Phillips Island penguins

Friends who have visited Phillips Island say it's a must see in order to view penguins in their natural habitat. We will be arriving in Melbourne the day before the tour meets and would like to arrange a trip to Phillips Island. There are many tour companies available. Can anyone recommend one of these companies?

Comments

  • edited July 2014
    If you scroll through these threads you will find a lot of suggestions for seeing penguins.

    You haven't allowed yourself much time because unless you are a natural superhero (and I have been told repeatedly that some of you definitely are!) you will be jet lagged. Given how little time you have to get to know Melbourne, can I suggest you chose to visit the secret Melbourne penguin rookery rather than making the long journey down to Philip Island? If you had more than 1 free day … your arrival day … I would suggest that trip. It's a long day, but does travel through very interesting areas. If you plan to sleep on the bus … you know, I would much rather you had a nap in your hotel room than go home and pretend you saw, and enjoyed, your trip to Phillip Island. If you really must go to Philip Island, please consider flying into Melbourne a day earlier.

    Happy to give you details, if you can't find them in other threads, for the Melbourne rookery. It is very much their natural habitat, by the way.

    Cheers,

    Jan
  • csquire wrote:
    Friends who have visited Phillips Island say it's a must see in order to view penguins in their natural habitat. We will be arriving in Melbourne the day before the tour meets and would like to arrange a trip to Phillips Island. There are many tour companies available. Can anyone recommend one of these companies?


    Deinitely go. We arrived in Melbourne 2 days early so had time to sleep in a hotel bed, tour Melbourne and see the penguins the next day.

    Its worth traveling to Philips Island even if you are tired. We took a tour that began at 1 PM and was booked in advance by our hotel concierge (Langham) on Gray line tours. Others in our tour also took "half-day" tours. Even if you sleep on the way and/or on the way back it is worth it. We booked the VIP tour which is more expensive, but provides hors d'oeuvres and drinks inside the ranger station and an indoor (read comfortably warm) place to view the penguins. Also, you are in a group of about 10. There will be more people on the van, but you are "special".

  • Shescha, did you book your tour ahead of time or upon arrival at the Langham?
  • Sorry Shescha, I read your post again and it did say you booked in advance. How far in advance?
  • jdurkin wrote:
    If you scroll through these threads you will find a lot of suggestions for seeing penguins.

    You haven't allowed yourself much time because unless you are a natural superhero (and I have been told repeatedly that some of you definitely are!) you will be jet lagged. Given how little time you have to get to know Melbourne, can I suggest you chose to visit the secret Melbourne penguin rookery rather than making the long journey down to Philip Island

    Jan

    Jan, if you are willing to disclose your secrets to the secret Melbourne penguin rookery, I am intrigued. Any information would be welcome.
  • Lori, we booked through the Langham hotel and did it all by email to the concierge. I think we booked the tour a few months ahead, but some people on our trip waited until they arrived. The only problem with delaying until you arrive is that you will have limited time available and the tour you want may be booked. There was no charge until we actually picked up the tickets upon arrival at the hotel, although they implied that cancellations needed to be 24 hours in advance.

    They booked with Gray Line tours, and it was one of the more expensive tours but we were very satisfied with it. We took the VIP tour, which included a stop at a demonstration farm and sheep shearing demonstration and a place for lunch/snack (at our own expense), a koala preserve, light appetizers and wine at the ranger station at Phillips Island, and the indoor private viewing site for the penguins. Don't know what time of year you are going, but we went during Australian early fall, so sunset was 6-ish and the evening was chilly. The tour companies do adjust their timing for the changing seasons.

    We returned back at the Langham about 8:30-9 PM (after a nice nap on the dark bus ride home) and in time for a late night snack of gelato at one of the restaurants in the mall adjacent to the hotel. FYI, the gelato is delicious and they are open late (located on the second floor of the mall)

    Have a great time.
  • edited July 2014
    lori wrote:
    Jan, if you are willing to disclose your secrets to the secret Melbourne penguin rookery, I am intrigued. Any information would be welcome.
    Hi Lori,

    It's only a secret because most people either don't know about it or only know about the Phillip Island colony. The Saint Kilda rookery is very small, but perfectly formed … without the tourist glitz. This is the web site: http://stkildapenguins.com.au/skp/

    It's a very informative web site. Almost everything you need to know, and to make your expedition to the burbs worthwhile, is right there. Because of the proximity to your location, the concierge at The Langham will be able to advise on transport to and from. The little fellas time their return, every night of the year, to just after sunset, so depending on the time of year your are visiting …... You certainly won't see as many as you would at Phillip Island, but these little chaps are very exclusive.

    There are fairy penguins all through Port Phillip Bay … it's one of their major feeding grounds… but this colony really is a suburban rookery as distinct from a seaside resort. ;) And closer! Big city, inner-city, water-side dwelling at its very best! Enjoy!

    Cheers,

    Jan

    PS: It's free!
  • Thanks to Shescha and Jan for the information. I have "lots" to consider. Between the great Ocean Road tour and 2 Penguin colonies........... Decisions, decisions.
  • And, sadly, so little time…….
  • My sister-in-law and I are flying in two days prior to the tour starting. We are planning on taking the Gray Line Great Ocean Road tour the day after we land and the Phillips Island 1:00 pm tour the day after the welcome dinner since we have the rest of that day free. Are we crazy to plan all that? Is there time after the sightseeing tour with Tauck on day two to make the 1:00 pm departure for Phillips Island?

    We are on the Oct. 20, 2014 trip. Anyone else on this tour?
  • Many people here will tell you that jet lag does not exist. Others will swear they are super-human and thus immune. My guess is that you have never flown this far before. Be kind to yourself. You have chosen to visit us, albeit for such a very short time, and although you will be covering a lot of our territory, you won't be seeing very much of the country bar a couple of tourist icons. I would love you to do both trips … if only because you actually want to see something a little off the usual tourist junkets. But you will be very tired. Like climate change, jet lag is real. This is one of the reasons I have suggested people consider the shorter taxi ride to Saint Kilda to see the local penguins rather than the longer journey to Phillip Island. This would allow you to take the Great Ocean Road trip … another long journey. If you had programmed in a reasonable time before the start of your whirlwind tour, my advice would be different. If you are happy to sleep on every vehicle you encounter for the first 3 or 4 days … my suggestions are redundant.

    On the other hand, what the heck do I know. I only live here. I only travel on long haul flights regularly. I am not super-human. But I would still like you to be kind to yourself because I really would like you to take something positive with you when you get on the plane to go back to your world.

    Cheers,

    Jan
  • Just a thought............. My friends from Adelaide recently visited us in New York. When they returned to Australia, she admitted that for almost one week, she was waking up at 2 AM. She did her best to delay bedtime, but this proved quite exhausting. These people are very well-traveled, but, as Jan has indicated, everyone is different.
  • Yes, everyone is different. When I arrive in a new, long-haul flight destination, I allow myself at least 5 clear days before I have to anything … like join a Tauck tour. I position myself in a city where I can get around on foot. (This does present problems with many US cities.) I choose a city where I can enjoy and learn about the social history of the architecture, where there are good museums and galleries … and the odd shop! Somewhere I can totter about and stagger back to the hotel when my legs or sleep germs get the better of me. Sometimes 5 days aren't enough. When I get home, I am cactus for about a week and I swear I need to go slow for a month. (That might have to do with Old Father Time.) I have been travelog, like most Australians & New Zealanders, since my early 20s. I have always suffered from jet lag. At least in my 20s I was too stupid to pay attention, plus I had more stamina. Now, since I have grown out of the arrogance of youth, and I have more brains and need to pace myself more intelligently.

    My point is, you have chosen to visit Australia … which Tauck has lumped in, very insultingly, with the exotics of east Africa. You think you are going to visit …. I don't know, really … a film set for Kidman and Jackman. You are spending a lot of money for a long flight and a very short trip. You need to make the most of your time here. I don't really want you to sleep the whole time and go home and tell people you had a fabulous time with your new American friends but know knowing about my world … because you didn't visit it.

    Please be kind to yourselves.

    Cheers,

    Jan
Sign In or Register to comment.