We visited Phillip Island quite recently for a day trip from the Mornington Peninsula. Given it was only a day trip, we had decided in advance to visit the Koala Sanctuary and do the Penguin Parade. Our two children were five and one at the time.
You can purchase tickets for both the Koala Conservation Centre and Penguin Parade online, as well as for the 3 Park Pass which also includes Churchilll Island. As we wanting a closer look at the penguins (Penguin Plus), we elected to prepay these tickets, which meant we didn't have to wait in line much. As the penguins are at night (pack some thermals and jackets), we did the Koala Conservation Centre first.
I have to admit that I was a little disappointed with the koala conservation centre. Whilst the visitors centre is quite good, there is little interaction between the staff and visitors, unless you have a booking for a tour. From there, we moved on to the Penguin Parade where we arrived early to avoid the lines.
The Penguin Plus was absolutely brilliant, and well worth the extra money. As our five year old is quite inquisitive, and the ranger is close at hand, he was able to ask question after question and she wasn't phased at all. She kindly answered each of his questions, even sitting with him for a while and explaining what the penguins will do when they arrive to shore.
When the penguins arrived they were awesome, we sat for a while with our children fixated on the baby penguins, waiting for the parents to arrive. Once we had had enough, we were able to leave of our own accord. The one thing to remember is that you can't take flash photography, and so it is upsetting when as you leave the park people are cornering the penguins and taking photo's of them.
As someone who has never visited Phillip Island before, we still had a relaxing and fun day. We will definitely be taking our children back for another penguin experience in the future, maybe even back for the weekend.
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