The Penguin Parade attracts more than half-a-million visitors annually to see the little penguins (Eudyptula minor), the world’s smallest, and probably cutest of their kind. The main penguin complex includes concrete amphitheatres that hold up to 3800 spectators who come to see the little fellas just after sunset as they waddle from the sea to their land-based nests. There's also an underground viewing section, premium seats and VIP platforms for those wanting prime views; come summer book well in advance.
Penguin numbers swell after breeding in summer, with as many as 32,000 arriving on a given night, but they’re in residence year round. After the parade, hang around the boardwalks for a closer view as the stragglers search for their burrows and mates. Bring warm clothing, and take note there's strictly no photography or videoing. Be sure to arrive an hour beforehand – check the website for their ETA.
There are a variety of specialised tours where you can be accompanied by rangers to explain the behaviour of penguins, tours with night-vision goggles, behind-the-scenes tours and highly recommended Aboriginal heritage guided walks ($60) that conclude with premium penguin viewing. There’s also a cafe and an interpretive centre at the complex, where you can spy penguins nesting during the day; it's free entry until 4pm. A new building was being constructed in 2017, which will further improve facilities.