Just two hours out of Melbourne you can get back to nature and pack in a lot in a long weekend. Some of the things you can do are visit the Penguin Parades, Philip Island Koala Conservation Centre do Cliff Walks, Boat trips see the Seals, Highland Cattle, Wallabies, or sample some yummy wine in the Wineries, and excellent fish and chips.
It is an ornithologists delight: From Shore birds, water birds to waders: Grey Barren Geese, Pelicans, Purple Hen’s, Oyster Catchers and more.
Let’s face it many visitors will be on the island to attend the Penguin Parade and see Koala’s, but once on the island you will learn that Phillip Island has a smorgasbord of nature and fun offerings. Philip Island is most famous for the Penguin Parade at dusk the world’s smallest penguins (33cm high) waddle up the shore, when they feel safe they walk through the bush to their burrows where they sleep until the morning when they return to the sea. There are many options to view this amazing routine. You can watch from the spectator grandstand area overlooking the beach or do ‘Penguins Plus’ where your viewing experience is underground so you can see the Penguins walking to their burrows. Or you can do a ranger tour and learn more about the penguins. All options are fun and can suit all pockets. The Nature Parks is not for profit and your visit helps to support the award winning conservation programmes.
One of my favourite things on the Island is the tree top boardwalks at the Philip Island Koala Conservation Centre which should not be missed.
If you want to pick up the pace, then you can always visit the Grand Prix Circuit and take a tour of the track or do some Go-karting. This circuit was used for the Superbike World Championship in 1990. Or you can go on a helicopter ride and enjoy a scenic tour of Philip Island or go Tenpin Bowling with the family.
The boat trips vary from scenic from Rhyll to Cape Woolamai and as far as The Pinnacles showing off Philip Islands volcanic past. The view from the sea is excellent to take a peak inside the caves or just watch the hypnotic water splash up the sides of the cliffs. Other trips include a high speed Eco Boat tour viewing Australia’s highest populations of Fur Seals.
If cliff walks are your passion then you will have lots of fun from Pyramid Rock boardwalks, Berrys Beach, Kitty Miller Bay to The Nobbies Centre at the Western Tip of Philip Island with boardwalks viewing the Turquoise sea and the impressive Blow Hole. Inside the visitor centre you can go on a virtual Antarctic Journey or simply have a coffee and enjoy the scenery. The variety of walks is huge and if you are a surfer then Cape Woolamai, around Sunderland Bay which is a National Surfing Reserve and Kilcunda will meet your passion.
Cowes is a lovely place to visit to view the pier and look at the boutiques or try out some international cuisines. Newhaven is a ‘haven’ for Pelicans you will find them along the foreshore near the yacht club. San Remo (over the bridge 20 mins) is a fishing port where they have the largest shark fishing fleet.
Top tip: Prior to arrival go online and select the pass you want and the things you want to see. You can purchase various PIE passes (Philip Island Experience passes) which will allow you to pre pay at attractive prices 3 or 5 experiences to do whilst visiting, from: Maru Koala and Animal Park, Magic, Mazes’N More, Panny’s Amazing World of Chocolate, Rhyll Trout and Bush Tucker Farm. Or you can do Penguins, Seals and PIE Pass and a few other options. Read all options carefully as they may not be the selection you want. We did a three PIE experiences Penguin Parade, Koala Conservation Centre and Churchill Island this is through http://www.penguins.org.au (only).
Well whatever you do when on Philip Island you will make some lasting memories.