Did you know you can spot penguins and possums in Melbourne without having to travel long distances for that? We went to St Kilda pier to see Melbourne penguins and afterwards to Fitzroy Gardens to see possums.
There is a colony of Little Penguins living at the end of St Kilda Pier and the best time to see them is at dusk. After seeing those cute little Melbourne penguins return from the sea head back to the city and wait for dark to see possums.
A little St Kilda pier penguin, Melbourne, Australia.
Melbourne Penguins and Possums Nature Tour Map
Melbourne penguins and possums map
We started our Melbourne penguins and possums tour from Federation Square in Central Melbourne, walking along the Yarra to the Botanic Gardens where we took a tram to St Kilda Pier. Later we came back to the city to see the possums of Fitzroy Gardens.
The Yarra River
The Yarra is the river that flows through Melbourne. From the many Yarra bridges you will get nice evening views of the Central Business District and the Southbank.
From Yarra bridges you can also see the green sporting areas east of the CBD and a park called Birrarung Marr from where rowboats and canoes set off to the river.
The Yarra, Melbourne nature tour
Yarra banks are a popular area for joggers and bikers and it looks like almost everybody in Melbourne was running here after work. No wonder they all come here, the walking tracks are very good.
For many people in Melbourne joggin right in the middle of the city means a high quality of life.
Melbourne Royal Botanic Gardens
Melbourne nature in the Royal Botanic Gardens
The Royal Botanic Gardens and Kings Domain make a large public park and a kind of green oasis 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 the small rainforest and Australian desert plants.
To learn more about the Yarra River and the Botanic Gardens of Melbourne check out my 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.
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
The suburb has a seaside-resort atmosphere with fine sandy beaches and a beach promenade and like all seaside resorts it has a number of restaurants, bars and shops.
Meeting the Melbourne Penguins
The rocks at the end of St Kilda pier are home of a colony of over 1000 Little Penguins. The penguins make their homes underneath or between the rocks where they get protection from weather. Melbourne penguins spend most of their time on the breakwater or diving in the nearby waters.
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 nice to look at but you don’t see such numbers of penguins as on Phillip Island.
A Melbourne penguin on the rocks
There may be some volunteers telling about the penguins and helping people see them and get photos in the darkness without a flash. The volunteers cast red light towards the penguins so you can see them and get photos.
Penguins can see different shades of green which they need to find their food in the sea but their eyes don’t see red. And yellow flash lights would make them nervous.
A Little Penguin in red light, St Kilda Pier, Melbourne
Another penguind waddling to the sea
In addition to penguins you can see water rats swimming in the waters around the St Kilda breakwater. The best time to catch a glimpse of water rats is the sunset.
Federation Square in Evening Light
Federation Square in evening light, Melbourne
On our way back from St Kilda we changed trams at Federation Square. This doesn’t really belong to the nature tour, but I couldn’t help taking a picture. Federation Square is a good example of Melbourne urban nature and the square looks great at all times.
Fitzroy Gardens Possums
The next stop in this Melbourne evening tour is Fitzroy Gardens and its possums.
A Fitzroy Garden possum, a highlight of our Melbourne nature tour
Like kangaroos possums are marsupials, so the females have pouches in which the young develop. 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 we walked through Fitzroy Gardens at night we felt like someone was staring at us and looking up we saw possums here and there up in the trees looking at us with their big round eyes.
A possum looking like a kangaroo
The possums looked curious about us and came closer so we could talk to them. So we also got some pictures of Fitzroy Gardens possums.
One more possum in the tree
Sometimes they very much look like small kangaroos, and from other angles they look more like squirrels or monkeys. Funny creatures that we don’t have in Europe at all.
We really liked to look at these possums and as long we stayed in Melbourne sometimes through the park at nights. And we also often went to St Kilda and met the penguins living at the end of the pier.
More about Australian Wildlife
- If you want to see more penguins, you can travel to Phillip Island: Phillip Island Self Drive Trip from Melbourne
- On Great Ocean Road you can see kangaroos and koalas, you just have to know where to find them: Great Ocean Road Self Drive Trip
- Healesville Sanctuary in the Yarra Valley is a great place to see Australian wildlife: Melbourne: Yarra Valley and Dandenong Ranges Drive
My other Posts about Melbourne
- If you want to know about Melbourne sights read this post: Sightseeing in Melbourne: Circle Tram and Tourist Bus
- Read about Melbourne winter: Yarra River walk through Central Melbourne
- A big event in Melbourne is the Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix that’s held each the autumn.
- How does it feel to return to Melbourne from Europe and start living here again? Settling in Melbourne
Driving from Melbourne to Sydney
- I have posts that cover the drive from Melbourne to Sydney along the coast. The story begins here: Melbourne to Sydney: to Wilsons Promontory