OK admit it, who’s been watching Spy in the Huddle on BBC One over the past few weeks and is now hastily planning a tour of all the penguin hotspots of the world? Me too!
There are more places to get up close to penguins than you might think, so I’m counting down seven of the best spots around the world where you can pay a visit and make like the paparazzi for some pretty incredible, and very cute, holiday snaps.
The Best Places in the World to Spot Penguins in the Wild
Antarctic Peninsula and the South Shetland Islands
Deep at bottom of the earth lies a largely unexplored, and very cold, terrain of ice. The Antarctic is the ultimate in adventure travel for those who are intent to get off the beaten track.
If you do make it all the way down to Antarctica, you’ll be rewarded with dramatic landscapes, and extreme natural beauty, as well as some remarkable wildlife.
You’ll see many different species of penguins on an Antarctic cruise, including the awe-inspiring and fascinating king penguins and emperor penguins.
This is truly an adventure of a lifetime and the perfect way to come close to one of nature’s most amazing creatures.
Phillip Island, Australia
I admit penguins are probably not the first thing you’d associate with Australia, but Phillip Island in Victoria is jam-packed with them, and is home to the famous ‘penguin parade’. Watch as hundreds of little penguins spend their days dipping in and out of the ocean from Summerland Beach.
And, if you’re keen to get a little more hands on, stay for a while and assist the Phillip Island Nature Park Rangers with volunteering activities to help protect the local penguin population and habitat.
The Falklands Islands
Probably the best penguin spotting place in the world, a trip here will allow you to see southern rockhopper, emperor, king, macaroni, adelie, gentoo and chinstrap penguins within this fascinating group of islands.
If you’re up for a unique and exciting experience (seriously, is anyone ever not up for that?) a trip like Falklands, South Georgia and Antarctic Islands will take you through Argentina, Antarctica, South Georgia and The Falklands on an adventure of epic proportions.
Doubtful Sound, New Zealand South Island
As if New Zealand’s South Island wasn’t thrilling enough already! Who knew that it was also home to a bunch of small—and rather strange looking—penguins? Well, we did!
Head to the southernmost tip of the country, to the stunning and remote Doubtful Sound, and mingle with fjordland crested penguins before exploring the rest of this incredible island. A trip like New Zealand South Island Encompassed will make sure you don’t miss anything out – including the penguins!
Isabela Island, Galapagos Islands
The only tropical penguin in the world can be found in the Galapagos Islands. Handily named the Galapagos penguin, it’s most commonly found on the western coast of Isabela Island, the largest of all the Galapagos Islands.
But this isn’t all these beautiful islands have to offer. Between penguin spots you can explore hidden coves, take in magnificent lava formations, spot wild flamingos, and take in the views of three active volcanoes.
Cape Town, South Africa
There are plenty of places to spot cute African penguins on the southwest coast of the country. If you head to Boulders Beach near Cape Town the penguins are so used to human presence they happily let you get as close as a metre before waddling off.
Lambert’s Bay, also known as ‘Bird Island’, is another coastal point that’s home to large numbers of penguins. In fact, there’s a large breeding colony that you can visit on trips like Cape and Dunes Discoverer, that shares space with a huge colony of gannets (hence the nickname!).
It’s the end of southern civilisation – and home to some great Penguin spotting! Prime location has to be Otway Sound Penguin colony in Chile and the Tierra del Fuego, and Beagle Canal in Ushuaia Argentina.
Patagonia isn’t all about penguins (although we’d still love it even if it was!). A trip like End of the Earth will take you on glacier hikes and treks through beautiful national parks.