Phillip Island’s Penguin Parade is one of Australia’s most iconic wildlife experiences, pulling in thousands of visitors each and every year. This small island, located 150 kilometres from Melbourne is home to the largest colony of little blue penguins in the world.
It’s an incredible experience, to watch hundreds of tiny penguins emerge from the ocean and shuffle their way across the beach to their burrows, just as the sun begins to set. Whether you’re a nature lover, a wildlife enthusiast, or simply looking to experience something special, the Penguin Parade on Phillip Island is
It’s no surprise then, that this is one of our top things to do in Victoria, and in this guide, we’ll provide you with everything you need to know to make the most of your time there. We’ll cover the best time of year to visit, the different viewing options that are available (and which is best), how to ethically interact with the penguins, and what to bring with you. We’ll break down whether the VIP experience is worth it, how you can take photos of the penguins without breaking the rules, and whether it’s possible see the penguins without paying.
Here’s how to make the most of your time at the penguin parade on Phillip Island.
Where is the Penguin Parade on Phillip Island?
The address to put in your GPS is 1019 Ventnor Rd, Summerlands, VIC 3922.
If you’ll be driving from Melbourne, you can expect it to take between 90 and 120 minutes to get to Phillip Island, and then you’ll need another 20 minutes to drive to the visitor centre.
Need more details? We’ve got a complete guide on how to get to Phillip Island by car, public transport, and more!
How much does it cost?
Adult tickets for the Phillip Island Penguin Parade cost $27.70. Child (age 4-15) tickets cost $13.70.
A family of two adults and two children will pay $69.10, which works out to a discount of $13.70. With an Australian Pension Card, you’ll pay just $19.30.
What time does the Penguin Parade start?
While the Penguin Parade Visitors Centre opens at 5 p.m., the penguins don’t start emerging from the ocean until just after sunset (as late as 9 p.m. in the summer months).
Because of this, there’s no real reason to get to the centre when it opens. Instead, aim to arrive an hour before sunset — this will still give you enough time to get a good seat for the parade.
How long does the Penguin Parade go for?
On average, the Penguin Parade lasts for an hour. If you aim to get there an hour before sunset, this means you should look to allocate two hours for the entire experience.
What is the best time of year to see the penguins at Phillip Island?
The Penguin Parade is popular year-round, but you’ll run into the biggest crowds during the school holidays (in particular, the entire month of January), and over Christmas, Easter and the Lunar New Year.
It could be argued that the summer months are best (November – March), as this is when you’ll encounter the warmest weather. While this is true, keep in mind the sun doesn’t set until around 9 p.m. — and you’ll spend an hour at the Penguin Parade after this — so if you’re travelling with young children, you’ll want to keep those late hours in mind.
I’d therefore aim to visit during the months of October/November or March/April, so you still capture that warmer weather, but have an earlier sunset and don’t encounter quite as many crowds.
Can you see the Penguin Parade without paying?
It is possible to see penguins on Phillip Island at sunset, but we have to stress that it’s nothing like the Penguin Parade itself.