There is a town called Penguin in Tasmania.
There are still several penguin colonies along this north west coast but we were advised to travel a few miles to see the nightly penguin walk. I’ve mentioned penguins before on visits to Bruny Island, but this evening at Lillico Beach was the best so far.
We pulled in to a car park off the Bass Highway and walked onto the viewing platform and boardwalks that are maintained by Tasmania Parks and Wildlife. We were welcomed by a volunteer who chatted and shared info about the little penguins, their habitat here and their habits. These are the world’s smallest penguins at just thirty centimetres in height and weighing one kilo.
The reserve is a two and a half kilometre long wildlife corridor, backing along the beach. The volunteer told us that penguin proof fences have been constructed behind the reserve to keep the little birds away from the highway. Steps have been built from the shingle beach up to the scrub where purpose built cement igloos are in place for the birds to nest in.
As dusk settled, the six to eight week old chicks came out of the burrows as they waited for the parents to return after their day’s search for food which can take them up to fifty kilometres offshore. The volunteer had several red filtered torches which were shared amongst the twenty visitors. We were able to see the penguins walk up the beach, climb the steps and head towards their chicks. It is an amazing daily routine.