For eco-tourists who happen to be in Australia, Phillip Island holds a wonder of nature that is definitely worth taking a night out to see. This city, located about 90 minutes southeast of Melbourne, hosts a colony of Fairy Penguins. Each night, these creatures return home from their daytime hunting routine in a grand procession that is referred to as the Penguin Parade.
Fairy Penguins are the smallest species of penguin in the world, standing at just under a foot-and-a-half high on average. The Phillip Island colony consists of around 32,000 of these creatures who make their homes in burrows in the area. Though there were once nine colonies in existence, only the one now remains. The others having fallen victim to the importation of invasive species that would hunt them.
Tourists can now go to watch this wonderful nightly migration. The whole thing lasts for about an hour and during this time, visitors have a chance to see the penguins up close and personal. There are a few different options for viewing the Penguin Parade. One can either purchase tickets to the “bleacher” seats, sitting with around a hundred other people, or, if you want to spend the extra cash, there are more private shows located on a different beach, complete with a park ranger to guide you and relay the history and other information about the penguins.
The organization that puts together the parade viewings is devoted to being responsible about the penguins. Emphasis is put on making sure that human presence does not disturb the penguins while they do their nightly ritual. Plus, all the money made from tourists goes into various programs dedicated to research and conservation.
The event has become so popular that now more than 650,000 people show up throughout the year to see it. Apparently, however, the tickets sell pretty fast, so if you want to be there on a specific night you’ll need to plan and purchase ahead of time. If you’re a penguin lover or just a collector of unique experiences, the Penguin Parade on Phillip Island is a great one to add to your travel list.