyed leaving the Penguin Parade and going back to a hotel to snuggle-down for the night!

Penguin Parade Boardwalk

Getting There

The Phillip Island Penguin Parade is towards the west end of Phillip Island, around 90 minutes from Melbourne.

INSPIRE | Looking for more Gippsland inspiration? There are a range of posts on the Australia – Gippsland destination page.

PLAN | Essential items for visiting Australia

Pin Me!

Phillip Island Penguin Parade Victoria Australia

Books to Inspire

Lonely Planet Australia
Lonely Planet Melbourne and Victoria
Best Walks East of Melbourne

There is strictly NO PHOTOGRAPHY at the Phillip Island Penguin Parade. All photos in this blog post are courtesy of the Phillip Island Penguin Parade App which has an image library if you wish to see more photos.