Phillip Island Nature Parks
Phillip Island Nature Parks comprises of four main parks – the Penguin Parade, the Koala Conservation Centre, Churchill Island Heritage Farm and the Nobbies Centre. In addition, the Parks consist of wetlands, beaches and woodlands where visitors can relax and enjoy themselves.
The Parks are about 90 minutes from Melbourne on fantastic Phillip Island; and are a not-for-profit organisation. The revenue that the Phillip Island Nature Parks generates from the visitors is put back into wildlife conservation, educational programmes and scientific research.
History of Phillip Island Nature Parks
The Parks were established in 1996 by the State Government of Victoria and are spread over an area of 1,805 hectares. It forms a part of the UNESCO Western Port Biosphere Reserve and covers a wide range of ecosystems, including coastlines, woodlands and wetlands. All these ecosystems and environments are protected and administered by Phillip Island Nature Parks’ research and environmental programmes.
The Parks offer high quality eco-tourism to visitors and provides exceptional wildlife management.
Wildlife in Phillip Island Nature Parks
Besides being home to a huge population of little penguins, the world’s smallest penguin species, Phillip Island Nature Parks have a diverse range of wildlife, including:
- Hooded plovers
- Short-tailed shearwaters
- Migratory birds
- Australian fur seals
There are more than 300 indigenous plant species within the boundaries of the Parks that form the habitats for the wildlife.
The different parks under the banner of Phillip Island Nature Parks have different opening hours.
The Phillip Island Penguin Parade is open everyday, as the penguins arrive at sunset. Visitors are advised to be present at least an hour before the Parade begins. The Penguin Parade Visitor Centre is open everyday from 10 am, but on Christmas Day, it opens at 2 pm.
Koala Conservation Centre:
The session times for the Koala Conservation Centre varies based on the season.
- From April until end of daylight savings – 10 am to 5 pm
- During daylight saving – 10 am to 5.30 pm
- From Boxing Day until the end of summer school holidays – 10 am to 6 pm
Churchill Island Heritage Farm:
This park, filled with farm animals, is open everyday from 10 am to 5 pm. On Christmas Day, it opens at 2 pm. In addition, there are specific timings for various farming activities, such as cow milking, sheep shearing and whip cracking.
The timings of the Nobbies Centre vary based on the season. However, visitors should also know the Nobbies Centre closes one hour prior to sunset everyday to protect the indigenous wildlife.
- Summer – 11 am to 8 pm
- Autumn – 11 am to 5 pm
- Winter – 11 am to 4 pm
- Spring – 11 am to 6 pm
Other than the Nobbies Centre, where the entry is free, visitors have to pay for the Penguin Parade, Koala Conservation Centre and Churchill Island Heritage Farm. The three parks can be clubbed together using the 3 Parks Pass that cost $40.40 for an adult.
The general viewing ticket costs $23.80 per adult; the guided ranger tour for 12+ visitors costs $74; the 10-people guided ranger tour costs $84.20; and the Penguin Research tour for visitors aged 12 and above costs $100.
Koala Conservation Centre: Tickets for visitors aged 16 and above cost $11.90; child ticket is $5.95; Family ticket costs $29.75 and Australian pensioner ticket, which requires ID proof, costs $8.30.
Churchill Island Heritage Farm:
The ticket pricing is the same as the Koala Conservation Centre.