Results 1-10of 13 Reviews
by Mary K .Carter
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
August 17, 2010
Townsville, Queensland, Australia
July 18, 2010
From journal Fascinating Phillip Island
May 14, 2008
From journal Exploring Melbourne
February 8, 2006
From journal Fun Down-Under
Cary, North Carolina
January 19, 2006
From journal Melbourne - Four Seasons in One Day
March 19, 2004
Some folks came expecting too much and were disappointed. These ARE wild animals exhibiting natural behavior, not a set show. It's a long drive out to where the penguins are and you will get "home" quite late. Several tour operators offer trips, some with other stops along the way. Probably best if you are very fond of penguins, and would like to learn more about them.
From journal Australia 2004 - Melbourne
July 9, 2003
From journal Melbourne During the Open
by Tim G
January 1, 2003
Now, first impressions aren't good. The large parking area, scores of visitors, concrete-stepped stands. It feels commercial, and there's 4,000 visitors a night. So I guess it can hardly not be commercial. And the cost seems steep at $12.50.
But before passing judgement, think about it for a few minutes. With this many visitors, it has to be controlled, or else the damage done to the penguins' burrows would be devestating. The money you pay goes into maintaining the penguins habitat, researching them, and the visitor center. And, although it sounds cliche, there is really no other beach like this anywhere else and it would be a shame for it to be ruined.
The visitor center is good. Lots of good informative displays, some interactive. You can also look inside real penguin burrows.
But you're here for the penguins. And as the sun goes down, the lights come up, and the park ranger on the public address system shuts up and the penguins take over. When they do, the experience becomes magical, transcending all of the other stuff.
At first you see them in groups or "rafts" floating in on the waves. You may need binoculars to see this well. But then they dissapear, only to reappear on the beach shortly afterward. They stand up, get themselves together, and scurry across the beach in neat little lines. Although there's almost always a straggler who just can't quite keep up. Sometimes the procession will happen right in front of you.
You can watch this from the concrete stands, but if you take the boardwalk to the right (south) of the large stands you'll come to a small wooden platform where you'll get a real closeup view of it all. Most people don't know about it, but it's probably a better place to watch it all. Or at least head over here from the grandstands shortly after the first several groups of penguins come in.
Once into the high grass they relax. And shortly after the first penguins arrive, the night comes alive with penguin noises. The area crawls with penguins and you'll enjoy viewing them from the boardwalks.
The whole experience is magical and suddenly you realize how special a place this is. Worth the cost, worth putting up with the crowds, and worth weathering the commercialism. We even weathered the rain and it was worth it.
The parade happens nightly after dusk. The visitor center opens at 10am. Also of note is the fact that taking photos of the penguins is not allowed. You can buy photos of the penguins fairly inexpensively though.
From journal Philip Island
Las Vegas, Nevada
September 5, 2002
They come up at night to sleep and waddle onto the beach and then up to their burrows. At only a foot tall, they are endangered because of predators from the sea and human garbage. They are protected and live within a national park. Signs everywhere warn not to take pictures, touch the penguins or leave garbage. I was so impressed that all that was needed were these signs. There are no fences, trash, or anyone snapping away with their flash bulbs. People followed the rules and politely obeyed. How unlike some of the North American ways. It was such a thrill to stand about 6 inches away from these little critters, walk beside them for a bit and not have a fence in the way or someone misbehave and ruin the experience.
You can buy photographs in the gift shop at very reasonable prices as souveniers. All the proceeeds go to the continuation of the park.
From journal MELBOURNE -- The Beautiful City Of Victoria
July 10, 2002
Drive up to the large parking lot and buy your ticket at the entrance to the Visitor Centre, which opens at 10AM. Be sure to keep your ticket stub in case you have to return to your car. There are some interesting exhibits that are fun for kids and adults. Check out the large gift shop, chock full of fun gifts with an Australian flavor. There is a cafeteria with a variety of light meals and drinks. My serving of lasagna was adequate; my friend loaded up on some sort of marshmallow pie. You can also get a cup of soup or hot chocolate to heat your body up for the seaside spectacle. The restrooms have air dryers, which will come in handy to reheat your hands after the parade.
Once you have taken in the exhibits at the Visitor Centre, step outside down the path towards the viewing stands. There is plenty of seating on concrete benches or, if you want to get a little closer, sit on the sandy pit in front. The viewing stands are roped off from the sea and the rest of Summerland Beach, so the people are not expected to go past this line. The wait for daylight to fade into dusk seems interminable, but it gives your imagination a chance to predict what path the penguins will wander ashore. The winds do whip off the sea, so bring an extra blanket or fleece pullover to keep you warm. Soft lighting allows you to see the penguins once they start arriving in the darkness.
The parade of Little Penguins is not necessarily one stream, but it could be several different troops heading in different directions. Once the animals are all ashore, you can walk about and see where the penguins have trotted ashore. There are walkways that can lead you to surprisingly close-up views of the cute creatures, which are scampering through grassy areas to reach their burrows in the sand dunes. Remember, no photographs are allowed beyond the Visitor Centre, so no personal pictures of the penguins please! Before you drive away, be sure that no penguins have wandered under your car!
From journal Bill in Australia - PHILLIP ISLAND