PHILLIP Island Nature Parks will welcome regional Victorians back to see the island’s world-famous Penguin Parade in-person.
The opening on Monday, September 28, coincides with Nature Parks notching up 10 million viewers to its live streaming of the parade on Live Penguin TV since its launch last month.
The Penguin Parade will be able to welcome 150 guests every night up until the end of school holidays, the Koala Conservation Reserve will welcome up to 300 visitors, and Churchill Island will be able to welcome up to 500 guests to their outdoor spaces throughout the day.
Once the holidays have ended, the three sites will revert to weekend operations until the end of October.
“We’re delighted the hard work of so many Victorians has paid off, and such important attractions within regional Victoria are able to start re-opening safely,” Environment Minister Lily D’Ambrosio said.
The three sites will be open daily from Monday, September 28, to Sunday, October 4, and then afterwards, the Penguin Parade will open on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights only, and the Koala Conservation Reserve and Churchill Island will open on weekends only through until the end of October.
“We hope that from late October, people living in metropolitan Melbourne will be able to join us here as they enter their third step,” Catherine Basterfield, Phillip Island Nature Parks CEO, said.
“Live Penguin TV has been a wonderful way for Victorians to connect with wildlife and nature over the past few weeks, and to have something to look forward to visiting in real life as we continue along the roadmap to recovery, and this has been shown through the wonderful viewer numbers.”
The global success of Live Penguin TV coincides with a great start to the breeding season with a large number of chicks already hatched.
Livestreaming viewers have seen an average of over 1200 penguins coming ashore each night, many rushing to their burrows with the belly full of food for their chicks.
These chicks will fledge anywhere between 8 and 11 weeks after hatching, spending at least one year out at sea on a ‘gap year’ before they’ll join the others in their nightly march up the beach.
Entry to all the attractions will only be available through the purchase of an online ticket, which will be going on sale from Monday, September 21. Further details on viewing options being offered will be updated on the Nature Parks’ website and social media pages.
The three sites will all be reopening with physical distancing measures in place, enhanced cleaning practices to ensure levels of hygiene are maintained, and of course mandatory wearing of face coverings.
The Antarctic Journey and the Nobbies Visitor Centre will remain closed for now, however, the clifftop boardwalks will still be accessible.