Home » Oceania » Australia » Melbourne Penguins and Possums Self-Guided Tour

Melbourne Penguins and Possums Self-Guided Tour

Did you know you can spot penguins and possums right in the city of Melbourne, without traveling long distances for that? We will show you some Melbourne penguins on the pier and afterwards possums in a park.

There is a colony of Little Penguins living at the end of St Kilda Pier and to see them you should go there at dusk.

After watching those little cuties return from the sea we will get back to the city centre and wait until it’s dark enough to see possums.

St Kilda Pier Little Penguin

A little Melbourne penguin, St Kilda, Victoria

Melbourne Penguins and Possums Tour Map

The penguins are at the St Kilda Breakwater in the south and the possums in Fitzroy Garden in the north.

We marked a walk between them on the map, however you can also use the tram for the long distances.


Melbourne penguins and possums walking map

We started our Melbourne penguin walk at Federation Square from where we followed the Yarra to the Botanic Gardens that is a great nature destination as well.

From the Botanic Gardens we took a tram to St Kilda and another one back to the city to see the possums.

So the tour begins with the Yarra River:

The Yarra River

The Yarra is the big river that flows through Melbourne. Its many bridges offer great views of the Central Business District and the Southbank on the other side. Maybe in the evening you will get the best views.

From Yarra bridges you can clearly see the large green sports areas east of the CBD, and then there is Birrarung Marr, the park from where rowboats and canoes set off to the river.

The Yarra, Melbourne nature tour

The Yarra River, Melbourne penguin walk

Yarra banks are a favourite area of joggers and bikers and it looks like almost everybody in Melbourne is running here after work. No wonder they all come here, the scenery is great and walking tracks good.

For many Melbourne people jogging right in the city centre means a high quality of life. And so does rowing on the river.

Read more about the Yarra River in this post: Yarra River Walk through Central Melbourne

Melbourne Royal Botanic Gardens

Melbourne Royal Botanic Gardens

Beautiful Melbourne nature in the Royal Botanic Gardens

On the way to St Kilda, the Royal Botanic Gardens and Kings Domain make a large public park and a kind of green oasis, located between St Kilda Road and the Yarra River.

Walk along the paths of the Botanic Gardens and you can see beautiful plants from all over the world, not to mention their small rainforest and area of Australian desert plants.

Our other post about the Yarra River also contains the Botanic Gardens of Melbourne, so for information about the garden check out the post Yarra River Walk through Central Melbourne.


From the Botanic Gardens it might be wise to take a tram to St Kilda, to get there in time to see the famous St Kilda penguins.

On the way to St Kilda you will pass Albert Park, the scene of the yearly Australian Grand Prix.

Melbourne Penguins: St Kilda

The bayside suburb of St Kilda is situated in one of the most picturesque points of the bay only less than 10 kilometres from Central Melbourne.

St Kilda pier, home of Melbourne penguins

St Kilda pier, home of the Melbourne penguins

The suburb has a seaside-resort atmosphere with fine sandy beaches and a beach promenade. Like in all seaside resorts St Kilda has a large number of restaurants, bars and shops.


Read about St Kilda: St Kilda, Destinations, Melbourne

Now the penguins:

Meeting the Melbourne Penguins

So the rocks at the end of St Kilda pier are home of a colony of over 1000 Little Penguins.

The penguins build their homes underneath or between the rocks where they get protection from weather.

The little Melbourne penguins spend most of their time on the breakwater or diving in the nearby waters.

Meeting the Melbourne penguins

A Little Penguin at the end of St Kilda Pier

When the dusk comes you can see them coming back from the sea and waddling back to their nests. They are so nice to look at but you don’t see such numbers of them as on a Phillip Island tour.

A penguin on the rocks, Melbourne

A Melbourne penguin on the rocks

There may be volunteers telling about the life of the penguins and helping visitors see them in the darkness.

The volunteers also help you get photos in the darkness without a flash. They cast red light towards the penguins so you can capture them with your camera.

A Little Penguin at St Kilda Pier, Melbourne

A Little Penguin in red light, St Kilda Pier,  Melbourne

One of the little Melbourne penguins

Another penguind waddling to the sea

Why do they have that red light? Penguins can see different shades of green which colour they need to find their food in the sea. But their eyes don’t see red so the red light doesn’t bother them. And any flash lights would make them very nervous.

In addition to penguins you can see water rats swimming around the St Kilda breakwater. The best time to spot a water rat is the sunset.

So now we saw the little Melbourne penguins and then the possums:

Federation Square in Evening Light

On our way back from St Kilda we changed trams at Federation Square. Different shades of red light like on St Kilda pier, but absolutely no penguins here.

Federation Square is a good example of Melbourne urban nature and the square looks great at all times.

Federation Square in evening light

Federation Square in evening light, Melbourne

Fitzroy Gardens Possums

Then, the last stop on our Melbourne tour is Fitzroy Gardens and its possums.

A possum in Fitzroy Park, Melbourne self-guided tour

A Fitzroy Garden possum, another highlight of our Melbourne self-guided tour

Like kangaroos possums are marsupials, so the females have pouches in which the young grow.

By day you don’t see possums at all since they sleep the days in tree hollows, but at night they become active.

You can see possums in Australian parks and gardens. Often when walking through Fitzroy Gardens at night we felt like someone was staring at us. Looking up we saw possums here and there in the trees, looking at us with their big round eyes:

A possum in Fitzroy Park

A possum looks a bit like a kangaroo

All possums first looked so curious about us and then came closer so we could talk to them. So we also got some nice photos of the Fitzroy Garden possums.

A possum in Fitzroy Park

One more possum in the tree

Sometimes they very much look like small kangaroos, and from other angles they more look like squirrels or monkeys. Silly, funny animals that we don’t have in Europe.

We really liked looking at these possums and as long we stayed in Melbourne we sometimes came to the park at nights. And we also went to St Kilda and met the little Melbourne penguins living at the end of the pier.



More about Australian Wildlife

More about Melbourne

Driving from Melbourne to Sydney

Share this if you liked:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Routes and Trips