We usually bring our overseas guests to Phillip Island as a standard tour and I find I always enjoy myself and learn something new and so do our guests.
People may complain about the price of tickets, however, it is important to keep in mind that the Penguin Parade as well as other sites in the area such as The Koala Conservation centre and the Nobbies Centre are run by Phillip Island Nature Parks. This is not for profit so proceeds go towards conservation, research and rehabilitation of animals - this includes food and souvenirs you purchase. I am always more than happy to pay the price if it means preserving this beautiful Wildlife.
Admittedly, the cafeteria leaves a lot to be desired (hence only 4 stars). The food is sub-standard and the service is even worse. The lady behind the counter had to be told 2 or 3 times what the order was for every order and she still got it wrong. When we told her, she was extremely rude about it.
There is plenty of signage (and pictures) to indicate that cameras should not be used. In addition, there are announcements before the penguins arrive in Mandarin and Japanese so the message is very clear and people seem to understand.
I would recommend you take some warm clothes (it gets really cold even if it is hot during the day), and a blanket to sit on as it can be uncomfortable. The penguins don't generally come out right in front of where the seating is, so try to get closer up the front and to the side as they come up into the darker areas. You will also get a better look once you walk back up the board walk. The main thing is seeing these cute little creatures coming out of the water and running back in until they get the courage to come out. A wonderful experience!
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.