The penguin parade takes place every night at dusk, when hundreds of Little Penguins appear at the water's edge, gather in the shallows, and waddle up the beach toward their burrows in the dunes. They're the smallest of the world's 17 species of penguins, standing just 33 centimeters (13 in.) high, and they're the only penguins that breed on the Australian mainland. Photography is banned, because it scares the penguins, as are smoking and touching the penguins. Wear a sweater or jacket, because it gets chilly after the sun goes down. A kiosk selling food opens an hour before the penguins turn up. Reservations for the parade are essential during busy holiday periods such as Easter and in summer.
For a better experience, there are more exclusive small group tours which allow you a better view of the penguins. Penguins Plus allows you to watch the parade from an exclusive boardwalk in the company of rangers, while the Penguin Sky Box is an adults-only elevated viewing tower staffed by a ranger. The Ultimate Penguin Tour for groups of only 10 people (no children under 16) takes you to a secluded beach away from the main viewing area to see penguins coming ashore. Another option is a ranger-guided tour, a few hours before the penguins appear, to see behind-the-scenes research.