The Penneshaw Penguin Centre is situated on the shore at Hog Bay Beach in Penneshaw, on the eastern side of Kangaroo Island. Penneshaw is home to a colony of Little Penguins (also known as Fairy Penguins), and is one of the best places to see penguins in South Australia. These birds can be seen along the Penneshaw coastline most evenings. After sunset, the Little Penguins return from the sea and waddle up Hog Bay Beach to their burrows.
You can see Penguins all year round, but the best time is from autumn to spring (March to November). During January, the numbers drop off as the last of the chicks leave the burrows, and the adults move out to sea to feed before the next breeding season. In February there are most of the birds are out at sea.
Since the penguins spend most of their day at sea or inside their burrows, the best time to see them is after sunset. The Penneshaw Penguin Centre conducts guided tours nightly, with tours starting with a talk and a video at the center. A boardwalk leads to a viewing platform above the rocks and sand riddled with penguin burrows. From the viewing platform you will enjoy a close up view of the Little Penguins. Depending on the time of year, you may see courting and mating behaviour, or see chicks emerging from their burrows to feed and hear their excited calls as they wait for their parents to return with their meal. The Penguins are sociable birds, although you may see territorial disputes taking place in the breeding season. Some of the birds may look a bit scruffy at molting time.
Avoid flash photography as penguins are extremely sensitive to bright light. If you want to get good penguin photos, learn how to use the low light settings on your camera beforehand (and learn how to switch your camera flash off!).
The Centre has information about the penguins where you can read about bird activity including mating, nesting, and feeding.
Penneshaw Penguin Centre is located on the corner of Middle Terrace and Bay Terrace in Penneshaw. The centre is open from 6pm to 9.30pm every day except Christmas Day. During daylight saving time, opening hours are from 7pm to 10.30pm. Guided tours incur a cost, but entry to the Centre itself is free.