Where to See the St Kilda Fairy Penguins – An FAQ

Where to see the St Kilda Fairy Penguins - An FAQ

The St Kilda Penguins: What Breed Are They?

The St Kilda penguins are Little Penguins, otherwise known as Fairy Penguins.

Some of common characteristics of Little or Fairy Penguins that set them apart from other penguin species:

  • They are significantly smaller in stature than other breeds, being the smallest species of penguin.
  • Their plumage has a deep indigo-blue sheen, rather than being pitch black.
  • They are predominantly found in Australia, New Zealand, and also, along the coastline of Chile.
  • In Melbourne, Victoria, they can be found in the inner-city, beach-side suburb of St Kilda.

The Search for Penguins: Where in St Kilda Can I Find the Penguins? 

The St Kilda penguins can be found at St Kilda Pier, in an isolated location known as the St Kilda Breakwater. This rugged, rocky outcrop lining the St Kilda Pier is aboriginal land and home to a colony of Little or Fairy Penguins. 

It is important to note that the St Kilda Breakwater area has been closed to the public since early 2022 due to the St Kilda Pier Redevelopment Project, which is planned to be completed in late 2024.

Optimal Viewing: What is the Best Time to See the St Kilda Penguins? 

When the St Kilda Breakwater area is open, the best time of day to see the St Kilda penguins is at sunset. As the St Kilda penguins tend to emerge at night, you’d be wasting your time if you try to find them during the day!

Going to the St Kilda pier at sunset will give you the best chunk of time to see the little penguins while they’re out and about at night. This is because the Fairy Penguins are nocturnal and usually burrowed away sleeping during the day. Being nocturnal means the penguins can avoid being out in the open and vulnerable to daytime predators. 

Penguin Etiquette: What Do I Need To Remember When Visiting the St Kilda Penguins?

If you want to visit the penguins at the St Kilda Pier and Breakwater area, there are certain penguin viewing guidelines visitors must follow. The guidelines state that:

  • Touching the penguins is strictly prohibited.
  • It is not permitted to feed the penguins.
  • Clambering onto the rocky outcrop is off-limits.
  • No flash photography is allowed.
  • No torches are to be used unless a red filter is placed over the top of the torchlight.
  • Pets including dogs and cats are forbidden from visiting the Breakwater area.
  • Visitors must keep at least 3 metres away from the penguins at all times.

These guidelines are for the penguins’ safety, and to help them feel at ease in their natural environment in the St Kilda Breakwater area.

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