šŸ§ The 5 Best Phillip Island Penguin Tours [2024 Reviews]

If the idea of vacationing on a rugged coastline with the salty sea breeze blowing through your hair sounds fun to you, then we have a great adventure for you.

Phillip Island in Australia is already a special place, but did you know it’s also home to the largest colony of little penguins in the world? These tiny guys are the only species of penguin with blue and white feathers, and on these carefully-curated tours you’ll get the chance to see and learn about them in their natural environment.

If you’re seeking a front-row seat to these whimsical creatures and enjoy one of the most naturally beautiful locations on the planet, do yourself a favor and check out the best Phillip Island penguin tours!

Best Phillip Island Day Trips From Melbourne

Small-Group Phillip Island Afternoon Day Trip from MelbournePhillip Island Penguin, Brighton Beach, Moonlit Sanctuary from MelbournePhillip Island Penguin Parade Day Trip with Koala Conservation Reserve Visit

Best Small-Group Tour

Best Combination Tour

Best Value Tour

editors choice
Location:Hotel pickup and drop-off includedPickup from Selected Hotels400 Flinders St, Melbourne
Start:1:00 PM10:00 AM11:45 AM
Duration:8 hours12 hours10 hours
Includes:Hotel pickup and drop-off, Transport by air-conditioned minivan, Live commentary on board, Moonlit Sanctuary, Nobbies and Seal RockPickup from Selected Hotels, Friendly & Informative Tour Guide, Entry fees for Moonlit Sanctuary and Phillip Island Penguin Parade, WiFi on board, All Fees and Taxes, Air-conditioned vehicleAdmission to Penguin Parade (general viewing) and Phillip Island Koala Reserve, National Park entry fees, hosted by an experienced driver guide, air-conditioned vehicle

Tour Information & Booking

Tour Information & Booking

Tour Information & Booking


Quick Answer: The 5 Best Rated Phillip Island Penguin Tours For 2024

  1. Small-Group Phillip Island Afternoon Day Trip from Melbourne
  2. Phillip Island Penguin, Brighton Beach, Moonlit Sanctuary from Melbourne
  3. Phillip Island Penguin Parade Day Trip with Koala Conservation Reserve Visit
  4. Phillip Island Penguin and Koala Highlights Day-Trip from Melbourne
  5. Phillip Island Day Trip from Melbourne with Penguin Plus Viewing Platform

Phillip Island Penguin Tour Reviews

1. Small-Group Phillip Island Afternoon Day Trip from Melbourne

Tour Highlights:

  • Duration: 8 hours
  • Departure: Hotel pickup and drop-off included
  • Departure Time: 1:00 PM
  • Includes: Hotel pickup and drop-off, Transport by air-conditioned minivan, Live commentary on board, Moonlit Sanctuary, Nobbies and Seal Rock

When you think of Australia, you likely think of some combination of adventure, the outdoors, and wildlife. This first tour is easily one of the best ways to see it all in one place, with professional and knowledgeable staff, and excellent planning throughout the entire time.

If you’re going to be in Melbourne, do yourself a favor and sign up for the Small-Group Phillip Island Afternoon Day Trip from Melbourne Tour ASAP!

This truly “wild” journey involves an intimate group of no more than 12 participants setting off on one of the coolest tours one could possibly take. When dealing with tours that take you far away from the city, timing, planning, and organization are important.

You’ll experience all that and more on this full-day experience perfect for animal lovers or those who’d simply like to see another side of Australia.

Start off by being picked up in the morning by your driver/guide in an air-conditioned minivan with plenty of room to stretch and enjoy the scenic landscapes that unfold as you cruise along.

The guide does a great job of telling interesting stories and facts about the places as you pass by, ensuring there’s never a dull moment on the tour!

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Your first stop of the day will be at the Moonlit Sanctuary Wildlife Conservation Park, where you’ll learn all about the importance of animal conservation on the island.

See koalas and wallabies interact in their natural habitat, as your guide tells you all about their behaviors and why organizations like this are so crucial to their well-being. Stop by the Woolamai surf beach and The Nobbies, which features the largest colony of Fur Seals!

Next up is a trip to the Phillip Island Nature Parks for the Penguin Parade to catch these guys being adorable and cruising around.

Check out the visitor centre, where you’ll learn more about Little Penguins, and pay a visit to the souvenir shop and cafe, if you want to grab something for yourself or a loved one.

The guide took us to a nice restaurant afterward where we could reminisce about all the fun we’d just had and enjoy a good meal.

 

Tour Information & Booking

100% refund for cancellations within 24 hours of tour experience


2. Phillip Island Penguin, Brighton Beach, Moonlit Sanctuary from Melbourne

Tour Highlights:

  • Duration: 12 hours
  • Departure: Pickup from Selected Hotels
  • Departure Time: 10:00 AM
  • Includes: Pickup from Selected Hotels, Friendly & Informative Tour Guide, Entry fees for Moonlit Sanctuary and Phillip Island Penguin Parade, WiFi on board, All Fees and Taxes, Air-conditioned vehicle

Next up, we have a slightly longer tour for you that’s ideal if it’s your first time in Australia and really want to see some of the best this part of the country has to offer.

The Phillip Island Penguin, Brighton Beach, Moonlit Sanctuary from Melbourne Tour is a whirlwind of hidden gems and popular tourist sites, surely to bring a smile to your face! If you’re looking for a tour to take you away from the hustle and bustle of lively Melbourne, this is a fantastic choice.

Once again, with this tour you’ll get conveniently picked up right from your hotel lobby and set out in an air-conditioned vehicle to Brighton.  Brighton Beach is filled with fascinating history and charm, complete with colorful Brighton Beach bathing boxes, pristine sands, and shell hunting!

Your guide will be right there to relay the history of the beach, like how the boxes were built in the 1800s in an effort to protect the modesty of bathers.

Next on the itinerary is the Moonlit Sanctuary Wildlife Conservation Park, which was a blast for kids and adults, alike! Here, you’ll learn all about tons of different local animals – some of which I’d never heard of before, as well as the “common” Australian critters like koalas.

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I really enjoyed their signature “Conservation in Action” wildlife show, where you’ll get to see and learn about many lesser-known animals to create awareness.

After this, it’s time for some fresh air at The Nobbies and Seal Rocks, where you’ll get to appreciate phenomenal rocky views and of course, the fur seal colony. If you’re a photographer or simply enjoy dramatic landscapes, you’re sure to love it here.

Continue on to the local beach for some adorable entertainment in the form of the famous Penguin Parade! The Penguin Parade takes you and your group to a viewing platform where you’ll get to view hundreds of little penguins coming up from the ocean and over the sand on the way to their nearby burrows.

This is a safe way for you to get up close and personal with these cuties, without anyone being able to touch or affect them in any way. You can even choose the Penguin Parade Plus or guided Ranger Tour upgrade to see them even more up close!

 

Tour Information & Booking

100% refund for cancellations within 24 hours of tour experience


3. Phillip Island Penguin Parade Day Trip with Koala Conservation Reserve Visit

Tour Highlights:

  • Duration: 10 hours
  • Departure: 400 Flinders St, Melbourne
  • Departure Time: 11:45 AM
  • Includes: Admission to Penguin Parade (general viewing) and Phillip Island Koala Reserve, National Park entry fees, hosted by an experienced driver guide with comprehensive local tour commentary in English, air-conditioned vehicle

If you’re in Australia and want to see some of the local adorable wildlife, you simply can’t miss this next tour. It’s one of the more affordable offerings, making it a great option for those on a budget who’d like to get out of Melbourne for the day.

The Phillip Island Penguin Parade Day Trip with Koala Conservation Reserve Visit Tour will take you from the busy city to the untamed wild of the island, stopping for educational tours, breathtaking vistas, and delicious food along the way.

After your guide picks you and the rest of your party up from your hotel in the morning, you’ll set out to the Tooradin Jetty before anything else. This popular fishing hot spot is super close to the town’s airfield, and its delicious seafood restaurant is open to the public.

After fueling up on some local eats, you’ll then make your way over to the infamous Phillip Island Nature Parks’ Koala Reserve!

Everyone loves these cuddly little marsupials, and you’ll not only get to see them but learn all about them with your rangers to guide you through the fascinating reserve.

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After that, it’s time to head out to the breezy Cape Woolamai Beach where you’ll take in expansive views of this volcanic coastline. Make sure to grab some shots of the Pyramid Rock, which looms over the scene in the distance!

After taking some time to walk around and soak in the sights, you’ll hop back in the air-conditioned vehicle and pay a visit to the legendary Penguin Parade!

Here, you’ll see the Little Penguins (the tiniest penguin species) waddle their way to their burrows from the water from the viewing platforms above. The staff is there to educate you on them and offer some insight to their natural behaviors as you watch on, ensuring everyone is safe and having fun.

 

Tour Information & Booking

100% refund for cancellations within 24 hours of tour experience


4. Phillip Island Penguin and Koala Highlights Day-Trip from Melbourne

Tour Highlights:

  • Duration: 8.5 hours
  • Departure: 400 Flinders St, Melbourne
  • Departure Time: 11:45 AM
  • Includes: Admission to Phillip Island Nature Park with Penguin Parade (general viewing) and Phillip Island Koala Conservation Reserve, live commentary, experienced local driver guide, air-conditioned new midi-coach travel

Australia is a country that has just about everything to offer, from busy cities to completely remote landscapes. On this tour, you’ll get a perfect mix of both, traveling from Melbourne to see some of the most intriguing locations the continent boasts.

Clocking in at 8.5 hours, if you have a day free you definitely need to consider taking the Phillip Island Penguin and Koala Highlights Day-Trip from Melbourne Tour.

After being picked up by your guide, you’ll travel by air-conditioned new midi-coach for less than 2 hours out to Phillip Island. This is such an amazing place if you’re at all interested in seeing what Victorian country life by the seaside is like, along with surfing and local wildlife.

This scenic haven offers coastal views galore, and it’s here where you’ll get to visit the Koala Reserve and see these cute critters up close.

Learn about the history of the koala, the Reserve itself, and take in this poignant reminder of the importance of preserving the last bastion of natural woodland in the area.

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Cape Woolamai is now calling your name, coming with some of the best surfing in the world and a calm bay for laidback viewing. Continue on through the charming coastal township of Cowes, where you’ll appreciate the picture-perfect scenery of Westernport Bay.

After venturing through the meandering streets, cute storefronts, and delicious restaurants, you’ll then head back into the wilderness at The Nobbies. This rugged coastline comes with the optional guided walk down to the boardwalks where you’ll have the chance to see penguins nesting in their burrows.

After, journey through the island’s backroads with plenty of postcard-perfect coastal views before arriving to the Penguin Parade.

Here, you’ll witness the littlest kind of penguin walk from the water to their burrows as the guide offers a fun and educational commentary. This is a must for the adrenaline lovers!

 

Tour Information & Booking

100% refund for cancellations within 24 hours of tour experience


5. Phillip Island Day Trip from Melbourne with Penguin Plus Viewing Platform

Tour Highlights:

  • Duration: 8.5 hours
  • Departure: 400 Flinders St, Melbourne
  • Departure Time: 11:45 AM
  • Includes: Admission to Phillip Island (Penguins plus viewing area) and Phillip Island Koala Conservation Reserve, Expert driver guide with live commentary spoken in English

We couldn’t write up a guide on the best penguin tours in Phillip Island without including this one! The Phillip Island Day Trip from Melbourne with Penguin Plus Viewing Platform Tour is just as educational as it is entertaining, making it perfect for people of all ages and backgrounds.

If you’re looking for something fun and exciting to do with the family, I can’t recommend this one enough!

What I really love about this tour is that you get the chance to see these beautiful local animals up close in their natural habitats, while feeling confident that the organizations that support them are really looking out for their best interests.

Your day starts out with a convenient hotel pickup in the morning, driving around 1 hour and 45 minutes directly to Phillip Island. Upon arrival, a Phillip Island Nature Parks Ranger will be there to greet you and give you an immersive presentation about the koalas and their history in the country.

After the presentation, you’ll time to check out the Reserve and see the furry guys for yourself (ensuring your and their safety throughout).

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After the Koala Wildlife Park, you’ll take a quick cruise over to Phillip Island where you’ll learn all about the hundreds of different types of animals living there, natively. Pass by Cape Woolamai, which is really popular with surfers and tourists that come from all over the world to see the rocky coast.

Cowes Beach was one of my favorites, located along the calmer Westernport Bay and known for its charming homes, unique shops, and tons of tasty eateries.

After fueling up on some local food, head to the Nobbies Rocks where you’ll get the chance to walk down to the boardwalks to see little penguins nesting in their burrows.

I hope you aren’t sick of penguins yet, because you’ll then see the Penguin Parade and explore the Visitor Information Centre to learn all about the feathery friends!

 

Tour Information & Booking

100% refund for cancellations within 24 hours of tour experience


FAQs About Philip Island and the Penguin Parade

What animals are on Phillip Island?

  • The Penguins: These are the smallest penguins in the world, standing 13 inches tall. They live in colonies along the coast and come ashore every night at sunset in a the event known as the Penguin Parade. You can watch them from viewing platforms or better yet, take a guided tour to get closer to them.
  • Australian fur seals: The largest fur seals in the world weighing up to 660 pounds and 8 ft long. They live in a large colony of about 25,000 at Seal Rocks about a mile off the coast. To best see them you will need to take a boat tour.
  • Koalas: These are iconic Australian animals that are famous for their fluffy ears, round noses and sleep habits. You can see them at the Koala Conservation Reserve. You can walk through the treetop boardwalks and spot them from eye level or join a ranger-led tour to get even closer.
  • Kangaroos and wallabies: These marsupials are in the same family as koalas. They have powerful hind legs, long tails and pouches where they carry their young. You can see them all around the island, such as the Phillip Island Wildlife Park, where you can hand-feed them, or the Churchill Island Heritage Farm, where you can watch them hop around the historic buildings.

What will I see on Phillip Island?

Phillip Island is famous for its pristine sand beaches, rugged coastline and of course the Penguin Parade. Also the Australian fur seal colony at The Nobbies and koalas curled up in gum trees. There is also the Phillip Island Winery, the Churchill Island Heritage Farm and the Phillip Island Historical Society Museum.

How do I get to Phillip Island?

You can drive to Phillip Island, take a bus or train. There is also a ferry.

  • Driving takes 90 minutes from Melbourne.
  • By bus, you can take a V/Line coach from Southern Cross Station in Melbourne to Cowes on Phillip Island.
  • By train, you can take a V/Line train from Southern Cross Station to Dandenong Station, then catch a connecting bus to Phillip Island.
  • By ferry, you can take a Western Port Ferries service from Stony Point on the Mornington Peninsula to Cowes.

What’s the best time of year to go to Phillip Island?

Phillip Island has a mild maritime climate with four distinct seasons. The average temperature ranges from 55Ā°F in the winter to 75Ā°F in the summer. If you want to see the Penguin Parade, you can visit any time of the year as they arrive at sunset every day.

To see whales, dolphins, and seals, you should go between May and October when they migrate along the coast. To enjoy the beaches and try surfing, you should go between November and April when the weather is warm.

Should I buy tickets to the Penguin Parade advance?

Yes, you should pre-book your tour as it can sell out. This is especially important during peak periods such as the December and January summer holidays and school holidays.

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The Small-Group Afternoon Day Trip from Melbourne is our Editors Choice for the best Phillip Island penguin parade tour.

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Robert Baker

Robert is a content writer and editor at World Guides to Travel where he shares his love for the great outdoors. He also writes in-depth travel blogs for other websites around the world. Robert is passionate about the environment and uses his writing to educate people about the advantages and importance of sustainable living. Robert enjoys creative writing. In 2009, his childrenā€™s novel Sally Hemings & the Good Associates won the Childrenā€™s Fiction section of the You Write On Book of the Year Award.
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