Can you take photos at the Penguin Parade? There are rules in place to protect Phillip Island’s penguin colony. 

Phillip Island resident Little Penguins are the main attraction on the island. They nest on the island’s beaches and go out to the ocean to fish when they are hungry. At the end of each day they return to the island with full bellies. They can be viewed leaving the ocean and waddling across the sand to the sand dunes in what is called the Penguin Parade’.

If you are staying in Melbourne, it’s well worth a trip to Phillip Island. You can explore amazing beaches, take in incredible coastal views and see these unique Australian seabirds up close. You can take our Phillip Island Penguin Parade day tour from Melbourne. It visits Brighton Beach, Moonlit Sanctuary and Phillip Island – with the highlight being the Penguin Parade at the end of the day. 

Can you take photos at the Penguin Parade? 

It’s important to know that photography is strictly forbidden at the Penguin Parade after sunset. This is because flash photography can disorientate the penguins as they are travelling home. 

It’s important that the Little Penguins get back to their nests with as little disturbance as possible. Too much flash photography can even cause the penguins to regurgitate their food. This means they lose the food they have just eaten and any they were bringing home for their family. 

For these reasons photography is forbidden at the Penguin Parade after sunset. However, before this time, if you see penguins – or other animals like wallabies and geese – you can take photos. Just make sure the flash is not turned on. 

You can also take photos of yourself, your mates, the beautiful surroundings and beach – whatever you like. Just follow the rules of no flash photography, and turn your camera off after sunset. 

You will hear announcements being made at the Penguin Parade when it is time for all photography to finish. Please be sure to follow these rules, as it is for the benefit of the penguins that you have come to see!

Other attractions on Phillip Island

In addition to the nightly Penguin Parade on Phillip Island, there are other attractions that will give you a glimpse of nature on the island. Expect to see penguins, seals and whales and migrating sea birds, as the island is a haven for marine and land animals.

Seal Rocks

Seal Rocks are home to Melbourne’s largest colony of Australian fur seals. The seals feed in the waters surrounding Phillip Island and can be found resting on the rocks. There are binoculars along the Nobbies Boardwalk which can be used to spot the seals out on the rocks.

The Nobbies 

The Nobbies are rock formations off the coast of Phillip Island which provide an important home to the island’s Little Penguins. These rocks can be viewed from the boardwalks at Point Grant and the Nobbies Visitor Centre. Viewing the Nobbies before sunset gives you fantastic views out to the Southern Ocean and across Western Port Bay. 

Woolamai Beach

Cape Woolamai at Phillip Island is renowned for its stunning pink granite cliffs, surf beach, and incredible wildlife. It is also one of the top surf spots on Phillip Island. With big swells and beach breaks, it is for experienced surfers only.

Whales in Winter

In winter you can sometimes see whales passing by the coast of Phillip Island because they search for food in Western Port Bay. Southern Right whales are the most common, but Humpback whales and Orcas have been spotted as well.  

Shearwater Birds

Cape Woolamai is a nesting ground for over one million short-tailed shearwaters. These migratory birds travel 8,000 kilometres from the Alaskan Aleutian Islands to Phillip Island. They build nests in burrows around Cape Woolamai and fly out to sea during the day to fish.

About Phillip Islands penguins

Australia’s Little Penguins can also be found in New Zealand – but these are the only places they nest in the world. The largest colony of these seabirds is on Phillip Island. They are the smallest penguin species in the world – measuring just 40 – 45 cm tall and weighing up to 1.2 kg. 

Other Frequently Asked Questions about Phillip Island

Where is the Phillip Island Penguin Parade?

The Parade is at Summerlands Beach on Phillip Island – which is just under two hours drive from Melbourne. 

What time is the Penguin Parade?

The Little Penguins return to Phillip Island just after sunset. Because of the changing sunset times throughout the year, the Penguin Parade also starts at different times. You can check the times on the Penguin Parade website before your visit, so that are there in time to see the first penguins arrive. 

What are the different tickets for the Phillip Island Penguin Parade?

You can choose from the following ticket options for the Penguin Parade:

  • General Viewing – tiered seating in our general viewing grandstands overlooking the picturesque Summerlands Beach
  • Penguins Plus – Get up close and personal with the Little Penguins from our extra special Penguins Plus grandstand
  • Underground Viewing – Go underground and watch the Little Penguins waddle right past the window

Is it cold at the Penguin Parade? 

Even in summer, the Penguin Parade can be a chilly location. Summerlands Beach is in the south side of Phillip Island and can be exposed to the cold southerly winds. It’s best to pack an extra layer (or two) for your visit. It’s also a good idea to check the weather forecast before you go. 

Join us on a tour to Phillip Island

So what are you waiting for? Join us on a tour to Phillip Island, the tour has many stops with excellent opportunities to get up close to Australia’s unique animals. 

  • Visit the famous Brighton Beach boxes
  • Take a guided tour of the award-winning Moonlit Sanctuary Wildlife Conservation Park
  • Meet and feed a wide range of Australian animals including koalas, wombats, dingoes, and more
  • Visit Point Grant on Phillip Island to view the Nobbies and Seal Rocks
  • Stroll the coastal boardwalks to enjoy amazing panoramic views
  • Spend the evening at the world famous Penguin Parade


Written by: Leah Furey – Digital Content Coordinator