Monday, November 22, 2010

Information on penguin viewing at Lillico Beach

The little or fairy penguin is found only in southern Australia and New Zealand. It is the smallest but noisiest of all penguins. Lillico Beach Conservation Area stretching 3 km from Leith on the west to Don Heads on the east is the breeding ground for some three thousand little penguins, the second-largest colony on Tasmania’s ‘mainland’.

The primary aim of the Friends of Lillico Penguins Group (FoLP) is to protect the Little Penguin breeding colony at Lillico Beach near Devonport. We work very closely with the Parks and Wildlife Service (PWS) striving to ensure that visitors who come to view the breeding penguins do not harm the birds or their diminished habitat. FOLP also:

  • help protect and manage the native habitat of the Lillico Beach Conservation Area.
  • train volunteers who provide a free guiding and interpretation service throughout the breeding season, with the emphasis on education rather than entertainment.

Seasonal guided viewing The best season for viewing penguins is the breeding season which usually lasts from September to March. At the Viewing Platform visitors can watch at close quarters up to twenty penguins coming ashore, breeding and feeding their young.

Although adult penguins can often be seen at night in the ‘off-season’, the weather can be very unpleasant, nor are chicks present, so viewing is not recommended. During the summer holidays, our volunteer guides are often supported by a “Summer Ranger” from PWS.

The viewing platform has a carpark which is limited to about 30 vehicles. During evening viewing, cars and small campervans will need to reverse park on an angle on the left side of the carpark.. This is to prevent headlights disturbing the penguins and for visitors’ safety. Spaces on the right side of the carpark are intended for long vehicles such as buses and motor-homes.

The viewing platform is sited at the eastern end of Lillico Beach, adjacent to the Bass Highway, and on the western side of Don Hill. Also it is about 3 km west of the Don River and 4 km east of the Forth River.

  • Note that the Bass Highway is dual carriageway and access is from the eastbound carriageway.
  • Note also that currently there is no signposting for this feature.

If arriving from the east, you’ll need to make a U-turn either at an opening in the median strip about 0.3 km west of the viewing platform or at the junction with Lillico Road about 1 km further west. If leaving for the west, make a U-turn at the junction with Waverley Road which is about 0.5 km to the east.

  • There are no toilets so go before you arrive! There are also no refreshments available. Devonport is the nearest town. 
  • A good time to arrive is around sunset because the birds begin to appear around dusk (i.e. when colours disappear and everything looks grey). If unsure, consult a local newspaper for sunset times.
  • Wear adequate clothing, especially for children, as it is often chilly and windy. Clothing should preferably be dark so as to be less noticeable to the penguins. Children’s shoes that light up are not a good idea.
  • Bring your binoculars.
  • A box for donations is provided. Although viewing is free, donations are always welcome and all funds are spent on the conservation area.

  • Access to the beach between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m. is prohibited.
  • Penguins are wild animals, not fluffy pets! They can scratch and peck if approached too closely! Therefore, be quiet, move slowly and avoid touching them.
  • Flash photography, mobile phones, torches, smoking and pets are all prohibited. Our guides have torches with red filters.
  • Your cooperation in not littering will be much appreciated.

For more information Contact: Parks and Wildlife Service, Short Street, Ulverstone. 6429 8719