What to Expect With the Penguins Plus Upgrade

Phillip Island is a haven for wildlife lovers. On the pristine beaches and in the lush forests you’ll find plenty of animal encounters, including native koalas and kangaroos. But one of the best nature experiences on the entire island is the world-famous Penguin Parade.

Each evening, the local colony of Little Penguins march their way up the beach to bed down in their nests for the night after a long, hard day of fishing. Thousands of visitors flock to the shores of the island each year to watch this magical display of nature and learn more about the penguins that live on the island.

About the Little Penguins

Regarded as the cutest penguins in existence, their name rings true as they are the smallest penguin species known to man. Standing at a mere 33 centimetres on average, with dark blue feathers, and a pale white underbelly. They are the only breed of penguin that is found on mainland Australia, with other colonies found in Tasmania, New Zealand, and the Chatham Islands. As the small creatures spend the majority of their time in the deep seas. The time the penguins waddle from the beach to their nests is only time humans can see the penguins without difficulty.

The History of Phillip Island

Phillip Island is renowned for its wildlife, with the Little Penguins, in particular, putting the town on the map. However, it didn’t start out tremendously successful, with the island taking quite some to get on its feet. When the Europeans discovered the island in 1798, the island was a deserted paradise. With only the local aboriginal people, named the Bunurong tribe, only inhabiting the region during the muttonbird season.

George Bass was the first European to discover the island. He travelled down from Port Jackson, seeing the island in the west. Leading him to name the region ‘Western Port’. The area was later used as a popular seal hunting realm, with Seal Rocks swarming with sea lions. The island was later named ‘Phillip Island’ to honour the Governor of New South Wales, Arthur Phillip.

It wasn’t until 1842 when the island was seen as a potential home for the Europeans. With two brothers named McHaffie leased the island. They herded sheep up until 1868 when the island was bought out by a new settlement. Sadly, this colony did not prosper due to the harsh weather conditions. With very little farm fields growing and the drought starving the residence. Many gave up, heading back to the nearby towns. However, after a lot of hard work, the Island prospered, with the wildlife leading the appeal in its tourism success.

 

Penguin Plus Area

The Start of the Penguin Parade

Well before humans, the Little Penguins have called the shores of Phillip Island their home. Becoming an attraction for locals and tourists since the 1920s, with almost 100 years of humans watching these cute creatures waddle up to bed.

The first official penguin watching was started by trio Bert West, Bern Denham, and Bert Watchorn. Naming the region, the Summerland Beach which held organised viewings every night. The staff greeted the visitors once they stepped off the ferry, welcoming guests and charging five shillings for a once in a lifetime wildlife experience. They even offered strawberries and cream for an extra shilling, giving guests a delightful snack to nibble on during the night’s entertainment.

Its popularity soared in the 1940s, with flocks of people setting up picnics and chairs along the soft sand, even bringing their dogs along to enjoy the sea and sand. With even houses built along the Summerland Beach for a picturesque residence. However, with this new wave of human arrival, the Little Penguin colony became strained. With dogs killing them when they left the sea, and the houses destroying their natural habitat, leading to a major decrease in penguins.

By the 1960s a radical change in the tourism of Little Penguins was actioned. With fences and viewing platforms restricting the human’s interference to the Penguin’s homes. Creating the Penguin Parade, we know today.

About Penguin Parade

At the Penguin Parade site, there are a number of viewing options. For starters, there are rows of seats that visitors can sit on to watch the parade take place. Then there are the advanced options that let you get even closer to the penguins and get a more VIP experience.

The Penguins Plus upgrade is one of these advanced options, and it lets you really get to know the behaviour, history, and habitat of these cute critters while you watch them waddle ashore.

Penguin Plus Area

Essentially, the Penguins Plus upgrade lets you sit on a new viewing platform that has been created as a joint venture between Phillip Island Nature Parks and RACV. The design has been heavily inspired by the natural elements that surround the beach and characterise the rest of Phillip Island, which means you can experience a more natural viewing of the penguins.

As the penguins make their way along the pathway that has been set up for them on the beach, you can get up-close and get personalised views like no other.

Before and after the parade has taken place, you’re welcome to explore the on-site visitor’s centre, which delves deep into the characteristics of the penguins. You can browse interactive displays that document the turbulent history of the Little Penguins of Phillip Island, and learn more about the series of conservation efforts that have taken place over the years to protect the creatures and their habitat.

Seeing the Penguin Parade with the Plus upgrade is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Not only do you get to watch one of nature’s most wonderful shows, but you’ll get a personalised and up-close viewing of the Little Penguins in their natural habitat. By the time you leave Phillip Island, you’ll know all about the creatures and will have had a close-up insight into their fascinating lives.

Penguin Plus upgrade available on our Phillip Island Tours.

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