one of the most magical experiences of my life has been to witness the penguin parade on summerlands beach off phillip’s island in australia. a 90 mile journey from melbourne, it is a popular destination for tourists and a must see if you are every out that way.
what is the penguin parade? well, every night at sunset, the penguins come in from the ocean after a day of fishing to rest in their homes (also known as boroughs). these boroughs line the cliffs and fields off the shore and we were surrounded by them as we drove to our destination!
it was a rainy day on the tour bus, but you can see the penguins along the coast as they go back and forth from the ocean to their boroughs, where they store their catches of the day.
as we drove through the fields, we could see penguins, here and there, going to and from their homes.
we could not get out of the bus to take a photo because that would scare them AND we couldn’t use flash because the light would temporarily blind them. blinding them would mean that the penguins would not be able to find their way home and would likely be eaten by predators in the open wild.
on summerland beach, there are viewing platforms to watch the penguin parade each evening near the visitor’s center. you could spend the day walking along or playing at the beach waiting for the parade that evening. since the parade is at night, tours leaving from melbourne usually start in the afternoon.
inside the center, there is a lot of information and history laid out for you to understand the background of the parade and to educate you about penguins.
and since we couldn’t take pictures with flash, they have professional penguin friendly photos taken by experts for you to see and to buy as souvenirs. below are display pics from an actual parade – imagine hundreds of them pittering and pattering along the viewing platforms, making their way home. it’s really and truly magical.