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Trip Review: Philip Island & The Penguin Parade

February 17, 2012 Leave a comment

One of the highlights of our recent Melbourne trip was the day we spent at Philip Island. For those who don’t know, Philip Island is a 90 minute drive south of Melbourne accessible by driving over a short bridge. The island is famous for their nightly penguin parade where the world’s smallest penguins waddle in from their day hunting for dish in the ocean across the sandy beach to their burrowed homes among the hillside. Super cute. Aside from the penguins there was a koala sanctuary, heritage farm on a nearby island and several charming beaches. It’s quite the place.

All seven of us set out at midday after picking up the keys to our rented Toyota Tarago. Puneet was charged with driving, I was in charge of directions and the rest were in charge of staying out of trouble. We all failed. I kid, I kid, it was quite the success actually.

Our first stop was Churchill Island. You access the island via another small bridge just off the main part of Philip Island. The main (only?) attraction here is a heritage farm. None of us really knew what to expect and this stop was a part of a package deal that we’d booked, we all mostly wanted to see the penguins. But we were pleasantly surprised. This place was awesome. For starters it had spectacular water views that appeared behind enormous green fields.

Churchill Island

Churchill Island

Churchill Island 2

Churchill Island

Churchill Island 3

Churchill Island

The animals were charming and ranged from sheep to ducks to horses to chickens to turkeys and our favourite of all – their border collie sheep dog. We managed to catch the dog in action as they have a daily show where he rounds up the sheep – it was awesome to watch. After he’d done his work his trainer decided to show us it’s not just sheep he can round up and had him chase down the two turkeys within the enclosure. If you’ve never seen a turkey bolt for it’s life you are missing out on one of life’s funniest experiences. The only way I can explain it is if you can imagine the Black Knight from Monty Python and the Holy Grail after he had lost both arms running for his life, jumping back and forth from one foot to the other.

We were in tears. It was just one of the turkeys too. The other one was smart enough to realise that if he just stood still the dog would stop trying to chase him down and round him up. Not the most clever turkey to have lived but oh so funny. I wish we took some photos or video footage but we were too captivated to consider that. So instead, here’s a duck:

Ducky

Ducky

Next stop was the koala sanctuary. This place was pretty cool but not the most exciting koala sanctuary that I’ve been to, especially since I grew up only a few minutes away from the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary in Brisbane. A few photos:

Sleepy Koala

Sleepy Koala. Actually he's just a normal koala - all they do is get high on eucalyptus leaves and sleep all day.

Koala Daniel eating some Eucalyptus..

Koala Daniel eating some Eucalyptus..

Koala Daniel is one happy chappy

Koala Daniel is one happy chappy

After the koala sanctuary we were starting to get hungry so we made a dinner reservation and headed into the beach side town to kill half an hour  before we ate. Once again not really knowing what to expect we were blown away when we stumbled upon this fantastic beach:

Beach at Phillip Island

Beach at Phillip Island

Dinner was pretty lackluster. We went to Infused based on some good reviews and the fact that we could get a reservation and they were opening early. Service was bad, cocktails were undrinkable and the starters were mediocre at best. The mains were all around excellent though which at least let us end the meal on a high note.

From dinner we rushed to the penguin parade as we were starting to get short on time. We unfortunately had to miss “the nobbies” which is a place at the edge of the island where you apparently get spectacular ocean views and get to see seals close up. Oh well, it’s a good excuse to head back! The penguin parade itself was incredible. They didn’t allow any photos or video to be taken while there so I have nothing to show you but I highly, highly recommend it. Despite it being a true, hot Australian summer day the evening/night got down to very cold temperatures, probably because of the chilling winds blowing up from Antarctica. I googled a couple of images to give you an idea of what we were looking at while there and just how small these penguins were!

Penguin Parade

Penguins!

Penguins!

More Penguins!

 

All in all it was a fantastic trip and I highly recommend a visit to Philip Island for anyone wanting to get out of Melbourne for the day.