Our review of Penguin Island South Australia - Otherwise officially known as Granite Island off Victor Harbor.
Penguin Island is the best place in Australia to view penguins in our opinion. This may have something to do with our passion for all things affordable but there are lots of other reasons to locate yourself in the Victor Harbor area. We had the choice of going here or Philip Island near Melbourne (where we also saw penguins at the aquarium).
Granite Island Penguin Tours
Granite Island sits off the coast of Victor Harbor and is home to a colony of fairy penguins. These are the smallest of all the penguin species and one of the cutest. Visiting this colony was one tourist activity I was willing to dig into my deep pockets to attend. Especially since the tour is designed to help protect the little guys.
I'm saddened there are only a few dozen left now: in living memory people can remember hundreds getting around. After we all weather the rainy windy evening to make our way across the bridge to the island we find ourselves waiting in the shelter by the restaurant for the tour to begin.
The guide tells us that the penguins are not bothered by “rain or water” and we can expect to see them tonight. It's early April and the penguins have finished malting their old skins for a fresh set of feathers. When the arrive back from the days fishing we can expect to see them make their way across the trails and there I will shine my infra-red flash-light nearby but not at them. We are told that it is expressly forbidden to use a regular torch because of the disturbance and harm this can cause.
The evening goes well and our little girl manages to make it past the usual bedtime because of all the excitement generated by the group on each new penguin sighting. During the procession we come across a rouge well to do couple of penguin hunters looking for a sightseeing opportunity. Our guide politely informs them that their using of a torch is “a big no no” and that the island is closed as per the signs while the tour is operating. This seems to have little effect but to amuse the sightseers who make some mumbling complaints about the signs and continue on their ways, quite entertained by the encounter. Is it any wonder that the penguins are in trouble.
On our way back carrying the now sleeping child we follow the guides advice and keep a look out for seals near the bridge and are rewarded with a sighting for our efforts.