Since the 1920s, visitors have flocked to the beach at Philip Island’s Summerland Peninsula to observe the nightly arrival of little penguins—also known as the Penguin Parade.
As the Penguin Parade’s popularity has grown, so too has the need to protect the penguin population and manage the human impact on the colony—which can see up to 4,000 visitors in a single night. In 1988 a visitor centre was constructed, complete with viewing platforms and boardwalks. However, after just over 30 years of service, the centre was in desperate need of an upgrade.
For Jarvis Weston, Projects Coordinator for Philip Island Nature Parks, the new visitor centre had to meet several key requirements. “Through our conservation efforts, we’ve helped to increase the size of the colony from 12,000 to 32,000—so we needed to shift the location of the centre and give 6.7 hectares of land back to the penguins”.