Thursday, April 8, 2010

Phillip Island

Where to start? There are lots of things to do on Phillip Island. We did it in one day, we hired a car and drove down in the morning and then left after the Penguin Parade, however there is more than enough to keep you busy for two days, so consider staying overnight on the island. That being said I'll tell about the things we did, and give some other info on the attractions we missed.
Our first stop was Woolamai Beach- I was so sad we only brought bathing suits for the kids, because it was a really fun swimming/surfing beach. Next time, we'll bring suits and boogie boards. There were lifeguards keeping watch over the swimmers, that always makes me feel a little safer.
From Woolamai Beach Carpark there are two walking trails. The first is a two hour walk heading up to the highest point on the island, Cape Woolamai. The is also a one hour walk along the beach to the Colonnades, a "natural attraction featuring columns of basalt and is best seen at low tide".  No dogs are allowed on either path. Check here for more walking paths on the island.
Along the main road there is also Surf Beach (original name, right?) which I'm sure is also an awesome beach.

Next stop was the Koala Conservation Centre, so cool! There is a nice gift shop and Visitors Center where you can learn about the koalas before going out to see them. There are a few different paths, The Koala Boardwalk, Woodlands Path and one other that I forget the name :) The Koala Boardwalk is a raised platform that allows you to the walk high up in the gum trees where some of the koalas are resting right at eye level. We got some great views of the adorable little guys.
We were even lucky enough to see a few with their eyes open. Since they sleep 18-20 hours a day, that is pretty exciting.
Don't skip the woodlands walks because you're likely to see some cute little wallabies jumping around and even an echidna if you're lucky.

Another destination is the Churchill Island Heritage Farm. We didn't have time to make it there, but it looked like a lot of fun. Here's what the website says about it:
Experience a piece of Victoria's heritage on this historic island, where you can enjoy a relaxing stroll through the fragrant cottage gardens and lawns. Coastline walks offer magnificent views of Phillip Island and Western Port, while the restored farmhouse and cottages provide a glimpse into the past lives of early Australian settlers and past farming practices.
It was about 2:30pm and by this point int he day we were STARVING! We headed over to the town of Cowes to grab lunch. Bad idea at 2:30pm because most places were closed till dinner. We finally found Gulliver's Cafe and restaurant and grabbed some fish and chips. It was fine, but I was so hungry that anything would have tasted great, so I wouldn't be a very good critic. The town itself was unimpressive, though it did have a lovely bayside beach and nice tree lined main street.
I asked someone once what these trees are called but I cannot, for the life of me, remember. So if you know, please leave me a comment and tell me! I love them!

We didn't go to the Phillip Island Wildlife Park, but I would highly recommend it because you'll have a chance to hand feed the kangaroos, and we all know how much I love that! They also have bats, dingoes, wombats and heaps of other animals.

Next on our list was a visit to The Nobbies, which is a free center and walk along the cliffs just past the Penguin parade entrance. It's the perfect thing to do for a couple hours before you go see the penguins.
The center has lots of great information on the marine life found around Phillip Island, including some cool interactive displays. But the highlight of the Nobbies is the view. Head out onto the boardwalk to the bright green hillside cliffs that drop into the ocean.
Check out all the interesting rock formations at the base of the cliffs, including the blowhole. Wait for a big wave to come into this cave and as it crashes at the back water comes spraying out the mouth of the cave.

On a clear day they say you can see fur seals off the shore, but we didn't see a single one.We did, however, see some of the adorable fairy penguins high up on the hills, poking their heads out of their burrows.
Since you cannot take photos at the Penguin Parade I felt very lucky to get a picture of these little guys.

After a long and fun-filled day we headed over to the Penguin Parade, the culmination of any Phillip Island trip. In case you don't know, here's an explanation of the Penguin Parade:
The Penguin Parade is Australia’s most popular wildlife attraction and home to the largest Little Penguin colony in the world.
Every sunset, the hundreds to over a thousand wild Little Penguins emerge from the sea and march across the beach to their sand dune burrows.
The Little Penguin is the world’s smallest (and cutest) penguin and the Penguin Parade is the best place to experience this completely natural phenomenon. Courtesy of Phillip Island Nature Parks
Don't get your hopes up for seeing "thousands" of penguins, but they are cute and it was amazing to see them heading home after a day out fishing. We upgraded our ticket to the Penguins Plus, based on the recommendation of a friend and I second that advice. Then general viewing area is out on the main beach, but the Penguins Plus section is over on an isolated corner of the beach where 50% of the penguins pass by on their way up the hill, and you can follow them down the boardwalk and watch the find their way home.

Name: Phillip Island
Location: an hour and a half south of Melbourne and
Admission: A 3-park pass get you into Churchill Island, the Koala Conservation Center, and the Penguin Parade. Child $18.00, Adult $36.00, Family $90.00
The Nobbies is Free.

1 comment:

esherman10 said...

I need that picture of the nobbies..second one up from the bottom. Can you email it to me, pretty please?