Penguins in Melbourne

Sep 2nd, 2004, 07:08 PM
  #1  
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Penguins in Melbourne

We are trying to decide exactly what to do in Melbourne regarding the penguine parade. I have found several different tours that include different stuff:
Penguin Parade only leaving about 3:30 p.m.
Penguin Parade, Kaola Conservatory, Seal Colony & feeding kangaroos leaving at 1:30
Visit to Warrook Sheep and Cattle Farm, with the above included leaving at 10:00 a.m.
There is even another one with all of that and Puffing Billy included too.
Then today I found a Penguin dinner cruise out of Melbourne.
Has anyone done any of these other things. I have read a good bit about the Penguin Parade. We were just wondering if we should try to combine some of these other sights on the same day. We also plan to visit the Victoria Markets and go on the Tram Car Restaurant. Not sure if we have time to do the Great Ocean Road. Possibly could fly over GOR if I can find a website about that.
loves_to_travel is offline  
Sep 3rd, 2004, 02:20 AM
  #2  
 
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Hello again LTT,
Whilst in Melbourne we decided not to visit the penguin parade as its such along haul down the Mornington penninsula jus tfor that also we were told its really quite commercialised with hundreds of tourists vying for views. So using advice from marg who I think is still on holiday we took a cruise from the river and saw fairy penguins from the boat.
I don't have the details here but there is a thread somewhere on fodors which I will try to get the details from later.
Bye for now

Muck
Mucky is offline  
Sep 3rd, 2004, 02:26 AM
  #3  
 
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Hi LTT
Have a look in here on day 2.
I hope some of the other stuff may be of help too.

http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...3&tid=34466035

Muck
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Sep 3rd, 2004, 05:00 AM
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The penguin parade at Phillip Island is very commercial but also very popular. You can see fairy penguins on a much shorter trip from Southgate in the city. I think you go on a boat to St Kilda. If you are short on time I would investigate that option. There are signs at Southgate by the Yarra with all the details if you want to wait until you arrive. One thing I would suggest you book ahead is the Colonial Tramcar restaurant, it's very popular and gets booked out early. If you like markets, you should love the Queen Vic market. A couple of websites you might find helpful -
www.visitvictoria.com.au
www.travelmate.com.au
www.citysearch.com.au
Kay
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Sep 3rd, 2004, 06:34 AM
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Most of the tours you have listed will involve a very long day with getting back to your hotel very late. The couple of times I have been to the parade, even though there have been a lot of people there, you can still get up very close and see them because all the people split up to watch them take the different routes to their burrows. The penguins at St. Kilda might well be a better option. I don't know much about that so cannot say if there are many penguins to see. There are also boats leaving from the Docklands for the St. Kilda penguins. I wouldn't be sure about the dinner cruise one though, I generally find food on boat trips to be very mediocre and you wonder how much time is allocated to the penguins as compared to the dinner. The other thing I would query is that if you take a boat trip how close do you get to the penguins. If you are up on the boat and they are down on the shore line you won't get to see much. Perhaps you can get off the boat to watch them, I don't know but it's worth checking. At Phillip Island although you aren't allowed to touch them of course, I have been close enough that I could stretch out my arm and touch them.
As you are considering the Great Ocean Road as well, one possibility you might want to consider is hiring a car, driving down to Phillip Island, see the penguin parade that night and staying on the island. The next day you drive around to the Peninsula and catch the car ferry from Sorrento or Portsea over to Queenscliff. If you are lucky you might even find a few dolphins on the way. Queenscliff is a nice old town and would be a lovely spot to have lunch. From there its about 3/4 of an hour to get on to the Great Ocean Road.
We have done this with overseas relatives before and they have loved it. If you haven't had an opportunity to see any wild kangaroos in your travels you can stop at the golf course at Anglesea and you are almost certain to find some. Mind you a lot of the golf course is fenced off now because all the tour buses were stopping off and everyone was getting in the way of both the golfers and the kangaroos.
One website I found that offers flights along the GOR is www.tigermothworld.com. IMHO Tiger Moth World itself looks a particularly pathethic spot and so have only ever driven past it. However if you are interested in a flight only that is another matter altogether. I have no doubt that the airstrip is fine and I have seen hundred of flights overhead from there over the years Tiger Moth World is located at Torquay and if you need to save some time, you could do as previously suggested, i.e. spend the night on Phillip Island, take the ferry to Queenscliff and then drive to Torquay. You would be in Torquay by lunchtime, have time to do a joy flight and be back in Melbourne that evening. It is only about 90 minutes drive back to the city.

shandy is offline  
Sep 5th, 2004, 05:48 AM
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"Seeing the penguins in Melbourne" is NOTHING like seeing the penguins on Phillip Island. Sure, you have to travel further, but the experience is basically "yep, a few penguins in suburbia" versus hundreds of "penguins in their natural environment- at night, under floodlights".
It's far more dramatic- and there is NO comparison.
If you want to really "see" penguins- head for Phillip Island at night.
A trip visiting the penguins, Seal Colony and Koala Sanctuary sounds to me like the "perfect" day trip for an overseas tourist.
We Victorians love the fact that we have penguins living so close to our capital city. But where overseas tourists are concerned- you will "get a better deal" overall by visiting the penguins at Phillip Island.
Possum is offline  
Sep 5th, 2004, 06:16 AM
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"Seeing the penguins in Melbourne" is NOTHING like seeing the penguins on Phillip Island. Sure, you have to travel a lot further, but the experience is basically "yep, a few penguins splashing around in view of suburbia" versus thousands of "penguins in their natural habitat- at night, under floodlights".
It's far more dramatic- and there is NO comparison. IMHO.
If you want to really "see" penguins- head for Phillip Island at night.
A trip visiting the penguins, Seal Colony and Koala Sanctuary sounds to me like the "perfect" day trip for an overseas tourist.It's one I'd take with overseas friends.
We Victorians love the fact that we have penguins living so close to our capital city. But where overseas tourists are concerned- you will "get a better deal" overall by visiting the penguins at Phillip Island at night, and by visiting some of the tourist sites on the way.
From Melbourne to Phillip Island- you pass through one of the foremost "dairy" areas of Victoria. Home of international award-winning cheeses and dairy products.
There are many places on and off the highway where you can purchase these goods.
Cowes, on Phillip Island, has very good accomodation facilities.
Possum
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Sep 5th, 2004, 12:22 PM
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hi, loves_to_travel,
as a Kiwi penguin-fanatic, I would most certainly recommend the trip to Phillip Island! Where I live we have little blue / fairy penguins around our coast but the experience of Phillip Island is special. My husband, a take-them-or-leave-them guy, really enjoyed the uniqueness of the trip to Phillip Island. If you are short on time I would incorporate a couple of other tours on the trip but don't make yourself too tired to enjoy the penguins. Incidentally, Puffing Billy is another 'must-do' trip IMHO, as well as the Victoria Markets. And just walking around the city is interesting. Healesville Sanctuary is home for many unusual distinctly-Australian animals if you are interested in this side of Australia. Don't remember penguins there though!
dotty is offline  
Sep 6th, 2004, 02:30 PM
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I like the drive down to Phillip Island as well. It's very true that it's commercialized - there's an entrance with obligatory gift shop; railings to keep you on the straight and narrow down to the beach and concrete bleachers to sit as you wait for twilight. None the less, I thought it was entertaining and a nice night out. The penguins don't seem to be affected by their stardom in the least and continue on their way up the hill into individual dens in a most down to earth way. Everyone watches (fairly quietly) for the first groups to come in (packs? flocks? herds? whatever penguins travel in besides the usual formal wear). Everyone one then follows along on elevated walkways as the penguins make their way home.

It's a nice bit of fun and the drive down is actually very nice in a gentle scenic sort of way. And if you like a little cheesiness in your travels there's a place we've stopped on the way down called the "Giant Worm". Not sure where you're from, but if it's the US, think a bit like the roadside gator farms in Florida. O even got to hold a baby wombat there - although I'm sure he's much too big now for that sort of thing and has taken on those surly teenage wombat ways.

Out on Phillip Island itself is also a place called Seal Rocks, (with seals of course) with an observatory above and a nice little cafe.

The formations on the GOR are just beautiful by the way and we have seen wild echidna along the road and koala in Otway Nat'l park on the cape. Koalas are cute little guys but they get around much. After a few minutes, you've pretty much seen your koala, unless blinking fascinates.

Enjoy your trip.
Clifton is offline  
Sep 9th, 2004, 10:00 PM
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I did what I think is your 1:30 departure bus trip several years ago and it was a very enjoyable, albeit very tiring, trip. Think it was with Greys coaches. We stopped on the way down for afternoon tea, and kangaroo feeding. Then stopped at the Koala Sanctuary on Phillip Island. There was a decent dinner stop (meals at own cost) in Cowes which is a very pretty seaside town with a good Italian restaurant and a couple of good fish and chip shops.

The penguins were gorgeous! Although there were lots of people there it didn't feel over-crowded. I felt the whole trip was good value for money.

The trip back, after seeing the seals and penguins, is the only boring bit - mainly becuase it's dark. Take one of those airline sleeping masks and snooze your way back!
jjester is offline  
Sep 10th, 2004, 02:01 AM
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You ate Penguins and chips......wow is that allowed?

;-)

Muck
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Sep 13th, 2004, 06:15 PM
  #12  
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We are definitely planning to see the penguins, just didn't know how much to do that day. Has anyone been to Warrook Sheep & Cattle Farm? Also, the only tour that includes Puffing Billy seems to leave pretty early (10:30 a.m.) and I know that we won't be back until around midnight. Is it worth it to do Puffing Billy?
loves_to_travel is offline  
Sep 18th, 2004, 08:37 AM
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"Puffing Billy" is a steam locomotive that trundles along at a fairly gentle pace through some wonderful countryside. You will pass by huge mountain ash trees and tree fern-filled gullies. It's slow, gentle and lovely. The train carriages are open-sided. Wear sunglasses so particles of soot don't hit you directly in the eye if you stick your head out!

If you are leaving Melbourne at 10:30, you will be at Puffing Billy by about 11:15. The train trip takes about 45 minutes, so you should be on the way to the penguins by about 12.
I don't know anything about the Warrook Sheep and Cattle farm, but I can't imagine it being ALL that interesting. Take the tour that offers visits to the Koala Sanctuary and the Seal Colony. And then on to Phillip Island for the night-time viewing of the penguins.
All good "eco-tourists" know that if you are asked NOT to use flash(as at Phillip Island), you don't. At the Phillip Island Penguin Parade, you'll see that request repeated over and over. It's in both written and oral form- and in several languages.
Sadly, it's STILL ignored by some tourists. And they have NO idea why the Aussies(and others) seated next to them in the crowd get so cheesed off (and verbal!) when they take their photos!
Guess it's purely just a case of tour guides needing to do more to inform their clients.
If you can get a visit to Puffing Billy, the Koala Sanctuary, Seal Rocks and the Penguin Parade into a one-day excursion, it will be a BIG day. But it will be well worth it. Just get an early night beforehand!
Possum
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