Everything you need to know about Phillip Island Nature Parks
What are the main attractions at Phillip Island Nature Parks?
Phillip Island Nature Parks manages four eco tourism experiences, as well as a wildlife cruise run in partnership with Wildlife Coast Cruises.
Phillip Island Penguin Parade
The best-known attraction on Phillip Island is arguably the Penguin Parade. Every night the world’s largest Little Penguin colony waddles out of the ocean and up the shore to their burrows and you can watch the phenomenon from the Penguin Parade’s purpose-built viewing platforms.
Watch from the tiered general entry grandstands overlooking Summerlands Beach, the up-close Penguin Plus grandstand, or book a spot in the underground viewing area to see the penguins face to face. The Penguin Parade also offers nightly guided ranger tours, adventure tours and family tours (run Fridays and Saturdays as well as nightly during school holidays).
Because the penguins return at sunset each day, the exact time can vary throughout the year. You can find out the daily expected penguin arrival time via the Penguin Parade website.
Antarctic Journey at the Nobbies Centre
This joint venture between Phillip Island Nature Parks and the World Wildlife Foundation is all about educating visitors about Antarctica and the Southern Ocean. It’s an interactive experience where you can compare your thermal image to that of an Emperor Penguin, listen to wildlife calls from the depths of the Southern Ocean and check out specimens under microscopes.
The Nobbies Centre also has 500 metres of boardwalks overlooking Bass Strait to explore, with the chance to spot some of Phillip Island’s famous seals as well as whales during May through October.
Phillip Island’s little sister is Churchill Island, a site full of history brought to life through fun daily activities. Like Phillip Island, Churchill Island is the land of the Boonwurrung/Bunurong people as well as the the location of the first European garden in Victoria.
The island has been continuously farmed by European settlers since the 1850s with many of the historic buildings and lands now a drawcard for tourists. There’s more to do than just look though – Churchill Island has an exciting schedule of daily agrarian events including cow milking, blacksmithing, sheep shearing, whip cracking and working dog displays.
Koala Conservation Reserve
See one of Australia’s cutest native animals in their natural habitat at Phillip Island’s Koala Conservation Reserve. There are two tree-top boardwalks to explore (each roughly 20 minutes) that provide ample koala spotting opportunities. You might even spot a wallaby or echidna on the ground below, not to mention plenty of birdlife!
There are also six hectares of bush nature trails to wander in addition to the raised boardwalks, plus an interactive visitor centre and nature play area for children.
If you love seals, you’re going to enjoy seeing thousands of them on the Phillip Island Seal Cruise. The two hour journey takes you to the aptly named Seal Rocks where the boat drifts just metres away from one of Australia’s biggest fur seal colonies.
The cruise boasts an average of more than 5,000 seals seen per trip, with seabirds and dolphins also regularly spotted. As Bass Strait can get quite nippy, the cruise vessel sports a warm, undercover viewing area and includes morning or afternoon tea.