With an average height of 13 inches, they’re the smallest penguin species on the planet. And they’re the only penguins with dark blue feathers on their backs, instead of black.

They’re called Little Penguins, and Phillip Island has one of the largest colonies in Australia. Every night at dusk, more than a thousand leave the sea and “parade” to their nests on dry land.

Visitors can watch the parade from observation decks but, because camera flashes are disruptive, taking photos of the penguins is a no-no. I did find an online video, though, that gives more visual context … plus some parading!

There’s also a live burrow camera for watching egg hatchings and chicks and the Penguin Parade app for phones and tablets.

Watching the penguins leave the sea was really cool. Even better was following them as they waddled home on dry land. From raised walkways, we could watch them walk by in big groups, just a few feet away from us. Throughout the conservation complex, there were also pathways where the penguins could get wherever needed, undisturbed.

Because of the photo restriction, I wasn’t able to take any photos of penguins. But I did manage to get one of this guy! (Or gal?)

dsc09829

It’s a wallaby!

There are other things to see/do on Phillip Island, including seal colonies, beaches, and plenty of scenic hikes. My visit to the island was a whirlwind afternoon/evening tour on The Little Penguin Bus. If possible, I’d like to return on my own for more exploring. Getting to Phillip island is easy via public transport — two hours each way — but getting around the island without a car is more of a challenge.

This was all I got to see during my visit …

Hopefully, I’ll have the chance to see more!