Home Mates Tours Phillip Island Small-Group Penguin Express

Phillip Island Small-Group Penguin Express

25 reviews

Just the penguins, more free time in Melbourne, more time at the Penguin Parade!

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25 reviews

  • Expert guide and the best possible penguin viewing experience
  • Informative small group tour with a maximum of 11 people
  • Save time and money with an express afternoon trip

What we'll do

Strap yourself in for the best penguin viewing experience we've found!

Maximise your time in Melbourne by travelling directly to Phillip Island in the afternoon to watch the famous parade of penguins. As your guide takes you on a scenic drive, you'll be informed with stories about the history of Phillip Island and the Penguin Parade. If time permits, you may also enjoy a short walk at The Nobbies. 

For the Penguin Parade, you can choose from the larger General Viewing seating area (Budget), the smaller premium seating area (Premium) or get the VIP treatment with your own wildlife ranger for a Penguin Parade-conducted tour (Guided Ranger Tour). The Budget option is good if you are happy to see smaller numbers of penguins. If you would like to see more penguins from a smaller seating area, we recommend the Premium or Guided Ranger Tour options.

Can you hear the ‘huk-huk’ of penguins as they gather in their groups and begin moving towards the shore? Watch closely as they emerge from the waves, then waddle across the beach toward their burrows in the dunes. This will be one of the most fascinating wildlife events you will ever see. After the Penguin Parade, you'll be returned to Melbourne, with drop-off included if you're staying in the city centre.

Have the best possible Phillip Island Penguin Parade experience - book your spot on this tour today!

What to know

  • Tour days: Most days (see calendar for availability)
  • Price includes: 
    • 8+ hour guided activity
    • Expert and professional guide
    • Round trip tour with commentary
    • Blankets to keep you warm
    • Insider tips for best possible penguin viewing
    • Penguin Parade entry tickets (different viewing options available)
    • Hotel drop off
    • Air-conditioned transport
  • Language: Tour is given in easy to understand English.
  • Perfect for: Solo travellers, couples or small groups. You'll be in a small, friendly group consisting mostly of international travellers. 
  • Group size: Up to 11 people
  • Age range: This tour attracts a range of ages.
  • Open Date bookings: must be confirmed at least 7 days in advance.

About your guides

The Little Penguin Bus is the Phillip Island Penguin Parade specialists. They only operate this one tour, providing an afternoon/evening small-group tour (maximum 11) that travels directly to the Penguin Parade at a lower price than any similar tour. They have been operating since 2011 and are consistently rated among the top Melbourne tours on TripAdvisor (currently ranked number 4 out of 215 outdoor activities in Melbourne). 

Your guide will be either Mac or Dave, and both of them are absolute experts when it comes to anything penguin-related.

      Frequently asked questions

      • What should I bring? Comfortable warm clothing and closed footwear. We recommend bringing some cash or a credit card for purchasing some snacks at the Penguin Parade or bringing some food with you. It can get quite cold so your guide will have some blankets for you, but make sure to wear warm clothing. Bring a camera for the scenic views, but be reminded that photographing the penguins is strictly prohibited.
      • Is any food included? Food is not included on this tour. Meals and drinks are available for purchase at the Penguin Parade or bring some food with you.
      • Where do we start and finish? Tour starts and finish in Melbourne. Meet at Rendezvous Hotel Flinders St, 328 Flinders Street, Melbourne (near Flinders Street Train Station). You will be dropped back at your accommodation at the end of the tour (CBD area, Docklands, or Southbank accommodations only). Please inform us at the time of booking of your accommodation.
      • When do we start and finish? The tour start time depends on the season, and tours finish approximately 8 hours later:
        • Jan: 4:00 pm
        • Feb-Mar: 3:00 pm
        • Early Apr: 2:00 pm
        • Apr-Aug: 1:30 pm
        • Sep-Early Oct: 2:00 pm
        • Oct-Nov: 3:00 pm
        • Dec: 3:30 pm
      • What days does the tour operate? Tours operate daily. Check the calendar for availability.
      • Who can come? All ages are welcome.

      Cancellation policy

      • Cancellations made more than 2 days before the activity starts will receive a 90% refund.
      • No cancellations can be made within 2 days of the activity. 
          Customer Reviews
          5.0 Based on 25 Reviews
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          Excellent experience, thoughtful details

          Our guide was really friendly and took care to tell us about penguins, the history of Phillip Island and various landmarks along the way. We were considering hiring a car and driving there instead, but I'm glad we chose the tour - the extra cost for the tour over hiring a car was well worth it for the extra information and stories along the way. I particularly liked the small group feel of the tour (we were a total of 8 people), that they provided blankets to keep us warm at night while viewing the penguins, and that the guide gave us a run down of when we should head outside to start viewing the penguins to have the best experience (i.e. 10 mins before they arrive, rather than sitting outside for an hour claiming a spot). Also, choose the "penguins plus" option rather than the "budget" option - you end up in a viewing area with ~100 people instead of ~1000, with several rangers there to explain what's happening and answer questions, and the penguins walk right past (~1 m away). Highly recommended as a great way to see the penguins!

          best way to see penguin parade

          I booked the penguin tour with Grayline at first, as I thought a multi-national travel brand must be very reliable. However, just got a cancel email due to "operational issue", only 1 hour before departure time which we should be picked up.Then, I checked tripadvisor and found Mac and his Little Penguin Bus here. I feel so lucky to choose Little Penguin Bus. Mac is an excellent tour guide, energetic, easygoing, and always considerate. He shared lots of information about Phillip Island, tried his best to let us have more opportunities to see wild animals, told us tons of tips about how and when to see the penguin parade, even prepared blankets to keep us warm! Mac also told us that there's a town near Melbourne called Lang Lang, just the same as name of famous pianist, when he knew we came from Shanghai, China. Haha! We simply did everything that Mac told us to do and enjoyed every minute of the half-day tour. Actually, that day to Phillip island was the last day of our holiday in Australia, and the tour with Little Penguin Bus did draw a perfect full stop to the whole travel. Thanks, Mac. Well done!

          Awesome way to see the Little Penguins

          Mac and his Little Penguin Bus gave us an awesome tour to Phillip Island from Melbourne. Much more personalized than a big bus tour, really delightful (just enough and never too much) information from Mac the guide and driver, and close up viewing of wildlife like wallabies and rare geese all made this tour great even before we got to the Penguin Parade to see the Little Penguins. Friends with all the rangers and staff at the park, Mac took care of everything, including getting our exclusive ranger-guided tour tickets. All we had to do was enjoy the experience. This was more like taking a day trip with an old friend to a special place he knows everything about than a typical tour. Absolutely, this has to be the best tour in the Melbourne region. And it was one of the best day tours weve had anywhere in the world. Thanks, Mac (and Cheese the Penguin).

          Enjoyed every minute

          My family and I enjoyed every minute of this tour! Mac's inside knowledge was very helpful and we definitely got the most out of the experience. He was very friendly and showed great passion for his work. We saw many animals not just little penguins, including wallabies, geese, rabbits and a rare sighting of a bandicoot. We recommend paying extra for seeing the cute penguins in the bunker.

          Not sure why you would book anywhere else

          I'm not sure why you would book anywhere else. Even though I'm sure he does this every day, Mac makes this experience really unforgettable. Beyond just the penguins, he gives you a bit of a tour on the drive up and of the island. We saw goslings, wallabees, and tons of other wildlife. His tips for viewing also make the experience great, and he suggests you stay under they kick you out so you get maximum value. 6 out of 5 would book again.