Melbourne Trip 2019 – Philip Island

Cute penguin, lazy koala and a cold intolerant tourist at Phillip Island during the start of winter.

It’s quite easy to spot me but I would not give up the opportunity to observe the former two at their natural habitats as you won’t be able to do it at Malaysia. Phillip Island is probably in the bucket list of almost all the first-timer to Victoria state and I really glad that I brave the cold weather for such experience.

First up:
1. Rented car with toll card (checked)
2. Advance booking for Penguin Plus viewing (checked)
3. Fully charged camera phone (checked)
4. Google map (checked)
5. Bunch of families (checked)

Note that, you may shop around for the tickets but I would suggest you compare the price at the Philip Island Nature Parks website with Klook. You never know you will get a good deal. Once you have booked and paid, e-tickets would be emailed to you for your paperless entrance to the park of your choice.

We have bought the 4 Parks Pass (Penguin Parade with Penguins Plus, Antarctic Journey, Koala Reserve & Churchill Island) for the best value.

I would recommend that you take a car to Phillip Island. There are other options to get there, but the attractions are spread out and you will need a car to get around. We got a pretty good deal from East Coast Car Rentals – AU$ 270+ for 3 days rental of  Hyundai iMax 8 seater van + baby seat + fee of adding second driver.

There is also option of taking buses from Melbourne or a train/bus combination. You may purchase day trips from travel agencies as well.

 

It took us approximately two hours to drive from Melbourne to Philip Island and we were mesmerized by these picturesque scenery along the journey.

♫♪˙‿˙♫♪ Country roads, take me home, to the place I belong………..

 

Yes, we were crossing the ocean and we were almost there! ٩(^ᴗ^)۶

 

The first stop of our Philip Island excursion had us at Koala Reserve. 

Koala Reserve

Ample of parking is available at the compound, in front of the visitor centre. The visitor center with gift shop is equipped with educational interactive displays of amazing lives of koalas. Visitors can also learn more about what community groups like the Friends of Koalas or Barb Martin Bushbank are doing to help local wildlife.

This ecotourism attraction offers two tree top boardwalks:-

Koala Boardwalk: 800m loop – 20 minutes
Woodland Boardwalk: 600m loop – 20 minutes

 

Seem like the luck was not at our side that day as the weather was unstable (short rains then sun) and the we didn’t really get good views of the koalas since they were hiding high up in tree, resting or sleeping…..as they do…..all day… LOL But as our first encounter with these lovely animals, we still enjoyed immensely the experience.

 

The boardwalk are basically a wooden trail/deck above the six hectares of Eucalypt woodland which visitors can stroll around and come ‘face-to-face’ with koalas in their natural habitat, living as they would in the wild.

 

Each boardwalk has about 5 koalas and there are signs placed where they are each day to make them easier to spot.

 

Other than koalas, we also spotted a few wallabies hopping around. If you’re lucky enough, you may spot others species of Australian wildlife such as possums, echidnas, snakes  and colourful birds while exploring the native bush. 

 

Opening hours:-

10am to 5pm daily (First Sunday in April to first Saturday in October)
– 10am to 5:30pm daily (February 1 to first Saturday in April and first Sunday in October to Christmas Day)
– 10am to 6pm (Boxing Day to end of January)
– 2pm to 5:30pm (Christmas Day)
* Please note: last access to Koala viewing boardwalks is 15 minutes before closing time

 

Nobbies Centre – Antarctic Journey

Since the weather wasn’t that good for outdoor activity, we proceed to the Nobbies Centre for the exhibition at Antarctic Journey.

 

We had lunch at The Nobbies Cafe with soaring high floor-to-ceiling windows which offers a magnificent view of Bass Strait.

 

The Antarctic Journey – a joint venture between Phillip Island Nature Parks and WWF-Australia, takes you on a virtual journey to the world’s most extreme continent –Antarctica. The large multimedia installation within the exhibition showcases the captivating landscape and stunning wildlife along the journey from Phillip Island through to Antarctica.

 

We were greeted by a hands-on fun and interactive experiences which include this feeling the freeze in the Antarctic Chill Zone. The temperature and wind was mild if compared with the weather outside =.=”

 

Selecting a seafood meal at an interactive dinner table.

 

Checking out your thermal image and comparing it to an Emperor penguin. Look at the hilarious group photo of us. LOL

 

The Sound Lab and Research Station offer an insight into the sights and sounds of Antarctic wildlife with animal calls, microscopes and fascinating specimens.With the remarkable Antarctic landscape as the backdrop, the unique wildlife, ongoing research activities, and the critically important conservation values of this remote continent will come alive before your eyes.

 

The fun and unforgettable multimedia experience, the cutting-edge ‘augmented reality’ technology, which puts you right in the heart of the action. We could stand on an ice floe and reach out to pat a penguin, stroke a seal or marvel at a whale within arm’s reach.

 

Outside the Nobbies Centre is The Nobbies which are large offshore rocks just off the coast of Phillip Island. One and a half kilometres offshore from The Nobbies are Seal Rocks, home to Australia’s largest Australian Fur Seal colony. Visitors can stroll along The Nobbies boardwalk and enjoy the spectacular coastal view. But we didn’t do that due to the blustery weather.

 

We stopped at one of the lookouts over Bass Strait and watched the waves crashing over the black basalt rocks at the bottom of the cliffs and of course took plenty of beautiful photos.

I recommend to visit Antarctic Journey prior to Penguin Parade as they are situated near to each other. 

 

Opening hours:-

Antarctic Journey
Summer: 10am – approx. 7pm (Opening at 2pm on Christmas Day)
Autumn: 10am – approx. 4pm
Winter: 10am – approx. 3pm
Spring: 10am – approx. 5pm

Nobbies Centre
Summer: 10am – approx. 8pm (Opening at 2pm on Christmas Day)

Autumn: 10am – approx. 5pm
Winter: 10am – approx. 4pm
Spring: 10am – approx. 6pm

The Nobbies Cafe closes approximately 30 minutes before the above closing times, while the Gift Shop will remain open until the centre closes.

 

Penguin Parade

One of Australia’s most popular attractions – Experience the magic of little penguins returning home at sunset to one of the largest penguin colonies in Australia. As the sun fades in the sky, the wild penguins come ashore in groups, waddle across the beach to their sand dune burrows. Photo above is Penguin Plus viewing deck with bleachers surrounded by the natural landscape with penguins’ burrows. The seats are limited to 300 people only, so making your booking earlier to secure the seat.

Other viewing options:- General Viewing, Underground Viewing, Guided Ranger Tour, VIP Tour, Ultimate Adventure Tour & Little Wonders Family Tour. 

 

The rough ocean where the world’s smallest penguin emerge from the waves and waddle up the sand.

 

Felt excited although the wind was strong and freezing cold.

Half an hour later……..

It was raining and super windy, we seated at the designated platform since 5pm and the first batch of penguins marched in at roughly 5.45pm. My mom & I left after watching the second batch of penguins came back because we really couldn’t stand the coldness. My face & hand was numb after exposed to the harsh weather for an hour and I was literally shivering while walking back to indoor.

It was indeed an unique and recommended itinerary for first timer but make sure you well prepared to keep yourself warm (down jacket, raincoat, hat and gloves) if you plan to visit this place.

 

Photography is not allowed during the viewing but my bro in law took this photo 😛

 

Photo Source: https://www.penguins.org.au/attractions/penguin-parade/photography/

 

Cute but it might happen~~~~

My verdict: I personally found the Penguin Parade slightly underwhelming for the price charged (Penguin Plus) as the penguins were too far away from me to see much. When we left the bleachers to walk back to the information centre, we could see penguins along the boardwalk, everywhere surrounding you, literally right beside you (with low fence)!

 

We had to skip Churchill Island because we ran out of time and need to reach Penguin Parade before 5pm to get better seating. (visitors only allowed to enter the viewing spots at 5pm). 

 

Check out other activities that you can do in Philip Island HERE.

 

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