How to get to the Phillip Island Penguin Parade

What many people don’t realise, when aiming to see Victoria’s best voted regional attraction – the Phillip Island Penguin Parade – is that Phillip Island is a 2+ hour drive from Melbourne, and not very accessible by public transport.
This is why we have compiled this easy list for you, so that you can easily get to, and make the most of, your time on Phillip Island and at the Penguin Parade

Phillip Island Penguin Parade

What is the Phillip Island Penguin Parade?

A good question, and probably good to know before we get there…
The Phillip Island penguin parade is a popular tourist attraction located on Phillip Island in Victoria, Australia. It involves the daily ritual of little penguins, also known as fairy penguins, returning from the sea at sunset to their burrows on land. The penguins can be seen waddling up the beach in groups, making their way to their nests in the sand dunes. The penguin parade is considered one of the best wildlife experiences in Australia, and attracts thousands of visitors each year. To protect the penguins, visitors are required to watch the parade from designated viewing platforms, and photography using flash is prohibited.

Departing from Melbourne

There are a few options available to you, should you be staying in Melbourne, and looking to do Phillip Island the Penguin Parade as just a day trip…

Drive Yourself
-whether you have a hire car, or your own car, the drive down to Phillip Island is quite an easy one, comprising of travelling on two main Freeways/Highway; the Monash Freeway and the Bass Coast Highway. You will definitely get some nice scenery along the drive. This drive, if you were to go straight though, would take you just under 2 hours each way. However, there are plenty of great stop offs along the way – most notably Caldermeade Farm.

Make sure you pack some snacks for the road!

Join on a Tour
-there are many great tour companies that tour down to Phillip Island and the Penguin Parade. Tour Local’s “Phillip Island Wine, Wildlife, and Penguins Tour” provides you most amount of time on Phillip Island to truly get a feel for the unique Island way of life, and the amazing culture, scenic views, and delicious food and wine that is found within in. 

Take Public Transport
-there isn’t all that much public transport heading down to Phillip Island. Your only option is the V Line Service. V/Line provides a daily train service from Melbourne’s Southern Cross Station to Dandenong, where you can transfer to a coach that will take you to Phillip Island.


Departing from Phillip Island

Drive Yourself
-again, if you already have your own car (or hire car) here on the Island, getting to the Penguin Parade isn’t too difficult. It’s about a 15 minute drive from Cowes, and a 20 Minute drive from Cape Woolami.
However, if you are hoping to maybe have a few drinks and enjoy yourself, or you aren’t wanting to battle the traffic, or drive at night; then perhaps a local tour would work well for you. 

Join on a Tour
-we (Tour Local) are currently the only operators offering regularly scheduled tours that include an entry ticket to the Penguin Parade. With pickup (and return) from your accommodation on Phillip Island (or San Remo), we ensure that your evening with us is one to remember.
We include a visit to a secluded Phillip Island beach; sparkling wine, grazing platters, and spectacular views at the Nobbies Lookout; wildlife spotting as we take the back-beach route along the rugged coastline of Phillip Island; and of course entry to the Penguin Parade – to watch the thousands of Little Penguins come in!
Join us on our Phillip Island Golden Hour Penguin Express Tour
Currently operating every Wednesday, Friday and Sunday night

Take Public Transport
-there isn’t any public transport options that offer drop offs and pickups to the Penguin Parade