With my time in Melbourne coming to an end, I still had a couple of visits to make. One of them was to the Phillip Island and it's famous Penguin Parade. Once again, there are various tours by various operators available. I have chosen a half day tour with AAT Kings departing at 1.15 pm from Melbourne CBD.
Highlights included Maru Koala & Animal Park, Phillip Island, Nobbies Rock Formations and Penguin Parade.
The first stop on the tour was Maru Koala & Animal Park which is a family owned animal park featuring many Australian animals like
Purchase kangaroo food ($2) at the entrance for that obligatory selfie with a Roo
And many more. Here you can hand feed the animals, pat the animals and take photographs. I would definitely recommend stopping here if you wish to get a closer encounter with Australian animals.
The next stop on the tour was Phillip Island. Phillip Island is an Australian island about 140 km of Melbourne and a famous home to the Little Penguin.
Phillip Island is also a home to the Grand Prix Circuit.
The hills and fields are full of wildlife. Look closely and you might spot a wallaby.
The little penguin is the smallest species of penguin and it can be found on the coastlines of southern Australia and New Zealand. It is no taller than 30 cm .(source)
You have to wait until the sunset to see the little penguins make their way from the sea back to the hills where the chicks are waiting for their parents to bring the food to them.
You can also enjoy Little Penguins around their burrows from elevated timber boardwalks set up for visitors. (more info)
Penguins make the exact same way from the sea up to the nest every day so it is important to not block their path as they might get lost and not reach their nest. They also do not have eyelids thus flash photography might blind them. Because of that, photography and filming of the penguins is not allowed.
Tip: If you want to get really up and close to the little penguins, I would advise you check their home at St Kilda.
At some point, the penguins almost got extinct due to the fact that the foxes kept on hunting little penguins for thrills. The little penguins almost disappeared from the island until the chicken farmer came up with a solution for the problem. He suggested sending out one of his Maremma dogs which are mainly used to protect the chicken, sheep and goats, to protect the penguins.
The first dog that was sent to the island was named Oddball and he made a great job of keeping foxes off the island.
''Amazingly, since Oddball and his four-legged successors were introduced 10 years ago, there has not been a single penguin killed by a fox on Middle Island.'' (source)
There is a movie filmed after this and it's called after the first furry protector of the little penguins - Oddball. I've seen it and I would really recommend it for viewing.