6 Places in Australia to See Penguins

Australia is home to many quirky animals, but there’s something special about penguins: they’re small, have an adorable little waddle and, most importantly, they’re incredibly cute! Whether you want to see the majestic King Penguin, like those featured in Happy Feet, or marvel at the tiny Little Penguin that frolic on the southern coast, you’ll get your fix of adorable little waddle in no time at these choice locations throughout Australia.

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SEA LIFE Sydney, New South Wales

Little Penguin, (Eudyptula minor), adult couple going shore, spreads wings, Kangaroo Island, South Australia, Australia

Tier Und Naturfotografie J und C Sohns / Getty Images 

1-5 Wheat Rd, Sydney NSW 2000, Australia
Phone +61 1800 195 650

Among the many sea creatures you’ll see at SEA LIFE in Sydney, arguably the most adorable is the Little Penguin, also commonly referred to as a Fairy Penguin. SEA LIFE has a very successful breeding colony, which means not only are there always plenty of penguins frolicking in the water, there’s also a chance of seeing a baby chick or two.

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SeaWorld, Gold Coast, Queensland

Little Penguins/Fairy Penguins (Eudyptula Minor) breeding in Wildlife, Australia

4FR / Getty Images

Seaworld Dr, Main Beach QLD 4217, Australia
Phone +61 133386

At SeaWorld, a theme park on the Gold Coast, not only will you see dolphins jumping through hoops and trainers performing gravity-defying stunts with killer whales, you’ll also see the proud King Penguin. Their icy habitat is replicated in a unique tank where the temperature averages around -35˚C, or -31˚F, and visitors can view the penguins while they chill on the shore, or dive playfully through the water. Be sure to catch the penguins at feeding time to see them at their most active.

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Phillip Island, Victoria

The Nobbies landscape of Phillip Island, Australia.
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Phillip Island, Victoria, Australia

If you’d rather see the Little Penguins in the wild, every night on Phillip Island, south of the Mornington Peninsula in Victoria, the tiny flightless birds make their way from the ocean to their hiding spots on the land. It’s known affectionately as the Penguin Parade. Elevated boardwalks also allow visitors to wander around and spot penguins in their burrows and hiding spots. When you’re heading out for the night, be sure to check under your car, just in case you have a little stow-away!

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Penguin Island, Western Australia

Little Penguin at Penguin Island near Perth, Western Australia
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Penguin Island, Western Australia, Australia

The aptly named Penguin Island is home to the largest population of Little Penguins in Western Australia, who visit the island annually to breed and nest. Visits to this untouched island are strictly limited, and only during specific daylight hours in mid-September to early June. Apart from the penguins, you’re also likely to see pelicans, sea eagles, albatross and a number of other native bird species, and maybe even a pod of dolphins.

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Lion Island, Broken Bay, New South Wales

Seals colony on the seal rock of Philip island, Australia
Boy_Anupong / Getty Images
Lion Island, Box Head NSW 2257, Australia

If you’re lucky, you’ll find yourself on Lion Island in Broken Bay and, if you’re even luckier, you’ll be treated to a small colony of Little Penguins. Recently, the colony, which can only be reached by boat, has been declining in numbers, so conservation efforts have been put in place to ensure Lion Island is a haven for Little Penguins for years to come.

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Shore Beach, Manly, New South Wales

Fairy penguin at St.Kilda beach, Melbourne
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Manly Beach, New South Wales, Australia

At a little-known beach in Manly, a small colony of Little Penguins is thriving. Thanks to nesting boxes and other conservation efforts, Shore Beach has become something of a refuge for Little Penguins in New South Wales. While a visit to the sandy beach may not guarantee you a view of the penguins, it does guarantee you a secluded and sunny spot where you can while away the afternoon. Shore Beach is not accessible by land, and it’s the general rule of thumb that the best way to get to the beach is by kayak.

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6 Places in Australia to See Penguins