Two words: Fairy. Penguins.
St Kilda is a waterfront 'hood that's known as Melbourne's "beachside playground." But never mind how charming the area is, because when I heard about the fairy penguin colony, we were obviously going.
It was only a 15 minute drive from our Airbnb, so one evening, after we got back into town from Bells Beach, we headed to St Kilda for sunset.
Sunset is the best time to see the little penguins (also called fairy penguins, just adding to the cuteness), since that's when they return from the sea to their rocky cave nests within St Kilda's breakwater.
We arrived with an hour to spare, so we took our times snapping photos of St Kilda's harbor, through which you could see the lights of Melbourne starting to glow in the darkening twilight. Then, we made our way to the small beach and boardwalk constructed for penguin viewers. The platform sits elevated about a foot off the ground... which is all the room that the little guys need to waddle under.
Much to our delight, a few of the cuties were already at the breakwater. (I'm not sure if they got back from work early that day or had never left in the first place since, sadly, penguins can't speak English.)
They peeked out at us from within the rocks with their pale blue eyes, which perfectly complimented their deep blue plumage.
As the last sliver of sun dipped below the horizon, we scanned the water for tiny heads or ripples. We saw a few and watched the little mermaid birds (merbirds?) glide in just beneath the water's surface. They soared effortlessly through the calm water, their tiny wings outstretched, before quickly springing from the water and waddling into the rocks and out of sight.
I've said it before and I'll say it again: anyone who has ever said that penguins can't fly has never seen them swim.