Spend an Evening at the Little Penguin Parade on Phillip Island

by | Oct 11, 2023 | Discover Australia Now, Victoria | 10 comments

Little Penguins waddle ashore and up to their burrows at the Phillip Island Little Penguin Parade


Phillip Island is known for a number of things, but the best of those things is seeing the penguin parade. It happens every night and is quite amazing to see. No matter your age or if you are visiting as a solo traveller, with a friend or your family, seeing the Little Penguins come ashore and waddle to their nests is a sight to behold. It’s a natural wonder! If it’s your first time to Phillip Island, or even if you have been before, here’s how you can see the Phillip Island penguin parade.


What is the Penguin Parade of Phillip Island?


Phillip Island is home to the largest Little Penguin colony in the world. Every morning they leave their burrows and head out into the waters to search for food. They then come home at sunset and waddle their way to their burrows. They come ashore at Summerland Beach, why they have chosen this Phillip Island beach, I am not sure. But this means thousands of them, yes thousands, come ashore every night. 


Why Go See the Little Penguins?


Seeing the Little Penguins come ashore and waddle their way to their nests is a natural wonder of the world and wonderful to see. I have been a few times now, with and without my kids and each time I just love it. It can be quite comical seeing the hilarious antics of some of the penguins. So if you are visiting Victoria, and wondering why go to see the Little Penguins, it is a really fun and educational thing to do.


Best Tours and Tickets to Phillip Island Penguin Parade


If you don’t have time to read all the information on how to see the Little Penguins on Phillip Island now. Book your tour and ticket to see the penguins, here’s two of the best tours and tickets to the Phillip Island Penguin Parade.


Plan Your Trip to Phillip Island FAQs


Need help planning your trip to Phillip Island to see the penguins? No problem, I have you covered in this post. Following is everything you need to know to plan your Phillip Island trip.


Where is Phillip Island and Where is the Penguin Parade?


Phillip Island is 142km in distance from Melbourne’s CBD which takes around 1.5 hours to drive. Once you cross the bridge that links Phillip Island to mainland Victoria you then head to Summerlands Beach where the penguins come ashore.


Best Time to See the Penguin Parade


The penguin parade happens every night at dusk so you can go any day however, sometimes the weather can influence your decision as to when to see the penguins. As the penguins come ashore at a beach, even in the summer months of December, January and February it can be cold. So imagine how cold it can be in winter – arctic conditions! So during the winter months of June, July and August there will be less crowds but you will need to rug up.


Where to See the Penguin Parade on Phillip Island


If you are wondering where you can watch the penguin parade on Phillip Island, it is at Summerland Beach. There is a general viewing area with tiered seating and boardwalks. There is restricted capacity so ensure you book your ticket in advance. Many who are staying on Phillip Island for a few days can save with a 4 Parks Pass. This pass allows entry to the Penguin Parade, Koala Park, Churchill Island and the Antarctic Journey.


The Penguin Parade Procedure – What? There is a Procedure

To see the penguins you should follow the procedure that occurs every evening. It runs like a well oiled machine and is easy to follow.

  1. Arrive at least an hour before the parade. This time will vary and is dependent on the time of sunset.
  2. On arrival, purchase your ticket if you haven’t already. It is advised to purchase your ticket in advance as there is limited capacity. 
  3. Look around the information centre or grab a bite to eat at the restaurant.
  4. Make your way to the viewing area and take your seat. Seats are actually concrete viewing platforms so I suggest bring a cushion or a blanket to sit on as the concrete can be hard and cold on your bottom! 
  5. See the penguin parade. While waiting for the penguins to return home after a big day of catching fish at sea, the local rangers provide information about the penguins. This includes information on caring for the local environment to ensure the wellbeing of the penguins.
  6. After watching the penguins come out of the sea and stroll up the beach you can take a stroll along the boardwalks behind the seating area. Many of the penguin’s burrows are here and you can get see them up close – but you cannot leave the boardwalk nor take flash photography.
  7. Leave the viewing area and maybe stop in the souvenir shop on the way to the carpark.


How to See the Penguin Parade?


There are two number of ways to get to Phillip Island to see the penguin parade. Independently by driving yourself there, or on an organised tour.

Bridge Linking Mainland Victoria To Phillip Island.

When you see the bridge linking Phillip Island to mainland Victoria you are almost there!


  • Drive yourself. From Melbourne hop on the Monash Freeway to the South Gippsland Highway then to the Bass Highway. As you approach Phillip Island you will see, then reach and cross the bridge that connects you to Phillip Island. Many stay on Phillip Island for a day or two and include the penguin parade as a major thing to do on their holiday on the island. The location address of the penguin parade is 1019 Ventnor Road, Phillip Island. It is easier to have a car to get around Phillip Island as public transport is limited.


  • Go on a Tour from Melbourne. If you are visiting Melbourne you may want to see the penguin parade. As the penguin parade happens in the evening many of the tours include a day somewhere on the way to Phillip Island. Like a day in the Yarra Valley or down the Great Ocean Road. These tours can be very long so if you have young children they may get very tired.


How Much is a Ticket to the Penguin Parade


I’d recommend booking a ticket in advance so you don’t have to queue and to make sure it doesn’t sell out in peak season. There are different tickets available but a general Penguin Parade View Ticket currently costs $30 per adult and $15 per child 4-15 years of age with kids under 4 being free. A general view ticket will let you see all the penguins arrive however, I have noticed that even higher numbers of penguins come in near the premium viewing area so you could pay a little extra to see premium number of penguins. But I have found the general Penguin Parade View Ticket absolutely fine.


BOOK Your Ticket to the Penguin Parade 


How Long does the Penguin Parade last?


The whole experience from arriving to leaving can be 2-3 hours. Add to this the driving time to get to Summerland Beach. 


Can you Eat at the Penguin Parade?


Yes you can, but it depends on what time the penguins will be coming ashore. They come ashore at sunset and sunset times can change. In winter this can be around 5pm while in summer it can be 8pm. So depending on when you are seeing them, particularly in summer, you may want to eat first. I have seen people arrive with a pizza to eat at the viewing area, so you could bring some nibbles with you. Or grab a bite to eat at the restaurant at the information centre.


How long to spend at Phillip Island?


If you are wondering how long to spend on Phillip Island, well, it can be visited in a day and it is a great day trip from Melbourne. But as the penguin parade finishes quite late in the evening, if you have young kids with you, you may want to spend the night on Phillip Island. Phillip Island has plenty of accommodation available for every budget. Check out Booking.com to find the right place at the right price for your stay. There are plenty of other things to see and do on Phillip Island if you extend your stay on the island for a couple of days or so. You can visit the Koala Conservation Park, hit the Phillip Island Chocolate Factory, visit the Phillip Island Grand Prix Track or spend your time relaxing at one of the beaches.


What Should You Wear to the Penguin Parade?


If the day has been hot, you probably think your summer clothes will be fine. Well even after a hot day it can get cool at the beach. Definitely wear warm clothes or take long pants and a jacket with you as once by the water it can be very cold, particularly the breeze off the water.


TIP: Bring a blanket to sit on and to wrap around yourself if it becomes really cold.


Can you Take Photos of the Penguins?


Little Penguin waddling his way up the beach at Summerland Beach, Phillip Island.

Little Penguin waddling his way up the sand to his burrow


No photography is allowed from sunset onwards (all photos of the actual penguin parade in this guide were given to us by Phillip Island Nature Parks). However, you can take pictures before the penguins arrive of the beach and selfies! 

For more details on the Phillip Island Penguin Parade visit the Phillip Island Nature Parks website. 


Are You Ready to See the Phillip Island Penguin Parade?

Little Penguin walking on sand at Phillip Island.


Here are my favourite go to sites to get great deals to live, work and play in Australia. They help me Discover Australia Now.

Please note, this post contains affiliate links. We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

  • Need a bed in a hostel, hotel or resort, then get pricing and check availability at Booking.com.
  • Get free accommodation when you house and pet sit with Trusted Housesitters.
  • Rent a vehicle through DiscoverCars.
  • If you are from overseas don’t forget travel insurance with World Nomads or SafetyWing if a digital nomad or long term traveller.
  • Pre-purchase tickets for museums, activities and tourist attractions to jump the queue from GetYourGuide.
  • Transfer money with Wise.




  1. Carly

    Too cute! It’s amazing how animals get into these little daily routines just like people do!

    • Sharyn McCullum

      Absolutely, extremely cute. And such a great little daily routine too for us to enjoy nature at its best!

  2. Katelynn Kellogg

    2-3 hours is a long time! I’m shocked there’s enough of them for that. My first thought was of the Peabody Ducks in Memphis, Tennessee!
    This is definitely a unique attraction, thanks for sharing!

    • Sharyn McCullum

      There are thousands of penguins that come ashore and they do it over a period of time, not all together – this is why it takes a few hours. IT’S A LOT OF FUN.

  3. Michelle

    I’d love to see the penguin parade. It looks like such a fun way to spend the evening. Thanks for sharing your helpful tips!

    • Sharyn McCullum

      The penguin parade is such a fun thing to do when on Phillip Island. I hope you get to experience it one day.

  4. Kendra

    How cute! I love penguins! It is so much fun to watch their antics, but what a shame you can’t take pictures. It still sounds like such a nice experience.

    • Sharyn McCullum

      Yeah, watching the penguins is a lot of fun. Great experience.

  5. Yvonne

    As if I needed another reason to want to visit Australia. Little Penguin Parade – sign me up! That sounds oh so cute!! There are some great tips here too. Excellent guide. I will definitely be saving this post for future travel planning.

    • Sharyn McCullum

      Yeah, the penguins are so cute. I hope you get to see them one day.


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

About Me

Bells Beach Surfing Recreation Reserve Sign shaped like a big white wave with Sharyn McCullum On the Great Ocean Road.

G’Day! Sharyn here, an Aussie who loves discovering Australia. Let me show you around so you can discover Australia now too.  Read more about me here.

Follow along on Facebook


Caravan RV Camping