The Phillip Island penguin parade should not be missed and only a short 90 minute trip from Melbourne. The experience happens after sunset so we took our time driving there. There are plenty of large shopping centers on the way to kill some time!
We crossed into Phillip Island and stopped briefly at the visitor center to buy tickets. The staff offered three options for seating… penguin parade, penguins plus and underground viewing. The penguin parade was general bleacher seating on the beach with views of the penguins exiting the ocean. The Penguins Plus was a platform situated near the most popular pathway as they make their way up the beach. We selected the underground viewing which is located underneath the Penguins Plus area and allows an up close look at the penguins. The girls would be passed bedtime and the staff kept mentioning wind and potential rain so underground seemed like the best option for us.
Phillip Island does not have a shortage of things to do and we could have easily spent another day on the island. Considering this was our last stop in Australia and we had seen our share of animal parks, we opted not to do the Koala Conservation Centre and Churchill Island Heritage Farm. The scenic route seemed like a good way to spend a few hours.
Pyramid rock came up 1st on our tour of the coast. Simply follow the boardwalk from the car park to see this unique rock formation located off the coast. This was the only thing to see in this area so we did not spend a lot of time here.
Next we headed towards The Nobbies which is home to the Australian largest fur seal colony. Unfortunately the seals were not out there that day or at least we could not see them from the viewing point. This little wallaby was spotted on the way there though!Phillip Island 2 from Amber Herden on Vimeo.
The Nobbies offers incredible viewing areas all along the boardwalk. The large rock located off the coast is the home of the seals. The wind was a bit intense on this particular day creating another highlight of the area, the blowhole shown below.
There were opportunities to spot wildlife too!
Here is a quick video clip of some of the views. Unfortunately, it was extremely windy and only taken with my phone so the quality is not the best.Phillip Island from Amber Herden on Vimeo.
We headed to the Penguin March to claim our viewing spot underground. The facility did not allow any photography or video due to skittish penguins. We were told if the penguins are scared then they will not leave the ocean. Only the brave ones go 1st slowly making their way up the pathway. As time went by hundreds began exiting the ocean. We watched the beach from a TV screen and the kids were at eye level with the little penguins as they waddled past the underground viewing area.
We did find our way up to the penguins plus platform towards the end for a wider view. The only downfall I saw with the underground area is you only see the penguins that walk directly in front of the glass.
Though we did not have a camera for the march, we were able to capture a few pictures of penguins while we were driving around the island. The photos were captured at a distance to keep from frightening them.
Phillip Island has a lot to offer for such a small area!