Most people who have been to Australia would probably have done a penguin tour or something to that effect, and the most popular one would be Penguin Parade tour at Phillip Island near Melbourne. I did that many years back when I went on a tour with my family, and all I could remember was the penguins were so tiny and far away from us in the dark that I wasn’t exactly sure I really saw them “live”.
While researching on things to do for my Tasmania holidays this time, I found out that there is this place at the northern tip of Tasmania, called Low Head, that has a daily penguin tour after dusk. The tour fee is much cheaper than the one to Phillip Island and promises close-up encounters with the fairy penguins. So without hesitation, I signed up for the tour after finding out the contact details of the Low Head Penguin tour operator. If you are driving there on your own, the admission fee is AU$17.50 per adult. If you are taking the transport to and fro Low Head from your hotel/ accommodation in Launceston, the cost would be AU$67 per adult. The tour lasts about 1 hour but the time taken to travel from Launceston city to Low Head is about 45 minutes.
We arrived at the Low Head penguin tour site at about 5.30pm and it was already dark. Shirley the tour guide gave us some background on the little penguins before we made our way to the beach. The penguins, which usually grow to an average of 33cm in height and 43cm in length, can be found in Southern Australia and New Zealand. We were told not to use any flashlight during the tour to take pictures or videos and not to move too much unless required, so as not to alert and scare the penguins from coming onshore to their homes (burrows). Shirley would shine her torchlight in the area where the penguins were so that we would be able to look in that direction but not directly at them as they are sensitive to light.
The excitement awaited us once we stepped onto the beach. It was freezing cold although I was wearing my down jacket and all covered with scarf and gloves as it was drizzling with strong winds. For about 10-15 minutes all of us stood there patiently in the cold hoping that the penguins would come onshore asap. Finally at close to 6pm they slowly emerged from the sea. You wouldn’t be able to imagine our excitement when we spotted the first penguin! Below are some of the clearer pictures I managed to take of the cute little ones. 🙂
It was a chilly yet happy 1 hour “chasing” after the cute little penguins, a very interesting and unforgettable experience! It was only from this tour that I realised the sound the fairy penguins make sound a bit like ducks quacking 😛 They are just too adorable to resist and I highly recommend everyone to put this tour as a must-go attraction should you visit Tasmania. It’s definitely much more worthwhile going to Low Head than to Phillip Island in my opinion 🙂