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It was a chilly, cloudy day in late spring on Philip Island. After a drive down from Melbourne, we grabbed a quick bite to eat at the village on Philip Island and then arrived a little late at our viewing post by the beach. We still managed to get decent seats, through the kindness of some of our fellow tourists. We sat in anticipation, scanning the waters off shore, hoping to catch sight of the little penguins bobbing upon the surface of the ocean on their way home for the night. Our search was in vain. We did not see any penguins arriving from the water. But then, suddenly, there they were, coming around a large boulder by our seating area. There were dozens of them, perhaps a couple hundred. They stopped and peered, looking for any sort of threat. We humans, they ignored. Then singly, in pairs or in small groups, they waddled their ways toward their burrows. Sometimes a few would stop and stare at one another, as though conferring. As we watched, a small wallaby hopped down the hill, came close to our seats and then left into the gloom the way it had come. The penguins hesitated, but generally ignored the wallaby. Then the rain began to pour, and we all left, returning up the hill to the Visitor Center. On the way, we passed little penguins walking up the hill almost as far as the building. The tour to Philip island was truly wonderful, combining great scenic views and a stop at a small private zoo, where we were able to get up close to wallabies and kangaroos. At the zoo, we also had the opportunity to hold a koala and to get a clear sight of a Tasmanian devil in his burrow. We like to take advantage of the unique experiences that places far from home offer. The tour to Philip island was definitely such an experience.
Do this tour! We arrived on a cruise ship and had to meet the tour bus at Federation Square downtown by 1 PM. If you are doing something similar allow LOTS of extra time to meet the bus, as you will have to tackle downtown lunch hour traffic. Though it was only a few miles, it took an hour to get there and then find the bus. We could have used more precise directions as to where the bus was parked, such as street names, business names to look for, and what the bus looked like. However, once the initial hassle was taken care of, the tour was better than I expected. We stopped at the Maura Animal Preserve where we fed kangaroos and were photographed petting a koala 20 but well worth it. The trip to Phillip Island stopped at The Nobbies where there was a restroom. At Philliip Island we arrived to have time in the shop very nice one at that and to get to the viewing area. We paid a little extra for the underground viewing from which you can view the penguins at eye level as they waddle/stagger/walk by. No photos are allowed so you have to go to their website to captured photos. There was also time to walk around the area where we saw thousands of underground nesting sites - that is why it is imperative to stay on the paths - as well as some wild wallabies. The staff was wonderful about arranging transportation so we did not have to go back to Federation Square, but were let off at the cruise ship dock. Very grateful for that, as it was close to midnight when we got back. Warning about the weather: we went in early December and Melbourne was 96 degrees F that day. It got much hotter after we left. Prepare for hot weather. The evening temps were cool enough for a sweater.
A great trip. We paid for the Penguin Plus option and this gave great access to the penguins for a small premium. Couldnt believe how many penguins we saw and how natural the experience was. Well worth doing. Remember to pack a jacket as it does get cold out on the coast even if it is boiling hot when you leave Melbourne.
Unfortunately it rained all day when we attended but regardless it was a great experience. We paid extra for the ranger guide and it was well worth it to avoid the crowds in the regular stands. We were able to see the penguins repeatedly up close and personal. There is also a separate walk up path after the ocean viewing to see the penguin parade to their nests.
amazingly cute watching the Pinguins coming ashore. not to be missed.
Excellent tour despite the weather, would be helpful to advise you to take something to put on concrete to sit on.
This was a great Small Tour of the Fairy Penguin's! The tour guide was extremely good and knew a lot about the area. He really made the whole journey a lot of fun. My favorite of all three tour's we did. When we got to the Penguin Tour we had a Ranger with only 11 people.
She was really knowledgeable. We saw at least 300 Penguin's. What I liked is that they reestablished the nesting beds and saved these Penguin's. Wonderful!
This tour is a must-do. The stop at the game park was a wonderful experience - played with the kangaroos and petted the koalas. Then on to Philip Island. It was raining and we didn’t care. Those penguins are amazing. Our tour guide was exceptional and provided great commentary.
Very good itinerary with an amazing driver pkus guide. Good timings at the attractions and adequate time given for exploring attractions. Excellent bus with comfortable seats. Could have given more tips on where to sit to watch the penguin parade. All is all very good. Value for money.
Excellent experience and the option for the skybox made it perfect. An incredible event to witness.
The tour is great, but if going in winter like we did come prepared with warm clothing and for the rain.
From Kaolas, Kangaroos, and so forth to the adorable blue/white penguins...it was fantastic. A definite must-see. Pay for the bunker to keep warm but you get to go on the platform 20 minutes after so save some money. The bunker was terrific as it is at eye level when they come in and then you can follow them thereafter. Make sure you pay to take a photo with the Kaola bear as they are really cute. Highly recommend this tour.
Could not believe the how many came on land. A must see sight.
The tour was excellent. The programs were compact at the animal zoo and the little penguins were great subject to the weather conditions at that night. During the windy night, our dinner was okay but the bus driver was not found early.
This is a MUST SEE when visiting Melbourne!! It was the highlight of our Melbourne experience. Our guide, Liam, was tremendous throughout the excursion sharing lots of information about the area and the wildlife. I strongly recommend upgrading to the underground experience at least. It was an up-close view of the penguins waddling past at high speeds. They often stopped to stare at us watching them. They are SO adorable! You are not allowed to take pictures or video so I recommend buying a couple of the postcards. I was disgusted by the tourists who can't control their picture-taking and noise and was happy our guide strongly discouraged all pictures.
Great experience, our tour guide is very knowledgeable and we had a great time
Great tour definitely worth the drive we did the ranger tour and I would recommend it smaller group great view.Be prepared it is a long day almost 12 hours you dont return until after midnight and dress warm.
Our tour guide, Adrian was very knowledgable, friendly, and I must say, sometimes funny! He gave us very good tips for seeing the Penguins in the island. The wildlife park was also amazing. The bus was comfortable. Very pleasant experience.
The little penguins were so adorable. Highly recommend to take this tour.
Sheila H United Kingdom
You cant come to Melbourne and not do this trip. An excellent drive down with lots of information given and all wildlife pointed out and lots of great views but its the Penguin Parade which made the trip! An excellent experience which I will remember forever
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