All About The AMAZING Low Head Penguin Tours

Published Categorized as Tamar Valley
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One of my favourite animals has to be penguins. There is something about the way they walk and present themselves that I find adorable. If you feel that way, or even if you don’t, it’s worth considering a Low Head penguin tour!

Taking place every evening after sunset, these tours are the only way to enter Low Head Coastal Reserve which the Low Head penguin colony calls home in the evenings.

Low Head Penguin Tours

This is the time that the local fairy penguins return from the sea ready to bed down for the night. At the time we visited, many were returning to their babies and we saw many, many penguins as well as a couple of babies.

Below, I share my full review of Low Head penguin tours and describe exactly what you can expect from a visit here.

Low Head Penguin Tours Review

Low Head Penguin Tours beach
The beach where the penguin tours take place

The tours start just after sunset which means that they vary depending on the time of year. I suggest a quick phone call in advance to check the departure time. They then suggest you arrive 15 minutes in advance.

It can be cold here at night and it gets colder as the tour progresses so make sure you take warm clothing and wet weather gear if it looks like rain.

Low Head Penguin Tours

When the tour started, we were split into two groups – one for adults/teenagers and one for families with younger kids. I was on the tour with my three kids aged 4 – 10 so we were assigned to the family group. Each group had a guide with a special torch to show us everything and keep everyone safe.

We walked down a gravel path towards the water with the guide pointing out many animals roaming around in front of us including wallabies and rabbits. There were also some random penguins who had already waddled up quite far.

Low Head Penguin Tours tour path
Heading to the beach at the start of the tour
Low Head Penguin Tours penguin viewing platform
Penguin viewing platform

She pointed out some more penguins as we made our way to a seated area on the edge of the beach. From here, we could see groups of penguins already lining up at the water’s edge.

We sat here for awhile as she told us information about the penguins and we watched groups come in and climb past us on the rocks. The guide was great at making sure the smaller kids (like our 4 year old) had a good viewing position and that we were all sitting in the optimal positions based on the groups of penguins coming past.

Low Head Penguin Tours
Penguins on the beach
Low Head Penguin Tours on the beach
Penguins running straight past us up the beach
Low Head Penguin Tours peguins climbing on the rocks
Penguins climbing on the rocks
Low Head Penguin Tours peguins climbing on the rocks
Penguins climbing on the rocks

There was only one other family with us (albeit a family of seven) which made the group quite small.

We sat here for awhile being thoroughly entertained by the penguins. The other group was on the beach and much closer. While I was jealous, I can see why they take older people that close and younger kids where we were. While it would have been even more amazing to be up that close, it was very amazing right where we were and the penguins did get quite close.

Low Head Penguin Tours watching the beach on the tour
Where our part of the tour sat watching the penguins. The light at the bottom of the beach is where the “adult” part of the tour was

When we left this area, we walked back around the rocks and scrub with the guide knowing the main thoroughfares of the penguins. At one point, we stood in a line quite still while we waited for a whole lot of penguins to come past. Quite amazing!

Low Head Penguin Tours penguins coming up the path
Penguins appeared while we stood waiting (no zoom used)

After about 45 minutes of watching the penguins all up, the guide made sure we were all satisfied before walking back to the start. We saw more wildlife on the way including baby penguins and a bandicoot and its gorgeous little baby.

On return, the kids got stickers and the adults handed information sheets.

Low Head Penguin Tours shop and ticket office
Shop and ticket office

The tour was excellent. Our guide was knowledgeable, if a bit bossy, but in a way that helped ensure a great experience for everyone instead of having a couple of kids always taking all the good spots 🙂

I found it a good length of time. While part of me could have sat there all night watching penguins, I certainly felt like I saw many and had a full experience and our four year old was ready to go by that point. The small groups make it very personal and I loved every moment.

Low Head Penguins

Low Head Penguin Tours super close penguins
Super close penguins

The penguins at Low Head are fairy penguins which is the smallest species of penguins. They are the only ones that breed in Australian waters and they particularly like Bass Strait although they can be found from Fremantle in Western Australia to southern Queensland. This is definitely now my favourite place to see them!

Low Head Penguin Tour Cost

At the time we visited, the Low Head Penguin Tour fee was $22 for adults and $10 for kids.

Note that if you want to see the Low Head penguins without tour, this may be possible. We saw penguins slipping under the gate and the guide said they liked to visit the gardens across the road! I’m sure there are penguins that are around this whole area and not just in the coastal reserve which is off limits in the evening.

Low Head Penguin Tours
Sign up in the penguin area

You can also visit during the day and take a look around without a tour.

However, I think the tours are really worth it – the guides know exactly where they will be and are full of facts to give you a great experience. In fact, they checked with each one of us that we were happy and had seen enough penguins before the tour came to a close.

Low Head Penguin Tours, Low Head, Tas Location

Low Head Penguin Tours location map
Click the Map to open in Google Maps. You can then access directions to each of the locations discussed in this article.

The penguin tours Low Head departs from 485 Low Head Road. It’s easy to find with some big signs.

Right at the entry is a small shed where you can buy your ticket and any souvenirs and wait for the tour to start (see the shop picture above).

Final Words

We absolutely loved this tour and I can’t recommend it enough. If you do just one thing in the Tamar Valley, do this!

It’s such a personal experience with such beautiful creatures. I have seen the penguins at Phillip Island in Victoria a few times and that does not compare to seeing them in a small group quietly walking around and standing/sitting still while the penguins happily waddle past. It’s amazing!

Low Head Penguin Tours penguins close
Penguins waddling straight past us (no zoom used)

Our kids loved it too and this really is an experience for all ages (except babies if they might cry loudly). Did I mention how amazing it is?! 😀

We stayed at the Low Head Tourist Park just down the road which makes coming here extra easy. You can check out the accommodation options and prices here.

Read our full guide to Low Head here and find more fun things to do in the Tamar Valley here and nearby Launceston here.

By Sharon Gourlay

Sharon grew up in Tasmania, moved away and then came back with her family twenty years later. She loves re-discovering her home state and sharing it with you here.