It is during our trip in Tasmania, that discovered the life of the penguins (also called Blue Penguins, Little Penguins or Penguin Penguins) with the Penguin Tour in the city of Bicheno.
What is a Little Penguin?
There are many species of penguins in the world, the little penguin is the most present specie in Australia and New Zealand. These are the smallest penguins that exist, they measure about 35 cm for 1 kg.
They usually stay with the same partner all their lives and have a lifetime of about 6 years.
Where to watch the Little Penguins?
The little penguins go out to sea all day to feed. They can travel up to 70 km a day! It is at nightfall that they return to the beach to rest from their exhausting day. They build their nests in small cavities, on beaches or rocks, but they don't systematically climb up each night, it depends on the seasons and if they are tired or not.
It is therefore at nightfall, near the beaches, that you will have the best chance to observe them. But you have to be patient, life for penguins is not easy and going back home after a hard day is a strenuous effort.
We had the chance to observe them in Bicheno, but know that there are other observation spots in Australia. The best known are Phillip Island, St Kilda Beach near Melbourne, the 12 Apostles on the Great Ocean Road, the city of Penguin in Tasmania and Penguin Island near Perth.
When to watch Little Penguins?
The best season to see penguins is summer in the southern hemisphere (November to February).
Indeed, when penguin babies are in the nest (for about 3 weeks), you are assured that the parents will come back home each night. You can see about twenty go up each evening!
However, it is possible to observe them all the year.
The tour starts from the centre of Bicheno at the surf shop. You leave at 8pm by bus, to see the penguins go home from the beach. Remember to book from the website because, although we were not in perfect season to observe them, the bus was full.
We went to see them at the end of March, so we were not sure that they would go up to the top of the beach, but we still saw 5 of them go up between our feet and a good ten more far away on the beach.
The experience is unique and you will learn a lot about the penguin way of life.
Photos are however prohibited to avoid disturbing penguins. You observe them in a natural environment, you must respect their environment (and the flash may blind them). All the photos in this article are those of the Penguin Tour, they will be offered if you ask for them at the end of the adventure.
We highly recommend this tour (35$AUD/person).
NB: Did you know? The colour of their feathers allows them to protect themselves from predators during their escapade at sea. Dark blue on the back to blend in with the colour of the ocean, for predators from the sky, and white on the belly to blend in with the sunlight and thus protect against predators from the depths.