What time do the penguins come in at Phillip Island?

What time do the penguins come in at Phillip Island?

Written by: Cameron Ward

Published: 04/27/2021

Reading time: 4 mins

Seeing the penguins is one of the many highlights Phillip Island has to offer.

Phillip Island Penguin Parade

With sandy beaches, stunning coastal walks, and some of Australia’s most adorable wildlife, it makes sense why visitors flock to Phillip Island. The island is about a 90 minute drive from Melbourne, where you can go to the Penguin Parade and see for yourself these cute little penguins.

The Penguin Parade is one of the best places to see the little penguins which is also the largest colony in the world! Every day at sunset, these cute penguins come back from a day’s fishing to nest, providing visitors with a spectacular view.

Penguin Parade times    

The Penguin Parade begins at around sunset every night, when the penguins waddle ashore and into their burrows. Given that sunset happens at different times throughout the year, it is a good idea to plan your visit accordingly.


In summer, the penguins typically start coming in around 8 PM or even as late as 9 PM. This might be a long time to wait around if you have kids, but remember the weather is more pleasant at this time of the year! The warm summer evenings provide a peaceful environment to see these special little penguins.


In winter, the parade begins at around 6 PM, with visitors allowed access from around 5 PM onwards. Winters can rather windy and rainy, so if you and your little ones aren’t too keen on watching penguins in this weather, summer might be a better option. This being said, there are special underground viewing spaces that provide top views and shelter from the wild weather.

Keep in mind these are only estimated times when the penguins will arrive throughout the year.

What tickets are there?

There are different tickets and experiences available to pick from to get the best out of your time at the Penguin Parade. Some of the most popular tickets and upgrades include:

  • General Viewing

The General Viewing is the standard seating area with views overlooking Summerland Beach. The seating is first come, first serve, so we recommend getting there early to get seats closer to the front.

  • Penguin Plus

Penguin Plus is a popular upgrade option to get closer to the little penguins. The Penguin Plus tickets have a separate seating area from general seating. This is a good upgrade option if you want to be closer to the penguins.

  • Underground Viewing

Be at eye level with the penguins at the Underground Viewing! The little penguins will waddle right by the window as they approach their burrows. This viewing area also protects you from the weather and is a great choice during winter.

  • Guided Penguin Tour

Spend the evening learning about the penguin colony through an informative ranger guide. The guide will take you to a separate viewing area where you’ll have great sights of the little penguins coming up the beach at sunset.

What to do before the Penguin Parade

The Penguin Parade may be the biggest attraction on Phillip Island, but the rest of the island is full of wonderful adventures that make it such a special place to visit.

  • Koala Conservation Reserve

If you’re out to see some koalas, the Koala Conservation Reserve is your best place to go to see them! The Reserve was open to help protect the koalas on Phillip Island.

As you walk along the treetop boardwalks, keep your eyes peeled for the koalas in the trees. Don’t forget to explore the bushland and spot other wildlife including birds, wallabies, and echidnas.

  • Phillip Island Wildlife Park

Phillip Island Wildlife Park is home to over 100 different Australian species. The wildlife park allows you to not only see the wildlife, but to also have encounters with some of them. As you roam throughout the grounds, you’ll notice some kangaroos and wallabies looking for some food or a pat.

  • Seal Rocks

Head on down to Seal Rocks, where you can catch awesome views of one of Australia’s largest fur seal colonies! Along the boardwalk nearby the Nobbies Centre, is where you’ll look out to Seal Rocks and see the fur seals playing about.

  • Eateries

During your time on Phillip Island, you’re going to want something delicious to eat. Thankfully the island isn’t short of great restaurants serving up fantastic local produce.

Try Saltwater Phillip Island, Island Burger Bar or The Lost Cowe for some of the island’s best gastronomical offerings.

Don’t have a way to get to Phillip Island? Book a day tour to Phillip Island and see the penguins waddle up the beach at sunset! The tour also includes a stop at Moonlit Sanctuary, Cape Woolamai Beach, and the Nobbies Centre.


Related article: What is the best time of the year to see the penguins?

Cameron Ward
Cameron Ward
Managing Director at Sightseeing Tours Australia

Cameron Ward turned his travel passion into a thriving Australian tourism business. Before he co-founded his own business, Sightseeing Tours Australia, he was enjoying being a Melbourne tour guide. Even now, Cameron delights in helping visitors from all around the world get the most out of their incredible Australian trip. You’ll see Cameron leading tours or writing about his favourite Australian places where he shares his local insights.