Fairy Penguins of Phillip Island

Fairy Penguins are possibly the CUTEST of all penguins.  It seems like a century ago now, but way, way back in 1990 Mark and I backpacked through Australia.  While there, we saw the fairy penguins of Phillip Island. We spent a month backpacking, hitchhiking and camping out along the coastal fringe of Australia. We traveled from Sydney to Adelaide and Kangaroo Island, and then back across Barossa Valley wine country to Canberra and north to Cairns.

Shrimp on the Barbie

We saw amazing sights, including Remarkable Rocks on Kangaroo Island, the street walkers and Opera House of Sydney and pie floaters of Adelaide.  Lorakeets landed on our hands to feed on granulated sugar, and we supped on “Shrimp on the Barbie.”  But the night we saw the fairy penguins march out of the sea and to their nesting grounds on Phillip Island, I was so touched by the sight of them that I cried.

Fairy Penguins Phillip Island Australia

Fairy Penguin approaches its nesting ground at Phillip Island, Australia

Penguin Parade Video on Youtube

Because this was a backpacking trip, we decided against carrying a video camera.  Back then, technology was not advanced enough to provide GoPros.  Equipment was heavy and when every ounce counts, one must make sacrifices.  I always felt sad that I had not been able to capture the fairy penguins in a photograph or video at the time.  But years later I discovered this Youtube video that pretty much duplicates the experience we had.

Fairy penguins, otherwise known as “little penguins” are the smallest and arguably the cutest penguins on Earth. They live not on ice or snow, but in burrows on the southern coasts of Australia and New Zealand. They spend their days out at sea, hunting for food. And then at night, when predators are absent, they make their way in to their nesting groups.

This video is necessarily dark because it is shot at night, but you get “front row seats” to the experience. I don’t think there is anything more adorable than a fairy penguin.


Patty Mooney is a VP, Video Producer, Sound Technician, Teleprompter Operator and Video Editor at award-winning San Diego video production company, Crystal Pyramid Productions.