Phillip Island Nature Park is home to one of Australia's most enjoyable attractions the penguin parade. The 2750-hectare park is a wildlife haven, with unique wetlands and a truly beautiful coastline, as well as the penguins. Walking tracks and boardwalks allow close-up viewing.
Beaches offer consistently good surfing conditions as well as snorkelling and diving. Visitors can hire a bike, sea kayak or take a guided eco active tour from the rock pools to the wetlands, from the beaches to the bush.
People have been enjoying watching the little penguins at Summerland Beach since around 1928. In 1968 research began to provide answers to some questions, such as how long penguins live and whether they mate for life. The answers are that they live for six to seven years (research on that is ongoing) and most stay with the same mate each season. They have a divorce rate of 18-20 percent.
Penguin Researcher for a Day is the first time the public has been invited to participate in the Nature Park's research and management programs.
A full day is spent with a ranger and research staff on the Summerland Peninsula. At 6.30pm you head to the beach to start your head count. Eighty percent of the little birds toddle up the beach in the first 50 minutes after sunset. You will be in the exclusive commentary box while this is happening. You check the birds' burrows and count the number of eggs which have hatched.
Penguins are bagged and taken to the research facility to be weighed, to establish their sex, and if not already fitted, receive an electronic tag. That way their progress, weight and direction are recorded at dusk and dawn and it can be seen how long they fish and how much food they bring their young. They use two routes on Phillip Island, Highway 1 and Highway 2.
Participating in this program not only gives the experience of a lifetime but all money goes directly to little penguin research.
Accommodation at a nearby B&B, all meals, safety equipment and transport are included in the cost. Participants must be over 18.
A two-hour drive south of Melbourne.
Phillip Island Nature Park Research Tours are $500 per person. Overnight accommodation, transfers, meals and equipment are included. Tours run from November to February.
Please note that the prices listed are valid at the time of filming.
Phillip Island Nature Park
Ph: (03) 5951 2800
Fax: (03) 5956 8394