Subscribe      List an Event or Business      Invite a Writer      Write for WN      Writers      Other Locations
list an event      1 million Australian readers every month      facebook

St Kilda Pier Little Penguin Colony

Home > Melbourne > Nature | Outdoor
Published February 21st 2011
Every evening when the sun sinks low on the horizon and its rays bounce off the sea's surface to cast a thousand sparkles across your vision, an event little known to many Melbourians takes place at the end of the St Kilda Pier. It's a mixed affair; here you'll find penguin suits congregating amongst parkers and warm jumpers, as the little penguin colony or Eudyptula Minor come home to nest.

In regards to the weather, I would love to say it is this canvas that you will stroll into as you make your way along the length of the famous heritage listed Pier and around the restaurant to the man made water break. Realistically it's Melbourne and the old saying 'four seasons in one day' hasn't been coined for nothing. Visit the Bureau of Meteorology for an up to date weather report. At the breakwater, walk along the gravel and then descend down the wooden stairs with other tourists to watch the nightly penguin parade.

These penguins are cute – for starters, they are the smallest in the world. Seeing them come out of the sea and toddle onto dry land, makes for hums of 'ohhhhs' and 'arrrrs' to softly and

quickly ripple across the small crowds that gather, followed by the sound of cameras clicking. You can be certain to see a penguin or two with nearly 100 penguins calling the breakwater home.

Parks and wildlife ask visitors to respect the penguins and their nests by refraining from using camera flashes or bringing glass onto the wooden platform. Interferences from humans is one of the top three risks to these protected species. So let's enjoy them now and for the future.

Walking back along the pier to the St Kilda foreshore, another great photo opportunity awaits as the city becomes a giant land of twinkling lights.

Make an evening of it
Arriving a little earlier or staying later? St Kilda has a lot to offer in way of walks, running and bicycle paths along the foreshore, restaurants, parks, bars, a weekend market and a fun park. You can also do a spot of fishing off the pier. Tip: Search under 'St Kilda' in Weekend Notes for ideas.

For more information and interesting little penguin facts head to Park Notes St Kilda Pier , Parks Victoria or contact 13 19 63.

Take: As well as your camera, a warm jacket as it can be pretty breezy out on the breakwater any time of year.

How to get there: Refer to Parks Victoria for directions and tram numbers.

Important things to note if planning a visit to the St Kilda Penguin Colony

Strict regulations apply in the St Kilda Breakwater viewing area. The use of flash photography and white light is prohibited. Strictly no touching, feeding or approaching penguins closer than 3m. No access permitted on rock areas including standing or sitting on rocks. Dogs are not permitted in the breakwater area.

Little Penguins typically arrive around one hour after sunset. Please be aware that the breakwater area can become extremely busy during this period. Access and views may be limited due to crowds. Wheelchair access may be limited. We do not recommend taking prams or bikes. The breakwater may be temporarily blocked off to ensure safe passage for individual penguins at any time.

St Kilda's Little Penguins are wild animals, and their numbers may vary significantly between nights, however you are likely to see only a few individual penguins on any given night. Earthcare St Kilda volunteers may be present to answer questions, but for a full, interactive experience with guaranteed sightings we recommend visiting the Phillip Island Nature Park.

Help us improve  Click here if you liked this article  185
Share: email  facebook  twitter
Why? Peep at the worlds smallest penguins for free any time of the year
When: All year round
Where: St Kilda Pier
Cost: Free
I love the penguins there. Ive been down there with the penguin carers, who weigh them and know many of the penguins personally. Its funny on those nights, its as if a couple of them are purposely on show for people who visit. Like their on a roster to be seen. They are so wonderful to see. The blue black of their coat and the way they nest in pairs.

They were concerned as to their wellbeing when the dredging was taking place as their food stock was being affected. I had been doing a journalism course and contacted one of the researchers through Monash University and he had been very upset as he said he would not say anything as the state government, then Labor, were upset with them if they did make comments that were not in keeping with "policy." In other words, they were being pressured to not speak their findings.
By Jody Kimber - senior reviewer
Saturday, 30th of April @ 01:01 pm
I'm a penguin guide at the breakwater. I strongly advise you to visit to check your facts. There are well over 1000 penguins in the colony, with about 10% visible on the public side of the fence. People should realise, however, that how many they see depends entirely on the season and the stage of the breeding cycle the birds are in.

More information on this can be found at

'Fishing off the pier' is one of the worst things people can do, since fishing line entanglements cause injuries and death to penguins. This doesn't make the news but it happens with horrible regularity.

We have a big task if we choose to publicise wildlife in Melbourne, especially such vulnerable birds as the penguins. We can urge people to consider the conservation message, or just let them take their snaps and exclaim 'so cute'.
By Anonymous
Friday, 9th of March @ 12:48 pm

Earthcare St Kilda recruits over 70 volunteer guides every summer. They do a fantastic job.
By Debbie Lustig - senior reviewer
Thursday, 3rd of May @ 06:50 am
i go here on a regular basis, to admire these lovely creatures.
sadly, i am constantly dissappointed in the attitude of people, not respecting the penguins or the carers.
i was sad to see this post "advertised" only for the safety of the penguins. it is a wonderful sight, and to hear them cal to their mates, seeing them reunite. yes i have been fortunate enough to see some chicks. but always at the advice of the carers. i am constantly telling people NO FLASH. if people were not so self centred, these places would be so much safer for the penguins, and a more wonderful experience for all.
to all the carers, a huge thankyou for your tireless efforts, you do a great job.
By dargo - reader
Monday, 14th of March @ 04:04 pm
More Melbourne articles
Articles from other cities
by Lisa on 26/02/2012
Top Events
Popular Articles