Visitors to Bicheno, a small town on Tasmania’s east coast, are spoilt for opportunities to commune with the local wildlife. In fact, many holiday makers find that a little penguin tour is the highlight of their holiday. These adorable little creatures come ashore immediately after dark and return to sea before dawn. The tours are conducted on a private property by volunteers who are passionate about the environment and protecting these special animals.
Bicheno Penguin Tours will leave you with a deep understanding of these fascinating birds. You will see that the rookery has small concrete bunkers to shelter the penguins from predators, although some still live in holes or under bushes. Guests are brought to the rookery in buses and led to a softly-lit boardwalk. Spotters are stationed around the grounds so that guests can be taken directly to sites where penguins can be seen waddling to their burrows. If you are fortunate, you may see them pruning or sitting on the path. Chicks may even be waiting for their parents and wander through your legs. You will be surprised to see how comfortable these birds can be around a group of humans.
Throughout the tour, you will be very much aware that the penguins take first priority. No photos or videos are allowed as the lights may disturb them. You are also required to be quiet and still when a penguin is in the vicinity. Guests must even take care when they are walking and look behind before stepping back. Managed rookeries like this one have actually managed to save the little penguin as numbers were dwindling due to feral cats. The guides are therefore dedicated to these lovely animals.
Since this is a natural attraction, numbers of penguins fluctuate seasonally as the penguins breed and chicks fledge and fly. However, at any time of year, this is a wonderful chance to learn more about little penguins and see them in their natural habitat.