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Penguins can be found almost anywhere around the Tasmanian coastline wherever there is shelter from the prevailing seas, shelving beachline and shrubby growth on the shore.
Penguins come ashore in their greatest numbers during the breeding season which, happily, coincides with the main tourist season from October to April.
A Few Dos and Don’ts
· The temptation to approach the penguins is strong, but please don’t! Don't attempt to touch them, and don’t let your children touch them. It’s very stressful for them and may prevent them reaching their hungry young in the burrow.
· Don’t walk through the penguin colony as it damages the burrows.
· Penguins can easily spot movement, especially if they see you outlined against the sky. It is best not to walk along the beach to your viewing point, as this frightens them. How do they know you aren’t a seal or sea lion intent on eating them?
· Use only a dim torch (flashlight) emitting a red light (red cellophane over the lens is fine). Don’t point the flashlight at the penguins. Flash on cameras should never be used. Digital cameras without flash and video cameras without spotlights can be used and produce better results at dusk than conventional film cameras.
Where to Go
At Penguin (of course!) on the north west coast, penguins come ashore even near the main township. Penguin Point Fairy Penguin Tours conduct nightly tours (except Saturday) from September to March. Bookings are essential. Phone (03) 6437 2590
At Point Sorell near Port Sorell one can often catch sight of little penguins scampering up the beach.
At Low Head near George Town, there are nightly tours from the Coastal Reserve.
At Lillico Beach near Devonport penguins can be seen at Lillico Beach Conservation Area. There is a viewing platform about 4 kms east of the Forth River off the Bass Highway. The Friends of Lillico Penguins provide a free guiding interpretation service throughout the breeding season.
At Stanley, you can book a tour direct with Stanley Tour Co or at the Brown Dog or the Stanley Hotel. Or you can go to the area between the cemetery and the sea and look out for them at dusk. Just observe the above rules.
At Bicheno, Bicheno Penguin Tours runs the biggest nightly tour. It runs all year, but penguin numbers are higher during the summer season
At Bicheno, Bicheno Penguin FREE Viewing at Diamond Island Resort Phone 0403066983 runs a nightly viewing. It runs all year, but penguin numbers are higher during the summer season
At Bruny Island, penguins are common on the beach along the isthmus joining North and South Bruny. Please take care if driving on the road along the isthmus at night.
At Burnie, you can see penguins in the early evening on many of the nearby beaches. The Little Penguin Observation Centre is on Parsonage Point at the western end of west Beach in the cityb centre.
On the west coast at Strahan, you could do the Bonnet Island Experience tour or, if you're on a budget, take a dusk trip to the southern end of Ocean Beach.