We managed a little getaway during the school holidays, an overnight trip to Phillip Island which is about 90 minutes south-east of Melbourne, and famous for its wildlife. My sister and her kids, who were in Melbourne for the holidays, came along too.
By far the biggest attraction at Phillip Island is the nightly Penguin Parade, where hundreds of Little Penguins come in to nest after several days hunting at sea. They wait until sunset and then emerge out of the waves in nervous little packs, before waddling up the sand to their nests. Very cute. My kids have always been mad for penguins so it seemed worth braving the cold to take them to see it. And boy! Was it cold!! We should have brought binoculars and a rug to sit on (note for next time) as you can't see very well from the viewing area on the beach. For a start, it's dark, and none of the packs come very close to the human area (not surprising). However, you do have a chance afterwards to see them quite well from the boardwalks as you make your way back to the tourist centre. Unfortunately Cherub got separated from us at this point, so I spent my whole time trying to spot him (without success) and none at all spotting sweet penguins waddling close by. We located him with a ranger 20 long minutes later, and all was well. Climber, who has got himself lost at various exhibitions, most notably the Harry Potter experience in Sydney where he was completely panicked because of being lost in a foreign city, was quite unnerved by Cherub's disappearance and stuck to me like glue from then on, so he really didn't see the penguins properly either. But ah well, next time, and we certainly enjoyed what we did see. You are not permitted to take photographs at all of the penguins, so I borrowed a picture. Naw.
Afterwards, we had dinner at a pub, where the water was cucumber-flavoured. Nobody at our table thought much of that.
Then it was back to the excitement of staying in a motel. Everyone had a spa bath. Our motel room had a separate room for the boys, and the beds had electric blankets. Cherub in particular thought this was very good, and announced as we left the island that the best thing had been the "electric beds". Weirdly though, our motel had no bowls so we had to eat our cereal out of mugs with a teaspoon. All part of the adventure.
Our first expedition the next day was to The Nobbies, which is close to where seals hang out. Not close enough to see any actual seals unless you get on a boat, but a very beautiful bit of countryside, and we enjoyed walking around there and taking lots of photos of waves.
We stood there for ages in the freezing cold, watching the water crash in. Just beautiful.
That tiny island you see in the background is the seal colony. We couldn't quite see any from where we were.
After The Nobbies, we had lunch in a bakery and caught up with a cousin who coincidentally was also visiting the island with his family. Then it was time to visit the koala sanctuary, where we spotted lots of furry lumps in the trees. Cute!
Plus a bonus wallaby.
My boys on the boardwalks. We really enjoyed the koala place.
Beware fake koalas though.
Full set of photographs here
13 minutes ago