If you are planning a visit to the home of Australia’s largest penguin colony, then chck out our guide of where to view wildlife on Phillip Island.

From the island’s famous Little Penguins, to seals and shearwaters, there is a lot of native wildlife to see on Phillip Island. You might even spot a whale or a wallaby too!

Just under two hours drive from Melbourne is Phillip Island, home of the world famous Penguin Parade. We recommend taking a day tour to Phillip Island from Melbourne. It’s a great day trip for animal lovers to discover the amazing wildlife that lives on the island. 

If you would like to visit Phillip Island, consider taking our one day tour from Melbourne that also visits the Brighton Beach bathing boxes and the Moonlit Sanctuary Wildlife Conservation Park.  

Where to view wildlife on Phillip Island


The Phillip Island Penguin Parade is one of Australia’s premier attractions. Summerland Beach is home to over 32,000 Little Penguins (sometimes known as fairy penguins) who nest on this corner of Phillip Island.

After spending their days searching for food in the Southern Ocean, these penguins return to their nests in the dunes to tend to their young, or rest before another journey out to sea.  

The nightly parade guarantees penguin viewing – with thousands of penguins waddling across the sand and to their burrows, seemingly unaware of the crowd. It is a magical experience and one of the top reasons to visit Phillip Island. 

Wondering what is the best time to visit Phillip Island? Check out our guide to the seasons so you know what is happening in the penguin colony and on the island throughout the year. 

At the Penguin Parade you can discover penguin fun facts, take a glimpse at life in the burrow and cuddle up to some very cute stuffed toys. The parade’s Visitor Centre has a large space dedicated to learning about the island’s most famous residents – the Little Penguins. Whether you want to know what they eat, how deep they can dive, or what other animals are stalking them in the ocean – you can find the answers. 


Stroll the boardwalk at the Nobbies Centre to spot some of Philip Island’s local wildlife. Keep an eye out for the local penguin population, seals playing on the rocks or in the waves, and echidnas strolling the grasslands. If you take the back road to the Penguin Parade you will likely also see some wallabies in the long grass. 

The Nobbies are dome-shaped rock formations off the coast of Phillip Island which provide an important home to the island’s Little Penguins. They 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. 

Seal Rocks are flatter rocks further off the coast of Phillip Island. They are a home to Melbourne’s largest colony of Australian fur seals. They feed in the waters surrounding Phillip Island and can be found resting and sleeping on the rocks. At Point Grant there are binoculars along the boardwalk which can be used to spot the marine creatures out on Seal Rocks. 


The Phillip Island lookouts are a great place to view long stretches of coastline, or in winter look for whales. Cape Woolamai in particular is a great place to see them as it is the highest point on the island. 

Winter is the time when whales migrate from the Antarctic to the warm waters around Australia. They do this to give birth to their young in warmer waters before they travel back down south. 

Humpback whales have been known to make the journey past Phillip Island and all the way to the north of Australia. Southern Right Whales make the same journey but not as far – there are a number of ‘nurseries’ along Victoria’s coastline. There have also been sighting of orcas off Phillip Island in recent years. 

Cape Woolamai is also a nesting ground for over one million short-tailed shearwaters (mutton birds). Each year the shearwaters fly 8,000 kilometres from the Alaskan Aleutian Islands to Phillip Island. They can be seen on and around the island between September and April. 

What can you do on our Phillip Island Day Tour?

The Penguin Parade is not the only stop on our Phillip Island tour – here’s what else is included:

  • 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

Frequently Asked Questions:

Where is Phillip Island?

Phillip Island is just under 2 hours drive south-east from Melbourne. Access to the island is via a bridge from the small town of San Remo. 

Where is the Phillip Island Penguin Parade?

The Parade is at Summerlands Beach, on the southern coast of Phillip Island – just under two hours drive from Melbourne. 

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 – Enjoy 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 – some might even come up to the glass to say gidday!

So what are you waiting for? Come and join us on a Phillip Island Day Tour from Melbourne!


Written by: Leah Furey – Digital Content Coordinator @gowest.com.au