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Observe some of Australia’s most popular native wildlife on this day trip from Melbourne to Phillip Island that includes a stop at Maru Koala and Animal Park. Interact with koalas and kangaroos before arriving at Phillip Island, home to sea birds, fur seals and, most famously, fairy penguins, aka little penguins. You’ll visit the Nobbies to look for seals on the rocky coastline while you wait for sunset, when the little penguins perform the Penguin Parade, their nightly ritual of waddling out of the water and along the beach to their burrows. Upgrade options are available for better views and an enhanced experience.

Highlights

  • Phillip Island Penguin Parade tour from Melbourne
  • See koalas in their natural habitat at Maru Koala and Animal Park
  • Visit the Nobbies rock formations, home to Australia's largest population of fur seals
  • Watch the nightly Penguin Parade at Summerland Beach
  • Enjoy the spectacle of cute little penguins waddling to their burrows from the sea
  • Choice of three optional upgrades to enhance your experience of the Penguin Parade

Why Our Insiders Chose This Tour

See the distinctive and adorable animals that steal the heart of many a visitor to Australia. Take pictures of koalas, kangaroos, Tasmanian devils and the most adorable little penguins!

Recent Photos of This Tour

What You Can Expect

Phillip Island: Penguins, Koalas and Kangaroos Day Tour from Melbourne

Maru Koala and Animal Park

Your day trip starts with hotel pickup in Melbourne for the approximate 1.5-hour drive southeast of the city and around Westernport Bay to Maru Koala and Animal Park, where you have the chance to enjoy an up-close look at Australia’s famous native wildlife like kangaroos, koalas and Tasmanian devils.

Then return to the coach to continue the drive to Phillip Island, which you’ll reach by a bridge from the coastal town of San Remo. On the island, explore the coastline to check out sights like the Nobbies, a rocky area where fur seals, birds and penguins often gather. As the sunset nears, head to Summerland Beach, where you’ll first visit the information center to read up on Phillip Island’s beloved penguins, a species known as little penguins, who come ashore each evening after a day spent fishing in the sea.

Their adorable waddle along the sand to their burrows is known as the Penguin Parade, and you don’t want to miss it. Head to the appropriate area depending on the option you select when booking to watch this nightly ritual; if you book the standard option, you’ll watch from public boardwalks and viewing stands, where there is no maximum number of spectators (read about upgrade options below).

Afterward, your day trip ends with the drive back to Melbourne for hotel drop-off.

Optional Penguin Parade upgrades:
Penguin Plus Viewing Platform
Enjoy the parade from a restricted platform next to the main route that the penguins walk up from the water. A drink and small gift are included; this experience is limited to 150 people.

The Penguin Skybox
Watch the parade from an elevated tower, an exclusive vantage point in the main stands that’s limited to only five people. Dry and warm, the Skybox provides the best view of the penguin burrows on the beach. You’ll have your own ranger you can talk to about the penguins, and you’ll be part of that night's penguin count, helping with Phillip Island’s ongoing research to protect the birds. This experience includes canapés and nonalcoholic drinks.

Guided Penguin Plus Tour
Limited to 15 people, this option takes you, with your own guide, to a secluded location on the beach where you can get closer to the penguins.

Underground Viewing Experience
Limited to a maximum of 70 people, this option will provide you with the closest possible viewing of the penguins as they return to their burrows from the water. Watch the penguin parade at eye level while you are undercover and protected from the elements.

View additional info

Itinerary

Customer Reviews

Joel R

5 star rating: Highly Recommended December 2016

Watching the little Penguins come out of the ocean and march right past us, was definitely a highlight. It was chilly at night with the ocean breeze so dress warmly that time of year. It was fascinating to see the penguins stop and start and the climb the hillside to go to their borrows in the bushes. I would highly recommend paying the small extra amount to sit in the close up area. The penguins were in the thousands that night and marched about 10 feet away from us.

Paul O

5 star rating: Highly Recommended December 2016

It wasn't just the trip to the penguins, but the trip from start to finish that was made fantastic by the driver of our bus. He was a true gentleman and both of us were entertained from start to finish. We had plenty of time to wander around and do our own thing but not so much that we were waiting around. Highly recommend this trip.

barbschreiner

5 star rating: Highly Recommended December 2016

With everything we saw over many days, this experience rates the highest. We took the sky box tour -- didn't last long enough for me. These tiny penguins stole my heart! AU has realized protection is needed to ensure they survive.
Barbara, Arizona

Lauren S

5 star rating: Highly Recommended November 2016

This tour definitely exceeded my expectations! Our guide, Roger, was so knowledgeable and made the entire trip exciting. I actually learned some interesting Australian history and appreciated his commentary. The Penguin Parade awesome - I definitely recommend upgrading to the Penguin Plus package to sit on the platform - you get a much better view of the penguins!

Wayne M United States of ... 

5 star rating: Highly Recommended November 2016

An excellent tour! The animal park visit was enjoyable, the Nobbies visit was awesome, dinner in Cowes followed by a walk on the waterfront was fun and the Penguin Parade is NOT to be missed. Our guide, Will, was knowledgeable, informative and fun! The spectacle of thousands of penguins emerging from the sea, crossing the beach and climbing the dunes will forever be etched in our memories. The upgrade to the penguin plus viewing was clearly worth the cost. Make sure you dress warmly-- even in November the evenings can be quite cool.

Edrie M

5 star rating: Highly Recommended November 2016

It was amazing seeing over 2000 penguins emerge from the sea in waves of about 200 at our time. I signed up for the ranger tour which gives you binoculars and narrative from the ranger. We were at a good angle to see the penguins cross the beach. We later moved to the path to see them closer up.

Lana L

5 star rating: Highly Recommended November 2016

The undergroud viewing is fantastic, providing a good view of the penguins in a warm environment.

Lana L

5 star rating: Highly Recommended November 2016

The undergroud viewing is fantastic, providing a good view of the penguins in a warm environment.

Lisa P

5 star rating: Highly Recommended November 2016

This was a great trip. Just the right amount of time not the whole day but we did a lot and saw a lot. I liked that we had time at the places we visited to leisurely check things out and didn't feel rushed. The guide Roger was great, knowledgeable, and helpful.

Mitche227

5 star rating: Highly Recommended October 2016

We did the guided tour and it was well worth it. We sat on the newly added platform which afforded us an up close and personal experience. Hundreds of penguins come out of the ocean after the sun goes down to return to their burrows. The penguins walked right by us and later we followed their path down the long roads they must walk. You cannot take photos but we purchased the video in the gift shop. All proceeds go to help care for the 32,000 penguins on Philip Island. We also saw 4 newly hatched chicks. Before we saw the penguin parade, we ate in town at an Italian restaurant on the corner which was excellent. There are other restaurants to choose from as well.

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