Victorians can once again watch the penguins on parade with the re-opening of the St Kilda Pier Breakwater – one of Melbourne’s top tourist attractions.
Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change Lily D’Ambrosio joined Member for Albert Park Martin Foley and Member for Southern Metropolitan Nina Taylor on the opening night to watch hundreds of Little Penguins make their nightly waddle home to shore.
It was the first time the Breakwater has been open to visitors since its closure last year, with the attraction now boasting three scheduled viewings an evening and roaming Penguin Rangers to ensure COVIDSafe arrangements.
The St Kilda Pier Breakwater is home to up to 1,400 Little Penguins and has become one of Melbourne’s most popular tourist hotspots, previously drawing crowds of up to 3,000 people a night.
The five new Penguin Rangers and three scheduled viewings – limited to 30 people per viewing based on current COVIDSafe arrangements – means the attraction can once again resume safely.
Tours to see the penguin colony are free, but tickets must be pre-booked on the Parks Victoria website at parks.vic.gov.au/places-to-see. Tours will run nightly from February to April 2021.
Originally built for as a sailing harbour for the 1956 Melbourne Olympics, a colony of Little Penguins moved in at the Breakwater once the athletes departed, roosting in the rocks after a long day’s fishing.
With their unique blue feathers, Little Penguins are the world’s smallest penguin species, about the height of a football and weighing around 1 kilogram each.
Unlike their country cousins at Phillip Island, Little Penguins have exceptionally long breeding seasons due to the high availability of the penguin’s favourite foods, like pilchards and anchovies, in Port Phillip Bay. They are doubly fat and fluffy at the moment – the end of the breeding season – as they prepare to moult.
As stated by Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change Lily D’Ambrosio
“Our COVIDSafe measures will ensure as many people as possible can enjoy seeing the penguins each evening throughout the summer, as safely as possible.”
“I’m thrilled that St Kilda’s cutest residents will once again be open for visitors with the help of Parks Victoria rangers and Earthcare volunteers – they deserve an adoring (and respectful) audience.”
As stated by Member for Albert Park Martin Foley
“The Little Penguin colony at St Kilda is one of Melbourne’s most special and iconic sights – these new measures will not only help crowds be COVIDSafe but also ensure the penguins are disturbed as little as possible.”
As stated by Member for Southern Metropolitan Nina Taylor
“These penguins have been a part of the landscape at the St Kilda Pier Breakwater for decades and it is fantastic we can once again enjoy the sight of these beautiful animals waddling to shore.”