The idea of visiting Phillip Island, was at first met with a lukewarm response - having been to Phillip Island several times over the years I was a little blasé about it. In my mind it represented the hoards of tourist coaches that depart Melbourne daily to tick off their Australian bucket list: Koalas and Penguins. Well I must eat humble pie and admit I was WRONG!
On the Anzac weekend (April) we were offered a friends' family holiday house on the Island for two nights - how could I pass up the chance of a free weekend away! And so the kids, the dog and warm gear were chucked into the car and off we headed to Phillip Island. This was the kids first trip to the Island and so we decided to be total tourists and so checked off our touring checklist. I, in return gained a new appreciation of Phillip Island and would happily return.
It is true the island is most popular for its Koala Conservation Cenre and the Penguin Parade at sunset, after all they are the cutest things ever... but the Island also offers amazing stretches of coastline as well as beautiful nature walks.
The first day we visited the Philip Island Koala Conservation Centre, which was great, in a small space you would walk amongst the gum trees and search for Koalas sleeping in the tree tops. (get there before 3:30pm to avoid the afternoon coach load of tourists). Following the conservation centre we headed off to the Penguin Parade - the parade starts off at sunset, as the little fairy penguins return to land and their nests. They are super cute and worth watching. Note that the Penguin parade attracts very large crowds and at times it is actually hard to see the few penguins that come to shore. The best view of them is as you leave the sitting area and head back to the main building.
The second day we went to visit Churchill Island Heritage Farm - This gorgeous working farm is just off Phillip Island. There are plenty of activities to watch - whip cracking, shearing sheep, working dogs and walking trails. There is a restaurant as well. The kids favourite activity was the whip cracking. We also happened to visit the Island on a market day - The 4th Saturday of every month there is a farmers market.
The remainder of the long weekend was spent walking the dog, and exploring the beaches - the perfect little getaway really!
To do on the Island:
Phillip Island is really a great spot to escape to with kids, but allow more than a day trip if you can spare the time because the more you explore the more you will get out of it.
Love re-discovering a location through the eyes of my children, such a different perspective! It was a fun weekend! Must now take them onto the Great Ocean Road.
To make the most of your visit check out the Phillip Island Tourism info website and also the Phillip Island Nature Park website
Check out Where's Sharon blog post on her visit to Phillip Island for their experience of Phillip Island.
Note - To visit the top two draw cards of the island there is a family pass - approx $100 AUD which gives you entry into the Koala Rehabilitation centre and the Penguin parade and entry onto Churchill Island.