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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 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, the more exclusive small-group tours give you a better view of the penguins. Penguins Plus allows you to watch the parade from a boardwalk in the company of rangers, while 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 watch penguins coming ashore. Another option is a ranger-guided tour, a few hours before the penguins appear, to see behind-the-scenes research.