Visit Phillip Island post-Covid while the nature and wildlife are thriving– from Little Penguins to seals, shearwaters and whales.
The island is home to many nature and wildlife attractions including stunning beaches and the world-famous Little Penguin Parade. On Phillip Island you can explore amazing beaches, take in incredible coastal views and see unique Australian wildlife up close.
After almost two years of closures and lockdowns due to Covid, Phillip Island has sprung back to life. If you are planning a trip to Melbourne, we definitely recommend taking a day tour to Phillip Island.
Why you should visit Phillip Island now
The resident Little Penguins are no doubt the main attraction on Phillip Island. These penguins nest in the island’s sand dunes and swim out in the Southern Ocean to catch fish when they are hungry.
At the end of each day you can see the Little Penguins returning to the island in what is the nightly Penguin Parade. Every night of the year thousands of penguins waddle out of the waves and across the sand. Then it’s time to split up and go their separate ways to their burrows – for a good night’s rest.
During Covid lockdown’s this natural phenomenon continued. But without any people watching. What is usually a buzzing atmosphere, and a night filled with excitement, was a quiet return journey to their nests for the Penguins.
During lockdown the Penguin Parade was actually broadcast live so that people from around the world could watch from their living rooms. The live presentations were commentated and everyone had the chance to experience this incredible show of nature for themselves.
Post-Covid, the Penguin Parade has reopened and people have returned to the island to check in on the Penguins. The buzz has returned to Summerland Beach. It’s an amazing experience and a highlight of any trip to Phillip Island to see penguins up close. If you’ve been thinking about visiting, Spring is a wonderful time to see the penguins during their breeding season.
Wildlife on Phillip Island
Phillip Island is a haven for marine and land animals. In addition to the nightly Penguin Parade there are other wildlife on Phillip Island that continued their daily lives during Covid lockdowns and are now flourishing on the island.
Phillip Island is a nesting ground for over one million short-tailed shearwaters (mutton birds). Each year these migrating birds fly 8,000 kilometres from the Alaskan Aleutian Islands. They can be seen on Phillip Island between September and April.
During this time they build nests in burrows – particularly around Cape Woolamai – and they fly out to sea during the day for fishing. Around sunset they return to their nests. This is when you can view magnificent flocks of these birds returning to the island.
Australia’s largest colony of fur seals can be found lounging on Seal Rocks. This area is off the coast of Phillip Island and can be viewed from the Nobbies Boardwalk. The seals feed in the waters surrounding Phillip Island and can be found resting and sleeping on the rocks. At the Nobbies Boardwalk there are binoculars which can be used to spot them.
The boardwalk was named after The Nobbies – dome-shaped rock formations off the coast of Phillip Island. Viewing the Nobbies before sunset gives you fantastic views out to the Southern Ocean and across Western Port Bay. If you follow the boardwalks at Point grant they will take you the Nobbies Blowhole. It is a hollowed-out section of the cliffs where waves crash in and spray back out.
Around June/July – and then again in October/November – you can witness whales passing by the coast of Phillip Island. Southern Right whales are the most common, but Humpback whales and even Orcas have been spotted in recent years.
These whales make a journey north from Antarctica each year to breed and give birth in warmer waters. They have been spotted frolicking and searching for food in Western Port Bay. After birthing, they then return to the icy waters down south with their young.
Frequently Asked Questions
What kind of penguins are on Phillip Island?
Australia’s Little Penguins are the smallest on earth. They measure just 40 – 45 cm tall and weigh up to 1.2 kg. They have a blue or grey upper body and flippers, with a white underbelly. The colouring provides camouflage from their predators at sea.
The Little Penguins only live in Australia and New Zealand. They are found nesting along the southern edge of Australia’s mainland and Tasmania. The largest colony of Little Penguins can be found on Phillip Island.
What do you do on a tour to Phillip Island?
With Go West Tours on our Phillip Island Day Tour from Melbourne, you will visit the following locations:
- The famous Brighton Beach boxes
- The award-winning Moonlit Sanctuary Wildlife Conservation Park – where you can meet and feed a wide range of Australian animals including koalas, wombats, dingoes, and more
- The Nobbies Boardwalk on Phillip Island to view Seal Rocks
- The famous Penguin Parade at Summerland Beach
What is the weather like on Phillip Island?
Even in summer, the Penguin Parade can be a cold in the evenings. Summerlands Beach is in the south side of Phillip Island and exposed to the cold southerly winds. It’s best to pack an extra layer (or two in winter) for your visit. It’s a good idea to check the weather forecast before you go.
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 hello!
Written by: Leah Furey – Digital Content Coordinator @gowest.com.au