New digs for Penguin Parade

ONE of the Mornington Peninsula’s most iconic wildlife drawcards is set to receive a massive upgrade, partially funded by the Victorian Government’s Regional Tourism Infrastructure Fund.

Construction has commenced at Summerland Peninsula on a new $58.2 million state-of-the-art Visitor Centre for Phillip Island’s Penguin Parade — the famed spectacle of penguin’s waddling along the beach from the sea to their burrows every night.

Slated to open in late 2019, the centre will consist of enhanced visitor dining and retail facilities, a theatre, interpretation space and a dedicated wing with classrooms and training facilities.

“This new building will provide not only the base for an evening penguin experience, but also a daytime centre for local residents and visitors to understand and enjoy the whole Summerland Peninsula,” Phillip Island Nature Parks’ chair Jeff Floyd said.

The former structure, built in the late 1980s, will be demolished and the site rejuvenated and returned to a penguin habitat, while remediation work is also planned for 1.5 hectares of wetlands. Overall, the project will restore 6.7 hectares of habitat to the penguin colony.

“This investment…will ensure that Victoria remains at the forefront of global tourism, with a forecast visitation increase of up to 20% over the next ten years,” Phillip Island Nature Parks said.